Our Founder turns 50

Sue Bell, our founder and CEO is celebrating her 50th birthday today and we thought we’d mark the occasion by retelling our founding story…

From a young age Sue had an interest in human behaviour, a studious, yet rebellious teen, Sue often related to the young people she worked with throughout her teaching career. Yet even with the authority that later educational positions brought with them, Sue always felt powerless to put a child at the ‘centre’ of a case no matter what her role was.

Just over 11 years ago, it became clear to Sue that there was nowhere for children who were victims of distress, abuse or neglect to turn to for support.  As a result, children that she worked with were engaging with self-harm and risky behaviours, such as alcohol/drug abuse, abusive relationships, educational exclusion and social isolation, instead of receiving positive intervention.

Distressing situations of intergenerational family child abuse; flippant remarks from those in a position of power about “children being sorted out once they were in the justice system” were the final justification Sue needed to set about change.

Already a qualified counsellor – working with behaviour support – and training to be a child and adolescent psychotherapist, Sue opened Kids Inspire, and for two years worked unpaid to prove how these children could be helped. Working closely with a consortium of local schools, in the first year alone the newly founded children’s charity received over 250 referrals. The work didn’t stop there, with Sue working tirelessly fundraising and securing grants all alongside seeing her clients.

Early in the foundation of Kids Inspire, Sue identified the importance of family inclusive treatment, which could mean family therapy or group work leading to long-term sustainable outcomes. The aim for Kids Inspire have never changed – the charity wants to meet the needs of the child at the centre in order for the child to thrive once completing a bespoke treatment plan.

Fast forward 11 years, and on a milestone birthday, Sue is now qualified in Somatic Experiencing – specialising in helping individuals resolve symptoms caused by trauma – and runs a unique organisation with over 100 paid or voluntary staff. Working across Essex, the organisation has made a difference to over ten thousand young lives.

What does the future hold for Kids Inspire?  “We’ve seen a rise in children saying, ‘I just don’t want to be here anymore – I just don’t see the point’, and sadly the past year has seen a 49% increase in referrals. We don’t want there to be a need for us, but the demand for our services is sadly growing.” – Sue Bell.

The uncertainty of funding is of course always a concern for a charitable service, but with a commercial arm of the organisation set to launch the future sustainability of Kids Inspire looks set to continue.