An inspirational Torbay project leader has come forward to share the story of how far she has come to mark International Women’s Day 2018.
Now the project manager of Rising Moments, a non-profit group supporting women affected by abuse past or present across the Bay, Sanctuary Housing resident Karen Vaughan has herself survived some very difficult times.
Since 1992, Karen has shown just how strong she is after coming through a range of harrowing events, including being assaulted, suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and being hospitalised due to a serious illness.
The 42-year-old had previously completed a social care qualification and she went back to her roots, setting up her own children’s entertainment business.
Karen explains: “It became my therapy. I was able to bring joy to young children which helped my mental health enormously. Around this time I also met my current partner whose support has been invaluable.”
In 2012, Karen had the chance to move to a Sanctuary property in Torbay and hasn’t looked back since. She says: “My new home became my place of safety and I began to heal after years of suffering. The local community was wonderful and accepted me for who I was.
“With great support from Sanctuary and all the community projects they are involved in I set up my own, called Rising Moments.”
The not-for-profit project offers ‘I Feel Good’ boxes to women affected by abuse past or present – collections of donated goodies such as books, bubble bath and stationery aimed at helping the women know they aren’t alone and providing a positive moment.
Karen has been attending a women’s circle – funded by Sanctuary and led by community organisation Imagine CIC through the Step by Step pre-employment project – that offers a range of activities to help participants inspire and empower each other.
Karen is now feeling positive about the future: “Rising Moments is expanding all the time, we now signpost people to further support, and last Christmas we were able to put together 52 Christmas cracker boxes with the help of different community organisations.
“I now know from personal experience that with a little bit of hope and someone believing in you anything is possible. I’m looking forward to working with more Sanctuary-supported projects this year.”
Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, Lynne Roberts, said: “Karen is an inspiration, and International Women’s Day has given us an ideal opportunity to celebrate her journey and how far she has come. I’d like to congratulate her for the strength and positivity she has had to truly turn her life around.”
International Women’s Day 2018, which falls on 8 March, is a campaign to encourage gender parity and to celebrate progress made by women across the globe.