Norfolk art project raising money for survivors of sexual violence

This piece was originally published on Greatest Hits News on 10th December 2021

A Norwich-based art project is raising money to support survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Rosie’s Plaques are selling badges featuring their artwork, and are donating all proceeds to the Sue Lambert Trust, which provides therapy to survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse through trained volunteers.

The badges are miniature versions of a blue plaque the group put up on display near St Giles’ Street in Norwich which reads: ‘For our sisters who were Just Walking Home’. It was created in response to the murder of Sarah Everard in March earlier this year.

The plaque, and badges, are intended to help people remember Sarah Everard and numerous other women who have been killed while ‘just walking home’.

Photo Credit: Rosie’s Plaques

Maggie Wheeler, from Rosie’s Plaques, says the choice to fundraise for the Sue Lambert Trust was an easy one: “We were looking for a charity that was working with victims of violent crime, and we also wanted a local charity because we’re a Norwich based organisation, our plaques have been up in Norwich.

“We also loved the fact that everything they do is free and delivered by volunteers, including their very skilled counsellors, who very generously give up their time to help.”

So far, they’ve sold around 2000 badges. They also plan to start selling t-shirts and tote bags and will also be donating those profits to the Sue Lambert Trust.

Clive Evans, CEO of the Sue Lambert Trust, said the money raised by Rosie’s Plaques will make a huge difference to the charity: “The money will go to train counsellors. We provide ongoing training to all our counsellors so they can provide the best quality of care for survivors.”

He also said the extra training would help the charity cope with exceptional demand for their services.

“We see about 320 people a week and… unfortunately we have another 300 people waiting for therapy, and that number’s increasing everyday.”

This isn’t the first blue plaque Rosie’s Plaques have put up.

The project came about as a result of the theatre group, The Common Lot, producing a play in 2018 called ‘All Mouth No Trousers’ which focused on the unsung heroic women of Norfolk. Whilst researching for the show, Maggie Wheeler, from Rosie’s Plaques, explains: “We discovered that of the 300 heritage plaques in Norwich that commemorate people and events, only 25 were for women… We decided we needed to do something about that.”

To rectify this, they erected eight alternative blue plaques celebrating Norfolk’s women in May 2019 and have since gone on tour with the project.

“We are raising awareness of the need for a culture where women are recognised for their achievement and contribution to society and can feel safe on the streets. When we realised that less than 12% of the 4500+ heritage plaques in the UK celebrated the lives, achievements and spaces of women, we felt it was a bloody outrage.”

Rosie’s Plaques is now hoping to turn their attention to another issue:

“We’re thinking about how few streets in Norwich are named after women.”

For more information on the Sue Lambert Trust click here.

For more information on Rosie’s Plaques, and to see their badges, click here.

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