Arch’s centre for survivors of domestic abuse is celebrating 5 years of supporting people in North Staffordshire by inviting those it has helped to attend a reunion event.

The Sunrise Centre is a place where people who have left an abusive relationship can learn to take back control of their lives.

Since opening its doors, the Big Lottery funded project has supported around 1,600 women and children. The centre has also recently started new programmes for men who have suffered domestic.

‘Anna’, was referred to the Sunrise Centre in 2015.  She had suffered emotional and financial abuse and was left feeling very isolated.

She started the domestic violence recovery toolkit, a 12 week course designed to help victims understand the impact domestic abuse and why they couldn’t leave the relationship before. ‘Anna’ then went on to complete the Prepare to Volunteer Programme to build up her work skills and confidence.

With her new confidence, ‘Anna’ decided to go on to further education and has completed maths and literacy courses at the college and plans to go to university in September.

‘Julie’ also came to the sunrise centre after being abused, along with her child, by her ex-husband. There was severe physical, emotional and psychological abuse in the relationship and when she had tried to end the relationship, her ex threatened to hurt members of her family.  She felt isolated and in fear of leaving her home.

After seeking help from Arch, ‘Julie’ went on to become a volunteer and an Ambassador for the service. She is now studying at College.

The team leader at the Sunrise Centre said: “The success of our programmes lies firmly with the survivors themselves. Helping others within the group provide them with an opportunity to be an ‘expert’ can feel empowering and affirming.

“This reunion gives us a chance to celebrate the strength and courage of each and everyone of our customers, who have attended the Centre, and to increase their sense of value and self-esteem.”

If you’ve been part of the Sunrise Centre, we’d love you to come along to our reunion. To secure your place, contact our team on 01782 222411 or email sunrise@archnorthstaffs.org.uk.