Annual Report: 2018-2019

Southmead Project: Annual Report 2018-19


It is with so many mixed emotions I sit and write my contribution to the 25th annual report of Southmead Project. When I look back and reflect on those very difficult formative years of the charity’s life, with nothing but hope and a dream with which to call upon, the very fact the charity is still here permits a great sense of achievement.

During this time there have been many ups and downs, but never has there been capitulation. It is perhaps fitting and noticeable that most of those pioneers who first joined me had lived experience of child abuse, self-harm and overcame addictions to drugs or alcohol. Academic and therapeutic-based study and learning following their recovery ensured sound, trauma-informed knowledge on tap and the formation of an extremely formidable, determined operations team.

Our successive management teams have included GPs, community activists, service users, police representatives, and educational and social services experts. Their values and endeavour, together with that of the practitioners, have formed the solid bedrock upon which the charity stands today.

It was trust that allowed this charity to secure a foothold in the local community, make the funding breakthrough and consolidate the service we provide. It is the sustaining of this trust that will determine the life of Southmead Project here on in. The challenge is to cement and maintain the level of trust that has enabled us to deliver a top-class service for the last 25 years. Upholding the ethos, values and principles that has seen Southmead Project ascend to a privileged position of trust – within and without the local community – is equally essential.

The charity is, without doubt, in an extremely strong position: Tudor Trust, Henry Smith, Lloyds Banking Trust and Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) have all committed major funds, while smaller donations continue to come in.

Even more encouraging are the breakthroughs my fellow pioneers and I have longed for. First, the publishing of the NHS’s guidelines on drug misuse and dependence*, which recognised the high rates of trauma exposure in substance misusers and promoted an awareness and understanding of this trauma among patients and the workforce. Second, the support from our local MP Darren Jones, whose tireless work has resulted in a Parliamentary debate on the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The full Hansard report is available at

The delivery and operational capability of our therapeutic work is second to none and I am delighted to say the hopes, dreams and values of our utterly determined colleagues – past and present – have been fully realised. Any perceived success is testament to their sheer tenacity, faith and dogged determination. It is also testament to the people of Southmead and all those who have walked through our doors seeking help with their plight.

From an individual perspective, my race has been run and so I have decided to step down and leave the charity’s operational activities to the excellent current team in order for me to concentrate on strategic direction and funding. There are so many people who have backed me when the going was tough but most of all it was my wife, Carol, who was my rock throughout. It is she who deserves any credit that may be due; always allowing me the freedom to pursue my dream of building something that would help others.

She sought no plaudits, gave counsel and solace when the chips were down, and remained content in the belief that what I was doing was right. Carol passed away on 11 March 2019. I dedicate my work to her memory.

Dr Mike Peirce MBE
CEO, Southmead Project