Chat 'n' Chill Peer Support Group - Returns June 2024

 Part of the Survivors Hub Project


12th May 2024

The new six-month course is open to Bedford Borough residents over the age of 18. This is a therapeutic peer support group for women who have faced childhood trauma or domestic violence, finding themselves dealing with the challenging symptoms of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (Complex PTSD).

We would like to extend our thanks to the House of Industry Estate and the Gale Family Charity Trust for their support for this project.

Find out more and how to join by External link opens in new tab or windowclicking on this link to our Chat 'n' Chill page.



New Service for Victims of Sexual Violence and Exploitation with Complex PTSD

 Part of the Survivors Hub Project


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The Survivors Hub is a project dedicated to running peer-to-peer self-help groups for adults who have experienced prolonged, repeated exposure to abuse, be that physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or spiritual, in childhood or adulthood from which there was no real avenue of escape.


31st January 2024

Recovery Code X has long recognised the role of sexual violence and exploitation in the development of chronic symptoms of complex trauma and felt that a specialist service was needed for women with these shared experiences. But how to fund such a group, and where would we find the participants? Those questions held us back, and it was only in November last year that we made a breakthrough.

Unfortunately, the subject of sexual abuse – whether experienced in childhood or later in life, is still largely taboo, and rarely discussed.

Yet, the most common crimes in Bedfordshire during 2022 were violence and sexual offences, with 19,455 reported, according to Bedford itself reported 3,814 offences of this nature, making Bedford the most dangerous major town in Bedfordshire. Since sexual offences are often hidden crimes that are not reported to the police ( Census analysis 2021), these figures will be just the tip of the iceberg.

Taking a chance

Out of the blue, we spotted an opportunity to apply for a grant to fund a new therapeutic peer support service specially designed for victims of these crimes, and although time was short, we had to give it a go.

We entered the Police Crime Commissioner Bedfordshire’s Community Safety Fund Mini-Competition within only a few weeks of its deadline and were delighted to discover that our proposal had been selected.

Heart-centred approach

We chose ‘Heart2Heart’ as the name for the new service, to reflect our heart-centred peer-led approach. The group, effectively a pilot at this stage, aims to provide a safe, non-judgemental, welcoming online space to be listened to and connect with others who have been through similar experiences.

The sessions, run by two specially trained Recovery Code X facilitators, will share coping strategies as well as helpful psycho-educative topics.

Starts Saturday February 17th 2024.

Find out more and how to register by clicking on the External link opens in new tab or windowHeart2Heart webpage.



The Evolution of Chat ‘n’ Chill

October 7th 2023

Can a peer support group morph into a therapeutic group or program if the conditions are right? The answer is ‘yes,’ it can, but choose your words carefully. The term ‘therapy group’ is normally used to define a group facilitated by a licensed psychotherapist.

Some Foundation Trusts have developed their own guidelines. For example, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, says group therapy is for up to 8 people who meet weekly with a therapist for one hour and 15 minutes. Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust states that groups are run on the same sorts of psychoanalytic principles as those applying for individual psychotherapy.

Humble beginnings

Our External link opens in new tab or windowChat ‘n’ Chill online group for women diagnosed or self-identifying with mild to moderate Complex PTSD began as a safe space to share and receive emotional support – a talking and relaxation space. In May 2023, its main focus was being somewhere you could go to feel validated and understood.

The sessions were delivered within a framework from the start, drawing on my own learning from NHS Recovery College/IMROC peer tutor training courses, and fleshed out with psychodynamic theory to help participants acquire a clearer understanding of their struggles. At this point, the emphasis was on psychoeducation and peer support for Complex PTSD.  

Flexible and organic approach

Under the guidance of our HCPC registered psychologists, we have been able to bend and grow, respond to difficulties brought up by group members. We retain the components of peer support and psychoeducation, but now we respond directly to the needs presented in each group session, bringing a carefully designed and packaged program to each session – a program that has been developed by a team of four professionals.

The two facilitators (myself included) are able to bring somatic, mind-body, evidence-based theory and exercises into the sessions, due to their own qualifications in complementary and alternative therapies.

‘Recovery Code X at its heart is peer centred,’ says Melanie Tomsett, who is an accomplished teacher and shamanic counsellor in her own right. ‘We responded to the developing needs of Chat ‘n’ Chill participants organically and dynamically which has led to the development of a peer centred course.’

A new therapeutic program for the future

The next step is to design a pre-packaged therapeutic program, drawing on our learning and participant feedback. Funding will allow our multidisciplinary team of professionals the chance to pool their knowledge and produce a course that changes lives.
Hopefully, we’ll be viewed as contributing to the creation of trauma-informed and personalised care approaches, outlined as a priority for Community Mental Health Transformation by the NHS in its May 2023 document.

As Paul Spencer, Head of Health, Policy and Campaigns at Mind, recently said: We are in the middle of the biggest mental health crisis the country has ever seen and we need to see a response that recognises the scale of the challenge we face.

By Analisa Borneo

Founder and Managing Director, Recovery Code X

© Copyright October 2023 All Rights Reserved


New Face-to-Face Peer Support Group

Part of the Survivors Hub Project

The Survivors Hub is a project dedicated to running peer-to-peer self-help groups for adults who have experienced prolonged, repeated exposure to abuse, be that physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or spiritual, in childhood or adulthood from which there was no real avenue of escape.


Venue: Bedford Town Centre

Frequency: Monthly
Next session: Date to be confirmed.
Registration required.
Cost: £15 per session

Women's Peer Support Group - Registrations are closed


Following the success of our taster session in August, and continuing interest in Nature's Way, Recovery Code X will be returning to the project in the New Year once the necessary funding has been secured.

Nature's Way is a face-to-face peer support group for women with mild to moderate Complex PTSD as a result of childhood trauma and/or domestic violence. Part of the Survivors Hub Project. We’ll be drawing on our learning acquired from previous groups and providing a safe space for women to connect with others who will understand what they are experiencing, share issues they are struggling with and feel emotionally supported.


This monthly series explores ways to connect with nature for therapeutic benefit, to reduce stress and help rebalance and energise the nervous system. The sessions, led by Shamanic Counsellor and Teacher, Melanie Tomsett, will incorporate traditional sound healing methods, breathwork and other tools to aid emotional and mental well being.


Within easy access of public transport. Wheelchair accessible.

See our External link opens in new tab or windowNature's Way webpage for further information or email



New Monthly Drop-In Group

Part of the Survivors Hub Project

The Survivors Hub is a project dedicated to running peer-to-peer self-help groups for adults who have experienced prolonged, repeated exposure to abuse, be that physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or spiritual, in childhood or adulthood from which there was no real avenue of escape.


Women's Peer Support Group

In March of this year, Recovery Code X was honoured to receive the gift of a generous donation from an anonymous supporter – money that could be used to help us continue the work we have started with the Survivors Hub.


We chose to run a monthly drop-in, so that we could keep the group running for longer. We're extending the Chat ‘n’ Chill theme we ran last December, and keeping the most popular parts of the Survivors Hub series – things like the grounding exercises and meditations, snippets of psychological theory to help us better understand why we feel and act the way we do, and plenty of time to share our stories, coping skills, steps we are taking to change negative patterns and recover from the impact of our traumatic experiences. Most of all, we want Chat ‘n’ Chill to be a non-judgemental space where it feels safe to just ‘Be’, a place we can turn to sit and listen, and feel part of a community that understands, if that’s what feels best.

The sessions are held on online and free. Further information is available on our External link opens in new tab or windowChat 'n' Chill page.

All we ask in return is for you to provide feedback after the sessions and abide by our Peer Support Group Agreement.


We have reached full capacity for course bookings.


If you have further questions about Chat 'n’ Chill, email

Peer Support Groups Needed All Year Round


Recovery Code X will probably best remember 2022 as the year the Survivors Hub Project launched a uniquely packaged online peer support group for women with Complex PTSD. It will go down in our history as the year we installed a new registration and review system that reaped rewards in helping us to create safer and more cohesive groups. It'll go down as the time we learned the most from you, our group members, and produced a series that mattered.

While there are no quick fixes for Complex PTSD, the mere act of sharing experiences and feeling supported by a group, can be validating and life-enhancing.

Your Feelings Matter

Like many psychological therapies, the course needs to be longer than 7 or 8 weeks to achieve lasting results.  


Group feedback insists on the need for a regular weekly or fortnightly group all year round – a group you can rely on. For some, the Survivors Hub was the only source of emotional support in a topsy turvy world, where overwhelm and isolation, flashbacks and fatigue are met with disbelief and intolerance, moral judgement – or worse.

Melanie Tomsett who co-facilitated

the Christmas Chat 'n' Chill Survivors Hub

We recognise that everyone is at a different place in their journey, and are passionate about allowing equal time to share. Above all, we’re here to listen.


We close new registrations before the course starts to help group members bond and feel safe, minimise disruption.


We’re grateful to the National Lottery for funding the seven-week series. Now we’re looking at options to put in place a peer support group that won’t disappear at Christmas, that can carry us through the different seasons of the year, and be a rock in the storms of life.

Anna Bragga

Founder/Chair, Recovery Code X

What They're Saying About The Survivors Hub


 I was so excited to learn about Recovery Code X as I had been looking for support groups for CPTSD for a long time. No help was available from the NHS and few people in my life understood my struggles. I felt very alone. I quickly discovered that it is a pioneering organisation. The information it offers is extensive and thorough, the team are specialists who are compassionate and genuinely committed to helping people struggling with the effects of long-term trauma and abuse. It felt amazing to have a safe place where I could share my problems, learn ways to manage my CPTSD and feel less alone. It is vital for people with CPTSD to find a safe harbour, and this is what Recovery Code X represents to me.

~ T.P.



The Survivors Hub is a very welcoming safe space that ensures support from both peers and facilitators. The balance of theory and discussion allows sharing of emotional content that can be painful. It is a much-needed group for individuals still coping with Cptsd symptoms.

~ Jaswinder Challi



 I was really impressed by the way the session was conducted, not only the passion demonstrated by the facilitators, but also for the engagement of the participants, and their contributions to the session.

This was only an introductory session, and yet it did reach a positive outcome, which will surely lead to more and more with the upcoming sessions. I felt that there was a positive and friendly environment that enabled the participants to feel understood and supported. I really look forward to joining next session!


~ Rafida Alhagiali



 My favourite way to spend a Wednesday evening. I can’t recommend this space highly enough.

~ D.


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Don't miss out on future Survivors Hub peer support groups, Community Bubble focus groups, workshops and other events, by subscribing to our e-newsletter: The Healing Well.

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Self-help Resources for Complex PTSD

You can listen to the guidance in our four self-help podcasts by clicking on the boxes below.

Or to download the flyers, go to our External link opens in new tab or windowProject Educate webpage.

See our directory of local and national support services and online support. External link opens in new tab or windowClick here for information.



Donate today

to help us provide more services

for people with Complex PTSD