“Cutting funding is like turning off a life support”

Lisa French from Housesteads Gardens at Longbenton who is seen with her letter to the Prime Minister about funding cuts to victims of terrorism.
Lisa French from Housesteads Gardens at Longbenton who is seen with her letter to the Prime Minister about funding cuts to victims of terrorism.

A BOROUGH woman who survived the London bus bombings in 2005 is lobbying the Prime Minister over cuts to funding for survivors of terrorism.

Lisa French, 37, from Longbenton, was on the number 30 bus on July 7 in Tavistock Square when Hasib Hussain detonated a bomb, ripping apart the vehicle in a suicide attack that killed 13 people.

Since that day, Lisa has battled with the after effects of the trauma, but this week she learned the Government was cutting funding for a support group which has become a lifeline for survivors like her.

Now she published a letter online to David Cameron, calling on him to make a U-turn.

“Cutting this funding is like turning off a life support,” she said.

“Survivors of Terrorism is the only dedicated and specialised service available for survivors bereaved families of terrorism.

“It has supported us for the last seven and a half years.

“They provided counselling and legal advice and support.

“We have had workshops and programmes, but what is really unique and special, is that itgives us a safe place to meet other people who do genuinely understand what we are going through.

“Being able to share the feeling that you are not alone anymore is really important.”

The reasons given for the withdrawal of services and funding is that demand has reduced, something Lisa says could not be further from the truth.

“Demand has not reduced, but has been ‘managed down’ by the lack of services offered,” she said.

“If a victim knows there is no help and support, they will not ask.

“Their silent cries for support and help go unnoticed, until they are beyond crisis.

“Our needs have not gone away, our support has.”

Lisa said the service has been vital to her personally over the years since 7/7, in coming to terms with what happened.

“I am able to use a little public transport but it is something I have to prepare for and recover from each time, but it is only because of the support I have had that has enabled me to do that.

“The service has helped me come to terms with why what happened to me, happened.”

In the letter Lisa also raises concerns that people impacted by future events will have no support, and those currently struggling will be left facing a hefty private counselling bill.

“It is recognised that it can take between ten and 15 years for symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, by not having the service we are closing that door to people,” she said.

“You don’t know what will trigger those feelings for people, everyone is different, and it can take any time and happen at any moment, so it is important that that door is left open.

“PTSD does not go away completely, but with support, we learn to manage some of our symptoms.

“Help and support from Survivors of Terrorism has helped us learn to adjust, but it is a life long journey.”

In her letter to Mr Cameron she says funding for the service requires approximately £60,000, or around £75 per service user, per year to keep it going.

Visit http://reallylisafrench.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/dear-mr-cameron/ to read the letter in full and add your support.