Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
There is now no doubt in anyone’s mind that the service that trust house will offer are much needed by many of Reading’s women, men and children.
But 2 years ago it wasn’t really on the radar. There is someone in this room who has charmed, cajoled and where needed badgered it onto the agenda.
She didn’t want to speak today but Sinead; I am going to embarrass you in a moment.
But first I will say that the success of this campaign and the launch of Trust House is a sign of the co-ordination between the council, the voluntary sector and agencies especially the community activists in Reading, not forgetting the wonderful support – and funding - from national bodies, the Survivors Trust and the Ministry of Justice.
It is that funding commitment that has made it possible, and I’ll never forget the slightly surreal but wonderful experience of sharing a phone with Sinead in my front room to be told the funding was coming through.
I hope and believe that this centre will continue in the spirit of the campaign. Ensuring the survivor is at the centre but also working together with others to get more done than is possible alone.
I remember when we were celebrating getting this funding some-one asked me why and told me we shouldn’t’ celebrate until the centre is no longer needed.
At the time I said fair point and felt a bit embarrassed, but afterwards I had one of those ‘If only I’d said’ Moments – do you know that feeling?
You don’t often get a chance to go back and get a second bite but you know what, I’m going to pretend that this is that chance!
We all know that this service will benefit people who are sexually assaulted in the coming years and those who have survived abuse in the past.
Living in the real world that this centre is opening is something to be celebrated and I’m not embarrassed about that.
Of course we can all hope and work for a day when sex is never used as a weapon of control and only as a tool of love.
When that day comes this service can focus on survivors of historic abuse.
When that day comes we will celebrate it.
But until that day comes we’ve work to do and we can and should celebrate this as a step forward.