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  1. Snow Update

    Monday 11th December:

    We are sorry to announce that for the second day running we won’t be open due to the weather. There is some public transport running but it is limited and we know that schools are off too. We don’t think it’s safe for the survivors we support or our team to make a journey.

    RSVPWM

    Stay indoors in the warm today. We’ll reopen as usual tomorrow.

     

    We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

    Lisa Thonpson

    CEO

    Posted 11 December 2017
  2. Snow Update

    We are sorry to announce that today, Sunday 10th December, we won’t be open due to the weather. We opened yesterday but due to heavier snowfall overnight we felt unable to avoid this situation, as we don’t think it’s safe for the survivors we support to make a journey.

     

    Also many of our team have tried to get to our offices so we can carry on as normal but haven’t been able to reach RSVP.

     

    Stay indoors in the warm today. We’ll reassess the situation tomorrow and update you about services then.

     

    Lisa Thompson

    CEO

    10th December 2017

    Posted 10 December 2017
  3. Great News!

    The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse has selected RSVP as one of only 17 organisations across the country to fund us to evaluate our services for sexually abused children and young people.

    This is really important funding. It will allow us to monitor the effectiveness of our support services for children, measure the impact our support has on the lives of children, young people and families and ensure we are making a difference. We’ll be consulting with young people and families who use our services to make sure that the services properly reflect what young people need.

    You can read more about the fund, and the other projects awarded here www.csacentre.org.uk/research-publications/evaluation-fund

    If you are a child or young person who has faced sexual abuse or you know one who has, you can talk to us, we’re here for you and we  believe you. Call 0121 643 0301 to talk about services or call the helpline or 0121 643 4136

    Posted 20 November 2017
  4. Third Sector grants – Success!

    Back in May we shared news that the Birmingham City Council were recommending that Third Sector grants, that fund 41 charities in the city, be removed as part of budget cuts.

    We shared the public consultation paper, and invited you as members of the public, as users of our services and the people who would be affected by these changes, to contribute your thoughts.

    You did, and it had a real impact. The cabinet agreed to extend Third Sector grants to 31st March 2018.

    Thank you for your support, you made a difference.

    Find out who currently supports our work, and how you can donate or fundraise for us here rsvporg.co.uk/support-us

     

    Posted 16 November 2017
  5. Infinite thanks!

    Infinity Stage Company at University of Birmingham chose RSVP as their charity of the year, last academic year. They spent the year fundraising for us, and have donated profits of their theatre productions.

    They donated a whopping £2000 to supporting survivors of sexual abuse, on top of £986 they already fundraised for us from the production of the Vagina Monologues. We’re so appreciative of their hard work and commitment, fundraising and donations make an enormous difference to our work.

    If you would like to do some fundraising for survivors of sexual abuse RSVP services at work, school, college or simply among friends and family, get in touch. We can give you a fundraising pack with lots of fundraising ideas, and help to promote events and sponsorship opportunities.

     

     

     

     

    Posted 14 November 2017
  6. More Capable Than You Think

    Our Chief Executive  achieved the unthinkable this year; she ran a whopping 200 miles in under 88 hours, raising funds for our services to support survivors of sexual abuse. She has raised over £4,200 online and offline so far, and you can still donate here localgiving.org/fundraising/only-200-miles

     

    We’re not the only ones impressed by Lisa’s achievements. Runner’s World magazine did a double page spread and RSVP got mentioned too! They interviewed Lisa and photographed her in Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park. The interview is now available online, where you can read about Lisa’s running journey, what motivates her and how running has been important to her wellbeing and resilience.

     

    Lisa also has a message for survivors in the article, “You don’t have to be the strongest to achieve – some of the most resilient people and survivors I know are the quietest and gentlest, with the most self-doubt; but they keep going anyway and achieve their goals.”

     

    Read the full interview here www.runnersworld.co.uk/training/motivation/human-race-i-run-to-help-me-offload-stress

     

    If you are interested in trying out running yourself, in a safe and supportive environment, you might be interested in the weekly running group for survivors. It is organised by Lisa and happens on Saturday mornings at Cannon Hill Park parkrun. It’s free to join and focuses on gentle running for relaxation and fun. No 200 mile races, we promise!

     

    Drop Lisa an email if you’re interested: lisa@rsvporg.co.uk

     

    Please ask Lisa about the Run Talk (walk) event too which she can also introduce you to. It’s particularly useful for people who aren’t ready to run yet or want a less busy group to join than parkrun. It also happens in Cannon Hill Park at 10am and is on the second and last Saturday of each month.

    Posted 2 November 2017
  7. Outstanding!

    On Thursday 28th September LimeCulture will be revealing the winners from their shortlisted nominations for the 2017 LimeLight Awards.

     

    We are absolutely delighted and so proud that one of our ISVAs (advocates) has been nominated for the Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement by an ISVA Supporting Adults.’

     

    Our team member Lisa Monks has done exceptionally well to be selected as one of only three nominees across the U.K.. The award she’s nominated for celebrates excellent practice and the achievements of an individual ISVA who supports adults. All nominees have demonstrated commitment, passion and exceptional encouragement and support for their adult clients.

     

    Lisa has been nominated alongside Yvonne Raybone from Amethyst SARC and Barbara Pawson from Arch North East. We wish them all well but obviously hope that Lisa wins for us, although in our eyes Lisa is already outstanding with or without an award.

    Limelight Awards

    Limelight Awards

    Last year you might remember that firstly, our entire ISVA Team won the “ISVA Exceptional Team” award, for leading the way in the provision of ISVA services and for making a significant contribution to supporting survivors. Secondly that a LimeLight Award was named in honour and memory of our beloved colleague and friend Vicky Bardsley who we still miss so much. Vicky supported children and young people at RSVP and sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2015. The award is one of the many ways that Vicky is leaving a positive legacy for the many sexually abused children and young people she supported.

     

    For the ISVAs nominated for the “Vicky Bardsley Prize: Oustanding Achievement by an ISVA Supporting Children & Young People”  and for the “ISVA Exceptional Team” Award we wish you well.

     

    We’d like to congratulate RSVP’s Lisa Monks and every other nominee shortlisted as we know that it is a fantastic achievement to get this far.

     

    A final message to our Lisa though, we genuinely appreciate you, this award is a testament to your skill, dedication and professionalism, and we hope you win!

    Posted 27 September 2017
  8. It was ‘only’ 200 miles!!

    Exciting news! Our Chief Exec Lisa Thompson has completed the 200 mile GB Ultra run. She started running on Saturday at 6am and completed the run across the Penines (from Southport to Hornsea!) on Tuesday evening. Incredible stuff. She smashed the 100 hour target.

    Watch this space for a debrief from Lisa. For now, we wish her a well deserved, carb-filled- rest!

    Over £3000 has already been raised for RSVP, and there’s still time to donate and show your support both to Lisa and to the work of RSVP supporting survivors of sexual abuse. https://localgiving.org/fundraising/only-200-miles/

     

    Posted 23 August 2017
  9. Roaring Thanks Lions!

    When was the last time you got a big cheque?  Well, thanks to the generosity of the Birmingham China Town Lions, RSVP has received a big cheque for a big amount – £5, 000!

    We’re absolutely delighted that the Lions have been raising money for us at the various events and functions they organise, most recently their 30th Anniversary dinner.  Their commitment in supporting our services in Birmingham and Solihull, allows us to inspire people affected by sexual violence and abuse and support them to make meaningful changes and live a future with confidence.

    Thanks again China Town Lions – and here’s to another 30 years!

     

    Posted 5 May 2017
  10. Challenging Misconceptions-The Power of Art

    In March we were proud to support this performance, which used music and drama to challenge misconceptions about sexual assault, by producing some flyers and  promoting it on social media. We’re delighted that composer Chloe Knibbs, an activist we’re proud to be connected with, has written this blog for us reflecting on the performance, its impact and the power of art in challenging myths and raising awareness about sexual abuse. You can hear Chloe talk more about her work on 27th April, details below.

    By Chloe Knibbs:

    Just over a month ago, I had a performance of my work – “The Girl Behind the Glass” – a piece that used music and drama to explore sexual assault recovery (for more details, please see: http://thecuspmagazine.com/reviews/girl-behind-glass-review/ ).

     

    The piece was made up of singing, cello music, drama and recordings of my own song material and was performed with great empathy, care and attention by all the performers (Suzie Purkis, Abigail Kelly and Megan Kirwin).

     

    In everyday life, most people are exposed to issues of sexual assault in the 5 minutes it is featured on the news. And yet for this performance, people were staying with these issues for an hour. Naturally, I was terrified – would people just switch off? Would they be disgusted by it? Could they find beauty in the process of sexual assault recovery?

     

    Moreover, sexual assault is often viewed as a one-off alien happening. Often most people would like to pretend these things do not happen. Or point to the ways those who have experienced sexual violence should have handled the situation differently – “Did you actually say no?”. Moreover, depictions in the media often make it seem that those who have experienced such trauma will be permanently broken and forever vulnerable – “Her life will never be the same again”. And so often there is misunderstanding around the process of recovery – “But it happened a year ago, don’t you think you need to move on now?”.
    This was why focusing on recovery became integral to the work. I was keen to demonstrate the non-linear – and sadly often traumatic in itself – nature of recovery. Many survivors talk of feeling like that they have been split in two, that one part just remains with the trauma whilst the other part attempts to maintain ordinary everyday life (despite everything feeling anything other than normal). As a result, I decided to make the two singers represent parts of the same person, a visual indication of just how fractured someone may feel in the aftermath of this type of trauma. The piece followed the journey of these two parts of the same person at various points. There was the denial, the withdrawal, the anger, the self-hatred – how the media and responses from others can feed this – the trauma symptoms, and the coming together of these two parts with acceptance and self-compassion.

     

    The performance finished with yellow flower petals falling down to the stage floor. It was a funeral of what had been lost. It was hope. It was pain. And accepting that pain. I sat quietly, wondering what the audience responses would be. Would they have been affected? Would they have been affected too much?

     

    After the performance I gave out feedback forms to all the audience members, with just one question: “How did the piece affect you?” And after plucking up enough courage, it did take five days (!), I read them and was incredibly surprised by the reactions.
    It turned out there were a number of survivors in the audience, and all had written of how they could connect with the performance and how helpful – also exhausting – that had been. I was massively touched by this, and I think it is the best feedback I could have ever received. The fact that these individuals came to the performance was incredibly brave, and I am so glad they felt they could share their stories with me.

     

    And there was a second surprise. Many of the other feedback forms included sentiments such as “I will rethink how I respond to these issues in the future”. Or “I have an insight into the difficulties people face when trying to recover from sexual assault”. When writing the piece I had hoped it would open people’s eyes, or make them aware of the negative impact certain comments or responses can have. Nevertheless, I did not expect this level of feedback. As an artist, I am inevitably invested in the power of art – for myself, for others, for communities – but I had underestimated it this time. For people to be prepared to rethink and question the normalised responses to rape and sexual assault, gave me an insight into what changes could be made in the future. Perhaps one of the audience members will meet someone who is dealing with these issues, and they will be the voice of compassion that challenges the judgement and stigma. They will be a voice of hope, for the 85,000 women and the 12,000 men in the UK who experience sexual assault every year (https://rapecrisis.org.uk/statistics.php ).

     

    Most importantly, this experience showed me that art can make human what has been dehumanised, stigmatised. That putting these issues in a context other than the news or social media, can give people the perspective to see things differently. To see that the rape and sexual assault is hideous, but that those who experience it are not. That life will be different, but these people are no less human or beautiful.

     

    With thanks to Birmingham Conservatoire, mac birmingham, RSVP Birmingham for supporting the piece.

     

    Also, for more information on this piece, Chloe Knibbs will be talking at Badego’s Short Talks Event on the 27th April: http://badego.org.uk/events/small-talks-april-2017/

    @ChloeKnibbs1
    soundcloud.com/chloek92

    Posted 22 April 2017

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