Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


Survivors of childhood abuse need support in West Lothian

Open Secret have been helping people who have been abused for 21 years and every year more and more people come forward for help, especially after all the recent publicity. Current research estimates 1 in 4 people will have experienced abuse in their lives. We won a GSK Impact Award in partnership with the King's Fund in 2014.

We have a large volunteer team in the central belt but our West Lothian service is struggling with just two part time workers and we have a waiting list that is six months long. A week is too long to wait after having struggled for so long. By recruiting and training 10 volunteers we will be able to see 80 more people a year bringing our waiting list to zero.

The cost of recruiting and training the volunteers and arranging a base for them to work in will be £4950.

The work will help the volunteers gain experience too so the impact of the project will be to the volunteers, the survivors of abuse and the local community.

Open Secret have found that 87% of the people we work with have mental health difficulties and 84% physical health difficulties and many cannot work. Abuse destroys lives and we have the chance to change that.

We take great care and pride in being able to offer high quality trauma counselling to our clients who come from various backgrounds and most of them suffering complex traumatic difficulties. Indeed it is very rewarding to witness their journey from faceless individuals in mental health services and turning themselves from feeling “hopeless and worthless” to unique individuals who start having and enjoying quality of life not only for themselves but also making a difference in other people’s lives and their community.

This journey takes a long time and requires a lot of hard work from clients and therapists.

As an example of the difference that can be made some of our quotes are:

"This service is invaluable and should be celebrated in the local community for turning people’s lives around"

"I am so glad I came to counselling it has really helped me work through what happened and I feel freed up to get on with my life"

"I have come so far in these sessions if I had not had them I probably would not be here to write this"

"So far my counsellor has excelled in her duties and has worked miracles with me that I didn’t think were possible. I will always be grateful to her"

"I find that because the staff are trained specifically in abuse, I am less ashamed and embarrassed to speak about my experiences"

We can really make change with many survivors having the courage to face their fears and recover. Many will start with volunteering themselves and gradually return to working or start working for the first time, leading to freedom from stress and poverty.

An example of the change that can happen can be seen with Mary (name changed). Mary came to us after experiencing a bereavement as it had triggered memories of severe abuse in childhood lasting over ten years from the age of six. She had constant thoughts of suicide and had lost her job through six months of severe depression and anxiety. She started with art therapy to help with stress and then gradually worked through her abuse in counselling. Six months later Mary is now volunteering and her life has transformed with her now feeling she will be able to work.

Open Secret need your help to help people like Mary.

Open Secret

Location: West Lothian, United Kingdom

All staff, volunteers and service users have a passion to change the lives of survivors to put right the damage done in childhood. Open Secret won a King's Fund award in 2014 for excellence and innovation in health and they are continually looking for ways to do more and do things better.
Back to the projects