1 October 2020

A crisis worker at The Bridge, Bristol’s sexual assault referral centre (SARC), is taking on a skydive to raise money for the centre.

Melissa Burns has made a list of 30 things to do before she turns 30 and will take on the skydive in November.

The Bridge supports men, women and children from across the South West, including Bristol, Bath, Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Melissa said: “As part of my list of things to do before I turn 30 I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and do something out of the ordinary, as well as raising awareness and funds for a cause I’m really passionate about.

“I’m scared of flying and heights so the thought of being in the plane before the jump scares me more than the jump itself, but my reasoning was that I have to go through with it if people donate.

Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity has been really supportive of The Bridge and our visions to make the centre a welcoming and comfortable place to visit, especially given the circumstances that people come here.

“Most of our spaces have to be forensically cleaned between each client, so the clinical rooms have to be quite bare and basic. With this in mind, we have worked hard to secure funding and raise money to improve the rooms, adding wall art and light panels to make them a bit brighter.”

Melissa has worked at The Bridge for two and a half years. As a crisis worker, she is the first point of contact for anyone who has experienced rape or sexual assault, whether recently or historically.

She said: “Day-to-day the role is quite varied and we get referrals from lots of different organisations and agencies.

“We provide acute care including forensic medical examinations, both with the police and self-referrals, emergency contraception, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, hepatitis B vaccinations, as well as ongoing care such as counselling, sexual health follow ups and domestic abuse services.

“As well as the financial benefit of raising money for The Bridge through Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity, it has been great to raise awareness of our service as well. Lots of people don’t know that SARC services even exist, so it has been really important to me to promote what we do and the support we can offer.”

At The Bridge, Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity has funded a box of brand new toys for children to take home, new clothes for clients to wear home after showing or when clothing has been taken for evidence, and blankets and pyjamas for adults and children.

 Donate now to help support The Bridge.