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 .

Friends of the Ferns Helping Rebuild Broken Lives

The Trustees of Friends of the Ferns are always available to consider requests for many varied items/services for The Ferns and their clients. All it takes is an email from The Ferns and they swing into action to consider the request, and approve where ever possible.
Apart from the large projects, such as the distraction unit and, furnishing and stocking the childrens’ lounge, there are many, relatively, small items that make a huge difference to the clients that pass through the SARC.
Of course, the funding of Critical Incident Debriefing is high on our priority list, but other items include:

BED/MATTRESS: Where a rape or assault has occurred in a victims own bedroom he/she will often resort to sleeping on he sofa or floor because the bed triggers memories of the attack and may also be soiled

SHOES/CLOTHING: Often impounded by the police for forensic evidence but may also be damaged during an assault

WELLBEING JOURNALS: Writing down feelings, help clients who are having difficulty with anxiety/stress management and any other mental health needs that may benefit from mindfulness related exercises

WASHING MACHINE: Some clients leave their home following an assault, and even flee the area because the suspect lives there. They very often end up in supported accommodation to start with; then when they go back to independent living they have to start from scratch.

COFFEE SHOP CARDS: Are provided for the ISVAs, so they can meet with their clients on neutral ground, and buy a cup of coffee for them whilst they chat. It means that the ISVAs do not have to pay for it out of their own pocket.

We have also helped by funding, amongst other items: ART MATERIALS : WORRY BAGS : PLAYGROUP TIME

Here are some comments from recipients:

The bed has made a huge difference and to both my emotional and physical health. When I am able to work again I will be able to pay the funding back to be able to help others in need.”

Thank you so much for your help. You will never know how much this means to me and my family. I wish there was a way to repay you.

I record the positive days in my Wellbeing Journal and on bad days I can go back over the good things.

The High Sheriff visits The Ferns

The High Sheriff of Suffolk, George Vestey, visited The Ferns in February for a tour of the facility. After an extensive chat with Karin Norman-Butler, Mr Vestey made the journey through the children’s section of the SARC, guided by Carol Studd, who explained the process through which clients travelled.
The Friends of the Ferns was nominated, and on the shortlist, for the High Sheriff’s Award in the category of Suffolk Voluntary Organisation of the Year. Although they did not win, they received a special certificate in recognition of their vital work in Suffolk’s voluntary sector – Suffolk Rebuilding Broken Lives Category. 

George Vestey photographed with Carol Studd and Karin Norman-Butler

Chairman’s Report to Friends of the Ferns Open Evening 2018

This year has been a busy one with, sadly, increased referrals. Funding for crisis counsellors is high on our list of priorities; victims of sexual assault often need immediate, specialist counselling and this takes the form of Critical Incident Debriefing which is frequently not covered by statutory funding. Just one or two sessions are vital to start to help the healing process after an assault. Although public awareness of these issues is gradually being raised by high profile prosecutions and TV dramas such as Broadchurch and Appletree Yard there is still much work to be done.
You may have heard me talk before about the two books we have written in conjunction with Fresh Start/new beginnings. I am delighted to say that these are now published and are in all Suffolk Schools
Today Diana Porter, from Fresh Start/new beginnings, and I met with Nick Hume, Chief Executive for Suffolk and Norfolk NH Trust Hospitals, to ask him how we can get these books into every hospital, Doctors surgery, medical centre – indeed any medical centre in the County. He had some interesting ideas which we will now follow up on.
We were lucky enough to be the main beneficiaries of The Stratford Hills Horse Trials held at Stratford St. Mary on 16th and 17th June last summer. This was a wonderful opportunity to spread the word and to get our cause across to a lot of different people. We later received a very generous cheque from them, for which we are so grateful.
The High Sheriff of Suffolk Mr George Vestey has requested a private visit and that is due to take place shortly. We are thankful for that continued support and interest.
My grateful thanks are to my fellow Trustees who work tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to improve the lives of our clients.
And especial thanks to the unstinting work that Carol, and her team, do at The Ferns with such dedication, humility, integrity and kindness. Thank you

Karin Norman-Butler – Chairman

Hot Off the Press

The two books which Friends of the Ferns have been working on, in conjunction with the Suffolk Charity “Fresh Start-new beginnings” (, have now been collected from the printers and are in the process of being distributed to schools, doctor’s surgeries and medical centres.

Entitled “It’s time to tell” and “It’s OK to Tell”, they are to help adults talk to young people about abuse, explaining what abuse is and detailing the journey a child will make through the process of reporting.

If there is a location that you think would benefit from one or both of these books please contact

Daft Rafts!

A crew of intrepid sailors, captained by Rachel, the daughter of one of our Trustees, Rosie Carter, donned their life jackets to take part in the 16th Annual Needham Market Raft Race on 24th June 2018 to raise money for FotF.

Their vessel, The Tarman, was one of 14 designed and built by teams on the day.
Thousands of spectators attended to soak up the atmosphere and cheer as the teams battled it out over a challenging circuit.

Congratulation to Team Tarman for a spectacular effort.

Horsing around for Friends of the Ferns

The Friends of the Ferns were delighted to be chosen as the main beneficiaries of charitable funds raised from the Stratford Hills Horse Trials held in June 2018.

The event, which took place at Hills Farm, Stratford St Mary, Colchester was a hive of activity with participants, along with their support teams, enjoying the lovely sunny weather the weekend had to offer. The Organising Committee of the event were supported by an army of volunteers and hidden away in a caravan was our very own Chairperson, Karin, who was an official scorer and kept very busy indeed.

Once the dust had settled, Friends of the Ferns benefited from a substantial amount, with a note from the Organising Committee saying that it was the best local charity they had ever supported.

Our grateful thanks go to everyone connected to this event. These funds will make a huge difference to our support of The Ferns and their clients.

Horsing around at Stratford St Mary

The Friends of the Ferns are thrilled to be the main beneficiary of funds raised at the 2018 Stratford Hills Horse Trials (SHHT), which takes place on 16th and 17th June.

The event is affiliated to British Eventing and hosted, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Ivan Lockett, at Stratford Hills Cross Country and Livery, Hills Farm in Stratford St Mary near the historic town of Colchester in Essex.   SHHT is now in its 13th year and, in the past, has raised money for many local charities, including Marie Curie Suffolk and Essex Nurses Fund, The Porch Project, Success after Stroke and Teenage Cancer Trust.

Supporters of Friends of the Ferns are encouraged to go along and join in the fun.


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