Trauma Informed Communities encourage all those who are working with children, young people and adults to become more aware of and understand the long term impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). 

Brenda Macqueen has been innovating several initiatives in Northern ireland to encourage a unified and empathetic new understanding. 

Research evidence from USA suggests that most of us experience some adverse childhood expereinces as we grow up. However what the doctors and paediatrician research shows is that if a child has 3 or more adverse expereinces these create TOXIC STRESS. The medics are involved because their research highlighted that 3 or more ACE's and you are three times more likely to be hard wired for physical illnesses such as diabetes, hear and breathing disease, ME and other chronic illness. i have become involved because i specialise in working therapeutically with troubled young people.

The Creative Spark ACE AWARENESS AND RESILIENCY BUILDING is a 4 day programme open to young people who are struggling to cope with their feelings. 

It is a unique approach which I have developed form my years of teaching Expressive Arts to teenagers and my extensive work as Play Therapist with young people in particular those who had been excluded from mainstream education. 

The ten young people who joined the 2 pilot programmes have been referred by their schools. The issues differ but all have caused concern and are struggling to deal with toxic stress.

AA+RB programme provides  opportunity for the young people to engage in creative activities ; indoor and outdoors. This combination of internal space adn external outdoors is a very large part of why the programme has succeeded.

As well as fun, peer involvement and opportunities to make more endorphins(!) the programme provides them with psychological education to help them understand where feelings emerge from and how the brain reacts. Unlike CBT the programme is designed to utilise a creative approach and  person-led methodology. The neural shifts are created in a relaxed and permissive environment. 

The programme is supported by Social Care Workers Damien and Donna  and the host of the farm Joan provides a nurturing environment which is a big contrast to an institutional environment.

both pilot programmes have been highly successful. 

More information will be posted here - in the meantime look at DryArch Centre website