Around 70 people attended the special event which was held in the Grosvenor Office and was sponsored by The Westminster Foundation and Lady Edwina Grosvenor, one of our patrons.
Marina Cantacuzino, The Forgiveness Project’s founder and director, began the evening with a short review of the charity’s achievements over the last decade, advising that last year alone our transformative stories touched the lives of over 200,000 people, whether in person, via our online story bank, through our prison and educational programmes or via The F Word exhibition. Marina explained that the ten year anniversary was for her personally ‘a massive milestone’, admitting that when she and photographer, Brian Moody, had set about collecting stories of forgiveness in 2003 she never imagined that it would lead to founding a charity that gave voice to both victims and perpetrators of crime and violence.
She talked about the charity’s plans for the years ahead and highlighted how The Forgiveness Project wouldn’t be where it was today without the support of those in the room as well as those who were unable to come to the event. She explained that none of this would have happened without the charity’s Founding Patron, the late Anita Roddick, who funded the inaugural exhibition and whose spirit lives on within The Forgiveness Project’s heart logo, created originally for Anita Roddick Books.
Having shared her experiences of visiting Restorative Justice initiatives across the USA and Canada last autumn thanks to receiving a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, she invited Peter Woolf and Will Riley to the floor. The audience then watched the film “The Woolf Within” based on their story before both storytellers – who recently appeared in an episode of BBC3’s Crime and Punishment season – openly answered questions about their experience and the power of restorative practices.
Marina concluded: “We are a lean organisation with a long reach – and none of this would be possible without our amazing story-tellers and without those who have joined our Supporters Programme and contribute financially on a regular basis. Both story-tellers and donors are the lifeblood of this organisation providing us with an incredible gift – and I want to honour that.”
If you would like to help us increase The Forgiveness Project’s reach so that we can transform more lives in communities around the world, please consider joining our Supporter’s Programme or making a donation.