A woman who credits music for giving her the strength to leave an abusive relationship has started a community cafe to help others.

Luiza Moir was born in a tiny village in communist Poland and became involved in an abusive relationship in her twenties.

The situation almost led her to take her own life but she says music and songwriting saved her.

Now in Swindon, Luiza is founder of Sounds Like Women, a group that aims to empower people in difficult situations through music.

The group’s new community cafe will create a safe space for vulnerable people, including those who have been subject to domestic abuse.

It will run on the last Saturday of every month at Hinton Parva Village Hall, from 12-4.30pm.

Luiza said: “It’s about having tea, the feeling of being in a safe, cosy place to speak about the things we normally don’t talk about. We combine that with music.

“There are a lot of situations where victims are under the control of a perpetrator and it’s very hard to find an excuse to leave home. A good excuse is I’m going for a cup of tea or a coffee.

“Let’s hope the cup of tea is the first step towards big changes in people’s lives. You can just come for some tea, or you may decide to talk to someone, or grab a leaflet.

“Anyone can come to our community cafe and have a good time. There was a lovely atmosphere at our first one. There’s always someone to talk to about anything you like.”

She says she hopes it will be a ‘life-saving’ initiative, and any profits made will go back into future cafes and music therapy sessions.

Luiza is now studying for her music therapy Master’s and wants to use her experiences to help others: “I was a victim of domestic violence but writing songs actually changed my life. I was writing as my therapy.

“Music started to free me, and I didn’t know how that was happening but I knew that I was becoming stronger and I finally had the courage to say no and eventually leave the relationship.”

Sounds Like Women have put on music therapy sessions in the past and hope to start them up again in the autumn. Luiza says she has seen singing and music bring back the voices of women so traumatised they could barely speak.

She says she hopes the community cafe can combine the healing effects of music with community support: “Six months ago, I dreamed about this place - full of music, lovely people, teas, cakes, safe and supportive, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere for everyone.

“We can offer takeaway and outdoor table service. It is a safe space for women and girls, enjoyable for everyone.”

For more information, visit soundslikewomen.com