Reclaim SLAG: fundraising for women’s safety

SLAG Collective has announced a fundraiser in support of Reclaim Blackpool – a project mapping sexual harassment in the town.

Hosted between two venues – Aunty Social on Topping Street and its next door neighbour Bootleg Social – craft workshops, live music, DJ sets, a raffle and creative stalls will form the fundraiser on Saturday 25th March.

Proceeds will go to Reclaim Blackpool, which began life as a Blackpool Social Club article in 2021. Following the brutal murder of Sarah Everard and the national outcry from women for street safety, we put out a callout for women to share their stories of public sexual harassment. Around 50 women initially shared their stories and the project is now a growing movement of women sharing their stories in a bid to educate, empower and effect change.

SLAG (Skate Like A Girl) is a collective of female skateboarders in the town whose ethos is shared with Reclaim Blackpool. It aims to reclaim space in the male-dominated skate scene, as well as the derogatory language used towards female skaters.

Reclaim SLAG is the result in a strong collaboration between the two movements that are both working towards empowering women in the town. The event brings together women from different creative corners of Blackpool and is open to everyone.

“The reclamation of language and spaces ousts and replaces the discourse of patriarchal power,” says SLAG co-founder Lucy Lavery. “Working closely with Reclaim Blackpool over the past couple of months has really emphasised the importance of this work. It only seemed right that we hosted our next fundraiser for them.

“Our concern for the precarious safety of women extends far beyond the skate park. We like to help in whatever way we can.”

There are 133 testimonies of public sexual harassment in Blackpool on reclaimblackpoolmap.co.uk. In one a 24-year-old woman describes skating on the comedy carpet in 2021. She says: “A man walked straight up to me whilst exposing himself and masturbating. I was too shocked say anything at the time but it left me feeling extremely violated.”

SLAG has run successful fundraisers at Bootleg Social for the likes of Fylde Coast Women’s Aid, which has also been working in partnership with Reclaim Blackpool. Funds raised at Reclaim SLAG will go back into the project, allowing it to continue its campaign and to deliver more projects and events that hold space for women in Blackpool.

“We have found fundraisers not only bring together a whole community of different people but also enable us to help our local community,” says Lavery.

From 5-7pm on Saturday 25th March, arts organisation Aunty Social will open its doors at 28 Topping Street for creative workshops. Aunty will be helping participants to craft felt hearts which will be embroidered with words of power describing how they would like to feel on the streets. Grumpy Girl Graphics will be holding a bead craft workshop, and SLAG a grip tape art workshop. The workshops are free but sign up is required as spaces are limited: reclaim-slag-march.eventbrite.co.uk.

From 7pm the main fundraiser will kick off next door at Bootleg Social, where donations will be taken on entry. A night of live music, a raffle and DJ sets will follow – all by Blackpool women. 16-year-old Imogen Evans will kick things off at 7.30pm, with her set of original songs, followed by Daisy Atkinson, who has built a huge following in Blackpool and beyond since she began releasing music last year.

Organisers recommend bringing cash for raffle tickets that will be available on the door and throughout the night and bubble bath and Quality Street it is not! There are some incredible prizes up for grabs including original art from Laura Green, piano lessons from Lindsay Garvin, clothes from local slow fashion brand Capri Club, a £50 tattoo voucher from Red Lily Tattoo, goodies from Blackpool’s own Bankhall Whiskey and loads more besides.

Under 18s are welcome until 10pm and after that Bellez of the Ball, a female DJ collective from the House of Wingz family, will get the crowd moving with their funky grooves. SLAG will round off the night with its own DJ set of female empowerment tunes – think Beyonce to Bikini Kill via Kate Bush.

“When Reclaim Blackpool started as an online article, women in major cities were gathering to protest. There was no visible protest movement in Blackpool and no opportunity for women to gather, but we felt the need for connection,” says Antonia Charlesworth Stack, who founded Reclaim Blackpool Map. “Now Reclaim Blackpool is that movement – women are coming together in person and those connections are being made. SLAG Collective has been supportive of Reclaim Blackpool from the start and they, along with all the other women coming together to put this fundraiser on, as well as the 133 women who have shared stories on the map, are at the heart of it.”

You can explore the interactive map and share your story of public sexual harassment at reclaimblackpoolmap.co.uk. Sign up to workshops at Aunty Social at reclaim-slag-march.eventbrite.co.uk. And visit bootlegsocial.co.uk for further info. Poster by Grumpy Girl Graphics.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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