Sophie – Founder and Managing Director of The Flying Child CIC. Group co-facilitator
Sophie is a survivor activist, writer, founder and managing director of The Flying Child: a nonprofit organisation improving the awareness of child sexual abuse and the consequences of trauma. The core aim of The Flying Child is to normalise speaking about CSA. The Flying Child Project brings lived experience into the heart of professional settings, providing training in Education, Social Work and Healthcare. Sophie’s work aims to challenge the societal culture of silence around CSA. She has a particular interest in the non-pathologisation of trauma, and advocates for appropriate specialist therapy and support.
With first-hand experience in a system that was unable to support her with childhood trauma, her story was covered by Radio 4 in the Lights Out documentary “The Last Taboo”
She works with various research projects across Dentistry, Mental Health and Maternity, aiming to improve survivor access – and is co-developing The Skylark Project: a pathway of care in the NHS, specifically for survivors of sexual violence, conceptualised by a collaboration between Sophie and Dr. Charlotte Small, co-lead of the Herefordshire Pain Management Service and clinical lead of the Wye Valley Trust Preoperative Assessment Service.
Sophie is a guest speaker, publishes on The flying Child blog, and her writing, poetry and art has been featured in the work of Epione, Drop the Disorder and The Survivorzine. Most recently, she was shortlisted for the Criminal Justice Alliance Awards 2022 Saskia Jones Award for Victims Services.
She is a mother of four children and in her spare time, likes to crochet.
Anna – Director of The Flying Child CIC and co-founder of The Flying Child Project
View from our Anna’s “mulling it over walk” which happens at least once a week.
Anna accidentally met Sophie a few years ago and has never looked back! Over the last few years, since realising she is a survivor of CSA, Anna has tentatively been making her way into the CSA activism scene.
With years of previous experience in a different professional role she has loved using her confidence in communicating to large groups of professionals for The Flying Child Project. She is looking forward to co-developing the educational arm of The Flying Child to help as many professionals as possible develop a deeper understanding of the way trauma impacts CSA survivors. Whilst seeing the need for a change in society towards CSA from grass roots up and top down, she also dreams of living by the sea with her husband and future dog!
She’s not been able to dream before. CSA survivors will understand what she means…
Kate: Our fantastically calm and talented Art Group facilitator
Kate is an artist-printmaker who combines creating her own handmade work with running art-for-wellbeing workshops. Her printmaking allows her to explore a wide variety of techniques and physical processes and serves as a regular reminder that – annoyingly – it’s not always just the end result that matters but how the creative process of learning through doing is just as important.
Before the various lockdowns, Kate set up and ran an after-school art and craft club for primary school children twice a week for several years. She covered a huge range of skills and areas of interest with patience and passion. Alongside various evening workshops, she currently runs a weekly art-for-wellbeing session near to her home for anyone who wants to connect with the local community and disconnect with whatever’s going on in the world for a morning. Kate knows how using her hands calms her mind and how truly stopping to really look at things – be that texture, colour, lines, light, pattern etc – is like magic. It’s this calm and sense of magic that she hopes to share with you through these art-for-wellbeing workshops with The Flying Child.
“My sessions aren’t about teaching you how to draw or paint or create a specific thing, but more about how to look, and how to use different materials and techniques to create your own piece. I know how tempting (and potentially off-putting) it can be to compare your finished piece to someone else’s, so I always provide a variety of source images so that yours and everyone else’s will be simply be different to all the others.”
You can see some of Kate’s work here:
and some of the art-for-wellbeing sessions she currently runs here:
Patricia: Our online Writing Group co-facilitator
Patricia’s next book, Learning to Survive, is a memoir about intrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse. She runs a blog about CSA here: https://patriciadebney.com/blog// Born in Texas, she moved to the UK in 1988, and holds creative writing degrees from Oberlin College (BA) and the UEA (MA). She has taught Creative Writing across all ages and stages – in schools, universities, the community, in prisons – for over 30 years. Her first collection of prose poems, How to Be a Dragonfly (Smith Doorstop Books, 2005), was the overall winner of the 2004 Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition. Soon after, her novel Losing You came out with bluechrome. Her second collection of prose poems, Littoral (Shearsman Books, 2013) was written while on a residency in a beach hut, becoming a response to her young son’s diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. Her chapbook (Gestation, Shearsman Books, 2014) and her third collection Baby (Liquorice Fish Books, 2016) address parenting, ageing, dementia, mental illness and change. In 2007/08 she was the first Canterbury Laureate. A Reader in Creative Writing at University of Kent for 20 years, she currently teaches creative writing at Cambridge University’s Madingley Hall. She has two grown children, and lives in Cambridge with her composer partner.
Peg: (the pug)
Our confidante, lover of laps, source of amusement, giver of comfort. Dislikes planes and the cat.