If you want to take on a new challenge AND raise money for RSVP in our 40th year, why not take on the Peak District Challenge?
21-22 September, you would face a raise against time to complete a picturesque running/trekking challenge in the beautiful Peak District. There are 5 levels of difficulty you can choose from, read about them here.
All you need to do is register at www.peak-district-challenge.com and select RSVP as your chosen charity to receive sponsorship money. And then it’s time to get your friends and family involved by securing donations. We can help promote your challenge on social media, and will be rooting for you the whole way!
Enormous thanks to Steve who has set himself a huge fundraising (and physical!) challenge. He is running in all 28 EU member states before Britain exits the EU in March 2019.
He’s aiming to raise £10,000 that will be donated to RSVP and Changing Faces, a charity offering support and advice for people living with a condition that affects their physical appearance.
I’m going to attempt to run in all 28 countries of the European Union before Britain leaves at 11pm on 29 March 2019. In each country I’ll aim to run with local running groups and clubs, taking part in organised races when I can. Wherever I go, I’ll tell people about this crazy challenge, the reasons why it’s important to me and about the work of RSVP and Changing Faces. Please help me support these two fantastic charities.
Steve’s fundraiser page is live at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/runningmerunningeu
All money donated to RSVP will go towards supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse.
This blog reflects on an issue we are sure many survivors will relate to, the challenge of learning to love yourself. Thank you to the survivor, who wishes to remain anonymous, for writing this blog, sharing their journey and for contributing something back to RSVP through fundraising for us. We are very grateful and hope you feel proud of how many positive changes you’ve made in order to reach a place where you know what a strong, capable and resilient survivor you are.
I think everyone struggles to like themselves at some point in their lives. Unfortunately for me, and so many other survivors, liking myself always seemed an impossible task. After six years of sexual abuse at the hands of a person I thought loved me, I even struggled to want to be in my own body, let alone like it.
My journey to recovery started when I chose to tell a friend of my abuse. I was 12. My friend didn’t think much of it, and maybe I didn’t either. I look back and realise that neither of us understood it. By 15, my abuse had become idle gossip amongst the other children at school. Whispers in the corridor, messages posted online, texts to my phone, things shouted at me across the playground… Only they weren’t gossiping in belief; I was branded a liar and an attention seeker. My nightmare had only just begun when I was called into the Head’s office and told that he would be informing social services and my parents. My parents… it was the thing I’d always dreaded the most. What would they think? What would they say? Watching them be told, along with my big sister, was truly heart-breaking. It is a memory that is etched on my brain as the start of a downward spiral in my life.
I’m not ashamed to admit, I was in a dark place. I stopped eating, grasping at the one thing I felt I had control over whilst my life appeared to be unravelling around me. I truanted from school, unable to bear the gossip and the bullies. I isolated myself from my family, barely able to take the guilt I felt from the pain they were in. Years passed by; I was stuck in a haze of my own misery, self pity and guilt, hurting myself because I always felt it was my fault.
It was my sister who pushed me to go to counselling. She made the call. She set it up. And I can honestly say it changed my life. Driving there by myself, walking into the room and speaking to someone about my abuse is the bravest thing I have ever done and a defining moment in my life. I finally started to like myself a little. The pride I felt when leaving my first counselling session has carried me, enabled me to pursue my career and to finally raise some money for a charity like RSVP and give something back to people like me.
I wake up everyday and remind myself that I am strong, I am capable and I am a survivor. It’s okay to put yourself first, it’s okay to look after yourself and it is most definitely okay to LOVE yourself. Every day, I read a new story and every day I am reminded that it wasn’t my fault. I have witnessed the incredible, unshakable strength of survivors and I intend to continue my journey to loving myself because of that.
ValeFest did it!
The one day music festival with a difference ‘ValeFest 2017’ was held on Saturday June 3rd. This fabulous musical extravaganza is run once a year from the Vale at Birmingham University primarily to raise funds for charity. This year we were ecstatic and extremely grateful to be one of the two chosen charities, Basic Needs being the other.
The whole festival with its main and smaller stages, acoustic tent and comedy stage, amongst other things too, was organised by around 30 students. They volunteered their own time to pull together this vibrant, enjoyable and amazing day, while completing their degrees at the same time too! They showed how a group of dedicated people can achieve absolutely huge things when they collectively rally their energy, time and determination.
Fiona from our advocacy team and Lisa our CEO were delighted to attend the festival and join in the fun. Fiona chatted to students and passed on information about RSVP from our stall. Lisa recorded a piece for Burn FM radio, was filmed for Guild TV and even read out a Vagina Monologue appearing with our ongoing supporters Infinity Stage Company highlighted here in a past blog: https://rsvporg.co.uk/blog/infinity-stage-company-make-rsvp-their-charity-of-the-year/
The monologue was about consent and respect and we will write more about this in a later blog. Afterwards Lisa spoke on the main stage to let the 4,000 plus festival goers know about the services that RSVP offers. She also wanted everyone to know how enormously grateful we were for their support.
This year the vibrant day finished with a celebration that they had raised a record breaking amount for their charities. Although ValeFest are still confirming the exact amounts they have said that last years figure of £32,000 was smashed! This means that there will be an even bigger, colossal and unbelievable amount of funding raised to share between us and Basic Needs.
We want to say an enormous thank you for the kindness, support and generosity of ValeFest organisers and ticket holders. As an independent and local charity we raise every penny ourselves to provide empathic support to people affected by sexual abuse and violence. We would like to extend our gratitude and love to everyone from ValeFest 2017, you truly are fantastic, you really are!
We’ve had some wonderful fundraising successes over the past few weeks, which will enable us to employ more counsellors and increase our helpline opening hours.
The Home Office has allocated additional funds to survivor support organisations and we’re delighted to inform you that we are one of them. We’ve been awarded funding from two funds totalling just over £155,000! We’re over the moon (and some more).
We have also received £14,056 from the Brook Trust, a private charitable trust, towards counselling costs.
As the need for RSVP’s services increases each year, so do our running costs; needing more staff and resources to support new and existing clients. Our recent fundraising success will have a really positive impact – reducing our counselling waiting list and recruiting more volunteers to give helpline support.
Our fundraising efforts don’t stop here, we still need to rent bigger premises to accommodate for the number of clients requiring our counselling and advocacy support. If you’re interested in donating, or fundraising for RSVP there are many ways you can help.
2015 is officially the year of banger racing! In September, the Rotary Banger Rally is taking place, seeing a convoy of beautiful bangers making the journey from Birmingham to Venice.
The great people at the Rotary Club of Solihull Satellite Group (Team RSG) are collecting for RSVP and we want to encourage as many of our supporters to get involved as possible. Various sponsorship packages are available for businesses and you can see your name rallied around the roads of Europe, all in the name of RSVP.
Would your place of work be interested in sponsoring the event? Speak to your employer about getting your company logo on one of the cars cruising through the continent – it could make a real impact! Supporters can also give direct, for as little as £10.
Have you ever wanted to experience driving on the Autobahn in style, the wind in your hair, accompanied by the face of our favourite bear? That’s right – Pudsey’s Cash Car is joining the fun journey across Europe and continuing to raise money.
For more information, and to see how you can get involved, go to www.rotary-banger-rally-2015.com and follow the journey on twitter #rotrally2015.
Safe driving… and Ciao!
There’s loads of different ways to support RSVP, and some won’t cost you a penny! The Give as You Live’s Charity Tuesday Competition is a great (and free!) way to help us get funds. And the best thing is that it happens every Tuesday!
Post a message to @giveasyoulive on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #CharityTuesday, saying which charity you support. You’ll be in with a chance to win a shopping voucher worth £20, and a £20 donation to RSVP from Give As You Live. We value your help and each and every way you can help to make a difference. Get back what you give and start supporting RSVP today!
Thanks from Melissa!
Local Giving’s #GiveMe5 campaign gives charities the chance to receive match funding on £5 donations made on Wednesday 28th January and Wednesday 25th February. All donations of £5 we receive on those two days will be added to a random draw, the selected donations will be doubled and all funds will come directly to RSVP.
Your donations will go towards our essential services to survivors of sexual violence and abuse. Our support is freely available to women, children and men affected by sexual violence in Birmingham and Solihull.
£5 pays for one person to travel to a counselling appointment. If your donation is doubled, that £10 pays for three sessions with a volunteer counsellor.