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120 %
raised of £750 target
by 24 supporters

SARAH's page

I'm running the Sheffield Half Marathon for Encourage Survivors Of Cults And Abuse because life is too short to get stuck in a cult

120 %
raised of £750 target
by 24 supporters
  • Event: Sheffield Half Marathon 2018, 08 Apr 2018

Encourage Survivors Of Cults And Abuse

We raise funds for counselling and support to improve the life of former cult members

Charity Registration No. 1104694


Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

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It's happened -the 100% has just been surpassed.

Here is a testimonial from one of the people who benefited from the money raised last year through me and Ollie running:

How EnCourage has helped me

I was very fortunate to receive subsidised Post Cult Counselling through EnCourage from Gillie Jenkinson who works as an Approved Service provider for EnCourage.  She is one of very few trained counsellors in
the UK who has specific training on helping survivors of cults.

I spent over 20 years in a very destructive cult, I was brainwashed into believing I was a bad influence on my children and so allowed them to be separated from me while we all worked as slaves for the

When I finally got out, I had no friends, no money nor place to live, unable to relate and felt shame and defensiveness about the
cult.  My internal life felt like a barren post nuclear wasteland, it seemed like nothing would ever flourish in my life again.   My grown-up children have had their own very difficult journeys learning to adjust to life outside the cult. Our connection to each other was completely severed during the cult years.

In my experience there is almost no help for survivors of cults. Most services have little or no understanding of the process of being recruited into a cult and the iron tight grip it exerts over
our lives. I was fortunate to find counsellors w ho were willing to learn and somehow,
I coped with the many crises and traumas after leaving the cult.  But there was an enormous gap of
understanding about the brainwashing process. 
I heard of EnCourage and Gillie Jenkinson’s journey from being a former
cult member to becoming a counsellor who helps survivors of cults.  She also spent years studying cults and
achieved her doctorate for in depth research about cults and specifically what helps survivors to recover.

I was thrilled when Gillie contacted and let me know of the fundraising by Ollie and Sarah for Encourage in 2017.  I feel very lucky that the money they raised enabled my counselling sessions. It made a huge difference to work with a counsellor who had actually been in a cult!

Over several sessions, Gillie took me through the process of understanding the brainwashing that had happened to my
family.  I’ve learned to stop blaming myself for being so gullible.  I’ve
learned to value my strengths, achieve connection and feel real love within my family. It’s been hard won and all the more precious as we know the mythic journey we’ve all travelled.

I was dragging around toxic baggage of Titanic proportions.  With Gillie’s expert help we untangled the wreckage.  It is a deep process getting to the root of the many ways a cult takes absolute
control of every part of our lives.  Having done this work, I feel empowered to live more fully and now have the tools to
deal with any challenges that come from my cult past.

I’ve started to feel happy and love my life despite all that’s happened.

Thank you, Ollie and Sarah, for supporting the work of EnCourage and Gillie’s powerful and pioneering work. Please support
Sarah as she raises funds for others to benefit from the work of EnCourage.



Last year I ran the Sheffield Half for the first time and knew straight away that I was going to do it in 2018.  Sheffield is known for its steel and you need balls of it to run it. This year I'm hoping to find some! Famed for its 7 hills, a bit like Rome but in England,  Sheffield is an amazing city and the run quickly ascends into the Peak District.

I ran it with a friend Ollie (who was much faster than me) and between us we raised £2245, exceeding our target of £2000.  The charity EnCourage were very pleased to receive everyone's kind donations and the money quickly went to help towards survivors coming out of cults.

I soon became aware whilst promoting my run last year that many people would rather run a mile away than talk about cults.  I felt very exposed telling people I had been in one but the process was a cathartic one.  The overriding belief is that the majority of people do not believe they could ever be hoodwinked.  I hope that is true:)  People join organisations for many reasons:  they want to make the world a better place, they want to make their place in the world a better place.  Something is on offer!  No one thinks they are entering the darkness.  No one thinks they have to give up their identity or recognize that they are giving up so much; after all cults promise to offer so much more than one could imagine.  Absolute certainty is so tantalising.  And so the web has begun to be spun.

Last year the run was about my story, but the money Ollie and I raised then became about other people and their story.  I met a man a few years ago and he had spent about 20 years trying to secure his son out of a cult.  This man died a couple of years after I met him.  It really touched my heart, because he would never know if his efforts had succeeded.  Every parent wants their child to be happy and reach their potential.  The promise of such organisations seem like an answer to all our prayers.  They are so alluring and to be honest some cults are not harmful.  Some have good attributes as well as bad.  Why do people join them whilst others who have not been enticed in, fear them so much?  No one would knowingly join one.  Deep down, I think many people recognise how difficult they are to leave.  Some of course do leave.  Some stay.  Some others also stay and have children who become second generation members.  The saddest part is that many such organisations state that they are the truth, capturing the life and potential of a person who may never know that there is an imperfect world out here and it's wonderful.

EnCourage helps through counselling and education, survivors to understand the mechanisms which tied them in and how to break the bonds.  Having received counselling from a specialist myself, I know I would have gone round in circles for ever without their care, support and expertise.  I got lucky!  I'm sure like most people we would like to think that everyone has the potential to be happy and own their own life. I would love it if you would sponsor me please to raise money to fund EnCourage who work tirelessly in this very unknown area of therapy.  I'm so hoping "the hills are alive with the sound of music!"  All 7 of them:>)  Wish me luck!

Love Sarah x