Local groups

Join a network of incredibly passionate people across the UK raising vital funds and awareness to support survivors of torture to rebuild their lives.

We currently have over 20 active groups across the UK. They’re a talented and dedicated bunch who together raise over £70,000 a year!

Find a group near you:

Why not check out our Events section to see what local Freedom from Torture group events are coming up near you.

If your patch of the UK doesn't have a group yet, why not be bold and start one? Contact Sabine on snierhoff@freedomfromtorture.org or call 020 7697 7749 and we'll give you the help you need to get started.

Aberystwyth

Chair: Sue Jones-Davies

Secretary & Treasurer: Michael Freeman

Number of members: 8-10.

We had our first official public meeting on the 19th June 2015. Since then, we have organised a Sponsored Beach Clean and A Poertry Reading Event along with other little collection opportunities; raising nearly £1000 already!

You can check out our Facebook page and Twitter account for more information on what we have been up to, along with ideas for the Future!

We are a new group and are keen for any support or ideas. Please contact us on: sue.jonesdavies@googlemail.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Bedford and Milton Keynes

Chair: Richard Tysoe
Treasurer: Elizabeth Skinner
Secretary: Julia Aked
Number of members: Seven core members who come to meetings and about a further eight who help occasionally with events

Achievements and successes:

Establishing our annual Conker Festival in Bedfordshire. Being chosen as one of the charities a local church will support financially. Individual efforts by members to raise smaller but useful amounts of money by selling home-made products (e.g. jams, cakes, plants etc.) selling skills (e.g. poetry workshops) and undertaking sponsored events.

2010 was our 10th anniversary year. We celebrated this year with a wide variety of events including a social get together, Tesco Collections, Riverfield Store (raised £480), a Midsummer Garden Party, (raised £605), a Quiz night at The Clock Inn, Shenley Church End (raised £173) and a concert by The Ouse Valley Singers and the Cadenza Quartet, St Mary's Church, Goldinton, Bedford which raised £342.

In 2011 we raised over £2300 through a varierty of events including our wonderful annual garden party and conker competition, a fusion concert and various sales and quiz nights. Our quiz nights are great fun, so please do get in touch if you would like to join in.

Additional information:

The major challenge is to make local people more aware and supportive of the work of Freedom from Torture. As we are a small core group spread out geographically, we will continue to make the most of links with other people to raise money e.g. using local musical groups who are prepared to perform on behalf of Freedom from Torture.

Brighton & Hove

Interim Chair: Andrew Jackson
Interim Treasurer: Laura Hart
Interim Secretary: Elspeth Brody

Number of members: approx. 45

Achievements and successes:

At the beginning of December 2016, the Brighton & Hove group held its inaugural event: an evening of piano music, performed by local pianists, the Kemp Duo, in Brighton’s Chapel Royal. Over twenty people came along, bought raffle tickets and Christmas cards, enjoyed mince pies and other seasonal refreshments, and helped us raise over £150. We followed this up with shaking the collection tin at the Open Market as the Dawn Chorus singing group ‘busked’ their repertoire of seasonal songs. This garnered a further £55 in donations, many from the singers themselves.

It’s been a very motivating start, thanks to everybody’s generosity, and we are now planning activities for 2017. We’ve set up a Facebook page, we’re on Twitter and we’re confident that we’ve got a fun, friendly and energetic group of supporters here in Brighton & Hove. Do come along and join us!

If you are interested in getting involved or hearing more about the group, please contact us on: 

Email: FfTBrighton@gmail.com 

Twitter: @FfTBrighton

FB: https://www.facebook.com/BrightonFreefromTorture

Bristol & Bath

Chair: Linda Walz
Membership Secretary: Alison Wickert
Treasurer: Teresa Long

Active Members 12 plus around 100 supporters on contact list.

 Achievements and successes:

- Welcoming the ‘Write to Life’ Group to perform their very moving productions:

‘Souvenirs’ premiered at the Bath Literature Festival in 2013 and performed again in Bristol later that year – both sell-outs!

‘The A-Z of Poverty’ – launched in Bath in 2015

- Collaborating with the Bath branch of Amnesty International, a talk by Professor Malcolm Evans OBE, Chairman of the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, entitled, 'We Need to Talk about Torture'

- Marking the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015 with a bike ride from Salisbury to London (Freedom from Torture Centre) which raised over £2000.

- Marking the 800th anniversary of the Bristol Magna Carta in 2016 with a beautiful concert of 13th Century music given by the Chandos Singers in Bristol’s oldest church, St James’ Priory, which raised around £1,800.

- The group regularly runs stalls at Bristol’s Celebrating Sanctuary Event during Refugee Week and Amnesty International’s Summer Garden Party where we raise funds selling donated second hand jewellery. We also organise occasional Art Exhibitions, Coffee Mornings, Plant Sales and Wine Tastings.

- The group have established local links with Trauma Foundation South West (TFSW) which provides counselling services to refugees and asylum seekers in the Bristol area, many of whom have been tortured.

-  On 1 March 2019 over 100 people attended the event "Seeking Asylum: A Hostile Environment?", which the group organised in collaboration with Trauma Foundation South West, Student Action on Refugees (STAR) and Bristol Refugee Rights. Thangam Debbonaire, MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Refugees, spoke about the problems with the current asylum system and her campaign for reforms to make the system better, fairer, and more compassionate. For more information about the event, click here 

We are always ready to welcome new members either to attend meetings, raise funds or join our mailing list so we can inform you about future events. Anyone interested please contact us via email at bristolandbathfft@gmail.com or find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/bristolandbathfft

We look forward to hearing from you!

Calderdale

Calderdale's Freedom from Torture Supporters' Group was formed in October 2012 and aims to raise vital funds for and awareness of Freedom from Torture's work. The group is still in its infancy and has been initially based in Hebden Bridge. We now have around 50 supporters!

If you are interested in getting involved in our new Supporters' Group, helping to raise awareness of the issues around asylum, refugees, and human rights, raising vital funds to help support our work in your area, having fun and meeting new people, then please do get in touch.

E-mail calderdalefft@gmail.com or call Michael on 01422 845371.

Cambridge

Chair: Peter Woodsford
Treasurer: Jean Murray
Secretary: Pamela Cressey
Number of members: 4-6

Achievements and successes:

The Cambridge Freedom from Torture Supporters Group has been going since 2000, and in that time has raised over £60,000.

We were delighted to be selected in autumn 2015 by the students of Cambridge University as one of the ten charities they wished to support via their RAG fund-raising efforts - thanks to their hard work £4250 was raised for each charity, including Freedom from Torture, by summer 2016.

Upcoming events:

Lunch organised by Sue & Peter Woodsford at their home in Cambridge will be on Saturday 29 April, from 12.30pm. Please contact Sue or Peter on 01223 562983 for further details.

Our annual Ramble & Tea will be on Sunday 4th June. The ramble will start at 2pm, and the tea will be at Pamela Cressey's home in north Cambridge/Girton from 4pm. Further details to follow.

And finally, our autumn concert on Saturday 18th November, 7.30pm, at St Lukes Church on Victoria Road, Cambridge. Our thanks to the Cambridge Concert Orchestra for agreeing to provide us with another evening of musical entertainment in aid of Freedom from Torture. Further details to follow in due course.

Sadly the Cambridge Supporters Group closed at the end of 2017 as the current committee was not able to continue. If there is anyone who would like to take over the running of the group this would be wonderful - please contact Sabine Nierfhoff at snierhoff@freedomfromtorture.org or call 020 7697 7749 if you would like to discuss this further.

Cornwall

Chairs: Jane Martin and Martin Kerrison

Achievements and successes:

A small informally structured group which aims to raise awareness and funds for the charity and grow its active membership. In 2013 the group held a hugely successful art auction which raised over £8,000 for Freedom from Torture

Additional information:

Find out more about the group on their Facebook Page  or contact us at fftpenwith@gmail.com 

Devon

Chair: Kate Hannan
Treasurer: Leslie Read
Secretary: Eunice Kenny
Number of members: Approximately 40

Achievements and successes:

Last year we held: a successful bric-a-brac, book and plant sale in Exmouth on Easter Sunday, 4 April; an inspiring meeting at Exeter Library on 14 June at which two clients of Freedom from Torture presented their work as part of the Write to Life project; a very productive book sale at the Mansion House in Totnes on 19 June: a bric-a-brac and book sale at St George's Hall, Exeter in November.

Additional information:

We aim to be an active group with enough members to organise both fundraising and awareness-raising events. 

Dorset

Chair: Joint Chairs; Rob & Alex Womack
Treasurer: Nancy Sheppard
Secretary: Lauretta Kerridge
Number of members: 45

Achievements and successes:

We have been highly successful in raising awareness and increasing the presence of Freedom from Torture. The outstanding support we have received locally is a huge indication of this.

Last year the group organised a successful seafront stall, a midsummer coffee morning and a car boot sale amongst others.

Upcoming events in 2019:

Holocaust Memorial Event

Awareness raising stall at South West Multi-cultural network's Holocaust Memorial Event "Torn from Home" including readings from local schools, poetry and music.

Where: Corn Exchange, High West Street, Dorchester DT1 1HF

When: Friday, 25th January, 12.30 - 1.30 pm

Follow this link for more infohttps://news.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/2019/01/15/south-west-multi-cultural-ne...

Beach Stall:

Join us for a day at the seaside raising money for Freedom from Torture!

Where: The Esplanade, Weymouth

When: Saturday, 8th June, 9 am - 3 pm (weather permitting!)

For more details on all upcoming events or to help out with future group activities, contact Lauretta on 01305 268641 or email freedomfromtorturedorset@gmail.com

The Dorset group is also on Facebook

Additional information:

We are a busy yet friendly group and all new members are guaranteed a warm welcome! As the photos show, there are always plenty of fundraising opportunities in Dorset so why not join us today?

East Kent

Chair: Anne Sutcliffe
Treasurer: Anne Sutcliffe
Secretary: Anne Sutcliffe
Number of members: 10

Achievements and successes:

The East Kent Group is one of Freedom from Torture's longest running and most active groups, despite the wide-spread geography of its members.

The types of events and activities organised over the years include store and street collections, authors talks, cake stalls, refugee talk, film show (Blind Flight), book sales and birthday events with donations to Freedom from Torture.

East Sussex

Chair: Rohan Jayasekera

Treasurer: Leah Levane

Number of members: 82

A newly formed group keen to raise funds for Freedom from Torture through music and arts events, and to raise awareness of the charity’s crucial work by speaking at public events and exhibitions. We are very active in Lewes, and plan new work in Hastings, Bexhill & Eastbourne in 2018.

Please contact the group on FfTEastSussex@gmail.com, or just stay in touch, via our Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/FfTEastSussex/ or on Twitter @FfTEastSussex.

Edinburgh

Chair: Moira Dunworth
Treasurer: Heidi Kastern
Secretary: Elisabeth Hutchings
Number of members: 104

Achievements and successes:

We organise awareness and social and fund-raising events throughout the year. We hold sponsored walks, garden parties, concerts, charity dinners, Christmas shopping events, lunches and coffee mornings. We assist in Freedom from Torture’s campaigning in support of survivors of torture.

The highlight of each year for us is the weekend during the Edinburgh International Book Festival when survivors from London, Glasgow and Newcastle have their writings read at the Amnesty Imprisoned Writers’ sessions by such authors as Margaret Atwood, Ian Rankin, Hari Kunzru and A. L. Kennedy.

Additional information:

We were founded in 2003 and are constantly ready to welcome new members.

We take a particular interest in the work of Freedom from Torture’s Scotland Centre in Glasgow and have close relations with the Newcastle Centre and the London Headquarters

Events

For upcoming events please see the FfT events page or check our own website events page.

We are co-ordinating the UK-long Cycle against Torture 2019, check out www.edinburghfft.org/cycle2019. We look forward to meeting many supporters along the way.

Get in Touch

We keep in touch through an email group and a twice yearly newsletter, and a Talks Group is ready to spread the word to interested groups and societies. Check out our flyer for more information.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FfTEdinburgh/

Twitter account: @FreedomLGEdin

Email us with any inquiries at fftedinburgh@outlook.com  

Check out our website,  https://edinburghfft.org/

Glasgow

Chair: Sara Barry
Treasurer: Grace Buckley
Secretary: Ayesha Ejaz
Number of members: 30 'group members', including 7 students (actually or potentially attend meetings and run fundraisers); also, 12-18 supporters (receive newsletter & notification of fundraisers/attend fundraisers)

Achievements and successes:

Our concerts and film screenings have been particularly successful in raising funds and publicising the work of Freedom from Torture. Our target is to raise £500 each year but we have always exceeded this, raising £2000 in 2009.

In November 2010 we organised a comedy night at the Stand Comedy Club. This was a huge success. The Stand arranged the line-up and gave us the use of the venue for free, and all the performers (Susan Calman, Davey See, Mikey Adams, Gavin Webster and Gary Little) gave their time and talents for free. We had a full house and raised a total of £1284 for the MF.

Additional information:

• Concerts of classical or jazz music • Cinema screenings • Sponsored walks & run • Bag-packing • Parachute jumps • Christmas card sales • Stalls at various fairs/events 

Heart of England

Chair: Derek Bennett
Treasurer: Greg Bodycote
Secretary: Peter & Maggie Campbell
Number of members: 8 active

Achievements and successes:

Walk Art raffle Christmas concert Gig at local night club with raffle and auction

Lancaster and South Lakes

Chair: There is no formal committee, but a voluntary 'working group' which plans meetings and activities.
Number of members: We cover quite a large rural area, with Lancaster and Kendal as the main centres of population, though many of our 40 members come from the smaller towns and villages. The area has no particular boundary and people from farther afield who are able to get to meetings are very welcome.

Achievements and successes:

Each year we organise one or two public meetings, generally involving a member of Freedom from Torture staff or some other speaker with relevant experience. For example in May 2011 Keith Best, the newly appointed CEO of Freedom from Torture, gave a memorable talk to nearly 50 people at the Quaker Meeting House in Kendal.

Our group has been actively raising funds through concerts, coffee mornings, socials, open garden events and sponsored walks. In 2011 we managed to raise over £3,000!!!

Some members of the group are active in writing to MPs and other officials about the many problems affecting torture survivoprs and asylum seekers. Local members have also provided holidays and other practical support to clients of Freedom from Torture.

Members are available to give short talks about the work of Freedom from Torture to community groups and to groups in schools.

Additional information:

We have various plans for the year ahead including a fantastic sponsored walk across Morecambe Bay!

Our continuing aims are to increase awareness of Freedom from Torture's work, to enlarge the support group, and to encourage members to organise their own local fund-raising events.

The main contacts for the group are Kathy & Chris Paice. For more information about our group, please see our website www.mf-southlakes.net

London North

Chair: Bethany Green and Gabriela de Oliveira
Treasurer: Kumiko Matsuoka
Secretary: Alan Lloyd
Number of members: Executive Committee of 8 and a mailing list of around 200 Freedom from Torture supporters all living in the North West London area.

Achievements and successes:

The group has organised a number of highly successful fundraising events, including Survivor! - a wonderful event on Saturday 25 June 2011 in celebration of Refugee Week, which went off really well with a good audience, lots of emotion, fantastic singing from 3 choirs and some very moving poetry and prose pieces from the Write to Life Group; a beautiful evening of words and music as a Lenten event at St. John's Parish Church Hampstead; and a Quiz Night that was attended by over 140 people. Our aim is to have 4 or 5 such events a year and that they should have an educational and social element as well as raising funds for the cause. The Quiz Night will become an annual occasion, since it was both profitable and enjoyable, and there will be another SURVIVOR! evening of Words and Music around Refugee week 2012.

Some group members also take on their own personal fundraising challenges. Inspirational group member Rowena Harding, for example, recently undertook a gruelling series of races including the Polar Night Half Marathon and the London Ultra Marathon in aid of Freedom from Torture. Rowena only started running three years ago following a series of bereavements, using walking and then running to channel her grief into a positive force and raising heaps of money for charity in the process.

These races represented an incredible challenge but as Rowena pushed herself to her absolute limits she was thinking of Freedom from Torture's clients and their own journeys and experiences, and their immense courage spurred her on. Read more about why Rowena has been inspired by Freedom from Torture by clicking here.

If you'd like to join us or have any suggestions or offers of help do please get in touch with us: Bethany Green bethany_one@hotmail.com or Gabriela de Oliveira gdeoliveira@live.co.uk

Please also check our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FfTNorthLondon

London South East

Chair: Professor Michael Maisey
Vice Chair: Dr Mark Rake
Treasurer: Mr Matthew de Lange
Secretary: Mrs Jill Jordan
Other Committee Members: Linda DeLange and Irene Maisey
Number of members: 6 (135 on the mailing list)

Achievements and successes:

The group was set up in 2012 following a launch meeting at Woolwich Town Hall hosted by the Mayor of Greenwich. The group covers a number of Boroughs including Lewisham, Greenwich, Croydon, Bromley and Southwark.

The first fundraising event was a very successful sale of hand turned wooden bowls which raised over £2000.

We are always ready to welcome new members either to attend meetings, raise funds or add to our mailing list so we can inform you about future events. Anyone interested please contact Michael on: michael@maisey.org.uk

London South West

We are in the process of setting up a new group in South West London. Please contact snierhoff@freedomfromtorture.org or call 020 7697 7749 to find out more.

Manchester & North West

Chair: Fran Devine
Treasurer: David Cooke
Secretary: Fran Devine

Number of members: About 9

Achievements and successes:

We raised almost £12,000 in 2011 and usually raise around £9000. Have raised local profile of work of Freedom from Torture. Some members are volunteers at the Freedom from Torture Centre in Manchester.

Additional information:

Types of events and activities organised over the years: Yearly quiz night, second hand book stalls at Festivals and organic grocers, poetry evenings, film evenings, supermarket collections, fundraising dinners,  sponsored runs and walks and the well-known annual Chorlton Open Gardens which alone raises over £6000 for the work of Freedom from Torture. We do talks to Amnesty and faith groups. We meet at the Manchester centre and get an update each month from one of the workers.

North East England

Chair: Tom Jarman (Could you by our next Chair?)
Treasurer: Shirley Mansfield
Secretary: Tom Jarman
Events Organiser: Louise Wellington
IT Secretary & Newsletter Editor: Tori Dunford

Number of members: 290 on email list, 32 on postal list and a following on Twitter.

Achievements and successes:

Fund-raising: One of our members organised five fabulous treks (FFT) for FFT and one of our supporters very bravely overcame his fear of heights and did a skydive to raise much needed funds. Their sponsorship raised over £1000. In addition, many of the events and activities below receive donations, so more than £20,000 has been raised over the last decade. Please read our latest newsletter for more details.

Activities over the years have included organising or supporting events such as:

* Stalls at Newcastle Community Green Festival and at other events in the North East.

* Film showings with discussions at the Tyneside Cinema to mark the UN's International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

* Presentations to various organisations on the work of Freedom from Torture and a public lecture at Newcastle University.

* Ceilidhs, a Salsa night, concerts, a garden party, golf tournament, world music night, and an evening with John McCarthy at Wallington Hall.

* Sponsored sky dives and walks.

* Volunteers have also accompanied clients to Minsteracres Retreat Centre, where two became artists in residence and had a stunning exhibition, and to Edinburgh Book Festival, where clients' creative writing was read.

Additional information:

Regular meetings are held bi-monthly at a central location in Newcastle.

Sub-groups meet ad-hoc to arrange events and prepare for presentations to interested organisations. If you are interested in finding out more about our speaker group, please . If you are interested in finding out more about our speaker group, please click here.

Get involved:

Would you like to be active in support of Freedom from Torture North East? To receive notification of events and meetings, please email us: fftnesg@gmail.com and follow us on Twitter.

Norwich

Chair: Nazia Ahmed
Treasurer: Angie Marshall
Secretary: Lester Marshall

Achievements and Successes:

The Norwich Group have held a host of successful events over the years, including ceilidhs, quiz nights, plant sales and the Bishop's Garden Party.

Oxford

Chair: Ann Gibson
Treasurer: John Hume
Number of members: Approx 12 on committee but very variable

Achievements and successes:

Persuading local music groups to do concerts for Freedom from Torture.

Building up a large database of supporters by asking Freedom from Torture to help with a mail shot.

Plans and challenges for the future:

To keep up a regular series of events to raise awareness as much as funds. To retain the support of as many local supporters as we can and encourage people to put on their own events.

Additional information:

Types of events and activities organised over the years include:

Concerts, plant sales/coffee mornings, sponsored walks, stalls at One World Fair and similar, Write to Life readings.

Suffolk

Chair: Sue Harrington-Spier
Treasurer: Brian Wesley
Secretary: Brian Wesley
Number of members: 15

Achievements and successes:

Over the years the group has raised over £15,000 and also helped to raise public awareness of Freedom from Torture's activities. They organised art raffles and wonderful concerts together with Amnesty International. Last year the group organised an afternoon of reflections in words, music and song to commemorate the United Nations Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June at the beautiful Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds..

Additional information:

The group is currently mainly active around Bury St Edmunds. The next event is planned for Saturday, 28 April.

Our objective for 2018 is to increase the number of active members to organise both fundraising and awareness raising events and expand our reach.