It was last Tuesday morning, and I sat up in bed watching the early news reports. All across the screen were terrible images from the last three nights of rioting across England. I literally had tears in my eyes, deeply saddened that people (or should that be animals?) of my own country, my home, could have sunk to such low depths of violence and disorder.
It is not my place to comment further on the causes, consequences, treatment or solutions to or of these events; however I will call on all reasonable people to stop for a moment and reflect on the situation. These events were barely a week ago, and yet while the politicians are still airing their own perspectives the real victims are just quietly trying to get on with their lives.
Many people were affected by these riots - from the injured, to the looted, to the just plain frightened.
There are a number of ways that you can help these riot victims, from charity donations to actual physical clean up operations - but I would like to tell you about one special event that I have chosen to take part in. Whilst I was sitting shocked and saddened in bed, a fellow Twitter colleague was already making plans to help. Big plans...
Zoe Grant - a talented designer and maker (amongst many other talents!) was writing this blog...
"...I feel so helpless, sat here at my desk in Suffolk. I want to go and help clean up the carnage, but I can't. And I know I am not alone reading tweets from friends around the country.
So I had a crazy idea, why not use our talents to help. The clean up will take months maybe years as people are left homeless and have had their livelihoods taken from them. My idea is to have a a big raffle or auction of donations from designer makers all over the UK..."
And so the Riot Raffle was born.
To date, over 80 makers, designers, crafters and artists have pledged a piece (or pieces) of their own work to help raise funds which will go to Retail Trust - a charity that promises that 100% of all the money raised will go towards helping the retail staff and shopkeepers whose lives have been devastated by these awful events. And I am proud to say that I am one of those crafters.
We have all seen pictures and heard the story of the the Reeves family - The House of Reeves store in Croydon, South London shown blazing last Monday night. 140 years of family graft up in flames, all caused by mindless violence. We have seen pictures of smashed store fronts, heard stories of looting, vandalism and theft. Imagine if that had been your shop? If that had been your life's work, and your livelihood? This is what touches the hearts of crafters and makers like me across the community - and why we are trying to each help in our own little way.
Zoe has done so much, and you can follow progress on Twitter by following @RiotRaffle and buying tickets once the raffle is finalised and under way - I believe that they will be sold at as little as £1 each, and if we all spend just a few pounds, collectively we can raise a large sum to help people very much in need. There will also be a dedicated website coming very soon - gratefully contributed, designed and built by the generous @bwebsites .
I also thoroughly recommend following Zoe's own blog - a mix of crafting, beaching, baking, fabric and all things fabulous...! zoeanddrew.blogspot.com
Finally, just to show you what I will be donating, here are some pictures...
...you may recognise this last picture - I use it as my Twitter picture (so much prettier than my face!). I am donating this lovely Vintage Rosebud Coffee Cup Candle, scented with a delicious rose fragrance. If you would like to know more about it, I have her sister listed in my Folksy.com shop right now... just click here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my rant, and my praises for those with the vision to do something about it, and hopefully to be inspired to take part in Riot Raffle.