Expanding service capacity for victims of childhood trauma

Expanding service capacity for victims of childhood trauma

A project offering vital therapeutic and practical help to Cambridgeshire children and families suffering from the effects of childhood trauma, has received vital support from the Evelyn Trust over the last year.
Young therapist with familly

"Cambridge Acorn Project helped build my son's confidence back up and to deal with some problems he was having. It has helped get my ‘little bear’ back" – Quote from a local Mum and CAP client

The Cambridge Acorn Project (CAP) is the brainchild of a small group of multi-disciplinary professionals and parents who feel passionately about the huge gap in local resources for families with children that are struggling to cope following bereavement, abuse, neglect and other types of severe trauma. These kinds of experiences, often combining with challenges such as poverty, cause deep-rooted long term damage to families, disrupting attachment between parents and children.

“There’s a considerable need locally for services that support the whole family, both with a therapeutic offer, but also with advice and support to tackle the wider determinants of poor emotional health. This is what our project aims to achieve and, with the help of the Evelyn Trust, we’ve been able to exponentially grow our service over the last year. We have reported a 750% increase in open cases since July 2016, but that’s still just the tip of the iceberg of need in this area,” says Matt Edge, one of the founders of CAP.

As a complement to existing services for children and young people, CAP works with whole families and is having great success at tackling intransigent and complex problems.

“Therapy to help people recover from trauma is a vital part of our service and, using the funding from the Evelyn Trust, we’ve been able to recruit three sessional therapeutic practitioners. But therapy alone is not always the answer. We have also recruited two ‘structural practitioners’ for sessional work. Our structural practitioners help families with advice, signposting and support to deal with some of the key issues in their lives that are causes of stress and so are holding back their recovery. This can include poor housing, unemployment, etc. One example I often use is driving lessons. This may sound odd, but to help a wage earner find funding for driving lessons will mean that they can travel further for work, find more well-paid work and will also reduce social isolation. A simple intervention such as driving lessons can open up a huge range of opportunities for individuals and so make a really positive impact on the whole family. This is particularly true in parts of rural Cambridgeshire where communities are isolated and public transport is limited, or has been cut in recent years,” adds Matt.

The Evelyn Trust was the first organisation to help with funding and since then Cambridge Acorn has secured further funds for expansion from local charities and the Big Lottery Fund.

“We’re so grateful to the Evelyn Trust for helping us with that early funding – of course it’s helped us grow our capacity, but also, critically, to raise our profile with referrers and establish our credibility.” 

For more background on the Cambridge Acorn Project, visit www.cambridgeacornproject.org.uk


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