Published: 00:01, 01 August 2016
Victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence have been benefiting from a new lifeline.
Eighteen people regularly attend coffee mornings set up to help those affected, which run every second Friday at Kemsley Community House.
Keeley Nash, who started the anonymous support group Soul Survivors 22 years ago, said she wanted to create another open space where anyone could go for a chat, coffee and biscuits.
Now running for three months, Joining Hands, Joining Hearts, which is supported by AmicusHorizon, aims to fulfil the void for “support that was based on friendships”.
The mum-of-five, a victim of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, said: “It took a while but I realised that I had a voice and could stop my suffering."
The 45-year-old seeks to offer women a space free of judgement to talk and with a facility to offer money to those who need it most to allow them lead a normal life.
It has so far helped women ranging from their 20s to 60s.
Ms Nash says it took years to come to terms with what happened to her, but is determined to use her harrowing experiences to help others: “I used to speak about it like it was a dream, but I am now very open about my abuse.”
“I took the first step and made that call for help.”
She credits her confidence with becoming a Christian and also a supportive partner.
Tanya Curson, an AmicusHorizon community worker who works closely with the group, said: “It’s brilliant to see the Community House being used in the way we intended, to bring the community together.
“The coffee mornings and groups that they run have been a real boost for residents in Kemsley. We’ll continue to support the project and the work they do.”
The team helped organise a Kemsley Prom at the venue, in Coldharbour Road, for children in the area.
There will also be a fun day on Friday, August 19 at the Community House, to raise money to help women who have suffered domestic violence.
A barbecue, bouncy castle and crafts are some of the attractions visitors can enjoy from 11am to 3pm.
For more details or to join the group, pop along to the next coffee morning on Friday, August 12 from 9.30am until 11.30am.