Celebrating Small Charity Week: Into the Light

TW // sexual violence/sexual abuse

The 14th – 19th June is Small Charities Week in the UK and as a champion of London’s grassroots groups, we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the work of the remarkable charities we are proud to work with.

The last year has been a challenging time for us all, and especially for many small charities. Those we support have demonstrated both resilience and adaptability in the face of uncertainty, and have continued to put the needs of their service users at the heart of delivery.

Into the Light is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company that offers support, counselling, information and resources around the issues of sexual abuse for those who have been abused and those who support them.

Hear from Rebecca, Founder of Into the Light, on setting up the organisation, the services they offer and how the group continued to deliver essential support services during the pandemic.

I set up Into The Light Counselling And Support For Survivors in 1993 because I myself had survived many years of violence and sexual abuse as a child. At times I found it extremely lonely to live with my experiences and wanted to reach out to others in my community. It began as a small support group for women survivors to find hope and recovery with the support of each other. We have now grown to offer a variety of services including counselling, psycho-educational courses, workshops and training for survivors of all genders.

Sexual abuse frequently impacts survivors emotionally, physically and relationally, often causing them to live isolated and disadvantaged lives. Into The Light’s guiding philosophy is that change and healing from sexual abuse comes through giving information, breaking isolation and sharing experiences.

I have been and felt so alone since my childhood experience, that I never had access to this knowledge, so it really has been so enlightening and transformative for me.

Since the coronavirus crisis started, we had to move all our services online. This brought challenges but also opportunity. Some of our clients struggled to find safe confidential places to talk and there were also technology difficulties. However, it also increased accessibility for some women. For our Women’s Survivors Group Course, women with disabilities or terminal illnesses were able to access the course for the first time as there was no travelling involved, and those with small children were also able to join.

We’ve received very positive feedback from our most recent course held in spring 2021:

"The course has been really helpful in understanding myself better in a way I just could not get to on my own or in any way despite so much counselling over the past 20 years."

"Words cannot express how grateful I am to have been able to access and be a part of this course and group of ladies. I have always hoped something like this existed but never knew. This has been so special, meaningful and transformative for me. It has helped me look at the rape and various sexual abusive situations in a different way, a way I have been desperate to be able to change it to but never knew how."

"This carefully planned and cultivated course has been life changing.….It's given me hope and confidence and opened my life up"

We are constantly being contacted by survivors looking for help; our challenge is meeting the need with the resources that we have. However, we are committed to do our best to give survivors the support and resources they need to ease isolation and suffering and help them to go forward to have happier and more fulfilled lives and relationships.

Rebecca Mitchell and Suzette Breeden facilitating the Women’s Survivors Psycho-Educational Group Course online

Please click here to read more about Small Charities Week, and follow LCF on Twitter to learn more about the small charities across London we work alongside.