RIPON Grammar School students have raised an impressive £8,243 to help survivors of abuse.
Fay Maxted OBE, chief executive of The Survivors Trust, said she was astounded at how much students raised during the pandemic, when victims and survivors of abuse needed help more than ever.
As they handed over their cheque, sixth former Tristan Paris told how RGS students were determined to make a difference: “We voted to raise money for The Survivors Trust because we feel very passionately about it and wanted to help raise money and awareness.”
Challenged with fundraising during pandemic restrictions, the school’s creative student leaders came up with a host of activities, from onesie pool jumps to carpool karaoke, sumo wrestling, 10k runs, dance performances and bungee challenges to help raise money.
Tristan explained: “Social distancing and keeping everyone in their separate ‘bubbles’ during the pandemic made things more difficult, so we were just so pleased we managed to raise any money at all at such a difficult time for everyone.
“After everything that happened, it meant a lot to have fun as a school community to raise money for a worthwhile charity."
Ms Maxted told them: “A massive thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This makes such a huge difference and will help keep our help lines and live chat going. It is an amazing achievement.”
She told how during lockdown, when many support services shut down, there was a rise in cases of people being victimised: “So many people reached out for support and help. It is so important there is someone there to answer.”
Every week, The Survivors Trust helpline receives 350 calls, while 4,500 people visit its website.
“The vast majority of people are kind, caring and compassionate,” she stressed. “We deal with the minority who are not, who are abusive to other people. But most people want to help.”
The trust’s 120 member agencies in UK and Ireland work with 100,000 peopleregardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age and physical or learning disabilities each year: “There is a huge need and a huge gap in funding,” she said.
She told students how it is never too late to make a difference and thanked them for raising awareness: “Just to get our name out there is wonderful. It’s a miserable topic and a horrible subject matter. If it’s kept secret and not talked about it becomes a toxic environment for victims and survivors.
“The biggest challenge is the culture of silence and taboo. It is such an important subject and it’s important to raise awareness. There is hope if someone gets the right help, that makes a huge difference.”
Head girl Eloise Hopkins said: "This year’s charity week was a great success, and we would like to thank everyone for their participation, donations and support."
Head boy Marcus Bartlem added: "It was incredibly successful in raising as much money as possible whilst also allowing students to enjoy themselves. I am very grateful to all those who donated and to those who participated in the events.”
School officers pictured top with The Survivors Trust chief executive Fay Maxted and Vikki Robinson, operational support manager