A Jersey nurse is inviting islanders to an evening of jive and rock 'n' roll to give back to the charity that helped her quickly get counselling support when she lost her brother to suicide two years ago.
Una Durham-Waite sought support from Liberate during 2020 after the death of her "lovely" brother, Niall McPartlin.
“I was totally devastated and completely destroyed with grief and shock," she told Express. "I felt completely powerless."
Having contacted other organisations for help, she was told that “the waiting list was so long”, meaning she could have been left waiting anywhere between eight and 10 weeks before being seen.
However, Una said she “needed to see someone immediately.”
Pictured: Una described her brother, Niall McPartlin, as a "lovely", "very gentle" and "very kind" person.
It was at that point that she decided to contact Liberate, he Channel Islands' equality and diversity charity, which offers a wide range of services, including providing safe and inclusive spaces, advice and assistance to everyone.
“I contacted Liberate as I did not know where to turn. They got me in to see one of their counsellors within a few days," she said.
“He [the counsellor] was fantastic, he really made me feel at ease and helped me to work through my grief. He gave me the tools I needed to come to terms with my loss.”
She added: "It was brilliant to have access...and being able to just say and talk about what had happened in a safe space.
"What I was going through was a normal situation. It was a normal reaction."
Pictured: Liberate provides people with six free counselling sessions.
“I had my initial sessions, had a break and then had some more. This is brilliant as it was tailored to me and what I needed," Una said.
Paddy Haversham-Quaid, CXO of Liberate, said: “It is a privilege to support people at some of the most challenging moments of their life through our counselling service.
“The trust that our clients place in our counselling team and the service we offer is very special.
“Since we started the service in March 2020, we have supported over 90 people and provided over 700 hours of counselling.”
Pictured: Paddy Haversham-Quaid, CXO of Liberate, whose responsibility is to ensure everyone receives the best possible experience from interacting with the charity.
To say thank you for the support she received during the pandemic, Una is looking to fundraise for Liberate by taking part in an evening of rock and roll, jive and Lindy Hop around Liberation Day in May - and she wants islanders to join in.
The event has been co-organised by Lindy Hop Jersey, the Island’s only swing dance club, and Dancing in Jersey, a new social enterprise and NPO which has been set up by local dancer Hayley Routier.
Local rockabilly band Carl and the Converted will be taking part, and there'll also be tunes from the 40s and 50s from a visiting UK DJ, DJ Mike.
Pictured: Carl and the converted performed at the Gorey Spice Festival back in 2016.
"It is going to be a fun evening with participants encouraged to dress to impress in 1940s/50s fashion as an ode to Liberation Day, although this isn’t essential," Paddy said.
"You don’t need to be a dancer as there will be teachers and other experienced dancers on hand to help you with the steps. We can’t wait to ‘Jump, Jive an’ Wail’!"
Una told Express that she hoped the event and her story would "highlight how important it is to talk and how important it is to reach out to people."
"Especially men in our lives as well as our partners, our sons, whoever. The key message is to be able to listen to somebody when they want to vent or they wan to say something, or they feel depressed or...you know. It's just that listening."
Where? The Best Western Royal Hotel, David Place, St. Helier
When? 19:00, Sunday 8 May
How to buy tickets? Tickets can be purchased HERE.
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