Megan was advised by police, social services and Women’s Aid to get a far away as possible from a dangerous perpetrator that had been stalking her and her eldest child, abusing her and damaging their property for over 18 months.

“I felt bruised inside and out as I sat with my two young boys waiting for a train to freedom. We travelled with just the clothes we had on, we had no food or any of our personal belongings – apart from the boys much loved teddy bears that they were clutching.

As we headed towards the women’s refuge in Bournemouth I felt nervous of the unknown. To say it was a daunting experience is an understatement. My eldest who was seven years old at the time had a lot of questions for me which I didn’t really have answers for. I answered him as honestly and as calmly as I could, but inside I was crying and wondering if I was doing the right thing – moving them away from everything and everyone they knew.

We arrived to a warm welcome from the staff at the refuge. They were all friendly, caring, and understanding of our needs and situation. We were loaned money for electricity and essentials like tinned foods, toiletries and towels.

Our key worker was just amazing – she helped me apply for benefits, school places, hospital appointments and day centres. She also got me as much information as she could on Bournemouth and surrounding areas so we could find somewhere suitable to live. Nothing was too much trouble for her.

“I felt bruised inside and out as I sat with my two young boys waiting for a train to freedom.”

It was a very tough time for me and the boys, but the help from the staff at the refuge made getting through it much easier. They were all very helpful and understanding of our situation. And once I had found somewhere to move, BCHA put me on the rent deposit scheme.

Moving on from the refuge came with happiness, apprehension, worry of the unknown and a feeling of loneliness. But I need not have worried – I was given an outreach worker and the support we were given allowed us to move forwards with our lives without fear.

We have lived in Christchurch for over 14 years now, and we love it here. I now volunteer at the refuge to give something back for all the support that we received. I also co-facilitate the pattern changing courses alongside our original key worker.

I have really come full circle.”

Megan’s piece of advice for changemaking:

“To be able to give back is the best feeling in the world”

  • £5 would pay for a toiletry start up pack
  • £20 would pay for school uniform for a child
  • £50 would pay for a kitchen start up pack for Move On
  • £1,000 would create a donation those that have fled abuse with very little belongings
  • £5,000 can convert an office into a sensory room for the children in refuge