Many children will have had a better Christmas as a result of Northamptonshire’s very own Christmas charity song and the MAD4NORTHANTS initiative. This was created by All Thing’s Business’ Ben Thomas, with the support of the University’s

Adrian Pryce, the local community radio station NLIVE Radio 106.9FM and its Station Manager Martin Steers and nearly 40 local business, civic and charity leaders.

Their version of the song ‘Do they Know It’s Christmas’ raised £2,210 for KidsAid, a local charity supporting abused and traumatised children, and went viral with thousands of views, mentions, likes etc. And we discovered the hidden talent of many – especially Kevin Rogers from Wilson Browne Solicitors.

Great fun and a big success – well done Ben and a big thanks to all your team as well as all those who took part. Hopefully an annual event? Or will it be a nude calendar next year??!!

Joking apart, what we must not forget is the scale of the problem of traumatised children in our community, and that the problem exists all year round. Far too many of our youngsters suffer adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) – deeply disturbing and distressing experiences that cause acute stress and anxiety in early childhood, limit a child’s development and impact their

future lives.

Examples of ACEs are:

- Emotional, physical and / or sexual abuse

- Neglect, divorce, domestic violence abuse

- Parental mental health problems

- Family criminal justice issues

Traumas such as these damage children’s brains and affect their physical and mental health and development - and their future life chances.

Repeatedly traumatised children live in a constant state of threat and acute anxiety. It affects the development of their brain, particularly in the formative years up to age 7 years. As traumatised children get older they use a range of increasingly dangerous coping mechanisms to survive every day. This includes self harm, eating disorders and substance abuse e.g. alcohol to feel numb or drugs to feel high. Other coping mechanisms include bullying, anger, rage, violence and abuse. Many end up homeless or in prison. For some suicide is their only solution.

Research shows that 17% (over 76,000) of Northants adults have experienced 2 or 3 ACEs and 9% of the population have experienced 4 or more ACEs. Some other alarming key statistics:

- 1 in 4 children are living in poverty

- 1 in 5 children feel lonely and feel that life is not worth living

- 1 in 10 children have severe mental health problems

In addition, amongst our local Northamptonshire children:

- 280 are victims of heavy substance abuse

- 700 are suffering physical abuse

- 400 are already in the criminal justice system

- And a staggering 23,000 children suffer food poverty

To address these issues a new charitable initiative called Crysalys has been set up. Drawing on the support of the Lieutenancy and the University, and partnering with other local charities such as KidsAid, Crysalys seeks to create a holistic solution to childhood trauma by targeting resources to children up to 7 years and their families. Whilst KidsAid is alleviating ACEs, Crysalys is working on prevention.

Organisations like KidsAid and Crysalys need your help all year round. It is in the interest of business to make sure that every child has a happy youth and grows up to play their part in our community as healthy adults – as employees and customers – rather than be a cost to the welfare state. Local businesses must help.

Why not find out more about KidsAid, Crysalys and other local charities supporting disadvantaged children, and learn how you and your company can assist by attending our ‘Youth Matters’ event on the February 13th. Interested? Please email

adrian.pryce@northampton.ac.uk if you would like to attend.


13th February 2020 from 5.30pm-7.45pm at the University of Northampton.