Speak On It

The SOPHIE LANCASTER Foundation – An Update

The SOPHIE Lancaster Foundation has gone from strength to strength over the past year with more involvement in even more exciting projects. As big supporters of the cause here at Illamasqua, the charity will always be close to our hearts.

I caught up with Campaign Manager Kate to get the low down on what’s been going on in what has been an extremely busy 2012 and 2013 so far…

“The Sophie Lancaster Foundation goes from strength to strength as we work towards a safer world that celebrates, rather than fears, ‘difference’.

We have just moved into our own office and now have a presence on the main street. Our new signage stands out loud and proud showing that we are an important part of the community. It is a very positive step forward for us.

There are still just three members of staff doing all the work, along with some committed volunteers –

Sylvia Lancaster : Chief Executive

Kate Conboy-Greenwood: Campaign Manager

Stacey Elder: Personal Assistant to Sylvia

Our recent work has involved working with the police throughout the UK as they develop their Hate Crime strategies. We are proud to be involved in their training. Sylvia was invited to be a key note speaker at The Association of Chief Superintendents National Conference. Her presentation had a huge impact on the delegates who were moved by her very personal talk about the murder of Sophie and the aftermath felt by the family, friends and wider community.

The Foundation has been working closely with Leicester Police, who last month provided funding for each high school in Leicestershire to train a teacher and provide a SOPHIE educational game… 60 teachers and youth workers are now using our groupworks!

We are currently working very closely with Greater Manchester Police and will have some very exciting developments to announce in the coming weeks. Watch this space…

Sylvia’s passion for education has taken us into many schools, colleges and universities. We challenge stereotyping of ‘alternatives’ through the interactive SOPHIE game and Sylvia has left many a student and teacher stunned into silence, especially after they have seen ‘Dark Angel’, the animation created by Illamasqua. We have worked in prisons and with young offenders, showing people the impact of their actions on a victim’s families.

Last term, we worked with Illamasqua at Hugh Baird College near Liverpool, where the Beauty Therapy students learned about Sophie while they enjoyed demonstrations by Illamasqua make-up artists. More colleges are following their example.

Last month we worked in a high school when Sylvia presented to every pupil in the school. We used the educational game with all of Year 9 who then created posters based on the S.O.P.H.I.E. message. The school sold 100 wristbands in 10 minutes following our day with them…we think that’s a record!

Sylvia was invited to speak in Sweden and more recently at an Anti-Discrimination Conference in Nurenberg, Germany… where she spoke from the same place that Hitler addressed the people at Nazi rallies. What a powerful day that was! We have been invited to Romania in May to speak at the International Humanist Human Rights Conference. The S.O.P.H.I.E. message is reaching far and wide.

The TV Channel Crime and Investigation aired their documentary in the “Town and Country” series which documented Sophie’s murder and its impact. Thousands have now seen the film and many have learned about Sophie for the first time.”

We have a diary that is filling up quickly, and we will look forward to meeting many more people at the festivals and events throughout the UK and into Europe in the coming months.”

Illamasqua were thrilled to be nominated for a Marie Claire Prixe De Excellence Award 2013 for our Sophie Pencil. It was nominated for the Ethical Award, acknowledging the money we’ve raised for the charity through sales of both the pencil and the SOPHIE bracelet. £3 of every black eye liner sold and all donations for the bracelet (suggested £2) goes to the SOPHIE Lancaster Foundation.

I feel proud to wear my bracelet and my eye liner everyday knowing what it stands for.

S – Stamp

O – Out

P – Prejudice

H – Hatred

I – Intollerance

E – Everywhere

Have you got your SOPHIE products yet?

SOPHIE Wristband: http://www.illamasqua.com/sophie-wrist-bands

SOPHIE Medium Pencil: http://www.illamasqua.com/sophie-pencil

Govinder Rayt

Govinder Rayt

Writer and expert