History & Development

The community is stronger together

Survivors of Trauma was established in 1995 by a group of local people from the BT14 area of north Belfast led by the late Brendan Bradley (Brad). The organisation was set up as a direct response to the severe lack of support services for victims in the area at that time. As a grassroots community organisation Survivors of Trauma understands the complexities of troubles related trauma and the extent to which it manifests itself in various ways on both individuals and entire communities.

Area of high need

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 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.

Victim centred

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 believe that the health and well-being of victims and survivors  must be central to the work, whether we provide: a listening ear, a therapy treatment, or a series of counselling sessions it must always be victim centred. Working with one another to achieve a common goal means we can grow and learn together. Victims and survivors of the troubles have a lot to offer the community, by participating as full members of society can contribute to building a peaceful future by sharing their knowledge and experience.

A neutral space where people can come together

Survivors of Trauma is a shared, neutral space where victims and survivors can come together and work towards finding a 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.