We’re proud to announce our new partnership with The Laura Currer Sparkle Foundation, a Newcastle based charity looking to help those that have experienced trauma to reclaim their lives, their identity and most importantly their happiness – or simply put, their ‘sparkle’.
One of the main ways the foundation looks to achieve this aim is through various social events, including live music events in direct partnership with us at Ride Music.
With the launch of the foundation coming this Monday, and the first live music showcase November 3rd, we sat down with founder Laura Currer to find out what the foundation is all about and the idea behind putting on regular live music shows.
First off, tell us a little about yourself and the Sparkle Foundation.
I’m Newcastle based, by day I’m a programme manager, but for the past year I’ve been working on the Sparkle Foundation; which is based on my experience of trauma and sexual violence. So, when I was going through that, going through the services, like the police and the NHS, I really felt like there was a gap in terms of a positive space for people who have experienced sexual violence and want to feel hopeful about a life after trauma. Because everything was very doom and gloom, and very negative, and there was nowhere that you could go and feel hopeful – so, the idea of Sparkle was born with the hope of filling that gap.
What’s the primary aim of the foundation?
Essentially, we are less interested in what has brought you to us and more interested in you as a person and what matters to you – the real bare bones of what makes you who you are and what made you happiest before the trauma, and then how you can get that sparkle back. That’s often something that core services don’t have the capacity to cover and I think this is the most meaningful element of recovery, it’s really looking at you as a person and what matters to you and thinking how you can get those things back.
For me with my experience, I originally thought the foundation had to be focused on sexual violence, because I thought that experience was something really different to me and no one could relate or understand, and there are elements where that’s true, but that being said I don’t think there needs to be these barriers up. I think that a lot of people who have experienced trauma or adversity will be able to relate to what we’re doing and fundamentally, if you feel like Sparkle speaks to you then come along, there’s a place for you, whatever your experience.
What was it for you that got your ‘sparkle’ back?
You know I had police involvement, NHS involvement, you get counselling and various things, and that was absolutely important, but for me, whenever anything’s going on and I need to clear my head, I drive. I just go for drives, I make myself a flask of tea and I drive. Sometimes I had my friends with me, sometimes my family, and often I was on my own. It was through those drives that I suppose I started transitioning back into Laura.
Through talking to my friends, but also just really often through driving and blasting music, singing and rapping, just getting out of my own head and starting to feel better. There’s something for me about music, and this sounds ridiculous, but there’s something to be about music and about… rapping in particular, that makes me feel really like myself. I think this is what Sparkle tries to do, to create those moments where you feel completely connected and yourself – those moments are like gold dust, and often hip-hop really facilities that for me. Other things like work, exercise, working out, they were all really helpful too, they had the same effect – just things that make you feel productive and valuable again.
So, it’s phasing in – when you experience trauma, or anything bad happens in your life, it’s a process and you’re trying to tip the scales in the right balance again – you go from feeling awful most of the time, to feeling good some of the time, until you feel good most of the time. I think for me, it was an accumulation of those little moments where I started to feel me again that started to tip the balance in the favour of me feeling fully like myself.
Sparkle is here to facilitate those moments in group settings, in social settings, so through monthly socials where you do things that are fun and positive, and they aren’t centred around rape or sexual violence or trauma, because you get sick of thinking about it, talking about it and it being this thing. We’re also developing a Sparkle app which will facilitate independent recovery, so watch this space.
In essence, Sparkle looks to help you have those moments of real power and brilliance and to start tipping the balance, so you have them more often than not… until you get ‘you’ back.
Your launch event on August 20th is fast approaching, what’s going to be happening on the night?
Well, we’re trying to make it extra sparkly, so we have lots going on! The theme is sparkle, so we’ve got prosecco, we’ve got little Sparkle care packages for everyone – which is something we’re going to be rolling out to trauma survivors and giving them care packages – but we want everyone to get the Sparkle treatment on the 20th. So, lots of different things, cake, flowers, you can get all glittered up, it’s just going to be all sparkly and great. I’ll speak a little bit and we’ll introduce our board, we can all make connections and just have a really celebratory, uplifting night and kick everything off the right way. Just a lot of love and good vibes.
On a personal level, the launch is three years to the day since my own assault, so it’s going to be a bit of a moment for me – I’m so thrilled to be taking the day back in such a positive way, I think that’s really powerful and I can’t wait to share that with everyone there. Really it’s a celebration, it’s a party, and that’s going to be really special.
You’re planning to put on regular events through Sparkle, including a quarterly music event starting in November – tell me the inspiration behind that?
I think for me this is really one of the main things. Some people I say this to think that it’s something a bit fluffy, or they can’t see the benefit of these events, but actually I think it’s really important because when you experience sexual violence, for example and that’s my reference point, there are a lot of restrictions. There a lot of ‘you can’t do this now’, ‘you shouldn’t do that’, ‘you shouldn’t go there’ and I understand that, but the longer that you live like that, the longer that the trauma is having a lasting impact on you and limiting your life in an ongoing kind of way.
So, these events really kick those doors open, help you rediscover what matters to you and what you enjoy doing. Hopefully they can get you almost reintegrated back into your life in a positive, safe environment where you know everyone there has, not necessarily similar experiences, but the same values, the same positive approach and kind of hopeful outlook and just wants to have a good time – you really shouldn’t underestimate the power that these social events can have on someone’s recovery.
The first event is going to be hip-hop/urban music focused at WHQ, is there any reason you wanted to start with that sort of music?
For me, I’ve created Sparkle and what I want to do is really get a grasp of what sparkle looks like for different people. But, at the moment, I’m really going off in a lot of ways what sparkle looks like for me, and sparkle for me as I’ve said, it’s hip-hop, it’s rap, in a big way.
So, I’m really excited to be able to host our first night, in conjunction with RIDE, to kick things off and get off to really positive start. We will be doing quarterly music nights, and we’re going to offer variation, but, for me, this was an easy one, we had to do this first and I’m really happy with the artists that we’ve already got booked and I can’t wait for the night, I think it’s going to be a really good one.
What would you say to people that have experienced trauma but are maybe feeling nervous about stepping out and being involved?
I’d say, we see you and we see your struggle, and when you’re ready we’re here. The assurance that I’d give would be that whatever brings you to us, we will provide a safe environment for you, a positive, hopeful space – whatever you’ve been through there’s always a place for you with Sparkle.