Ipswich: ‘I’d have died without Iceni’

IPSWICH: An ex-sex worker and former drug addict has today told how she is lucky to be alive thanks to the Iceni Project.

Sarah Grimwood is backing The Evening Star’s campaign to Save Iceni.

Sarah, 29, has been going to the Iceni Project, based in Foundation Street, since five of her friends were murdered by Steve Wright in 2006.

Addicted to heroin and crack cocaine, she worked on the streets to pay for her habit and saw no light at the end of the tunnel.

She told The Evening Star that being a sex worker for ten years left her feeling like she was “walking dead”.

She said: “I hated it and hated my life but I had a really, really bad drug habit on the worst drugs out there on brown (heroin) and crack cocaine. Once you are hooked on them your life is over and without help and support there was no way out for me.

“I wanted to change my life so bad and was so low for so many years, I didn’t care if I lived or died – now I hate to think how long I thought that way.”

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After the murders, awareness of the Iceni Project spread rapidly, and although Sarah admits she was scared to attend – she now believes it was the best decision she ever made.

“I went to Iceni and they just listened and didn’t look down on me as I was so low and my self-esteem was so low for so many years.

“Even now three or four years later after being and staying at Iceni, I’m only now beginning to realise I am worth something.”

She said that as well as helping her secure her own flat, the charity has helped her with treatment for Hepatitis C.

Sarah has now been clean of drugs for more than a year – but she is adamant that she could not have done it without the help of Iceni.

n Has Iceni helped you? Do you have any messages of support for the charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

IPSWICH: The founder of the much-loved and highly regarded Iceni Project has thanked Evening Star readers for their support and dedication to the service.

Brian Tobin said that while his emotions were running high, he was “amazed” by the hundreds of letters that have flooded in since the future of Iceni was put in doubt.

“I have been amazed at the letters of support we have received and numbers who have signed our online petition,” he said.

“Your support is acting as a pivotal catalyst and I will ensure we keep the momentum going from this end.

“We cannot change the decision that has set this farcical and desperate situation in motion, however, we are determined to fight on and we have already an exciting new pioneering service that could lead the way in this country in treating addiction with the addict and the family together.

“More news on this will be available in the near future and once the dust has settled, we aim to set our sights on securing the funding we need.”