About Us


Survivors of Torture Activity Fund(STAF) was founded by Bardy McNair in 2014. Staf is  registered charity number 1200346. We have 5 unpaid Trustees, an organising committee comprising a further 7 unpaid volunteers and an email list of around 230 supporters. The charity is based in the Todmorden/ Hebden Bridge area but the vast majority of the survivors we support live in Greater Manchester. We have been supporting survivors of torture for 9 years.

Survivors of Torture

Survivors of torture have endured serious mental and physical harm in their home country. They often find it difficult to settle into the UK. The vast majority of survivors exist either on a basic allowance or Universal Credit. They have few possessions and are allocated housing in some of the most deprived wards in Greater Manchester and the North West. The difficulties which survivors face here often
compounds the trauma they are already dealing with. If a survivor in this situation is to move forward with their life, then they need as much help as possible to develop a positive outlook. It is very difficult for survivors to develop a positive outlook if they are cold, hungry and very dispirited. If one member of the family has been tortured , this will seriously affect the rest of the family. We support the whole family.

How do we identify Survivors of Torture ?

We rely on specialist organisations whose role is to prove to government that a survivor has been subjected to torture and help with asylum claims. There are not many of these organisations. We rely on Freedom from Torture North West and TortureId to identify survivors of torture. We will be open to other organisations as they develop. Freedom from Torture North West and TortureId make the initial requests for our support for survivors who are in need. We often continue to offer support to survivors after they have left Freedom from Torture and TortureId. A survivor can often need help for quite a while. We have a Memorandum of Understanding with Freedom from Torture North West which details how our two independent organisations will work together for the good of survivors.

So what do we do?

Our focus is on helping survivors achieve for themselves a more stable and happier life. This is our 'Health and Positivity Programme'.
We fund leisure centre memberships, books and equipment for school, college, training and university courses. In addition in many circumstances we can fund items for everyday living and we can support them with monthly food vouchers. These services are all individually based and often involve a discussion with the survivor as to the exact nature of the need. They also depend on what is available,  our funds and whether we need to buy new or access second hand goods. We take a broad approach . We recognise that buying books , providing a laptop or tablet or a uniform is not much use if the survivor cannot afford to travel to their school college or university. A second hand bike might be just what is needed. The list of what we have provided during the last 2 years particularly is substantial and can be found on the page entitled "Covid - 2020 to 2022". We currently spend around £12,000 on leisure centre memberships and around £8,000 a year on other items.

How do we know that what we do is useful and that it works?

As with all social endeavours we rely on qualitative data and the majority of that comes from survivors themselves and from therapists
at Freedom from Torture North West and TortureId. You can find some of the comments people have made in this website. Go to the page entitled " What survivors and therapists say about us". There are 3 pages - just follow the links.


Over 8 years we have found that supporters are interested, kind and very generous. During the initial Covid years (20/21 & 21/22) supporters contributed almost £14000 in donations and many second hand items. We and the survivors are very grateful for this support.


To make up the difference between our donations and our expendtiure we have needed to apply for grants. In the years (20/21 & 21/22 &23) we have applied for grants from various funding bodies.

We have received grants during that time from:

The National Lottery Covid Response
Groundwork UK
Alpkit Foundation
National Lottery
Magical Little Grants
Scurrah Wainwright Trust
Alan Lane Foundation
Lush Wholeness Trust
Manchester Guardian Fund

We are so grateful to all these organisations and take this opportunity to thank all of them very much for their support of survivors of torture.

THIS YEAR 2022 / 2023

We know that next year will be difficult. The cost of living crisis means that survivors will find it even harder to remain positive
and care for themselves and their families. All of us will be having financial difficulties so donations and grants may be harder to come by. We have been registered as a charity by the Charity Commission (reg. no. 1200346). This will mean that many more funding opportunities will be open to us. We will continue to work hard to support survivors of torture.


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