3/11/2021 - Published by


Bonfire Season Tips | By survivors – For survivors

Bonfire season is upon us, centred around Friday 5th November, and for most people it may mean parties, bonfires, and, of course, fireworks.  But, for some people, especially those who might have been affected by terrorism, explosive bangs and noises can be a terrifying experience, and can bring back memories of what happened to them. 

The Peace Foundation, as part of its peer-to-peer support service, brought together a group of survivors to discuss their experiences and share what they do to cope with the bonfire season.

Bonfire night, along with other celebrations such a New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year, Eid, is a time of celebration, but for someone who has witnessed or been impacted through injury or bereavement in a bomb or gun attack; or lived in a conflict zone, the loud unexpected bangs and bright explosive lights can act as a reminder of darker and more sinister events; and in some cases, can cause distress and even trauma.

The Peace Foundation provides long term support to anyone in the UK affected by terrorism and violent conflict.  In October 2021, we brought together a group of survivors who struggle with the bonfire and firework season, to learn from their experience and share tips to others who find this time difficult.

The tips they shared include:

  • Surround yourself with trustworthy friends and family who stand by you and will help when you’re in need – agree on a code word so they know when you are struggling
  • Turn the TV on and close the curtains – watch your favourite film or TV show with the volume up, close the curtain to help retain attention to the television
  • Go outside to watch the fireworks – being able to see the fireworks helps with association by watching them and it helps you accept them and stops your imagination running away
  • Care for fearful pets – calming them helps keep you distracted and makes you feel useful

William Roberts, who manages the support service said: “This week, we are sharing the tips to support anyone who may be struggling over the coming days.

“Normally, we, and other professionals provide advice, but this year we asked the people impacted to share their own tips and so we hope anyone who is affected can learn from the experiences and it will help them over the coming days.”

The Peace Foundation peer-to-peer support service is available for anyone who is affected by terrorism, but is a non-emergency service – contact support@peace-foundation.org.uk

If you’re having a difficult time or are worried about someone else, then call Samaritans for free on 116 123 – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You can find out more about the Peace Foundation work in the prevention, resolution, and response to violent conflict at https://www.peace-foundation.org.uk/

You can find out more about the Peace Centre at https://www.thepeacecentre.org.uk/