Manchester torture victim charity handed £5,000 boost after helping more than 50,000 vulnerable people

By Pippa Field

More than 50,000 torture victims have been helped by a Manchester-based charity who has been rewarded with £5,000 after they were able to reach more people than ever.

Freedom from Torture, based on Spear Street, claimed the prize from the Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund after people nationwide were asked to vote for their favourite local charity.

Set up in 1985 by Amnesty doctors to provide support to people arriving in the UK after suffering torture overseas, more than 50,000 have since passed through the charity’s doors.

And, with three quarters of Freedom from Torture’s funding coming through private donations, fundraiser Noreen McKeever said the money had been vital in paying for specialist help.

“A lot of people who come to us are single adults or young children who are on their own or in families who are particularly vulnerable,” she said.

“It’s very important work that the team does and takes a lot of money, so the £5,000 helped towards that. It was a very significant contribution and will have enabled people to have access to therapy.

“It goes towards paying for psychologists, counsellors, social workers, all highly trained clinical experts and staff members who are specialising in helping people to get over the trauma of being tortured or being in a family where someone experienced torture.

“We were really thrilled when we won, there were so many people applying so it was great to know we had won. We are not hugely well known so it’s definitely all been worth it.”

More than 200,000 people across the UK took part in a public vote online between May and September last year to select the charities they wanted to receive the cash, part of £660,000 Lloyds Banking Group invested through the Community Fund in 2012.

And with voting for this year’s nominations now open, Noreen is encouraging other charities to take part and boost their profile.

“We would absolutely be keen to take part again,” she added. “It’s voted for by the public so it’s nice to get that support. It’s definitely all worth it.

“We got a lot of publicity from it, we reached new supporters and brought more attention to our work. It’s all been very positive.”

Lloyds Bank is supporting over 1,500 community groups through the 2013 Community Fund. Find out more and cast your vote for a good cause in your community at

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