Approximately 200 people flocked to Portsmouth Football Club for a night of eating, drinking, dancing and merry-making – all in the fantastic cause of raising money to support victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
A range of games throughout the evening raised awareness of the complex reality of violence against women and girls (VAWG), hidden violence and gender-based violence.
A Special Auction gave rise to some incredible donations to Aurora New Dawn with guests bidding for a wide range of fantastic gifts, including an Albert Square street sign signed by the cast of Eastenders, a professional race-driving session at Silverstone, and acting lessons with Doctors actor, Matt Chambers.
Chair of the Board, Sally Jackson, Aurora patron Lauren Jarron, and Chief Executive Shonagh Dillon gave speeches throughout the evening about different aspects of Aurora’s work and its importance as part of the global fight against VAWG and the ongoing struggle for equality and gender justice.
Patron Lauren Jarron explained the increasing importance for the voluntary sector of finding pioneering partnerships with private sector organisations looking for innovative ways to improve or expand the remit for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):“There is a strong synergy between Aurora’s mission and my beliefs, which is why I am so happy to be involved their work. I believe every individual has a right to a future. Aurora aims to “End discrimination against women through offering protection, safety, support and empowerment” and I want to empower women to realise their true potential – to have a positive impact for themselves, and for society – culturally and economically.”
Chair of the Board of Aurora New Dawn, Sally Jackson, highlighted Aurora’s work in the context of the global struggle of women for equality and justice.
Chief Executive Shonagh Dillon gave the closing speech before officially opening the dancefloor for the night, with a powerful reminder of why everyone came together at the Ball:2 women every week die as a direct result of domestic violence and abuse. Two women. Every week. It’s hard to connect with when it’s a faceless statistic, isn’t it? But look around the room with me for a second. Now imagine that if all of us met again here next week, two women would be gone. The following week two women more. The week after, two women more. How long would it take before there were no women left in the room? How many women would need to disappear before we were all shouting about it to the world? Two women disappear from the lives of their friends and loved ones every week. But instead of disappearing from this room, they are disappearing from the UK.
A specially commissioned poem, Aurora, was read by Writer in Residence, which you can read here.
The first ever Butterfly Ball raised an incredible £7,000 for Aurora New Dawn. This money is already being used to fund the every day organisational costs of Aurora, providing the infrastructure that supports our frontline service delivery.
In this increasingly difficult funding climate, organisational costs are becoming more of a challenge for the voluntary sector as a whole, due to the fact that grant funding is often awarded on a project-by-project basis.
This means our fundraising activities are becoming more and more important to enable the daily support services (admin, management, and finance, for example) that allow our frontline workers to support victims and survivors.
“These are difficult times for the voluntary sector as a whole, and particularly for VAWG services due to the disproportionate impact of the government’s cuts programme on women, and particularly on specialist services supporting victims and survivors,” said Shonagh.
“It’s really no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t survive without our supporters, and this has made the success of our first ever fundraising Ball particularly poignant for me, and for our frontline Advocates. We owe everyone who supported the Ball a huge ‘Thank you!'”