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I wish I could take a picture to show you what it meant to this young child

Is articulated by one our lovely Counsellors Elisabeth. We are so very proud of the work all of our counsellors do and the help they give some of Surreys children and young people whom would not have access to or get the help they need elsewhere.

Elisabeth shares with us what just some of the work she does on behalf of The Matthew Hackney Foundation.

Elisabeth says "It is my great pleasure to support this amazing charity, The Matthew Hackney Foundation. I feel privileged to witness, first-hand, the difference the charity makes to the children in our State Schools in Surrey. There is such a range of difficulties for children and adolescents in Schools and the need has become even greater in the aftermath of the pandemic.

As a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, I have been helping to support Schools in the North Surrey area for 3 years, carrying out counselling in 5 primary schools and 1 secondary school. I’d like to capture this by giving a brief glimpse into some of the work I have been carrying out with these amazing children and young adults.

Firstly, we can’t ignore the impact that the spread of COVID has had on these students’ lives, this past year. Everyone I saw during and after the school closures, were caught in the headlights of uncertainty, raising anxiety to levels of, at times, sadly almost self-destruction. Whilst I experienced great knowledge and understanding of why the lockdowns were happening and the need to protect those who were suffering from this virus, the other side of this, for the students I saw for counselling sessions, was of families feeling afraid, alone, worrying about elderly relatives, trying to cope with bereavements and coping with getting back to “normality”. But what is normal for these children now, what is their future and their learning experience?

I work with children from as young as 5 years old and through their play they show me destruction and terror but also the beginnings of repair, of survival and moving towards making sense of their world. There is great awareness being made, even though the child feels they are “just” playing and having fun.

The teenagers discuss family difficulties, such as parental concerns, separations, bereavements, fear, worries about exams and whether they can navigate a way of getting back their social world, which is so important to teenagers. The chance for them to talk about these worries with someone who is totally independent of them is so important, so that everything they say is listened to and, no matter what they discuss, giving them the feeling that they are not alone, someone is gently walking beside them and encouraging them to see just how amazing they are. Without the wonderful support from The Matthew Hackney Foundation, none of this would be happening for our children, who can’t receive help when they need it, through the overwhelmed NHS services.

You should be so proud, Penny and the team, for helping to make this magic happen in schools, you have really made a huge difference to so many children.

Just to finish off… during one counselling session, I sat next to a very young child, who had been adopted, and they asked me to read them a story. As I read to them, they snuggled up as close as they could, whilst we sat together on a rug on the floor and they looked up at me and I thought, in that moment, I wish I could take a picture to show you what it meant to this young child, just reading a story about witches – magic!"

Thank you to each and every one of our counsellors, trustees, volunteers and supporters. Each and everyone fof you contributes to changing lives.

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