BBC Children in Need has announced £118,964 in new funding to First Light to continue supporting its work with children aged five to 18 years old who have experienced sexual abuse.

Over the next three years, the grant will help to fund an art therapist to deliver art psychotherapy sessions that enable children to open up about their experiences and begin to heal. At the project, art therapy sessions are delivered at a pace that is comfortable for each individual child, and provide an alternative to children who find it difficult to verbally express their emotions.

The project also combines play with problem-solving activities to encourage children to use creativity to resolve their feelings, thereby giving them more control over their lives. Sessions at the project especially aim to assist sexually abused children to improve their self-image, their relationships with others and their resilience to move beyond abuse.

Speaking of the award Cath Curno, Sexual Violence Service Manager at First Light, said: “We have been funded by BBC Children in Need for a number of years, and we are so grateful for this latest grant which will enable us to continue supporting children and young people who are extremely vulnerable.

“Thanks to this, our experienced and compassionate therapists will help children and young people to use art to explore their pain, questions and emotions where words might fail them.”

Juliet Williams, Senior Regional Officer of the South and West, BBC Children in Need said: “We are delighted to award funding to First Light South West Ltd so that they can continue making a difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the area. This funding is only possible with the public’s generosity, so thank you!”

BBC Children in Need relies on the generosity and creativity of the thousands of supporters and fundraisers who raise millions of pounds for the charity every year. To date the UK public has raised over £950 million for children and young people facing disadvantage across the UK.