At HHUGS, each of our beneficiaries have a different story. No one’s experiences are the same, but everybody describes living with the same trauma.
After being raided, sometimes arrested and released; after watching a loved one being taken away in handcuffs and having to navigate life without them – all our beneficiaries will tell you they feel alone.
Alone. Isolated. Fearful. Anxious. Depressed.
Stigmatised and marginalised by their local community – a community that once loved and supported them – HHUGS families are forced to go through the most difficult time of their lives by themselves.
“People who knew us for 20 or 30 years stepped back and didn’t want to be seen or associated with us. Men from our family were banned from particular mosques. Muslims would shun us and not respond to our salaam.” – The Siddiqui Family
Sister Samara tells us:
“There were some friends who didn’t want me to contact them and they didn’t want to know me. One or two of them would say that their husbands would not allow them to come to my house. Even with prison visits I couldn’t find any sisters to accompany me.”
Sister Hafsa, who was pregnant when her husband was arrested, says:
“Suddenly, my friends and family were avoiding me completely. People just stopped answering my calls.”
Dealing with incarceration is heart-breaking all year round. But in winter, it’s harder than ever.
Our families are living in poverty, forced to choose between buying food or heating their homes. Alone, depressed and feeling hopeless about the future, the darkness of winter is all-consuming and it’s hard to believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Elderly Beneficiaries Rely on HHUGS for Social Support
Many of our beneficiaries rely on HHUGS for their social interactions – especially elderly parents whose sons have been imprisoned.
Respected members of their community one day, but invisible and ignored the next, their pain is unimaginable.
Nearing the end of a long life, they’d hoped their last years would be full of love and joy.
Instead, they’re broken, alone and living on the brink of poverty.
Our elderly beneficiaries look forward to seeing our Keyworkers because, often, our Keyworkers are the only people who seek their friendship and treat them like the dignified humans they are.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for HHUGS. I had a few Keyworkers over the years and Wallahi, all of them treated me like a real sister. The emotional support and everything they gave…they gave not 100%, they gave 200%. Allah (SWT) always sent people to help me, especially when I was at my lowest. Just knowing that I had this kind of support from them, it gave me strength, you know? Wallahi, it’s such a big blessing.” – Celeste
A loneliness crisis has hit the UK, and we’re seeing evidence of this among the families we support. It’s a crisis that impacts health just as seriously as smoking or obesity, and it makes sufferers prone to depression and cognitive decline, especially when they’re elderly.
During winter, the increased darkness and cold weather means people of all ages are more likely to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder: a depression that comes and goes with seasons.
Along with the emotional, psychological, financial, and social anguish our families are living with, the winter months are a battle they have to survive.
A Hot Cuppa and Warm Company
HHUGS’ Monthly Coffee Mornings are regular get togethers that we’ve introduced to combat loneliness amongst our beneficiaries.
This safe space gives single mothers, elderly parents and young children the chance to come together and meet other people who have also been affected by UK terror laws.
Through spoken and unspoken words, they bond over tea and cake, finding relief in the realisation that they’re not alone after all.
“The gatherings are nice because you get together with other families and it makes you realise it’s not only you going through that struggle. It’s not only me that is struggling. There are other husbands and sons who are going through what my husband is going through; and other mothers and wives going through what I am going through. Here, we support each other. It makes me feel like I’m not alone. It’s like they’re family. They are part of us and we are part of them”. – Fatima
Our families can’t be themselves around strangers. The fear of them finding out about their loved one’s charges and rejecting them is too much to bear, which makes building new friendships impossible.
But at our Monthly Coffee Mornings, our beneficiaries can speak openly, knowing they won’t be judged.
“People sit together and talk, and that releases a little bit of the pressure. We feel relieved when we see each other, because everyone there is like us. Outside, we can’t share what we really feel. But there, we sit and share things with each other and feel a little better in ourselves.” – Anonymous
Help Us Ward Off the Chill
HHUGS’ monthly social gatherings are an integral part of the support system we provide for families that have been torn apart by incarceration.
Our practical and financial support serves our beneficiaries’ physical needs, but our social programme takes care of their mental needs.
When our families have someone to chat to and laugh with, life seems a little brighter; their struggles seem a little more bearable.
For just £120, you can sponsor a HHUGS Coffee Morning.
Your donation will give devastated single mothers and isolated elderly parents the chance to connect over a hot cuppa and warm company.
Help us to ward off the chill this winter.
Sponsor a Coffee Morning Now