Making waves

3:48 pm, May 30, 2017

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


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Children’s Commissioner research published

9:42 am, May 12, 2017

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.

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Our fab four!

11:26 am, May 11, 2017

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.

Thank you.

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Fantastic four tackle the 10k

8:50 am, May 2, 2017

Wishing the very best of luck to Southmead Project’s Sarah Burns, Kim Browning, Sophie Bayley and Pete Wraith who are running the  Bristol 10k on Sunday 7 May.

Needless to say, they’ll be strapping on their running shoes aid of Southmead Project so if you can spare some pennies (or pounds), please sponsor them by visiting the Southmead Project’s JustGiving page. Your  donations will not only give our fantastic four a boost, but also help us continue our vital work providing support and counselling to adults who were abused as children.

Good luck to Sarah, Kim, Sophie and Pete and all the other 10k runners!

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