Risking on Purpose

I feel so pleased to be able to say that it never fails to amaze and astound me the lengths people are willing and able to go to raise awareness of things they feel passionate about. Matthew McVarish is one of these people and is currently on the 4th day out of 600 days of a 10,000 mile walk to Stop the Silence’ that surrounds child sexual abuse. Matthew will walk from London through 31 capital cities across the EU and return to Edinburgh 18 months later on 5th February 2015. On Friday 31st May 2013, I felt so privileged to be part of a small crowd that saw Matthew off from the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. Accompanying Matthew walking the first hundred steps or so down to Westminster Bridge complete with Piper and balloons and then tearfully waving ‘good bye’ as he climbed the steps up to the road on his own and set off on an incredible journey is a day I will always remember. You can find out much more about Matthew’s story by visiting www.roadtochange.eu. Thank you so much Matthew for all you’re doing and also to Sandra Brown, founder of the Moira Anderson Foundation and Protective Behaviours trainer for sharing this wonderful project. The photos below show Matthew’s route and Sandra and Matthew sharing one final goodbye hug. To find out more about Sandra’s amazing story please visit www.moiraanderson.org.

Later that same morning, with the sound of the bagpipes still in my ears, I headed off on an adventure of my own. A couple of weeks earlier I caught the tail end of an ex-MP speaking on the radio about ‘empowering children to keep themselves safe’. Yet again I found myself shouting ‘Protective Behaviours’ at the radio and decided that now was the time to do more than shouting. So I ‘googled’ the person I heard and sent an email all with a view to sharing my passion for the PB process and how it is and can be used to keep people safe while having fun and adventures.  When asked later by some friend ‘what were you thinking?’ I realised that I did what I did because I am feeling increasingly confused and frustrated that there are so many individual and successful PB projects around yet there hasn’t been a way of joining them up so everyone can have access to them regardless of where they live.  I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge therefore to see what I can do to make this happen and stop yet another ‘postcode lottery’.

I need to say a big thank you to my wonderful friend Chris who came with me on Friday to make sure I didn’t get lost and kept myself safe. In my opinion the meeting went as well as it could have done and I managed to pause for breath at least twice in the 90 minutes! The next step is to share more information about existing projects with a view to working out how this could be replicated. And the fantastic thing is that there are currently PBs projects that work with parents and families, children of all ages, schools, people in prison, residential homes ……. and probably lots more that I’m not aware of. So if you know of any that are currently running please let me know so I can share this information with perhaps some other people who can help to make PBs accessible to an even wider audience. And, I will be asking a few of my PBPeople buddies to join me in presenting this information. I’ll keep you posted as to how my mission goes alongside Matthew’s epic adventure with a hope that we will both be able to say ‘things are changing’ as we perhaps even march up the Royal Mile towards the Palace of Holyrood on 15th February 2015!