Report from The Ferns November 2020

October 2019 – September 2020                             Over 18          Under 18
Clients attending for Medical Forensic Exam           159                   81
Clients referred for ISVA                                               425                 156
Clients for Intelligence                                                       6                N/A
Difference between physical attendance & referral 260                 75
Above is the data for the past year. You will note that we receive significantly increased numbers for ISVA support compared to actual physical attendance to the SARC. We feel this highlights the national trend for survivors of sexual violence to delay coming forward immediately and often for years after the offence.
This does not mean they are any less in trauma, indeed the opposite is frequently true. Whilst the majority of all referrals come via the police, there is a much smaller flow of referrals from self and other agencies, with a mere 11.94% of over 18 and 19.75% of under 18 clients that attended for physical examination, being self or other agency referral. The greatest number of referrals in under 18s other than the police is from social care. This is an area we have worked alongside Mountain Healthcare to develop and the results are encouraging.
We are now looking at how our message of support can be transferred via a number of media platforms as, especially since Covid, we are working predominantly remotely. Hopefully this action will increase referrals from other areas.
The vast majority of our clients are female, white British, heterosexual, and aged between 15 and 45. This has been a trend for several years, and we recognise we have substantial work to do if we are to engage groups outside of this well-established cohort. Covid has restricted us considerably in going out and about to build bridges with various communities, but there has been some headway and we will continue to pursue all engagement.
We are extremely pleased to report that Covid has not impacted on the number of referrals we have accepted. The ISVAs have worked really hard to ensure their clients receive the very best support they can provide and the SARC administrative staff and crisis workers have continued to ensure all clients requiring attendance for a medical/forensic examination are seen in a safe, Covid compliant environment.
To date, we have had no Covid sickness and no reports of any positive Covid tests at The Ferns.
We have recruited 5 new zero hours crisis workers who will join us in a few weeks, as well as securing funding from the MoJ for another ISVA who will join us for an 18-month temporary contract.
The clients FotF have assisted over the past year, particularly during Covid, have given some extremely positive feedback.
We are all very grateful for all the amazing work FotF does to support our clients. We feel truly privileged to be associated with such a generous and kind group.
Louise Elmy, SARC Manager

Lilli -v- The Simplyhealth Great East Run

On Sunday, 22 September, 2019, 4,000 runners gathered in Ipswich for this, hugely poplar, half marathon event for the third successive year. Runners included Sarah Lilli, who was raising funds for the benefit of FotF.
Participants followed the same popular route as previous years, lining up on Russell Road and heading out into the scenic Suffolk countryside, passing under the Orwell Bridge twice. On returning to the town centre, they had the unique opportunity to finish inside Ipswich Town Football Club’s practice pitch area.
Sarah raised the fabulous amount of £468.95 from 22 sponsors.
Well done, and a huge thank you to Sarah.

A Guided Journey Through The Ferns

A very successful tour of The Ferns took place on 24th July 2019. Guests included Bishops Martin and Mike, Karen Galloway, and Gavin Stone, Director of Strategic Planning and Communications, The High Sheriff, Rosalind Eminson, and her PA, Jill Taylor, and representatives from the East of England Co-op Funeral Services.
They were taken on the journey through The Ferns by Carol Studd, and Louise Elmy, who, as they progressed through the facility, explained how clients travel through the SARC, looked after by a crisis worker who will attend to their immediate needs and help them make informed choices.
One of the guests said ‘Our group were overwhelmed by the levels of care, sensitivity, attention to detail and professionalism shown to those who sadly experience such harm’.
Many thanks to the team at The Ferns for undertaking this guided tour as, visits such as this generate a lot of extra work to restore the facility to a forensically safe, sterile state.

Caring East of England Co-op Funeral Services

Representatives from The Ferns and The Friends of the Ferns visited the East of England Coop Funeral Services at Nacton on 8th July 2019 where, as part of their scheme to support local charities, a cheque for £1,250 was presented to the FotF.
Charities are nominated in writing to the East of England Co-op and, at the end of each quarter, members of staff vote for the organisation they would like to support.
Thank you for nominating and voting for FotF – we are extremely grateful for such a generous gift.

Kelvin Leads the Way on the Orwell Challenge

It was a warm summers day on Sunday 23rd June 2019 when a total of nine volunteers took on the Orwell Challenge to raise funds for Friends of the Ferns. It was the intention at the outset to raise around £1,000 to support children, young people and adults with practical help and much needed support during their recovery from rape, and sexual assault.
Amongst the group was Kelvin (husband of Trustee, Julie Hastings-Smith) who, by his own admission, was feeling the impact of ‘middle age’ and wanted to improve his fitness. In the months leading up to the Challenge, he walked hundreds of miles, building up his stamina in readiness to take on the 25 mile River Orwell course. Alone he had managed to raise a staggering £785 in sponsorship. The other volunteers decided to take on the slightly more modest 19 mile course known as Fishponds Folly.
Kelvin set off at a blistering pace, which the others felt sure he could not sustain, and expected to meet him again halfway round. To their surprise, he managed to finish the longer course about an hour more quickly than they took to complete the shorter course! Great fun was had by all along the route, enjoying the refreshments provided by the Rotary Club of Ipswich East, as well as nursing the odd ache or blister. The effort was very worthwhile as the group managed to achieve a total of £2,437.39 sponsorship, every penny of which will go towards supporting victims of sexual assault.
Karin Norman-Butler, who also took part in the Challenge, wrote to all participants afterwards to thank them for giving up their time, and putting in the effort to, not only complete the walk, but also to seek sponsorship, stating that their ‘support was greatly appreciated’.

More Goings On at the Village Hall

More Goings on at the Village Hall took place at Stoke by Nayland Village Hall at 3pm on Saturday, 1st June 2019. The event, organised by the enthusiastic Patricia Brindley and Emma Bishton, featured a programme of music, poetry and prose performed by a group of talented individuals.
Patricia opened proceedings and introduced Paul Marshall, Trustee of Friends of the Ferns (FotF) who gave a short talk about The Ferns and how FotF support them.
The performance showcased ‘The Monday Singers’, who, not surprisingly, meet every Monday at the Village Hall to sing their favourite songs, under the direction of Emma. Although they do not usually sing in public, an exception was made for this event and, with a varied selection of songs, they made their debut.
With tea and cake served in the interval, and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses, the fabulous amount of £2,675 was raised for the benefit of FotF.
A huge thank you to the organisers, the performers and the volunteers who helped behind the scenes

This is not Consent

A recent initiative by the Suffolk Police, around the issue of consent, hopes to raise awareness of what “consent” is, particularly in relation to young people.
Launched to coincide with Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Week, Suffolk Police commissioned short films using real life scenarios to dispel ambiguity around consent. Using social media to target young people, the films use everyday situations to explain that consent is genuinely a simple concept and show that, when drawn across to other life situations, this level of confusion would never exist. They hammer home the point that, unless genuine consent exists, one would not go ahead with those activities.
To see these films, and for more information, go to for more information.

The Orwell Challenge 2019

Following a very well supported walk in 2017, when £3,800 was raised for the benefit of Friends of the Ferns, “Team FotF” are donning their walking shoes again on 23rd of June, for the Orwell Challenge 2019. There are 3 principal routes for walkers and trail runners of 13, 19 or 25 miles however, one can finish at any checkpoint on the route and be transported back to HQ. There is also an Orwell Challenge Cycle Ride of 5 or 15 miles.

From the Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich, the routes follow the banks of the stunning River Orwell as it makes its way to Felixstowe, returning back to the Centre on inland routes through a farmland, wooded section. This is a challenge for all abilities and everyone is welcome to take part, not just the fittest amongst us.

An enthusiastic supporter made a new year’s resolution to take part in the 2019 walk and started training on 1st January. He can be seen pounding along the roads and paths around Borley – monitoring progress on an app that gives distance, speed, number of steps and calories used, which are immediately topped up with generous slices of cake on his return home!

If you think you are up to the challenge, contact Paul Marshall, who is coordinating “Team FotF”, at

To sponsor our walkers go to

More “Goings On” at Stoke by Nayland Village Hall

Patricia Brindley and her band of entertainers are at it again on Saturday, 1 June 2019 at 3 pm, when Stoke by Nayland Village Hall will echo with the sound of song and dance. This is the second such event that has been organised for the benefit of FotF, the last taking place in 2015.
The afternoon of entertainment will focus on musical performances this time around but, as usual, it will be an interesting and enjoyable programme. Tea and cakes will be available in the intermission. There will also be a raffle.
Entry is by programme at cost of £1.50: there will also be a retiring collection .

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