The work of Survivors Unite has grown from the aspirations and dreams of survivors who through the process of recovery began to recognise their own strengths and their ability to make a difference for other survivors. The charity has been formed through the active participation, involvement, and work of members.
In 2011, Children 1st obtained funding from the Scottish Government through the National Survivors fund to provide individual therapeutic support to parents who had been sexually abused as children. In 2012, at the request of parents we were supporting, the remit was broadened so that we could support any adult affected by childhood sexual abuse (CSA).
In 2013 a few adults, receiving counselling, who felt they were doing well in their recovery expressed their want to meet other survivors; feeling that this would be beneficial for them. At that time a partnership developed with a colleague from Open Secret working in the Borders, who coincidentally also supported some survivors expressing the want to meet others in a group setting.
In January 2013 a small, diverse group of adults came together as both a Group and a Planning Group. They called themselves Survivors Unite and on August 23rd 2013, after careful thought and planning, they opened their doors to other survivors in the Scottish Borders.
Initially, the group took place in the Penumbra building in Galashiels but it is now hosted by Children 1st in their premises in Selkirk, providing a safe, welcoming, and understanding environment where much of our work takes place.
The Group became very active in raising awareness of the recovery needs of survivors and the impacts of CSA. Members worked hard to make connections with other services and organisations and to reach out to other survivors who need help and support.
Some Group members actively developed their skills to be able to support others and became volunteers offering 1:1 Peer Support. And so, over time, our way of working has emerged:
We became a Charity... In time members of the group decided that they would like to form an independent charity dedicated to supporting the needs of survivors of CSA n the Scottish Borders. They set about forming a board of trustees and in August 2018 achieved their goal and Survivors Unite achieved charity status.
Throughout 2019 our board of trustees worked tirelessly to secure funding for our Safe Oaks Project. The board has been very successful and in March 2020 we received news that our fourth strand of funding had been secured enabling us to realise our ambition of providing dedicated support for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the Scottish Borders. Our Safe Oaks Project is based on what survivors have found works best for them. Our work is Person Centred, compassionate and holistic, and led by the recovery needs of the individual.
We are heartened to finally be able to offer a dedicated service to adults in the Borders who until now have had nowhere to go for the help and support they need and deserve. In September 2022, we moved into our own premises at Tweedmill Business Park, Selkirk.
Our sincere thanks to Children 1st where the work of Survivors Unite began 9 years ago. Children 1st have provided ongoing partnership and support enabling Survivors Unite to achieve our goals.