16th September 2020 - Kayaking with Active Recovery!
23rd September 2020 - Gig Rowing on the Harbourside!
We had a fantastic time gig rowing with our Active Recovery participants on the harbourside!
Our Project Manager, Amy Derrick, has shared this update:
"Gig rowing was so much fun! We didn't know quite what to expect, but it was just fantastic. Being on the water is relaxing and it was amazing to feel like a team and be in beautiful surroundings. The instructor is very encouraging and went at our pace, so nothing was rushed and we could take our time. There was no pressure to do anything we didn't want to do and participants could be a passenger in the boat if they didn't think rowing was suitable for them. The Active Recovery members are lovely, kind and friendly, so if you would like to join we will all support one another and have a lovely time."
8th October 2020 - Gig Rowing Fun!
Our latest gig rowing activity on the harbourside was so much fun! It was brilliant to feel connected as a team and to have a great time together on the water!
If you would like to join our Active Recovery project and take part in community-based activities that will help build your confidence and peer support networks, please contact Amy on
10th October 2020 - World Mental Health Day
It is World Mental Health Day and we hope that you can take some time to look after your own mental health.
It can be hard to speak out but remember that there are helplines available to support you:
* The Samaritans on 116 123 (open 24/7)
* Mind on 0808 808 0300 (open every day 7pm to 11pm)
* The Survivors Trust on 0808 801 0818 (open Monday to Friday 10am to 8.30pm, Saturday 10am to 12.30pm, 1.30pm to 4.30pm & 6pm to 8.30pm, and Sunday 1.30pm to 4.30pm & 6pm to 8.30pm)
3rd November 2020 - Meeting with Deputy PCC John Smith
We met last week with Deputy PCC John Smith and discussed the impact that lockdown has had on survivors, including how isolation can replicate the trauma that clients have experienced.
Please see this interesting article here which mentions our work and how we have been supporting clients throughout the pandemic.
We have registered with Amazon Smile so that we can receive donations from Amazon for free. Please support us by choosing the Southmead Project and they will donate to us while you shop! This will cost you nothing and means that Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price of eligible purchases to us, which will make a big difference.
Please follow this link to register: https://smile.amazon.co.uk
We would be most grateful if you could forward this link to anyone who might be interested in supporting us.
Thank you and happy shopping!
9th November 2020 - Donate through Amazon Smile!
24th November 2020 - Darren Parnell's Epic Christmas Eve Challenge!
Thank you so much to Darren Parnell who is completing an epic challenge to raise awareness of the Southmead Project's work and to help raise funds for our services!
One month today he will do:
2 mile swim (open water)
60 mile cycle
6 mile run
26 miles rowing (rowing machine)
This is a tremendous feat and Darren also has a target of £1,000 to reach, so we hope that we can help get him there! Please share this Just Giving link as widely as possible and donate if you can: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darren-parnell2
Thank you Darren!
9th December 2020 - 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
In support of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, we stand with Next Link, a fantastic organisation that supports survivors of domestic abuse.
We are remembering all those who have lost their lives and been affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence. We will continue to support survivors of all types of abuse, particularly with the increase in reporting of domestic and sexual abuse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its lockdown measures.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign starts on 25th November each year, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10th December, Human Rights Day. The international campaign calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls around the world.
For further information, please see here:
1st December 2020 - Puzzle Post for Active Recovery Participants!
Our Active Recovery Project Manager, Amy Derrick, has been busy sending little packs of fun to our participants! Each participant has received a creative project that they will send to another participant in the post. This is a great way to have fun and stay connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please see this video that Amy has put together!
If you are a current or past client of the Southmead Project or Kinergy, you are welcome to join in! Please contact Amy on .
10th December - Happy Human Rights Day!
Today we are celebrating Human Rights Day! The theme this year is 'recover better' and is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring that human rights are central to recovery efforts.
The pandemic has affected each and every one of us, and we recognise the impact in particular that it is having on survivors of abuse and the increased reports of domestic and sexual abuse.
Please see further information here about Human Rights Day:
16th December - Kieran Batty's Ironman 70.3 Challenge!
We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Kieran Batty for completing an Ironman 70.3 challenge to raise funding and awareness for the Southmead Project! We are so honoured to have such committed, kind and generous supporters like yourself.
The challenge was meant to take place in Taupo, but unfortunately this was not possible due to Covid-19. Instead, Kieran has gone ahead with it remotely, and we thoroughly appreciate the lengths that you have gone to especially in these winter months.
Thank you so much for helping to make our work possible!
18th December - Active Recovery Wreath Making!
Our Active Recovery participants have enjoyed getting creative and making some winter wreaths!
We understand the festive season can be tough for all sorts of reasons, so it has been good to have the opportunity for some peaceful time out.
If you are, or were, a client of the Southmead Project or Kinergy and would like to join, please contact Amy on:
19th December - Happy Christmas and Christmas Helplines
We would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and restful break ahead!
We know this is a difficult time of year for many people and we will be thinking of you.
Here are some helpline numbers that you can contact:
* The Samaritans: 116 123 (Open 24/7)
* The Survivors Trust: 08088 010 818 (Christmas opening hours:
* Mindline: 0808 808 0330 (free to call) open every day from 7-11pm
* Bristol Mental Health: 0300 555 0334 (free to call) and open 24/7, 365 days a year (if you are experiencing mental health crisis and require immediate emotional and practical support).
4th January 2021 - Darren's Epic Challenge Completed!
On Christmas Eve, Darren Parnell completed an epic challenge of 100 miles of swimming, cycling, running and rowing for the Southmead Project!
Darren's efforts raised £1,917 to support our work, which is £2,417 with matched giving!
Thank you so much Darren for such an incredible achievement! We are incredibly grateful for everything that you have done to support us and raise awareness of our work.
Here is a video of Darren just after he had finished the challenge!
22nd January 2021 - Our Latest Annual Report Is Here!
The Southmead Project's Annual Report for 2019-20 has arrived and can be downloaded here.
If you would like to see past copies of our Annual Reports, please feel free to have a look at them on our Annual Reports page here.
We hope that you enjoy reading about our work and thank you for your support!
28th January 2021 - Active Recovery Nature Journals!
Our Active Recovery participants will soon be receiving personalised nature journals in the post! We will be taking a moment to pause and notice the little things, and share what we spot with each other.
Please see this video from Amy, our Project Manager, for more information.
1st to 7th February 2021 - Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week
This week is Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. We want to share the message that #ItsNotOk and to #EndSexualViolence, which you can help us with by joining the conversation on social media and using these hashtags.
The last year has been particularly tough for survivors throughout the pandemic, and we want to support people to come forward and access the support they need.
We are offering up to 24 sessions of online and phone counselling. If you would like to make a referral, please contact us on: email@example.com
2nd February 2021 - Domestic Abuse Support Information
It is important for survivors of abuse to know that they are not alone and that there is support available for them.
Avon and Somerset Police have put this information together so that survivors of domestic abuse know who they can contact in their local area and which organisations can help.
The Southmead Project provides support for people who have experienced any type of abuse, including domestic abuse. Please contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org to make a referral or for more information about our services.
19th March 2021 - Active Recovery Art Project!
Our Active Recovery members are receiving art packs in the post this week. They are collaborating to make a joint piece of art to celebrate their resilience and journey over the past few months.
Would you like to get involved? Please contact Amy Derrick on: email@example.com
Our water sport activities are back as part of our Active Recovery Project!
We enjoyed gig-rowing on the harbourside with participants last week and are looking forward to the upcoming water sports we have planned for this summer.
If you are or were a client of the Southmead Project or Kinergy and would like to join, please contact Amy on: firstname.lastname@example.org
21st April 2021 - Active Recovery Water Sports!
5th May 2021 - Active Recovery Gig-rowing
Our fantastic Active Recovery members enjoyed gig-rowing again this week! Our Project Manager, Amy Derrick, has given this update:
"We had such an amazing gig-rowing session on Wednesday. We got absolutely soaked in an unexpected hail storm! It sounds terrible but actually enhanced the experience. We were laughing and joking and even singing - lots of rain themed songs. The rowing instructors, Tim and Kay, were so calm and kind. It felt really exhilarating and we were so proud of ourselves and our team work when we got off the boat. We hadn't all met together before but it felt like we had a bond afterwards. We warmed up with hot chocolates and more laughter. All the anxiety in the lead up (totally normal and expected) had floated away when we were on the water."
And here is some feedback from our wonderful participants about how it went:
"I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Your preparation and enthusiasm helped make the day go so well. Rain, wind and hail didn't stop our little group from bobbing about on the water. We synchronized our strokes and learnt when to stick our oars in! I'd certainly do it again and look forward to other activities. No need for worries as things went so smoothly. Hot drinks were very appreciated. We all rose to the challenge and exceeded ourselves. I'm glad I took part."
"A wonderful day - even the unexpected weather made it so enjoyable. Thanks to Southmead Project there is life and fun and freedom and enjoyment and connection and joy after trauma - we just need to grasp it."
Our second Active Recovery session was kayaking along the harbourside! We had such a fun time with our participants and are thoroughly enjoying getting out and about and learning new skills!
Please contact Amy Derrick on if you are or were a client of the Southmead Project or Kinergy and you'd like to join!
14th September 2020 - And we're back!
10th August 2020 - Support Worker Needed for Active Recovery Project
9th September 2020 - Harbourside fun with Active Recovery!
We had our first Covid-secure activity on the harbourside this week and had fun learning how to sail!
Please see this update from our Active Recovery Project Manager, Amy Derrick:
"We had a great time sailing on Bristol's beautiful harbour. We were all quite nervous as none of us had ever sailed a boat before but we needn't have been. The boats were so easy to sail and we were gliding along straight away. We all felt a sense of calm on the water and it was very relaxing.
It was good to know that Sophie, our brilliant Support Worker and counsellor, was on the shore and ready to give us support if need be. We took the sailing at our own pace and took breaks whenever we needed it.
Our first activity on the water has given us a good chance to try something new and to meet the other lovely members of Active Recovery."
Thank you very much to the People's Health Trust for funding this project and making these activities possible.
If you are, or have been, a client of the Southmead Project or Kinergy and would like to take part, please contact Amy for further information on email@example.com.
The Southmead Project team has been supporting clients with online and phone counselling since April, in light of our office closing in March following Public Health's COVID-19 restrictions. We have worked hard to prepare our office to re-open and ensure that it is Covid-secure. On Monday 14th September we resumed limited face-to-face sessions for clients that paused counselling in March who were unable to have counselling remotely. We have a very limited capacity to see clients face-to-face due to needing to adhere to social distancing measures in our building. Our waiting list for counselling is now open for referrals for up to 24 sessions of online or phone counselling. (Please note that we will not be able to accept referrals for face-to-face counselling or up to 42 sessions for the time being due to the high demand for our services and reduced capacity to meet this demand).
Our Active Recovery Project has been supporting participants with activities remotely during lockdown. Our Project Manager, Amy Derrick, has worked hard to make outdoor activities possible and since 9th September has had fun sailing and kayaking with participants in a Covid-secure way! Thank you to our partners at All Aboard for helping to make this happen and to the People's Health Trust for funding this project.
Our group work currently remains on hold while we explore the possibility of having groups online.
We would like to thank our clients, staff and partner organisations for bearing with us throughout this difficult time and for adapting to new ways of providing and receiving support. We understand that this has been an exceptionally difficult and overwhelming time for many people, and in particular for our clients.
Thank you for the support that we have received throughout this time from our funders and partner organisations who have made the transition to remote working possible. We would not otherwise have been able to adapt our services and provide such high-quality remote support to our clients and we are extremely grateful to you.
Please find a downloadable copy of our HSE COVID-19 risk assessment here to see how we are working in a Covid-secure way.
The Southmead Project Team
We are seeking a Support Worker for our Active Recovery Project!
The deadline for applications is Thursday 27th August 2020.
Please see further details in this Voscur advert:
5th August 2020 - Counsellor Job Vacancy
We are currently recruiting counsellors to join our fantastic Southmead Project team!
The deadline for applications is Sunday 23rd August 2020.
Please see this advert on Voscur for further details:
31st July 2020 - Active Recovery Mindful Colouring!
Our latest Active Recovery activity is mindful colouring! Here is a video from Amy Derrick, our Project Manager, who has sent packs of colouring postcards to participants and pencils with positive, empowering attributes on them.
We hope that our Active Recovery participants enjoy this mindful activity. If you would like to join, please contact Amy on
25th June 2020 - Active Recovery Project Recipe Swap!
Our Active Recovery activity this week is a recipe swap! Please see this video from Amy Derrick, our Project Manager, to see how to share ideas and how you can get in touch if you would like to sign up!
Please contact Amy for further information on
15th June 2020 - Loneliness Awareness Week
10th June 2020 - Seed post for our Active Recovery Project!
Our Active Recovery project supports clients of the Southmead Project and Kinergy through community-based activities. Our Project Manager has been finding creative ways for participants to stay connected - please see this video here about our seed post!
If you would like to become a participant of Active Recovery, or for more information, please contact our Project Manager, Amy Derrick, on
It is Loneliness Awareness week, which is so important with the isolation that we are all living in. We want to encourage a conversation about it, so that we can better understand it and support others to manage feelings of loneliness.
Please visit the Marmalade Trust for further resources and support: https://marmaladetrust.org/law/
1st June 2020 - Happy Volunteers' Week!
Thank you to our wonderful volunteers, both past and present, for the fantastic support you have given the Southmead Project! We would like to celebrate your hard work, dedication and generosity, and the difference you make to the people that we support.
Wishing you all a happy Volunteers' Week!
18th May 2020 - Funding from the Quartet Community Foundation
Thank you so much to the Quartet Community Foundation for their grant of £4,884 from their Coronavirus Response Fund Programme! This will go towards enabling our counsellors to work from home and provide online counselling during the outbreak of COVID-19.
Thank you for this much needed support!
18th May 2020 - Mental Health Awareness Week
We would like to wish everyone a happy Mental Health Awareness Week!
The theme this year is kindness, and we hope that this is an opportunity for you to be kind to yourself, as well as being kind to others.
7th May 2020 - Online Counselling Update & Happy Bank Holiday!
The Southmead Project has moved its counselling services online so that we can support survivors of abuse throughout the outbreak of COVID-19.
We would like to wish you a safe Bank Holiday weekend ahead from all of the team and we will be thinking of you.
30th March 2020 - Overcoming Trauma with Yoga
We hope that you are all staying safe and well.
We would like to share this video with you to help support you at home with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). Please see this video by Bessel van der Kolk, a psychiatrist and leader in the field of trauma, about overcoming trauma with yoga.
The Southmead Project Team
24th March 2020 - Closure and Update Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
20th March 2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support Information
We appreciate how difficult life has become for many people during such an uncertain and worrying time. We would like to share this information about food banks and other support services and please feel free to pass this on to anyone that it could help. A copy of this document can be downloaded here.
We hope that you are all managing to stay safe and well.
The Southmead Project Team
5th February 2020 - Changes in NHS CCG Provision for Trauma Counselling
As part of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, the Southmead Project and Kinergy are raising awareness of the change in NHS CCG provision for trauma specialist counselling organisations like ourselves. Please see our joint statement here and how you can help.
3rd February 2020 - Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week
This week is Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week. We are here to support survivors of abuse, including those who have experienced sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect or domestic violence. Please contact us if you or someone you know needs support.
28th January 2020 - Be Heard Campaign
We are proud to be part of the #BeHeard campaign and to display our survivors' art work at the exhibition currently taking place at Bridewell Police Station.
We were also greatly encouraged to meet with Dame Vera Baird, the Victim Commissioner, and Sue Mountstevens, Avon and Somerset PCC, yesterday to discuss the work of sexual violence therapeutic providers in the South West and how we can better support survivors.
20th December 2019
We would like to wish everyone the best start to 2020 and we will all be thinking of you at Christmas!
The Southmead Project Team
13th December 2019 - Launch of Active Recovery Project
Have you been or are you a client of ours? Want to try something fun?
Our Active Recovery project is starting in 2020! There will be fortnightly activities taking place to help improve self-esteem and build support networks.
Please get in touch if you are interested!
1st November 2019 - AGM
Thank you very much to everyone that came to our AGM and for celebrating 25 years of the Southmead Project with us! We really appreciate your support. Here is our Founder, Mike Peirce, and a video on behalf of Sue Mountstevens, the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, who talks about supporting our work.
14th October 2019 - AGM Invitation
We are celebrating the 25th year of the Southmead Project this year and our Annual General Meeting will take place on Friday 1 November. We would be delighted if you could attend and join us in celebrating 25 years of the charity!
We are pleased to confirm the keynote speeches will be delivered by Darren Jones, Member of Parliament for Bristol North West, and Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol.
We will display some of the fantastic art work that was produced this year as part of our ‘Art of Survivors’ project. These were designed by survivors of abuse who were previously clients of the Southmead Project.
The event takes place at New United Reformed Church, Wigton Crescent, Southmead, Bristol, BS10 6DY and will start at 11am with lunch provided at 12.30pm. We will assume that you would like to stay for lunch unless you indicate otherwise.
Please could you also let us know if you have any dietary requirements.
If you would like to attend, please let us know by emailing
We look forward to celebrating with you!
15th September 2019 - Half Marathon
A huge well done to Claire Smith, Nick Tuftnell and Pete Wraith (pictured left to right in the middle photo) who took part in Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday 15th September. Sadly, our Operations Manager, Imogen McCabe, was unable to take part in the event due to a knee injury. Between them they have so far raised a whopping £911 for the charity, helping us to deliver our vital therapeutic support to survivors of abuse.
If you would like to show your support for Southmead Project, please visit
26th February 2019 - Bristol Rovers Bucket Collection
With £726 of vital donations collected and our profile significantly raised, Southmead Project enjoyed a hugely successful day out at Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Stadium on Saturday 9 February.
“To see the players warming up, proudly wearing t-shirts with the message ‘Tackling abuse with Southmead Project’ was a first in our history and this memory will live on,” says Dr Mike Peirce MBE. “To have been given the opportunity to advance the knowledge of a rarely spoken issue through the excellent match-day programme and half-time pitchside interview, Bristol Rovers clearly demonstrated their intent to help us help others.”
Thank you again to all the staff and players at Bristol Rovers Football Club.
4th February 2019 - Funding for Pre-counselling Groups
Southmead Project was given a much-needed boost in January, receiving vital funds to help deliver its pre-counselling programmes to those from challenging backgrounds.
Bristol Community Health and North Somerset Community Partnership (NSCP) awarded Southmead Project £3,880 as part of its bid to help support voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations. Funding was awarded to a total of 12 projects.
“We know how hard local community-based organisations work to make a difference,” says Matthew Areskog, Bristol Community Health’s People and Communities Service Manager. “Motivating and supporting people to look after their own health is key for us. Our amazing community health staff, who really know what’s needed in the community, have voted on the final shortlist. We’re excited to hear about the progress these brilliant projects make this year.”
On behalf of Mike and the team at Southmead Project, we’d like to say a huge thank you to NSCP. To read more about NSCP, please visit their website.
28th January 2019 - Tackling Abuse with Bristol Rovers
Southmead Project CEO Dr Mike Peirce MBE and volunteers will be putting in an appearance at Bristol Rovers Football Club during a special event to help celebrate their winning partnership.
Bristol Rovers recently named Southmead Project as their first charity partner of the season and will work with us throughout the season to help raise awareness of the services we provide to adult survivors of child abuse. Mike will be stepping out on to the pitch at half time on Saturday 9 February to tell supporters about the vital work we carry out to help survivors reclaim their lives.
As part of the event, our volunteers will be taking donations throughout the day and trained counsellors will be available to anyone who feels they may need to talk.
Mike and the whole of the team would like to thank the Bristol Rovers management, players and fans for welcoming us into your sporting home. Your open acknowledgement and acceptance of us and the pain and suffering of those who have experienced child abuse, is wholly indicative of the inclusive roots of the club.
17th January 2019 - Launch of the Truth Inquiry
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has launched an awareness-raising campaign to encourage victims and survivors to speak about their experiences.
Called The Truth Project, it enables victims and survivors of child sexual abuse to share their experiences with the Inquiry and put forward recommendations for change.
The project forms a crucial part of the Inquiry’s work: hearing from victims and survivors will allow the Inquiry to understand the nature and scale of child sexual abuse and to hear their suggestions for change.
It has been designed in consultation with victims and survivors and their needs and wishes take priority. They are offered emotional support before, during and after their session, they will not be contradicted or challenged, and they are able to disclose as much or as little about their experiences as they feel comfortable with.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established to investigate the extent to which institutions and public bodies in England and Wales have failed to protect children from sexual abuse.
The Inquiry would like to hear from as many people as possible. To get in touch, visit The Truth Project website at , or call the information line on 0800 917 1000 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm and Sat 10am-12pm).
25th October 2018 - Charity of the Year for Bristol Rovers
Pictured from left: Adam Tutton (Bristol Rovers Community Trust CEO), Mike Peirce (Southmead Project), Tom Lockyer (Bristol Rovers), Helen Godwin (Bristol City Council) and Tom Gorringe (Bristol Rovers).
Bristol Rovers has announced that Southmead Project will be their chosen charity partner for the 2018-19 season.
Throughout the season the club will be working with the charity to help raise awareness of their work and funds to help us deliver our vital work providing therapeutic and practical support to adults who were abused as children.
Dr Mike Peirce MBE, founder of the charity, says: “The decision of Bristol Rovers to support us in our work is an enormous step forward in acknowledging the extent of child abuse in our city, and the enormous problems this brings to the individual and the family concerned. The club has stood up to be counted as befits its sense of fair play and community spirit: openly proclaiming its decision to come down on the side of those who have had the misfortune to become innocent victims of appalling circumstance as children.
“This example of human kindness, compassion and commitment so clearly demonstrated by Bristol Rovers is a credit to all concerned. By their actions, the club will not only be helping to raise money for us to carry out our work but will be giving a voice to those who have been silenced for so long.”
22nd February 2018 - Amazing Resilience
A brand new exhibition curated by Southmead Project will be on display at Bristol’s City Hall in March. Amazing Resilience features work created by survivors of child abuse who have used the medium of art to speak the unspeakable.
The challenging and inspirational exhibition gives survivors the opportunity to highlight the long-term impact of child abuse as well as share their courage, determination and resilience to go on and reclaim their lives.
Amazing Resilience will be shown in the Park Street and Deanery Road Vestibules at City Hall on College Green from 13-16 March 2018 at Park Street and Deanery Street Vestibules, City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR.
25th September 2017 - Letter to Theresa May
Pictured from left: Mike Peirce (Southmead Project), Ben (Darren Jones MP's aide) and Terry Peirce (Southmead Project).
The purpose of Paddle to Parliament is to draw the attention of politicians and decision-makers to the current challenges faced by Southmead Project and many other charities providing child abuse support services due to inconsistent or non-existent funding of their activities. Currently the police handle a call relating to child sexual abuse (CSA) every 10 minutes (NSPCC – Freedom of Information sources 2017). Many other children will be facing other forms of abuse as well as CSA and it is likely too few of them will have access to appropriate support services. This situation is the same for those adult survivors of child abuse, who are experiencing post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) and using drugs, alcohol and other ways of self-harming as a direct consequence of that trauma (NHS Clinical Guidelines 2017).
Southmead Project acknowledges research findings from such informed sources and also information that indicates the formation of the brain of a child, born into and brought up in an unsafe and abusive environment, is different from that of a child from a safe, caring and loving environment (Fisher, Seigal et al).The resulting post-traumatic stress disorder brought about by abusive environments will often lead to damaging, unsafe and potentially life-threatening coping mechanisms. Such extreme methods of surviving are often accompanied by prescribed medication and/or misuse of illegal drugs or alcohol being adopted by victims of abuse, simply in order to try to cope with the awful nightmare of abuse and to manage their lives as indicated in the new NHS guidelines defined above.
The correlation between what has happened in a person’s early life and later self-harming behaviours in adulthood, has long been recognised as the main reason why so many survivors of child abuse end up in either the criminal justice system, the NHS or both. While there is still a distinct lack of researched evidence to show the true cost to the state in financial or human terms of child abuse, the sheer number of people trying to access support services such as that provided by Southmead Project and the subsequent growing waiting lists across the country is clear evidence of the huge demand.
In order to address these issues and on behalf of victims and survivors I am asking for ways to be found where Parliament can unite in order to consider the problem in its entirety, identify appropriate budgets that are consistent and essentially extend beyond the government’s term of office.
The ludicrous situation that exists where we clearly know the extent of child abuse across the spectrum (sexual, physical and emotional) but provide insufficient funding to tackle the issue is unforgivable and most regrettable. This appeal for positive action that comes on behalf of so many people must surely be heard and subsequent action taken. The message this would send out to the many thousands of these innocent victims of crime would be so welcome and have extremely positive, effective ramifications across the country.
The very fact that I and a number of colleagues have had to resort to an outrageous stunt in order to draw attention to this matter speaks volumes for the frustration caused by this deplorable situation. I therefore ask that this item be placed on the appropriate Commons agenda to be discussed in open Parliament and an end be put to this most appalling of circumstance.
Dr MJ Peirce MBE FRSA
10th August 2017 - Mental Health Trauma Summit
Southmead Project CEO Dr Mike Peirce MBE will be speaking at this year’s Improving Psychological Therapies for Mental Health Trauma conference.
The national summit will give participants the chance to:
Network with colleagues who are working to improve services, practice and treatment for people who have experienced mental health trauma
Reflect on the lived experience of mental health trauma
Develop skills and improve competence in delivering psychological therapies for mental health trauma
Learn from experts working with refugees who have experienced trauma
Understand how to develop effective trauma-focused CBT
Friends and supporters of Southmead Project who’d like to attend the summit can receive a 20% discount by quoting hcuk20spkr when booking tickets.
For more information, visit www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/improving-psychological-therapies-for-mental-health-trauma
31st July 2017 - Trauma-informed Care
In July the Department of Health published Drug misuse and dependence: UK guidelines on Clinical Management.
Often called the “Orange Book”, this year’s guidelines include a section outlining the principles for trauma-informed care, which:
Recognise the high rates of trauma exposure in substance misusers
Recognise trauma symptoms and behaviours as the individual’s best attempts to adapt and manage their experiences
Provide a treatment environment that promotes physical and emotional safety
Prioritise trauma recovery as part of treatment goals
Support patients to make choices and take control of treatment decisions
Adopt a stance that is collaborative, participatory and provides hope and belief in recovery from trauma
“It is satisfying to see the approach we’ve been recommending for the last 24 years has finally been made official,” says CEO Dr Mike Peirce MBE. “The clinical guidelines in the study are conclusive and very clear where future provision/services and interventions aimed at those who are dependent upon drugs as a direct consequence of abuse experienced in childhood are concerned.
“There has been no specific budget from successive governments for the above client group and this has led to charities like Southmead Project being excluded from applying for clinical commissioning funding simply because there is no money put aside for these purposes,” Mike continues. “However, with recognition and acknowledgement now secured from extremely credible sources, perhaps the authorities can at last step up and ensure this will be corrected as soon as possible.”
30th May 2017 - Making Waves
Our fearless CEO, Dr Mike Peirce MBE, talks to us about Paddle to Parliament, which will see him take to the water to raise awareness for victims of child abuse.
You’re planning on rowing from Wiltshire to the Houses of Parliament in London. Why?
For some 25 years I have had to battle all the way to raise funds for Southmead Project so that it can carry out its work with victims and survivors of child abuse. Very little of our funding has come from the statutory sector and we’ve received consistently dismal responses from Bristol City Council over those years. The clear message this sends out – to this charity and the people who cross our threshold seeking help with their plight – is that their pain, their anguish and their voice has neither been acknowledged or heard. The message from Bristol City Council is that there is no budget from central government for the type of work we do – and so the situation will remain the same unless we get MPs from across the political spectrum to put aside politics and agree a centralised budget for the client group. Money can then be allocated to cities like Bristol and distributed accordingly.
Your brother, Terry, is joining you. What is his motivation?
Terry lived in the same house as me when we were children and, while he was not abused in any sexual ways, he obviously witnessed appalling domestic abuse and assault. This affected him in many ways and he is a champion for change. And he loves his brother!
Terry and I and many others across our country simply do not believe that children should be continually paying the price for ineptitude, denial, thoughtlessness and couldn’t-care-less attitudes from the government, or anyone else for that matter. There are appalling levels of abuse going on as I write this – in fact, reports suggest that every 10 minutes the police handle a call directly related to child sexual abuse from across the country. We need to get real here, as those children will grow into adults and it is these adults who will be crossing the thresholds of agencies like Southmead Project in the future.
When are you setting off and how long do you think it will take you?
We set off on 11 September 2017 at 10am from Caen Hill Locks and expect to arrive at the Houses of Parliament sometime on the 16 September.
How can people show their support for Paddle to Parliament?
We will be setting up a donation page closer to the start date – stay in touch via the website or Twitter @SouthmeadProj
12th May 2017 - Children's Commissioner Research Published
Our CEO Dr Mike Peirce MBE called the Children’s Commissioner for England’s recent report into child abuse a “damning indictment of the apathy of successive governments”.
The report, called Investigating Child Sexual Abuse, was published in April 2017 and found that there had been a 31% increase in ‘sexual activity involving a child under 16’ in the year ending March 2016 compared with the previous year. In addition, there was a 20% increase in crimes recorded as a ‘sexual assault on a female aged 13 or over’ and a 51% increase in reports of sexual grooming.
Previous research by the Children’s Commissioner into child sexual abuse found that as few as 1 in 8 victims come to the attention of authorities and that child sexual abuse investigations take significantly longer than all other crime types, including adult sexual offences.
“We can see how far we need to go in order to address these shameful statistics and why we need the people, money, wherewithal, determination and drive in order to effect the changes that are sorely needed,” says Mike.
11th May 2017 - Our Fab Four
A huge congratulations to Southmead’s own Sarah Burns, Kim Browning, Sophie Bayley and Pete Wraith, who ran the Bristol 10k on Sunday 7 May. Not only did they complete the course, they also raised £500 (and counting) for Southmead Project.
If you’d like to carry out a fundraising event for Southmead Project, or simply donate, please visit our JustGiving fundraising page and follow the instructions.
8th February 2016 - 50 Most Inspirational Bristolians
On Friday 4 February Southmead Project CEO Dr Mike Peirce MBE was named one of Bristol Post’s 50 most inspirational Bristolians alive today.
He joins the likes of multi-marathon runner Ben Smith, campaigner Fahma Mohamed, war hero George Johnny Johnson and Games of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, who have been honoured “not only for their achievements … [but also] because they have inspired others with those achievements”.
As Bristol Post says, Mike has spent decades helping those affected by trauma and “inspired many to get back on their feet and restart their lives”.
We’d like to send our heartfelt congratulations to Mike and thank him for his commitment and determination in giving hope and a voice to victims of abuse.
24th May 2016 - Sexual Abuse and Mental Health Conference
Our CEO Dr Mike Peirce has confirmed that he will be speaking at this year’s Sexual Abuse and Mental Health Conference in London.
The CPD-certified conference aims to reduce the impact of abuse on mental health. Through national updates, survivor perspectives, expert sessions and case study presentations, the conference will offer practical guidance on a variety of issues, including identifying and recognising abuse, providing victim support and delivering recovery-orientated services.
The conference takes place on Tuesday 20 September.
16th May 2016 - Bristol 10K, AGM & More
Southmead’s very own Dr Mike Peirce joined Bristol Roller Derby on Made in Bristol TV to talk about running the Great Bristol 10k in aid of the project. BRD have chosen Southmead Project as their nominated charity this year and will be putting forward 10 runners to complete the course. One of the members of the BRD team works for Southmead Project. “Events like the 10k are absolutely fabulous for us,” says Mike. “Raising awareness is so vital for little charities like ours. The Bristol Roller Derby are saying ‘we believe in you, and we believe in the people you’re trying to help’.” If you’d like to support BRD and support Southmead Project, visit their JustGiving page.
Elsewhere, Southmead will be working with St Stephen’s Church developing a group programme for people supporting a partner or family member through the counselling process following the disclosure of abuse. The project is being supported by the DWF Foundation, Southmead Fourteen and Ryklow Trust.
And finally, this year’s AGM will take place on Friday 18 November at midday. Venue details will be announced later.