People are able to access the services provided by Spring Lodge in a variety of ways and support is tailored to each individual depending on their needs.
Below are various client stories and testimonials, which show the different support people have received and how Spring Lodge has helped them.
Karen's story: Journey towards love
"My story or 'my truth' as I prefer for my past to be known, has always been something I was intensely ashamed of and did my utmost to keep a secret from everyone, until now.
I was emotionally and psychologically abused all my life, including being sexually abused in my family home from a young age and then in a domestically violent marriage where I had three children.
As an adult in my late 40’s I got involved with the Truth Project and through this found the confidence to report this abuse to the police. As part of my report, Lincolnshire Police referred me to Spring Lodge, Lincolnshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and I was allocated a worker. She was called my Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA for short) but to me she was just an amazing person. She was so patient with me, and bit by bit chipped away at my distrust. Throughout every step of the investigation I felt suppported and when I truly doubted my strength to get through it or my belief I was even worth it, my ISVA support worker never stopped believing in me: whether I was ugly crying, angry, panicking or just so anxious I couldn’t speak - she was there.
My legal case in the end was not taken further but I have no regrets. The whole process allowed me to speak my truth and be heard, an invaluable experience. Speaking out was incredibly difficult, it meant putting my trust in strangers, and taking a real leap of faith that I was strong enough to come out of the other end.
Through this journey I have gained far more positives than negatives and met some amazing people who work so hard for people like me.
To mark our upcoming 20th anniversary of fleeing a domestic violent relationship, my daughter and I with the help of our family, decided to create "With Love" bags, supporting children of families in similar situations to ours, who are now living in temporary accommodation. The bags give hope in a difficult time and let them know from one survivor to another that their personal experience does NOT define them and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
We sew and make each bag ourselves with love, from our family to another. Inside each one we include a gender neutral handmade bag, a pre-loved Teddy Bear, a few role play items, a connection bracelet and a notebook and pencil. Each teddy reflects a unique child in which they can relate to having navigated their own way through a complex family home life. We recently set up a donations page online to give people the opportunity to support us in creating the bags.
We reached out to a number of local domestic abuse charities and refuges who help displaced families and they are sharing our “With Love” bags. The first lot of 60 are being issued on the 17 December and we will be continuing to provide more in the future, with a view to including toiletries too.
The ISVA support service has been nothing but a positive experience for me, and they are still supporting me. It is this continued caring support that has enabled me to tell my story, “My Truth”, and provide a platform for others to read and hopefully give them the courage to access support themselves.
I couldn’t have asked for anything more in their support of me through an incredibly difficult time in my life. Thank you for everything you've done but most importantly for believing in me."
My story – Karen Broughton
Client testimony: What is Spring Lodge?
"It is not just bricks and mortar! It is an amazing place, offering peace, comfort, understanding and most importantly of all - confidentiality and safety. You are treated and respected as a 'person' and not a number or statistic!
Spring Lodge has given me something more than any friend or counsellor ever could. That is due to the manager and her dedicated staff providing genuine support and guidance. They are neither a friend or a counsellor - just normal people who want to make a difference to those who have been or are suffering.
I have been going to Spring Lodge for over a year and I self-referred which makes it more personal. I was broken, but now with the help of their 'special' glue I am slowly starting to 'repair myself'.
So please be brave, like I once was. Open the door and step inside Spring Lodge. You won't be let down or disappointed - trust me."
- Client S, Female, Aged 63
Client story: Self-referral
"When the incident happened I drove off and parked up and rang one of my friends to tell her what had happened and that I didn’t know what to do. She suggested that I ring my mum I couldn’t find it in me to do that, so I ended up ringing my brother. He came to where I was and sat with me. In the meantime, my friend had googled services for me and gave me Spring Lodge’s number to ring.
I rang this number whilst I was still sat in the car with my brother and spoke to a lady who went through my options very sensitively. It was helpful that there was a choice for me as so much had already happened and I felt there may be financial implications to this as he paid me maintenance for the children and I felt like I could not handle any more at this point, especially not reporting to the police, so at least this call gave me an option to do something right away but not that.
I was able to self-refer and go in to see a lady at Spring Lodge and everything was explained again. I went through with the medical examination by a doctor. I felt like this was a less traumatic way of doing it compared to a police officer coming and taking my statement as I didn’t find it easy to speak to the police. Going through Spring Lodge felt clinical and medical rather than criminal, a bit like going for a smear, and through this I was able to know my body was ok and also have the evidence collected and stored securely for if/when I wanted to use it. In the back of my head I was always going to report it but I wasn’t ready and knew it would be a long drawn out process that my mental health could not cope with at that time.
Going to Spring Lodge validated it for me as in the first instance I thought, did that really happen or am I making a fuss of it? Having someone say yes made me feel better.
They took safeguarding seriously as I had children with him and I felt it was good that they then made the referral and talked to the social worker for me so that I didn’t have to repeat everything again and then by the time I spoke to them they knew.
Four months later he turned up on my front door and there was stalking behaviour, despite the fact that I had not seen or spoken to him during that time. This was very strange and friends encouraged and supported me to report it. I was able to call the police and explain I had already been to Spring Lodge and had a medical and done a first account and they linked my case with that with my consent. I now find relief in the fact that I have done it. My case is ongoing and I await a result.
The 4 months helped me as it gave me time to be able to deal with it as I was so upset and if I had had to talk to the police when it happened I’d have been a wreck. I needed space and time to get myself more stable as I have mental health issues. I am now being fully supported by their ISVA service which I don’t know what I would have done without."
- Client M, Female, Aged 30
Male Client testimony
"Initially I felt I required no support, although as time progressed the service offered by Spring Lodge helped me through the process and was available when I needed it. The flexibility and support of the team at Spring Lodge has enabled me to work through what happened to me, in a way that allowed me to understand and come to terms with."
- Client S, Male, Aged 45