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Evan Chiswell: Deputy Chair

Business, Marketing and Development Director: St Martins Healthcare Services CIC

evan%20chiswellThroughout his work with disabled individuals, older people, adult and young offenders, people with a mental health need and substance users, Evan has supported many men who have experienced different forms of abuse. By working closely with these individuals, Evan has learnt of the profound impact that abuse causes upon people’s lives, and the benefits of empathetic peer-based support. Facilitated within his Qualified Social Worker training; at academic, theoretical and practical levels, Evan has gained experience regarding the interplay between society, law, an individual and their environment.

Throughout his work history he has assessed each of these factors and their influential effect on individuals’ life-courses, or chances. With a mixture of frontline working, strategic management and academic experience, Evan’s found that Survivors Manchester provides a necessary and exceptional service to survivors, their partners, their families and their friends. His decision to become involved with Survivors Manchester is based on his vocation of working with oppressed individuals and communities, to empower those people to therapeutically achieve change and to strive towards breaking the oppressive influence of the silence of abuse.

Why did you choose to become a board member of Survivors Manchester?

My decision to become a board member of Survivors Manchester was a simple one. Having been privileged to have had a number of individuals speak to me about their legacies, I had raised my concerns about the lack of specialist support; and more importantly, a peer-based network of individuals that can support each other. The person that I raised these concerns with was Duncan Craig. Duncan then told me of this vision for Survivors Manchester.

Realising the degree of silence which exists; on individual and social levels, it was clear to me that something had to be done. I felt like this was a unique opportunity for me to contribute to changing the injustice that exists, and making the lives of survivors better within Manchester.

The silence further inhibits men from having an opportunity to speak openly about their legacies, and I wanted to be a part of an organisation which changes the tide of silence affecting individuals’ lives, and communal, cultural and societal awareness.

What would you like to see Survivors Manchester do in Manchester?

I’m truly honoured to have been involved in Survivors Manchester since its inception. In that time, the organisation has had some remarkable achievements, but its greatest accomplishments have been those not achieved by the organisation itself, but by those that it serves: the Survivors themselves.

I would like to see Survivors Manchester continue to represent survivors living across the North West at every level of its provision and delivery. This principle is vital to ensuring that Survivors Manchester gives people a platform and the confidence to speak out.

I would like to see Survivors Manchester create a format which adapts to the people that it supports. Furthermore, I would like to see Survivors Manchester provide advice, support or peer-support to those brave and strong people that support survivors on a day-to-day basis; whether they be partners, families or friends.

Survivors Manchester has a difficult objective in offering a service to all male survivors, but it is achievable with the support of the survivors themselves, their families, friends and partners to spread the word and ensure that Survivors Manchester doesn’t leave anybody to suffer alone.

I would like to see Survivors Manchester continue to learn, evolve and grow to become an organisation which male survivors have ownership over, and which can lead men to live more positive lives.

Do you have a message for Greater Manchester residents?

My message to Greater Manchester residents is that Survivors Manchester is an organisation that can only grow with your support. The organisation was founded to aid you as residents and so with your help we can end the silence of abuse.

If you, your partner, your family member or your friend have experienced abuse and want somebody to talk to, or to tell your story, then that is the reason that we are here. Help break the silence of abuse, it ends with us.

What’s your favourite thing about Manchester?

Having lived in a number of cities and towns across England and Wales, I’ve fallen in love with Manchester for any number of reasons. To attribute one favourite element of Manchester is difficult, but it has to be the music; Manchester has and is continuing to be the birthplace of an exceptional number of amazing bands and culture.

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