This support group in Suffolk is letting abuse survivors know they are not alone, while giving members the chance to make new, happy memories together
Surviving United aims to be a rock for people who have experienced sexual, domestic or psychological abuse, offering peer support in group or one-to-one settings.
It was set up by Angela Marnoch and Lisa Ambrose, both survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and facilitator Lucy Attelsey, who had met at another support group in Norwich.
Work commitments meant Angela had to stop attending but she knew how vital such a group was for her ongoing mental health.
As a result, the women came together to start their own group in Lowestoft in January 2016, gradually expanding to cover Great Yarmouth too.
National Lottery funding is helping to provide weekly and monthly group sessions, where female and male survivors, and families of survivors, can find support, advice and encouragement.
One-to-one support is also available, and there are walking groups so that people can get out into the fresh air in a safe setting, bringing their dogs and children along if they wish.
Thanks to National Lottery funding, Angela is now employed as a part-time facilitator and has been able to organise a whole range of therapeutic activities, from self-defence demos and hypnotherapy to scrapbooking and pamper parties.
“I struggled for so many years and felt so alone until I found a group to talk to. We want to give as many survivors as possible the chance to have that listening ear and know that someone understands. There are lots of tears but we have lots of laughs too. We work hard to make happy memories, which is really important if you’ve not had a normal childhood experience.”
The 50-strong group also has a library of self-help books for people to borrow and beach equipment for their summer meet ups.
To find out more about Surviving United visit the website
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