My name is Mike Haines, I am the brother to the Humanitarian worker David Haines. My brother was murdered by terrorists in Syria in September of 2014. Since his death I have been on a journey speaking on the topics of unity, tolerance and understanding.
I was initially invited to take part in a Trauma Awareness Day with the Foundation’s Survivor Awareness Network (SAN). I travelled down by train and I must admit I was a touch nervous; going into an unknown group of people, in a new environment, was for me a little unsettling.
I should have known better, Ann and Donna, staff from the centre were warm and welcoming with a much-needed cuppa. As more guests arrived I started chatting with some of them and quickly felt more at ease.
We moved through to the main room where the day’s course was to take place. Standing up and introducing myself in an environment where everybody had suffered some form of trauma (the 7/7 bombings in London, the Warrington bombing for example), was actually very freeing. Not having the reaction that I have come to expect when introduced was refreshing. Not that the other attendees did not care, but had suffered themselves and understood how just acceptance would be valued.
I do not wish to say so much of the day itself, except that I found it personally a great help. The course was very professionally delivered and very helpful in many ways. For me, it has highlighted a few areas that I need to address.
The Peace Centre is an extremely attractive building with various activities and with many different groups. The work they have done and are doing with so many different organisations and individuals is vital and important. The staff from the catering of the delicious lunch through to the course facilitators are friendly, warm and extremely helpful.
Since then I have been travelling to mosques, churches, youth groups, schools and organisations talking of the need for unity, tolerance and peace. SAN has been extremely important to me in being able to carry out my work. They are an essential element in me being able to keep a balance with all that has happened and I could not do without them.
I look forward to my next engagement with them all and I urge you to continue your support for them.
(2015) The Survivors Assistance Network (SAN) is a service provided by the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation with funding support from the Ministry of Justice – for further information contact Terry O’Hara