survivors manchester

Harry's Story


For years in prison, I have heard professionals say “im not really equipped to supporting you on such issues”, that doesn’t mean to say that the counsellors in prison cannot help because on some level they can, however they do not offer what Survivors Manchester does.

In 2014, Duncan and CEO of Survivors Manchester was successful in convincing the prison governor of HMP Risley into allowing a support group to run over 6 month period. This was a huge step as most governors are afraid of such groups due to safeguarding issues. I as a prisoner was fortunate enough to facilitate this group and I cannot emphasise enough what this did for not only myself but the group members too.

I witnessed the lads grow as people, I watched as personalities and characters started to shine. I can think of two of the guys in particular who used to walk around the wing with their heads down, never making eye contact and looking at the floor.

As time passed and the group progressed, these two guys became the most vocal, even finding a sense of humour.

Sitting in a prison cell with nothing but your thoughts, emotions and memories of abuse can be a very frightening and lonely place.

What Survivors Manchester do is give the person or prisoner the opportunity to voice their inner issues. They help a person grow into the people they were before the terrible event of abuse.

Survivors Manchester provide a safe environment and providing the dynamics of the group are of each members satisfaction, then friendships form, real friendships with a bond that cannot be broken.

By giving the prisoners a voice, something in which was stolen by the perpetrator, it gives us the chance to take that control back and only then can we start to grow,

I watched lads with mental health problems who were self harming on a regular basis before our survivors group stopped hurting themselves. I cant say it didn’t start again but my guess is no as what Duncan and Survivors Manchester do is offer the prisoner support once the group is over and when they have left the prison system.

People will be surprised how many prisoners have been abused and how they suffer in silence, just existing in the system instead of living. Groups and one to one support from Survivors Manchester saved my life and the lives of others. They made me feel safe and gave me my voice back. They helped me grow as a person and most importantly they made me realise that it is ok to feel vulnerable in order to strive to be the person I wish to be. I would personally like to see Survivors Manchester support in every prison, instead of only support being offered in therapeutic prisons, The values to this is second to none as it saves lives.

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