What happens next?

I want to share some exciting news with you here! At the start of the year, we applied for some funding for a project, which is named project: flotilla. We heard at the start of lockdown that the grant application had been successful 😀 However, due to the current pandemic, we are unable to do face-to-face work and at present, we are seeking to check the viability and carefully assess the need for the project.

Firstly, some of you will be aware that we are dual registered – with both the British Association of Play Therapists and with the Association of Christian Counsellors. In no way does that mean you have to conform to a Christian belief system, but it means, that for those who want a particular spiritual dimension to the therapy, it is available.

It’s in one of the Christian parables (stories Jesus told) that we gain a little insight into the heart of this project. This, incorporated alongside the experiences our founding Play Therapist, Louise, gained working in schools, prisons and the community has been the inspiration to consider planning and delivering such a project.

So, do you remember the story of The Prodigal Son? It’s been immortalised in art, told through a Balanchine ballet and has frequently been shared in schools up and down the country. This man, he’s had enough of being in the house and wants to go off and see the world. In Jewish times, that’s the same as saying Dad, I want you dead, because he goes to ask him for the money he’d inherit in the future.

And so he goes off, lives the high life, spends the money on pleasures galore (this is a paraphrase or two!) Then, when it all runs out and he’s left in the middle of a famine season, serving in some farmer’s pigpen – this is the ultimate low point in Jewish culture as pigs are considered so unclean. At his lowest point, he hatches a plan to return home. He’ll ask for nothing from his family home but to be a servant.

What he doesn’t bank on is that his Dad has been looking out for him to return since the day he’s gone. His dad runs out to his son, losing all dignity and saving him from a village stoning in the process. Despite being greatly hurt and shamed by his son, his dad puts a ring, a robe and sandals on his precious son, who was lost but now found, was considered dead but has now returned home and is alive. Cue the biggest celebration party being set up, upsetting his remaining son in the process!

That’s such a quick version I share, but from a personal and professional view have always been fascinated with what happens after the party? Does the son who has been away struggle to shake off memories of his past? Does he jump at every little sound, cringe when he hears news of old friends and raging parties? Is he able to live loved, as a son, or does he still think he needs to be a servant? How often do we let our past trauma define us, once we are ‘safe and sound’?

Project:flotilla has a really specific group of people we will be working with, and we’re currently asking for your feedback on how to make it essential and necessary. We’re searching for people who left their family home, whether through their choice or someone else’s, in order to grow and recover. This may include situations like prison, rehab or may be something else. If you are now back home, or have welcomed someone back home and are wondering about what happens next and want some support with the parent-child relationship- then please contact us as this is is what project:flotilla is for.

We will be seeking to work with groups in the school holidays to enable less time to be taken out of school and work and to create positive memories which will build on your existing foundations, we will work together with you as you captain your ship.

What happens next? It’s over to you! If you’d like to use your experience to support others, please feel free to complete and share the questionnaires here – they shouldn’t take too long!

Thanks in advance! http://www.vohts.co.uk/project-flotilla

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