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Inspire Awards 2016: ‘I want to put a smile on a survivor’s face’

How Maxine Robinson is supporting men and women who, like her, have experienced the trauma of childhood abuse ...

How Maxine Robinson is supporting men and women who, like her, have experienced the trauma of childhood abuse. SHARON BARNARD reports ...

“I was abused and raped from the age of eight until my escape at the age of 26,” says Maxine. “The impact on my health and wellbeing was extreme. I was in and out of NHS services from the age of 14 until my final mental health breakdown in 2008.”

Despite running a business for many years, Maxine, now 55, admits that “behind closed doors my life was chaotic and challenging”.

Finally, in 2010, she plucked up the courage to access a charity supporting female survivors.

After coming through eight months of creative therapy, Maxine was asked to become chair of the charity, only to be diagnosed with breast cancer on the same day.

“I was more determined than ever to succeed. With the grace of the Lord and after two years of putting the charity where it needed to be, I decided to step down and work on opening my own charity in Nottingham where I came from.

“I saw a need for local services to engage more with groups and charities like the one that I was involved with. I wanted to provide a visible service for people to access easily.

“I worked on a plan and was sponsored by Nottingham City Homes. Support for Survivors was born two years ago and I received charity status on 10 March 2016.

“We’re actively reducing the distress of male and female victims/survivors aged 16 plus through a range of therapeutic interventions. We’re providing support to those whose experiences of childhood abuse has impacted their achievement and potential as adults.

“I want to put a smile on a survivor’s face, to hold a hand and say: ‘It’s okay to cry’, to build on the word ‘trust’ and to see an individual excel and say: ‘Yes I can do it!”

Maxine was also invited to sit on the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission Advisory Panel into historical abuse within Catholic institutions and churches.

“This has happened because I believe that my life changed when I started opening up to the Lord Almighty who guides and shows me the way, day in, day out,” she says.

+ Support for Survivors c/o Self Help Nottingham, Ormiston House, 32–36 Pelham St, Nottingham NG1 2EG

  • Maxine Robinson was nominated for an Inspiring Individual Award by Miss R Aziz from Nottingham.

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