Stories from Torture Survivors


Joe was tortured for political activities. He has chronic pain and stays at home most of the time not able to move. However we have paid for him to go to his local pool to get him moving again and renew his past enjoyment of swimming.



“It’s beneficial for my health going swimming and the gym has eased my shoulder pain”. from Nava


“Being able to go to the sports centre has made a big difference to me- especially the swimming pool and spa. Both of these allow me to gently exercise my legs and arms which helps with the pain and rebuilding strength in my muscles” from RF

Freedom From Torture and STAF (Survivors of Torture Activity Fund) are extraordinary organisations which helped me and my family a lot when my life was extremely hard to handle. I will always be thankful to them for bringing us back to a sense of self.

I want to thank the STAF fundraisers for their precious time and hard work making every penny raised go to supporting the service offered.

Participating in leisure activities such as gym and swimming has helped a lot for us to recover from physical pain and to maintain good mental health. Without the efforts of STAF this would not have been possible.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the STAF team who support us in these activities.I really appreciate their hard work and wish them all the best.




Both of the clients I work with find the gym membership a very positive experience. MR finds the weight work and the walker take his mind off his worries – at least for a little while. Whilst FR who is in almost constant pain (especially in his legs) finds the hot tub & the swimming pool help alleviate the worst of his pain for a few hours.” Alan K (Psychotherapist, Freedom from Torture Manchester) When my client began to access gym membership via the activity fund I noticed a dramatic positive change in his progress through therapy. As a committed and successful sportsman in his home country the gym was a familiar, safe environment, one where he felt accepted “like anyone else.” He was able to reflect on the return of an aspect of “normal life” a break from the intrusive thoughts of the asylum system and fear of return, missing his family and the continual unpleasant experience of being an asylum seeker in the UK. The benefits of regular exercise for body and mind are obvious, this service provides an opportunity for clients to access this when it would otherwise be impossible for them financially. For our clients the benefits of exercise: improved mental health and overcoming physical damage from torture are even more crucial. I support the activity fund financially because I see that it has an extraordinary impact on our clients’ wellbeing. My client went on to join a local cricket team and is now living a successful life, working, recently married and thriving. He remembers how grateful he was for that first opportunity to re-connect with his real self in the UK. Emma R (Psychotherapist, Freedom from Torture Manchester) I’d like to thank the activity fund for providing yoga bolsters for our womens’ yoga group at FFT. The bolsters allow the women to do deep restorative yoga and relaxation. Having new and great quality bolsters was really positive for the women who are used to making do with second hand and poor quality standards of living. They feel valued having this gift. Emma R (Pychotherapist, Freedom from Torture Manchester) On behalf of FfT I’d like to thank the activity fund for providing childcare for our womens’ yoga sessions. Five mums and six children have benefitted from the provision. We have booked a high quality mobile crèche to work in our building meaning mums and kids feel secure being close by and all of the time can be used for yoga instead of travelling to and from childcare. Our crèche workers are experienced and understand the challenges faced by families who don’t have the usual opportunities for children to attend playgroups and nurseries where they learn to feel safe away from their main carer. Many of our families don’t speak English and so we can provide interpreters for crèche workers to chat with parents and ensure that childrens’ needs are understood. In a context where families are traumatised and fear for their future there are few opportunities for invaluable fun time for children and “me time” for mums. Huge thanks! Emma R (Psychotherapist, Freedom from Torture Manchester)