Aberdeen Cyrenians launches service to help survivors of childhood abuse

Aberdeen Cyrenians launches service to help survivors of childhood abuse

Ellen McCready

Aberdeen Cyrenians and Penumbra are working in partnership to deliver ‘Strength for Tomorrow’ – a new service which will support adults who have experienced childhood abuse which continues to affect their lives today.

The project, which is funded by Inspiring Scotland, will help those with multiple issues that result from historic abuse such as alcohol and drugs misuse or mental health challenges. Due to the complex nature of these cases, many survivors have struggled to get the support they need within the conventional care system.

Ellen McCready, service manager for Strength for Tomorrow, said: “We’re delighted to be launching Strength for Tomorrow – a specialist and highly needed service in the North-east.

“Strength for Tomorrow will be service-user led and inclusive – there are no limits or milestones as to what people can achieve, and our team’s job is to make sure we are supporting people to take positive steps in their lives, in any direction they choose.”

She added: “Being abused as a child can lead to difficulties forming and maintaining positive relationships, the use of unhealthy and chaotic coping mechanisms, such as alcohol and drug use, and difficulties managing emotions – sometimes people can find it difficult to find and access the right kind of support, and speak up and ask for help.”

The new service environment will be psychologically informed, keeping the care and wellbeing of survivors paramount. Support offered to service users will be guided by a trauma informed psychologist and a one-to-one care practitioner.

Lynda Reid-Fowler, community services lead at Aberdeen Cyrenians, added: “Ensuring people who come to use the service feel safe and supported is our top priority, and we’ve invested considerable care and attention into making sure the Strength for Tomorrow environment and care system works for those who are chaotic and increasingly vulnerable.

“Everyone deserves the chance to have a happy and fulfilling life – for those who have had that taken away from them as a child, the impact is long-lasting and devastating. We are immensely grateful to Inspiring Scotland and Penumbra for their support allowing us to build this vital care service – by working in partnership, we will be able to ensure the best support for the people who turn to us in dire need.”

Penumbra will be leading on the mental health support offered as part of the service.

Kenny Thom, assistant area manager at Penumbra, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Aberdeen Cyrenians, bringing together expertise to offer care and support for vulnerable people affected by abuse.

“It is widely recognised that traumatic events can have a significant and lasting impact on mental health and wellbeing. Ensuring that people have access to trauma informed, recovery focused services is hugely important to use and we welcome the opportunity to work with Inspiring Scotland and Aberdeen Cyrenians to offer tailored mental health and wellbeing support as part of Strength for Tomorrow.”

Referrals to Strength for Tomorrow can be made in person, or, can be made by other agencies on behalf of someone, provided their consent has been obtained

If anyone would like to be referred to the service, further information and the referral form can be accessed here.

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