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!

Check out our What's On page to see what local Freedom from Torture group events are coming up near you.

Want to get involved? Find a group 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.

The group was set up in 2015. Since then, we have organised a Sponsored Beach Clean, several poetry evenings,  along with other little collection opportunities; raising over £4,000 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 relatively 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: Amanda Goody
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, organising several music and poetry evenings, holding garden parties and very successful quiz nights. Individual efforts by members to raise smaller but vital amounts of money by selling home-made products (e.g. jams, cakes, plants etc.) selling skills (e.g. poetry workshops) and undertaking sponsored events. The group was established in 2000 and we are very proud to raise between £2,000 and £3,000 every year. 

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

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

Number of members: approx. 45

Achievements and successes:

The Brighton & Hove group held its inaugural event at the end of 2016: 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. 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.

Since those early days we have organised a number of successful fundraising and awareness raising events including a Christmas fair, a literary evening on Sri Lanka's disappeared,  a Labour Party fringe event and a number of Survivors Speak Out talks

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

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 based in and around Hebden Bridge. We now have around 50 supporters!

If you are interested in getting involved in our 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 was set up 2000, and in that time has raised over £60,000.

The group was selected on several occasions by the students of Cambridge University as one of the ten charities they wished to support via their RAG fund-raising efforts - thanks to the students' hard work thousands of pounds have been raised for Freedom from Torture. The group has organised many concerts, quiz nights, an annual ramble & tea and many other events over almost two decades.

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, mostly based around Penzance, 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. A wonderful Open Garden event at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens in 2017 and  an art exhibition at the same venue in 2019, featuring soundscapes, projections, sculptures, poetry, choirs and many more raised a further £5,000.

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:

The group was set up in 2009 and has held many successful events including bric-a-bracs, book and plant sales, Write to Life events any more.

Additional information:

Unfortunately the group closed down at the end of 2016 but we are very keen to revive the group. If you would like to get involved, please contact Sabine at snierhoff@freedomfromtorture.org

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. We also had a stall at this year's South West Multi-cultural Network's Holocaust Memorial Event "Torn from Home" and a beachfront stall in Weymouth in June. 

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!

East Kent

Chair: Anne Sutcliffe
Treasurer: 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: Leah Levane

Treasurer: Rohan Jayasekera

Number of members: 82

Formed in 2016, the group is keen to raise funds for Freedom from Torture through music and arts events, an annual sponsored walk 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.

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.

In 2019 the group under the leadership of Moira Dunworth co-ordinated Cycle against Torture, an 865-mile bike ride from Hastings to Edinburgh. Moira and fellow cyclist Shelagh King rode the whole distance with other cyclists joining one or more of the 19 different stages of the ride. The epic adventure raised close to £23,000 for Freedom from Torture.

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.

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
Number of members:  about 30

Achievements and successes:

Our concerts, comedy nights, quiz nights 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 over £2000 in 2017 and close to £5,000 in 2019.

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

Achievements and successes:

The group is currently dormant but still organises an annual carol concert and quiz night in collaboration with Amnesty International. We are planning to revive the group for 2020. Please get in touch with Sabine Nierhoff at snierhoff@freedomfromtorture.org if you would like to get involved.

Lancaster

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 the group organised one or two public meetings, generally involving a member of Freedom from Torture staff or some other speaker with relevant experience. The group has been actively raising funds through concerts, coffee mornings, socials, open garden events and sponsored walks. A sponsored walk across Morecambe Bay was particularly successful.

Additional information:
The group closed down in 2016 but we would love to set up a new group in the area. If you would like to get involved, please e-mail Sabine at snierhoff@freedomfromtorture.org

London North

Chair: Holly Campbell and Luxia Tran
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 London area.

Achievements and successes:

The group has organised a number of highly successful fundraising events, including beautiful music evenings, literary events featuring Andrew Motion, Alan Hollinghurst, John Hegley and Shobu Kapoor, several evenings of words and music at Hampstead Parish Church, quiz nights, comedy nights and film screenings as well as a Desert Island Disc event featuring Fiona Shaw.  The group has a large student branch, mostly based at University College London.

If you'd like to join us or have any suggestions or offers of help do please get in touch with us at hollycampbell_28@msn.com or luxia.tran.14@ucl.ac.uk

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

London South East

Chair: Gillian Jordan
Treasurer: Mr Matthew de Lange
Other Committee Members: Michael Maisey, Irene Maisey, Linda DeLange, Mark Rake, Tony Othen and Helen Othen
Number of members: 8 (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.

Since then the group has organised many hugely successful fundraising events including concerts, literary evenings, art auctions and a woodturning auction which raised over £12,000. In 2017 alone the group raised an amazing £33,000 through their fundraising events. 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 Gillian Jordan on: gillian_jordan@hotmail.com

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

Chair: Caroline Glendinning
Treasurer: David Cooke
Number of members: About 9

Achievements and successes:

We raised almost £13,500 in 2016. We have raised the local profile of Freedom from Torture's work. 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 around £10,000 for the work of Freedom from Torture. We give talks to Amnesty, faith groups and other organisations.

North East England

Chair: Tom Jarman
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.

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. Please get in touch with the group at fftnorwich@gmail.com

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 in and around Oxford.

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.