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NEST concludes series of bespoke summer courses for young victims of the Manchester Arena Attack

21 August 2017

NEST, Lancashire’s victim support services for children and young people, run by independent charity Victim Support, this week concluded a series of courses for young victims of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack.

The team at NEST has been working with schools and individuals to support young people caught up in the attack since May and wanted to ensure a continuation of support during the school holidays.

The bespoke courses were run in five schools across Lancashire throughout July and August.

Adrian Wright, NEST Children and Young People’s Service Coordinator said: ‘We’ve been working with those affected by the Manchester Arena attack since the time of the incident and wanted to ensure that this help continued over the holidays when traditional support systems such as schools are closed.

‘As an organisation Victim Support has helped survivors of terrorist attacks both at home and abroad. We know from experience that it can take weeks or even months for the effects of such incidents to show, which is why providing on going help is essential.

‘We also know that it is not just those directly involved in terrorist attacks, but also witnesses who can be deeply affected. While we’ve been receiving referrals for support through the police, local schools and our Supportline we wanted to provide a series of open sessions for those who may not have received help yet.’

The half day courses were open to children, parents and teachers and attendees were also offered the chance to refer themselves for further one on one support.

Adrian added: ‘We saw these sessions as a chance to create a sense of peer support and solidarity for those affected and a safe and supportive place for them to share their experiences and explore their emotions around the attack.

‘As part of the day, children worked to contribute to a peace wall, sharing messages of hope and solidarity to those affected across the region.’

Participants said they had benefited from meeting with people who had similar experiences, as well as feeling better informed about what support was available, from NEST and other local services.

Victim Support has had contact with over 500 people seeking help following the attack and some of these were requests for help for children as young as six.

Ellen Miller, Victim Support’s Services Director for the North of England said: ‘Victims have told us they are finding it hard to function in their daily lives. They’re struggling to sleep or eat and many are suffering with paralysing anxiety that is stopping them from going out, going to work or focusing at school.

‘Others are feeling guilt about surviving while some adult callers have been plagued with the feeling that they should have done more to help.

‘Many have seen truly horrific sights that they can’t get out of their heads, while worryingly, some people, and particularly young people are obsessively looking at images and stories online, effectively re-traumatising themselves.’

The support available for those affected is ongoing. Those seeking help can contact NEST 0300 111 0323 or by emailing info@nestlancashire.org.

END

NOTES TO EDITORS:

For further information please call Victim Support’s press office: 020 7268 0202 | Email: press@victimsupport.org.uk

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