Survivors of childhood abuse share their stories for local charity

Survivors of childhood abuse share their stories for local charity

A Suffolk charity is launching details of its first fundraising event since lockdown, welcoming high-profile speakers to lead an afternoon tea, sharing their stories of surviving child sexual abuse.

Fresh Starts new beginnings, which provides the only therapeutic service for children and young people in Suffolk and Norfolk who have been victims of sexual abuse, has seen demand for its services soar over the past year.  Now, in efforts to boost funds and extend its support to victims and families, it is opening ticket sales for the event which features presentations from Lennox Rodgers, Fahema Bassett and Fiona Broadfoot.

Lennox Rodgers is a former gang member and drug dealer involved in more than 20 armed robberies. He turned his life around and formed the charity Refocus, sharing his story of abuse and crime in efforts to support future generations.

Fahema Bassett is an emerging Tik Tok influencer who shares her story of being subjected to both physical and sexual abuse from a young age. She now has almost 60k followers on the platform.

Activist Fiona Broadfoot was forced into prostitution at the age of just 15 and has founded the ‘Build a Girl UK’ project, a survivor-led social enterprise working with young women at risk of, or experiencing, sexual exploitation.

The event, which will be held on Friday 9th July at Venue16 in Ipswich and hosted by Radio Suffolk’s Wayne Bavin, aims to raise funds for the charity which has seen demand for its services surge.

Offering therapeutic and support services for children up to the age of 18, and their families, Fresh Starts new beginnings is able to support just 200 children per year and has seen its waiting list rocket from 50 to 130 since the beginning of lockdown.

Managing Director Patsy Johnson said: “One of the most devastating impacts of lockdown has been the heightened risk to vulnerable children who lost their usual escape and support mechanisms.  Nationally, calls for help from young people have risen, and locally we are seeing this trend with a growing waiting list which we currently do not have the resources to support.

“We hope this event will provide fascinating and moving insight into the impacts of abuse, by survivors who have gone on to help countless other young people. These adults are the voices of children all over the country who don’t feel safe in speaking out.

“We can’t disclose information about our children or share their stories, but we can hear from adults who have been victims of sexual abuse, so we can incite change and keep our young people safe.

“Our three presenters are incredible people with a deep desire to make a change and help others with shared experiences. At a time when our fundraising opportunities have been cut to the bare minimum, we hope this first physical event since lockdown will be a huge success in securing vital funds for our crucial services.

Tickets for the afternoon tea, which is sponsored by Goldstar Transport Ltd are available at a cost of £30 per person or £300 for a table of 10.

Local independent businesses will be offering shopping opportunities before and after the event. To book tickets, email


Fresh Start new beginnings works through Suffolk and Norfolk, and was set up to provide a therapeutic service for children and young people up to 18 years who have reported being sexually abused and to offer support for their families. To find out more visit the Fresh Start New Beginnings website

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