SURVIVORS of abuse and their families came together to create 1,400 individually-designed flowers to mark the fourth anniversary of the Jay Report.
The exhibition, which brought together around 125 survivors, was opened to the public at Swinton Lock Activity Centre on August 26.
Jayne Senior, chief executive of Swinton Lock and whistleblower who helped exposed the abuse scandal, said: “We decided that, as difficult as things are at the moment with trials and lack of counselling, we wanted to do something positive, so we came up with the idea of making 1,400 flowers.
“We wanted to do 1,400 as that’s the number the world is familiar with.
“Every flower has been made by a survivor, a family member or volunteer.”
Attendees at the unveiling were able to sponsor or buy a flower, which were all made from a range of materials.
Money raised from the exhibition will be ploughed back into therapy.
The Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Alan Buckley, attended the event and bought a flower which was earmarked for display at Rotherham Town Hall.
“It was positive, beautiful and about celebration,” said Jayne.
“The date the Jay Report was published will always be a day that no matter how many years down the line, will be a significant for Rotherham as a town.
“As much as we need to improve and move on, we can’t ever forget that we need to learn from where we got it wrong.”
Jayne said victims and survivors always became apprehensive as the anniversary of the Jay Report around as it brought back memories.
“All of them can tell you where they were the day the report came out, and those memories are burned in our head,” she said.
“Rather than be left at home or feeling isolated we wanted to do something that gave people the feel-good factor.
“One of our survivors who has suffered with loneliness and mental health issues worked every night on the project and said all she was thinking about was this.”
Sharon Cooke, of Swinton Lock, said: “It was a positive acknowledgement for change. “This horrific thing happened, this is the day we found out about it, but moving forward we can make sure it’s not the thing that holds us back.”
Jayne added: “The survivors loved it, they’ve already started planning the next event.
“We’re going to do a big event for the five year anniversary and there are plans for a Christmas event this year.”
It is hoped the exhibition will move to Riverside House.
The public can still view and buy flowers from the charity’s Dun Street base.
For more information visit http://swintonlock.org.
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