Strength & Stem will be a social enterprise florist that empowers survivors of human trafficking through meaningful employment, life-giving community and skills training.
We are crowdfunding to be able to run a pilot series of floristry workshops for survivors this September and October: £6,000 will enable us to do so.
We exist to support women who have found themselves in the unthinkable situation of being exploited for sexual, domestic or manual labour purposes. It is often the case that these individuals were brought to the UK under the false offer of employment. There are an estimated 136,000 people in this situation today.
According to the charity Hestia, 81% of trafficked victims in London are women, reflecting the fact that the capital city has a higher rate of sex trafficking than anywhere else in the country. Once these women have got out of this situation, it can be difficult to recover from the trauma, not least to find employment that gives them meaning, and empowers them to be economically independent in the future.
There are less than twenty organisations or programmes in the UK that exist specifically to support survivors of human trafficking through vocational training or employment.
We are in the process of designing a work experience programme which will upskill survivors across the areas of finance, operations, marketing and strategy in the floristry industry. The programme will be tailored to each survivors’ specific needs and will factor in the personal challenges they often face which may affect their ability to transition into the work environment. We commit to creating several jobs within Strength & Stem for graduates of our work experience programme.
In addition, we will deliver regular Community Floristry Workshops for free. These workshops will also cater for survivors who might be unable to work. In the long term, these will be funded by profit reinvested from the business’ trading activities.
Jess Visser, founder and lead florist of Strength & Stem, began her career as a headhunter, working with a wide range of charities in the UK. For two years, she volunteered as a mentor with a social enterprise in East London that supports disadvantaged women on their journey to employment. She also spent time working with a charity that focusses on intercepting potential victims of human trafficking before exploitation. Seeing the effects and trauma of exploitation on individuals firsthand, heightened Jess' passion to support survivors through access to skills training and employment. In October 2018, she left her job and trained as a florist to pursue her vision of establishing Strength & Stem.
We are raising money to fund our pilot series of Community Floristry Workshops.
These workshops will provide the opportunity for women to be creative, to find community and to learn new skills. We want to use floristry as a therapeutic tool to help survivors to flourish.
How are we doing it?
The four full-day workshops, to take place in September and October 2019, will teach ten women a range of floristry skills including hand-tied bouquets, buttonholes, flower crowns, wreaths and table arrangements.
For the duration of the pilot, we will work with British flowers and without floral foam to reduce carbon footprint and waste, and to enhance the ethical nature of the training.
The founders and florists of British flower growers Wolves Lane Flower Company have agreed to teach the workshops. A London charity with a leading modern slavery response team has agreed to send us participants for the pilot (each with a Support Worker).
The money raised will be used to cover the costs of; venue hire; hiring the experienced florists to lead the workshops; raw materials including the British flowers; food and refreshments for the participants; and participant travel.
We are committed to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. Consequently, all of the flowers that will be used for the pilot will be sourced in the UK from local flower farmers. 80% of the UK's cut flowers come from Holland. Whilst it can be more expensive to source locally, we are strongly committed to reducing our impact on the environment and supporting local businesses around us.
We also want to be able to gift our participants with some basic florists equipment to treasure and take home with them. Most of these women may not even have a vase to put their bouquets in at home. Your pledges will cover the cost of this and will give participants something to enjoy beyond the four-week course.
- £50 will provide a bucket of flowers for one participant (for one workshop)
- £150 will cover the cost of the professional floristry tools required
- £400 will enable all ten participants to travel to and from each workshop for free - they might not be able to attend otherwise; this is an empowering intervention
Everyone who donates will be updated on our progress and will receive the pledge reward they claim on this crowdfunding page. Check out the rewards on the right-hand side. Click 'select reward' underneath the amount you wish to pledge. Rewards are first come first served.
You can also pledge without claiming a reward if you wish. Simply choose the amount you wish to pledge and click 'donate', rather than claiming a reward underneath its description.
We love to hear your feedback! If you have any questions or want to find out more, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will you join us as we help these women not only to survive but to flourish.