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Gazette Article

Ben rides for kids to have a go

On October 1, Artarmon resident Ben Middleton sets off on a BMW motorbike from the Sydney Opera House around Australia to raise $100,000 in a campaign called Have-a-Go to help abused children.

His $16,000km Have-a-Go ride will take him to 31 towns and cities around Australia over six weeks to raise awareness about the trauma affecting abused children and to fund a two-year pilot project to be run by Sydney Children’s Hospitaln’s Child Protection Unit (CPU) to find effective therapies for their long-term recovery. Benn’s project came about after he had worked in the finance industry as a broker for 18 years. “I thought it was time to take a break and give something back,” he told the Gazette. “I wanted to raise money to really make a difference. This project will be the first of its kind in Australia and it will rely on me raising the money to make it a reality.”

Ben said in Australia little was known about the effect on children from abuse. “When a child experiences severe trauma, attachment and typical brain and behaviour development are severely impacted,” he said. “Without effective intervention, these developmental deficits lead to severe behavioural problems, learning difficulties and mental health issues later in life.”

Not only would the child be severely affected but the whole family, community and overall health system, including the justice system, would suffer.

The focus of the pilot project will be to develop effective, integrated intervention for children who have been exposed to trauma from severe abuse or neglect by integrating several intervention approaches.

Specifically, the project will involve an occupational therapist and social worker, mentored by US psychiatrist Bruce Perry who is at the forefront of research and targeted intervention for children who have experienced trauma, and supported by the University of Sydneyn’s postgraduate study program to develop research-based results specifically for abused children.

“Bottom line is that research will be written, using the data on results from the program, which we look to publish,” Ben said. “The importance in my view is having a leading childrenn’s hospital and [Sydney University] involved in a program like this, given the influence, credibility and respect these two institutions have.”

For Ben, who has been working on the project for almost a year now, it has meant staying home and spending more welcomed time with his two healthy children. It has put him in touch with people he would otherwise never have met and once he has reached his goal, he can see it leading to a whole new lifestyle and career.

With more than a month still to go before his ride, Ben has already raised $31,300. To donate to Have-a-Go, go to: or send cheque made out to Sydney Childrenn’s Hospital Foundation, addressed to Locked Bag 5 (19 Eurimbla Ave), Randwick, NSW 2031.

by Eva Wiland, Gazette editor

Courtesy of Gazette August 2012
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Ben Middleton
Ben Middleton ... on long road for kids





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