Thriving Survivors, set up by Ashley Scotland, is a unique training and support service that enables people who have experienced a physical or emotional trauma to take control of their recovery and this ranges from ill health to bereavement to being a victim of crime.
A survivor of sexual and domestic abuse founder Ashley realised that the crucial support needed for her recovery was not readily available.
The recovery process Ashley developed the organisation from is Judith Herman’s 3 stage model of recovery : establishing safety; telling your story; and reintegrating into the community. After undergoing stages one and two, Ashley found that support for the third stage was not well addressed. This inspired her to act.
Following support from Firstport business advisor Brian McMillan to strengthen her business model, and £2700 funding from the Social Entrepreneurs Fund (SEF) Start It programme, she launched Thriving Survivors in April 2016.
Thriving Survivors provide a unique service that delivers that much needed stage 3 support including providing training, volunteering and eventually employment opportunities.
In May 2016 the service ran its first group, which was fully subscribed. Several of the participants were subsequently trained by the programme to deliver similar sessions to give other survivors a second chance.
In July 2016 Ashley faced her fears and done a 164ft bungee jump to raise funds to run what would be her next programme.
In March 2017, Ashley was awarded £20,000 through the SEF Build It programme which enabled Thriving Survivors to dedicate the time and energy needed to grow and scale the organisation by Ashley with a full time salary in her role as Chief Executive for the year.
Since then Thriving Survivors has gone on to secured three years’ core funding from the Scottish Government for its innovative programmes. Funding gives the organisation the ability to deliver 10 Discovering Me programmes and 5 Bridge to Recovery Programmes across Greater Glasgow. The overall aim is to be supporting over 150 survivors in 2017 alone.
Thriving Survivors which has so far been run with a small team of volunteers are now in the process of increasing their team by taking on 5 new members of staff to assist with what has been a rapid growth for the organisation.
The funding in year one will allow Thriving Survivors to develop a peer to peer support group that will enable continued support and personal development for people who have taking part in Thriving Survivors programmes, whilst at the same time providing a training bursary for one of our volunteers and previous service users Donna Irvine as she gains her SCQF level 7 in developing community activities for developing and delivering this peer 2 peer group. It is then hoped that on completion Donna will move into paid employment within the organisation.
Thriving Survivors is about recognising barriers and trying removing them and the core funding received means that they are now in the process of setting up a creche facility available for all group members, meaning that our service is available to everyone without the worry of childcare.
Finally government funding will help the organisation to tackle the existing problem of people who slip through the net when they are in need of that extra support to move to the next stage of their recovery. Thriving survivors will do this by growing existing and develop new partnerships with other organisations to establish a lasting collaborative approach to supporting survivors of physical and emotional trauma.
“My journey with Thriving Survivors has been nothing short of incredible. In the beginning I always said if this would help just one person then it will have been worthwhile, having worked with over 60 men and women so far across Glasgow words simply cannot explain how happy I am that I took a leap of faith and believed in my own abilities. Thriving Survivors was part of my recovery from the past now it is the future”
Most recently Ashley was named as a shortlisted finalist in The Scottish Women’s Awards 2017 for services to third sector and charity.
Ashley praised the faith which Firstport had placed in her by providing the initial funding for her project. She added: “I knew from bitter experience that there was a lot of help which people unfortunate enough to find themselves in the position I was once in needed, and was simply not there for them to access. Firstport listened, provided the seed corn funding and Thriving Survivors, and more importantly all of the survivors that we will support, will be eternally grateful that a Firstport was there for us.”
Find out more about Thriving Survivors on their website.