Introducing RSVP

This week we have a guest post from Sarah at RSVP, our charity for this quarter, explaining what they do and how your donations are being used.

The Rape and Sexual Violence Project is an award-winning organisation, providing holistic services for people in Birmingham and Solihull who have been subjected to sexual violence, including rape, child sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking. We work with children and adult survivors of sexual violence to cope with trauma and enjoy a hopeful and confident future. 

We are a trauma-informed organisation, which means we don’t label or pathologise people. Instead of asking ‘what’s wrong with you?’ we ask ‘what happened to you?’ We stand with survivors, and challenge victim-blaming. 

Survivors are at the heart of what we do and have been since we were established in 1978. From the beginning, we’ve provided person-centred support, based on the Social/Trauma Model developed by Sally Plumb. This is one of the early trauma-informed approaches and makes connections between traumatic, abusive experiences of childhood and emotional distress in adult life, without labels and diagnostic criteria.

We now support thousands of people a year through counselling, advocacy, a helpline and webchat, group support and via specialist services for refugee/asylum seekers, sex workers, Chinese women and LGBTQI survivors. We also provide lots of self-help resources on our website for anyone to access. 

Our online training programme for practitioners offers affordable, bitesize sessions on the impact of sexual violence, including dedicated sessions of child sexual abuse, intersectionality and supporting male survivors. 

All our services to the public are free and so we really rely on the generous support of grants and donations. Huge thanks goes to Loaf for boldly showing their support and belief in survivors of sexual violence.

You can find out much more about RSVP’s work in their (very readable) annual report detailing the numbers they’ve helped and their plans to move through the pandemic. Download the PDF here.

In the past, Loaf has worked with RSVP, using our bakery class as a setting for group therapy, and we are keen to develop this further in the future. 

You can make a donation with your online pre-order or add it to your purchases in store. And of course you can gift directly.

Charity beings at Loaf

As you’ll know, we’ve had a donation button on our online ordering page for a while now. From mid August to the end of October we raised £980, meaning so far this year we’ve raised nearly £5,000. Which is fantastic given we never tried anything like this before. We’d like to build on it.The new business plan isn’t just about earning money. As a workers co-operative we are guided by the Co-operative Values and Principles which include “concern for the community”, looking beyond our doors and seeing how we can help the society that supports us. We’re also always been called a community bakery and were already keen to explore and develop what that might mean.

We want to build connections beyond our customers and peers, with the intention of bringing baking and cookery skills to a wider range of people who might not be able to afford, or even consider, our classes. To this end we’re going to support a new charity every quarter, passing on your donations to help with their work during the pandemic and drawing attention to them in-store and online. Then when we’re able to do so, we will look to working with them more practically.

Our first charity, which we’ll be supporting through to the end of the year, is Anawim, the Birmingham centre for women in need of help based in Balsall Heath. Incidences of domestic abuse rose dramatically under lockdown and Covid-19 has impacted disadvantaged members of society the most, from mental health to food poverty. Anawim are one of many organisations working at the front line in trying circumstances and we’re proud to be helping them into the winter months.

We are looking for charities and organisations to support from January with an emphasis on those making a local impact on people’s lives who need help during the pandemic. If you would like to suggest, or work for, a potential good fit, please get in touch.

Alongside this we’re continuing give fresh bread to organisations combatting food poverty. Every week we do a special bake for the Big Feed Project who are providing free meals to anyone in need across Birmingham. And over the Autumn we’ve regularly given our unsold bread to the B30 Food Bank and Incredible Surplus (the new name for the Real Junk Food Project) and are on call for the Solidarity Kitchen when required. Should other orgs or schools require bread over the winter we feel we should be able to meet the demand.

Birmingham Mail feature Syrian inspired bread for Oxfam appeal

Last Saturday 20 July, our bakers teamed up Oxfam Midlands to bake a one-off Syrian yoghurt flatbread to help raise awareness of Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal. We’re pleased to say that the Syrian bread was a huge success and sold out within an hour. We were also featured with Oxfam Midlands in today’s Birmingham Mail (Thursday 25 July, page 16).

We’d like to thank all our customers for their enthusiasm on the day, and Dom for baking the bread in the Loaf Community Bakery. We would also encourage everyone to continue their support by visiting the Oxfam website or reading our previous Syria inspired bread blog.

Bakers use loaf to boost charity - Birmingham Mail (25 July 2013)
Bakers use loaf to boost charity – Birmingham Mail (25 July 2013)