Charity which helps families in Norfolk hopes new fundraiser will fly

PUBLISHED: 15:11 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:24 14 May 2019

Flight for Youth's launch party (C) The Benjamin Foundation

Flight for Youth's launch party (C) The Benjamin Foundation

Photography by Julia Holland 2019.

A Norfolk-based charity which is a vital lifeline to children, young people and families in the region is urging people to support its fundraising project which will see two iconic buildings in the county covered in butterflies.

Flight for Youth's ceramic butterflies (C) The Benjamin FoundationFlight for Youth's ceramic butterflies (C) The Benjamin Foundation

Buy a butterfly and give a young person the wings they need to fly - that's the message from The Benjamin Foundation which is planning to set Norfolk aflutter with the help of supporters.

The charity, founded in 1994 by Richard Draper and his wife Vanessa following the death of their 17-year-old son Ben in a motorcycle accident in August 1992, plays a crucial role in helping to tackle youth homelessness and helping families across Norfolk and Suffolk build stronger relationships.

This year marks the charity's 25th anniversary and to celebrate, a huge fundraising effort has taken flight which will see two historic buildings in Norfolk covered in beautiful butterflies in a dramatic art installation during July and August.

Holkham Hall on the North Norfolk coast and The Assembly House in Norwich have lent their buildings to the foundation so they can be the backdrop to a display with a difference, along the lines of the Tower of London's Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red created in the moat to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One.

Flight for Youth's ceramic butterflies (C) The Benjamin FoundationFlight for Youth's ceramic butterflies (C) The Benjamin Foundation

Flight for Youth will feature up to 25,000 glazed pottery butterflies glazed in the charity's four distinct colours of pink, purple, orange or red, each of which will have been purchased by a member of the public, or by a business, in order to raise much-needed funds for the foundation.

Colin Lang, special projects manager who has created the appeal explained: "When planning how to mark our anniversary we decided that it must be something that anyone could be a part of and Flight for Youth does just that. By purchasing one of our ceramic butterflies, the public is not only supporting our charity, they are becoming part of a very special celebration.

"The aim now is to sell as many as possible, as all profits from the campaign will help our charity continue to deliver the work we do for another quarter century."

The charity has received incredible support from businesses and organisations which have backed the campaign, including headline sponsors Norwich High School for Girls and Jarrold, which has pledged its support by dedicating space in its window displays for the butterflies and selling the ceramic artworks at their store in The Forum on Millennium Plain.

Flight for Youth's ceramic butterflies (C) The Benjamin FoundationFlight for Youth's ceramic butterflies (C) The Benjamin Foundation

Butterflies that have been purchased will be used in the displays across Norfolk before their owners can reclaim them to display at home or in their garden.

"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," Mr Lang added.

Schools, care homes and organisations can also purchase unglazed butterflies, which they can decorate themselves and submit to The Benjamin Foundation to be included in the installation.

Glazed butterflies are priced at £25 each or £95 for the set while plain ceramic butterflies which can be decorated at home and then submitted to the foundation to be included in the installation are being sold at £12 each and can be painted with acrylic or enamel paint - all are available at Jarrold in The Forum and online at youth/.

Flight for Youth's ceramic butterflies being decorated (C) The Benjamin FoundationFlight for Youth's ceramic butterflies being decorated (C) The Benjamin Foundation

"The plain butterflies are a way for those with creative flair to really get involved," said Mr Lang, "they are also a great idea for group activities and we have created packs for schools and care homes who might want their students or residents to decorate their own."

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The charity is also inviting those with a creative streak to get involved by decorating their own butterfly and entering it into a competition to win gift vouchers - throughout the summer, those wishing to enter the competition can submit pictures of their unique butterflies on social media @CharityTBF using the hashtag #MyTBFButterfly.

Entries will then be judged by an independent panel, with 25 being shortlisted to go on display and to a public vote at a family fun day to mark the charity's actual birthday in October.

The Foundation points to the Norfolk Community Foundation Vital Signs report reveals that 20 per cent of people living in Norfolk have a disability or health problem while 94,691 people are providing unpaid care to a relative, partner or friend and 31 per cent of children in the county live below the poverty line.

Norfolk has the highest deprivation score in the East of England, which is higher than the national average, and 45 per cent of deprivation in Norfolk is found in rural areas.

"Everything The Benjamin Foundation delivers is driven by the needs of local people and these statistics highlight how critical The Benjamin Foundation is in Norfolk," added Mr Lang.

* For more information about The Benjamin Foundation, visit

About The Benjamin Foundation

- The Benjamin Foundation provides a home and support to over 100 vulnerable young adults at any one time, giving young people a stable home and providing the skills they need so they forge an independent life

- It delivers a range of services to support children, young people and families facing challenges and by helping at an early stage, the charity's work aims to prevent more serious problems arising in the future

- Additionally, the foundation provides education to pre-school children in a safe, supportive environment which gives their parents peace of mind, provides positive activities for young people who have limited opportunities in life

- In 2017 to 2018, the charity helped more than 2,500 people in Norfolk and Suffolk and provided more than 40,000 safe nights for vulnerable young adults

- It helped 127 young people in 2017/18 to move into employment, education or training and provided 36,157 hours of childcare

- In the academic year 2017/18, we delivered 12,446 sessions of emotional wellbeing support to young people in schools in Norfolk and Suffolk.

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