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Natalie on how Victim Support has helped her family since the Manchester terrorist attack

20 February 2018

Natalie and her familyNatalie Senior and her two daughters Eve, 14, and Emilia, 11, were at the Manchester Arena on the night of the terrorist attack on 22nd May 2017.

The family from Bradford were in the foyer of the arena when the bomb went off.

Natalie said: ‘As soon as I heard it I knew it was a bomb, but in that moment you don’t know what’s going to happen next.’

Fearing the worst, she told Emilia to run as her physical injuries weren’t as serious and she could make a quicker get away.

Natalie and Eve then made their way to the station by the arena where Eve was taken to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital as she was in a critical condition.

Natalie was then taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital where she stayed for three nights, before being transferred to Manchester to be with Eve.

Both Natalie and Eve underwent several operations to remove shrapnel from their legs. They were initially discharged in wheelchairs for the first month, then on crutches for two months after that.

Both are still undergoing physiotherapy for nerve damage. Natalie’s youngest daughter, Emilia, suffered hearing problems as a result of the blast, which she is still struggling with today.

Help from Victim Support

Natalie said they first found out about the help available from Victim Support when the police visited them in the hospital, and were encouraged by their nurses to accept all the support available to them.

They were soon assigned a Victim Support volunteer to help.

Natalie said: ‘Nigel came to visit us once a week — or as often as needed when we were struggling. He built up such a strong relationship with all of the family, and he is still supporting us now.

‘It’s been so helpful to have one consistent person, outside of the family, who’s been there from the start and knows everything that’s happened.’

One of the most significant ways in which Nigel supported the family was when he accompanied Natalie and the girls to the re-opening of the Manchester Arena.

‘This was a really difficult and daunting experience and it really helped to have Nigel by our side on the day,’ said Natalie.

Nigel also supported the family with practical matters, such as looking into compensation available to the family, especially as Eve was initially in a wheelchair due to the extent of her injuries.

As part of her recovery, Natalie just completed a six week course for survivors of the Manchester attack run by Victim Support.

‘We met weekly with Victim Support case workers, volunteers and other survivors of the attack. It was really helpful to meet people in a similar position to us that knew exactly what we’d been through. From the beginning we were able to give input on what we wanted to get out of these sessions, and we all worked with the team to create a really positive environment which focussed on helping us find ways of coping.

‘We had sessions on managing anxiety, how to sleep better, and dealing with feelings of guilt that many of us had been experiencing.’

In order to help Victim Support, the family have been fundraising and have so far raised more than £500.

If you'd like to join them, donate to our One UK appeal to help us support victims of terrorism, their families and communities.

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