Survivors of torture and human cruelty often have multiple injuries, illnesses and medical healthcare needs that require NHS treatment, typically including head injuries and neurological disorders, badly healed fractures and wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory disorders and rape injuries, including sexually transmitted infections. Clients have often had ineffective and sporadic contact with health care providers, usually limited to emergency or crisis contact and beginning to address their multiple medical needs is extremely difficult because of limitations of time and accessibility within the NHS. HBF’s in-house advisory GPs offer extended appointments of up to 1 hour, alongside interpreters experienced in working with trauma survivors, which allow clients appropriate time and opportunity to discuss their history and concerns. Following an in depth assessment, HBF GPs offer specialist advice to client’s NHS GP and other healthcare providers. HBF Medical Advisory Clinic is run on the generosity of volunteer GPs.
Many survivors of torture and human cruelty experience chronic physical pain. Because the pain is as a result of their traumatic experiences, clients often struggle to positively address their suffering, being too afraid or ashamed to seek support, ignoring symptoms and even self-harming by aggravating their injuries. The Helen Bamber Foundation’s specialist physical rehabilitation programme helps clients address their injuries in an environment that is sensitive to their experience of human cruelty. Treatments and activities including osteopathy, acupuncture and yoga help clients to positively connect with their bodies, manage their pain, rebuild their physical strength and better manage symptoms including poor sleep, anxiety and hypervigilance. Thanks to our partnership with Better Gyms, we are also able to offer clients free access to gyms, pools and exercises classes across London.
Mum and Babies Network
Mums in our Community have survived some of the humanity’s worst atrocities, including years of repeated physical and sexual violence, and have endured long, dangerous journeys to seek safety in the UK. All they want is to give their children a better life. A life free from violence and abuse. Sadly, as asylum seekers and refugees, these young families have never before been so unkindly viewed.
Often forced to live in desperately poor conditions, sharing a tiny room with a single bed, isolated in an unfamiliar country and exposed to overwhelming negativity, these young families struggle with unbearable loneliness and despair. The Mum and Baby Community was set up by the Helen Bamber Foundation three years ago to help mums through the most difficult of times. Starting as a small group of five scared and lonely women and children, the Mum and Baby Community now welcomes more than 70 mums and their children every week.
In 2014, The Helen Bamber Foundation established a Mum and Baby Community to support these clients. The group provides a safe, happy place for mums to meet and children to play. The importance of this cannot be underestimated, without family or friends to support them, the Mum and Baby Community is the only place for many mums struggling to confront and overcome their experiences of torture and human cruelty to feel safe and make new friendships.
The Mum and Baby Community also provides the opportunity for expectant and new mums, many who are living in poverty as refugees and asylum seekers, to get practical support from midwives, housing and welfare experts, support accessing important health and wellbeing activities including specialist yoga, English lessons and swimming sessions. The group is run entirely by dedicated volunteers.
For some examples of how we have helped, click here.