Thank you One25, from Lauren

posted this on 31/08/2016

Lauren ran away from an abusive family, which led her into sex work in London and Bristol. One25 helped her with rehabilitation, therapy and a fresh start in life. Here she wrote a letter to the volunteers and staff who helped her through.

“I am truly honoured to have been given this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you all so much for loving and supporting me back to life. Thanks to One25 and the amazing van that I could always rely upon to be driving around Brunswick Square on a Friday night, I am no longer a lost and broken woman with nowhere to go and who had no-one who cared.

Thanks to a group of strong, dedicated caseworkers and volunteers who worked hard and long hours and took up arms (so to speak) to fight for women like me.

Rewind a few years and there I was, selling my body to the first passer-by in order to get by another day. Just one more time. There have been nights out there when I’ve been so cold and alone and then the van would pull up, the window would roll down and a face with a smile on it would appear and ask me if I fancied a cup of tea, coffee, a sandwich and a chat. How I am so very grateful for your non-judgemental welcome you will never know. Words on paper could never express it.

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The compassion you showed me, the love I felt from those volunteers was incredible. Neither can I express the hope and courage you gave me when you said “you are not alone”. How can one express that on paper? It’s impossible.

I can say that thanks to the One25 I am no longer a slave to the streets. Today I am a Beautiful Butterfly. Today I am a Free Woman. I have been given back my dignity and I am walking slowly into grace. Yes I am still broken. It’s going to take some time for me to heal from all the physical and mental abuse that I encountered while I was a street worker – all that trauma is going to take time – I accept and am ready to embrace that.

Today I’ve come to believe in a power far greater than myself. The power of “we can – because you are not alone”.

“We will be with you all the way” is what Hazel (One25 caseworker) told me when she visited me in prison. Back then I was broken, scared and alone, wanting to die rather than be released back into the community because I was so mentally, physically tired. ‘Hopeless’ is how I felt for want of a better word. But you all held me and fought for me to get the help I so desperately needed. One25 worked so hard to support my case for funding for me to go to a trauma-specialist rehab for women.

Moira (One25 caseworker), I love and respect you for all the love and respect that you have shown me. You have walked with me along my journey and given me back my dignity. God bless you and thank you.

Because of you all at One25 still I rise. No longer am I imprisoned in a cocoon. I am a Beautiful Butterfly and today I am free.”

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