A new pilot project offering free, independent support to survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and their families was launched by YMCA Wellington last month.
Run by survivors of CSE, The Holly Project provides a safe place for victims suffering from the trauma and impact of CSE to receive help, enabling them to rebuild their lives and hope for the future by providing invaluable one to one peer or group support.
Named after inspirational local Holly Archer, who suffered abuse from the age of 14 but who has worked with other local survivors to get the service up and running, The Holly Project is an initiative delivered in partnership between YMCA Wellington and Telford & Wrekin Council, which also provides the funding,
Matt Weaver, Chairman of YMCA Wellington, said: “Over the last couple of years, we’re been working with, unbeknown to us the extent, survivors of CSE.
“We want to offer help and be there as a beacon of light. It is important to know that if you are a victim of CSE, or you feel that something is just not quite right at the moment, please reach out to the Holly team. You will not be judged – you will be supported and there are phenomenal staff members who will work tirelessly to break those barriers down to get you the support that you deserve and need.”
All project staff are referred to as ‘Holly’ to preserve their anonymity and ensure safety. One member of the team explained: “Everyone who works at the Holly Project has been a survivor themselves, so we know and we understand what each person is going through. We also recognise where they need help and will adapt to help them in whatever way they need.”