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Anna Freud Centre receives £850,000 from the National Lottery to fund UK Trauma Council supporting children and young people

Children’s mental health charity the Anna Freud Centre has been awarded £850,000 in National Lottery funding to help improve how sectors and communities understand and respond to the impact of trauma on children.

The money will go towards developing the UK Trauma Council, which will empower professionals and local communities in supporting children and young people exposed to different kinds of traumatic events – including single incidents as well as more complex, chronic forms of trauma such as abuse and neglect. It will be a platform for collaboration and sharing of best practice, embedding learning, training and practice to potentially transform the help children receive following trauma.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund – the largest funder of community activity in the UK – will enable the development of resources and guidance that can help families, schools and professionals; provide a hub for training, learning and policy guidance; and convene a Young Persons Trauma Council.

The UK Trauma Council will be chaired by co-directors Professor Eamon McCrory and David Trickey, both experts in childhood trauma and its lifelong impact.

David Trickey, who is also a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working within the Specialist Trauma and Maltreatment Service at the Anna Freud Centre, said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has decided to fund the UK Trauma Council.

“One in three young people is exposed to trauma by age 18 in England and Wales.[i] This can have a devastating impact on long-term health and social outcomes.

“With this funding, we will be able to empower professionals and local communities through the provision of resources, guidance and training to better understand all forms of trauma, recognise the signs and symptoms, and minimise the negative impact on long-term mental health. The UK Trauma Council will transform the quality of support available to hundreds of thousands of children and young people should they experience trauma.”

Despite the critical role that trauma plays in the development of mental health problems, there is currently no platform to facilitate collaboration, communication and learning across communities, organisations and individuals who hold expertise in this area or have learnings to share through experience.

Independent research commissioned by the Anna Freud Centre surveyed over 1000 professionals and found that more than 90% were ‘supportive’ or ‘very supportive’ of the creation of a UK-wide network related to trauma in children and young people, and more than 90% said they would be ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to use such a network.

This research also highlighted a demand from education professionals who reported having regular contact with children who experienced trauma yet receive little training and support.

Joe Ferns, UK Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, children’s mental health professionals will be able to collaborate more effectively with different sectors and communities – harnessing collective expertise and experience to improve both the understanding and management of childhood trauma.”

Last year The National Lottery Community Fund awarded over half a billion pounds (£511.1 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK and supported over 12,000 projects to turn their great ideas into reality.

[i]  Stephanie J Lewis, Louise Arseneault, Avshalom Caspi, Helen L Fisher, Timothy Matthews, Terrie E Moffitt, Candice L Odgers, Daniel Stahl, Jia Ying Teng, Andrea Danese. The epidemiology of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in a representative cohort of young people in England and Wales. Lancet Psychiatry 2019; 6: 247–56.