2019 marks the 25th anniversary since our charity was established and we are excited to announce plans for a high-profile, visually appealing, engaging and, most importantly, family friendly celebration to mark this milestone.
The Benjamin Foundation was founded in 1994 by Richard Draper and his wife Vanessa, following the death of their son Ben. Richard explains:
“After the horrendous nightmare of losing our lovely eldest son Ben, aged just 17, in a motorcycle accident in August 1992, my wife Vanessa and I dared to dream a dream. This dream was to make a positive difference in our own backyard of North Norfolk. We had no idea that dream and that backyard would become so large, now covering the whole of Norfolk, and extending into my home county of Suffolk. The positive difference The Benjamin Foundation makes every day in the lives of so many children, young people and their carers and parents we hope is testimony to the amazing positive energy that was and IS our Ben. We also recognise The Benjamin Foundation has enabled others, staff, volunteers, Trustees and most of all those whose lives we touch to dream their dreams and fulfil their potential. Long may the dream continue.”
So for 25 years now we have been helping people across Norfolk and Suffolk to deal with some of the challenges that life throws at them. Whether it’s the prevention of youth homelessness, helping families to build stronger relationships or providing positive activities for young people with limited opportunities in life, our work brings hope, opportunity, stability and independence to the people it supports.
Tony Ing, Chief Executive of The Benjamin Foundation says:
“Twenty-five years is an important milestone for any organisation. It marks an opportunity for us to celebrate and reflect on where we have come from, what we have achieved and what our priorities are for the next quarter century. The work we do makes a real difference to the futures of children, young people and their families in so many ways, whether it is overcoming challenges, getting their lives back on track or helping them to realise their dreams and ambitions.”
Colin Lang, MBE, Special Projects & Events Manager, outlines how we plan to mark this special year:
“Our 25th anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to create even more awareness of the work we do in the region, as well as generate much-needed funds. So we have decided to focus the celebrations around a dramatic art installation for the public to enjoy, featuring, of course, our much-loved and well recognised colourful butterfly!”
We plan to produce up to 25,000 glazed pottery butterflies, each piece measuring about 10” in diameter and glazed in one of our four distinct colours – pink, purple, orange or red. The public are then being invited to purchase a butterfly in support of us, but before taking receipt of their commemorative piece to keep in their home or garden, all the butterflies will be used to create a dramatic and high-profile art installation which will dominate the two host venues in July and August.
Colin explains, “We wanted the installations to be accessible both in Norwich and for those who prefer not to travel into the city, so we couldn’t be more delighted with the two venues who have so kindly agreed to host us – namely, The Assembly House in the heart of historic Norwich and the majestic Holkham Hall on the North Norfolk coast.”
Tony Ing adds, “Our Flight for Youth project promises to be a spectacular event this summer. I hope people will feel inspired to go out and see the art installations and, by getting involved, they will be contributing to the work we do supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
Beautiful Butterflies in Historic Locations
The butterflies themselves are being created by internationally acclaimed specialist ceramic manufacturer, Craven Dunnill Jackfield, who have an impressive pedigree in handcrafted encaustic and decorative tile-making that dates back some 140 years. Today, the company is increasingly recognised for its collaborations with contemporary artists and designers on prestigious ceramic art installations and bespoke interiors projects. Based in Shropshire, Craven Dunnill Jackfield boasts a team of specialist ceramists who each celebrate traditional craftsmanship and bring a contemporary edge to their work.
This particular project started with the sculpting of an original model, to echo our butterfly logo. Moulds were then made to enable the slip casting of the butterflies before hand-applying the bespoke, coloured glazes.
Adrian Blundell, production director at Craven Dunnill Jackfield explains:
“Each of these butterflies is hand-crafted at our works and individually hand-glazed, making each one a unique work of art to be treasured. We are delighted to play our part in the Flight for Youth campaign”.
Richard Hughes, Chef Director of The Assembly House says:
“The Assembly House in Norwich hosts countless birthday celebrations every year but this, the 25th birthday of The Benjamin Foundation, will be the first which involves thousands of butterfly guests!
We are proud to support the fabulous work of such a vital lifeline to children, young people and families experiencing challenges in Norfolk and Suffolk and can’t wait to see this exciting project take flight at one of the city’s most famous buildings.”
The Earl and Countess of Leicester comment:
“We are delighted that Holkham Hall is to be a host venue supporting The Benjamin Foundation’s 25th year and the extremely valuable work the organisation does. The Foundation’s anniversary project, with thousands of butterflies displayed against the backdrop of the 18th century Hall, will offer a unique feature for our visitors to see and we believe and hope will benefit the charity in helping to raise its profile.”
Sponorship Opportunities for Organisations and Businesses
As well as creating two exciting visitor attractions in the county over the summer, Flight for Youth also aims to raise a significant sum to continue the work of our charity for the next quarter century. As well as the sale of the butterflies, we are appealing to companies in the region to get behind the campaign through sponsorship. We are delighted to report that many companies have already pledged sponsorship, including Norwich High School for Girls, who have come on board as Hope sponsors.
Nick Tiley-Nunn, Head of Prep School and Nursery at Norwich High School for Girls says:
“Norwich High Prep School for Girls is incredibly proud to be supporting The Benjamin Foundation for this most exciting project to mark their 25th Anniversary. It is a wonderful charity, who offer such vital support to young people in the region. Our girls cannot wait to start raising money for them through our Grow a Pound initiative, where every girl from ages 3-11 is given a pound coin to grow for charity through entrepreneurial means. We are also very excited by the prospect of seeing 25,000 butterflies on display, as our own Prep School ethos comprises of three strands that our community refers to as ‘Believing in Butterflies’. With our core focus on supporting young people to grow and thrive, the sure to be wonderful display of butterflies and the fact that Norwich High School for Girls was once based at the Assembly House we look forward to supporting this wonderful campaign.”
In addition, schools, care homes and other groups and organisations can also purchase unglazed butterflies, which they can decorate themselves and submit to us to be included in the installation. This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in the appeal, in a fun, imaginative and engaging way. We are very keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in purchasing unglazed butterflies and finding out more about how they can use these to get creative!
The charity’s silver anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to create even more awareness of the work we do in the region, as well as generate much-needed funds. So we have decided to focus the celebrations around a dramatic art installation for the public to enjoy, featuring, of course, our much-loved and well recognised colourful butterfly!
Colin Lang MBE, Special Projects & Events Manager
I've intervened to try to change one person's life. If everybody did that it would make a profound difference.