The Flying Child CIC celebrates after receiving National Lottery Community funding
Press Release: November 2022
A Surrey-based Community Interest Company, The Flying Child is celebrating today after being awarded three years of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, to support survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) in Surrey and to continue providing professional training through The Flying Child Project.
Founded in 2020, the survivor-led project has reached over 1000 professionals to date, across the U.K. in Education, Social Work, and healthcare settings, improving understanding of trauma resulting from CSA and the confidence of professionals in supporting both children and adults in a trauma informed way. In a recent participant survey, 100 percent of attendees said they felt better equipped to manage a disclosure of CSA, with all likely to recommend the training to a colleague.
“The training was fantastic. It openly addressed difficult conversations through real life experiences and first-hand conversations. It really highlighted the volume of CSA in the community, some not dealt with. We haven’t had training like it. I would recommend every [professional setting] to participate”.
Training participant (Primary School Teacher)
The new National Lottery funding will allow The Flying Child Project to continue their training, aiming to reach thousands more over the three-year period. It will also fund The Flying Child peer support and creative well-being groups for survivors of CSA in the local community.
The groups will consist of a 12-week therapist-led programme, co-facilitated by a lived experience support worker. In addition, creative groups for survivors will be offered, providing the opportunity to express trauma through art and writing, meet other survivors and build networks in a supportive space. Over the next three years The Flying Child aims to support 360 survivors of CSA – with initial groups starting in the new year.
Sophie Olson, founder and managing director of The Flying Child, said:
“Thanks to National Lottery players, this grant means we have a fantastic opportunity to improve outcomes for both child victims and adult survivors of CSA. As an organisation we normalise speaking about an ‘unspeakable’ subject and challenge the societal culture of silence. Lived experience in training helps to break down barriers and dispel myths that lead to victims of abuse being overlooked, and their normal reactions to trauma being misunderstood. The current statistics estimate there are 11 million adult survivors of CSA in the UK, equating to 1 in 6, yet are a large, hidden, and marginalised group, with services often not adequately trauma informed or accessible.
CSA is a devastating form of abuse with long-lasting consequences on mental and physical health, and wellbeing. Peer support groups play a vital role in the community. Because CSA is considered a taboo subject, stigma and shame silences the majority with many believing they are the only one. This is something we aim to change. This grant will make a big difference to people’s lives.”
The Flying Child encourages the local community to engage on Twitter and Instagram @flying_project, and to become survivor ‘allies’ – helping to challenge the silence surrounding CSA. Sophie Olson’s story can be heard on the BBC Radio 4 documentary The Last Taboo. For more information about the training or peer support groups, please visit www.theflyingchild.com.
During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund distributed almost £1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK.
To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk