History & Development

The community is stronger together


Survivors of Trauma was established in 1995 by a group of local people led by the late Brendan Bradley (Brad) as a direct response to the severe lack of support services for people living in the BT14 area of North Belfast who had suffered trauma as a result of the troubles. North Belfast itself experienced a high level of sectarian violence with some 20% or just over 600 of all sectarian murders in Northern Ireland occurring in the area. Local people felt that there was a need for those who had been bereaved, injured or psychologically affected to have their own voice, to address their own needs and to find ways of enabling their community to develop. Many of these people having been deeply affected by the pain of their loss or the trauma experienced from day to day existence sought solace from one another taking from it the strength to make the transition from victim to survivor. Our approach is based on the principles of community development, Participation – Equality – Respect – Empowerment.

We aim to provide a vehicle for people to work through the trauma they have experienced as a result of the Troubles, identify and respond to issues at community level which are related to trauma, and build a viable community based organization to do these things.

Each individual has a personal journey to take


Following a traumatic experience each individual will have their own personal journey to take or story to tell which will be unique to them. We fully understand and respect individuality and the differing levels of need presented to us, to which we have always endeavoured to respond accordingly. By creating a climate where people feel empowered to make choices that reflect their interests and to participate in activities that meet their need, we can begin to realice that the transition from victim to survivor can be achieved. We believe that the interests of our users must always be integral to the work, whether we provide: a listening ear, a therapy treatment, or a series of counseling sessions each activity holds its own distinct value. Working with one another to achieve a common goal means we can grow and learn together and indeed many recipients of services have progressed along our learning continuum to become tutors and therapists themselves. Victims and survivors of the troubles have a lot to offer the community, by participating as full members of society and sharing their knowledge and expertise they make significant contributions to localized community development initiatives.

A neutral space where people can come together


Survivors of Trauma is a shared, neutral space where people can come together and work towards finding their own way of dealing with their trauma. We have grown in strength by involving our users extensively in the design, content and even delivery of our activities. Our centre is used as a drop-in, as a place where people feel comfortable to express their views and where they are listened too, where there is commonality and empathy. As a school for holistic therapies we provide a range of complementary treatments, as well as training from introductory to advanced levels. We believe the therapies are vitally important and contribute greatly to the natural healing process