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Fresh hope for traumatised young people

Lincoln family counsellors are celebrating a £25,000 grant which will help them to rebuild young lives blighted by sexual abuse or rape.


(l-r) NWCH Office Manager Sally Watkins and Hub co-founder Naomi Watkins in the Hub’s Acorn Room


The Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub (NWCH), which has been awarded the money by the Bromhead Medical Charity, will use it to provide Free counselling to more children and young people.

It is hoped that the chance from them to access professional help will allow them to fully explore their traumatic experiences and put them on the road to recovery and a brighter future.

NWCH’s co-founders Naomi Watkins and Alex Parkin are delighted to have been given this financial boost within the first six months of setting up their Community Interest Company and they are excited about making a difference to more young lives.

“We were massively thrilled to receive this grant.  It will be used specifically for our Acorn Project.  This means many more young people will have the opportunity to benefit from our help and hopefully start to feel better about themselves.”

Local sexual abuse services are very welcome to signpost children and young people, who have approached or been referred to them to the “new” service.

“We will offer these young victims a mix of pet therapy, sand tray therapy, play and counselling to help them to process their emotions, regain their confidence, feel safer and part of their community again,” said Naomi.

Naomi and Alex had to go through a rigorous process in order to win the funding.

“In addition to filling in an application form, we had to do a presentation to a group of about eight professionals. That was quite daunting.  We had to answer a lot of difficult questions and we were feeling quite nervous,” said Naomi.

Naomi and Alex cited a variety of different statistics in support their application. But Lincolnshire Police recorded 738 sex child offences against young people (up to 18 years old) in the period April 2015 to March 2016 – that was a rise of 23 per cent on the  598 recorded for 2014/2015.

Statistics also revealed 558 of the 738 offences (recorded for April 2015/March 2016) related to youngsters in the 0 to 14-years-old group. Of those, 88 out of a total of 112 were affected by “cyber-enabled” activity.

When looking at the overall statistics, it is also distressing to see that about 50 crimes were perpetrated against children who were not old enough to attend primary school.

NWCH will use this grant to support children and teenagers between four and 18-years-old and will provide a minimum of 12 counselling sessions for each child/young person.

Alex Parkin said: “We were aware that there was a serious gap in free help for children and teenagers, particularly at the younger end of the scale and we knew that we were ideally placed to make a difference to those people’s lives.

“We have a team of 13 counsellors and we anticipate helping about 57 people a year,” she added.

The Bromhead Medical Charity said it is keen to provide support where there is a clear gap in healthcare services. It likes to decide grant applications quickly, so that grant  recipients can start to help individuals and families.

Secretary Steve Taylor said: “The Trust was supportive of this application because this project is going to give assistance to children who have undergone traumatic experiences at a very early stage in their lives.

“Increasingly, this support is not available from the State and our Trustees felt it was very important that children, who have gone through dreadful experiences, should receive this counselling to give them the best chance to make the most of the rest of their lives.

“The compelling nature of what they have gone through and what they need led the charity to support the work being done.”

Mr Taylor added that the Trust tries to support healthcare projects around the county, and it is keen to give applicants the right amount of funding to ensure that projects become a reality.

“We will be working to make sure that the grant to NWCH is well spent, by monitoring the number of people being supported and ensuring they get good value and a good level of support.”

The NWCH also provides training for new and existing counsellors.  As a not-for-profit organisation, it ploughs any “profit” from these sessions into a variety of projects to benefit the local community.

The Hub also provides support for both training and qualified counsellors, allowing them to both network and get supervision.

** Naomi and Alex are excited to announce that the Hub is having an open day on Tuesday, September 26, from 10am to 4pm.   People are encouraged to drop in and check out the Hub’s superb facilities and talk to Naomi and her team about its wide range of services.



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