This year, the team at Botley Hill Farmhouse has chosen to support The Kezi Silverstone Trust, a Warlingham-based charity which works to prevent the abuse and neglect of children and helps guide them through adversity. Here we meet Kezi Silverstone, founder of the charity to learn more about their work in the area...
Tell us a little about your background...
I began my theatrical career in the theatre and subsequently became the face of Lynx Faberge, as well as a composer, songwriter, recording artist and business woman. I’m a recognised avid supporter of children’s charities and have created funds and awareness for Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society and RASASC.
How did you come to be based in Surrey?
My family reside on the east and west coast of America and I spent many years between the UK and America. Then my career blossomed in the UK and despite my American allegiance, I’m simply an English girl at heart. I fell in love with Surrey and have had a home here for some years now.
What inspired you to start The Kezi Silverstone Trust?
At the request of Barnardo’s, I became an official VIP supporter of the charity and spent many years as an official spokesperson and fundraiser. I had an extremely challenging childhood and have always fought tirelessly to help prevent the abuse, neglect and vulnerability of children and help guide them through adversity. In 2014, with the encouragement of people close to me, I launched The Kezi Silverstone Trust. I wanted to know where every penny raised was spent and our charity’s policy is direct funding. No funds leave The Kezi Silverstone Trust unless our trustees know exactly how it is due to be spent, and every penny is spent on our children.
What are the main challenges you face?
Some people still struggle to understand and recognise that neglect, abuse and adversity affects children from all walks of life, including affluent neighbourhoods.
Are there any success stories that you’re able to share?
The Kezi Silverstone Trust’s biggest success story is without doubt our performing arts school, which is based at Warlingham Church Hall. Some of the most vulnerable children came to us in 2017 and the difference the school has made to their confidence and self-esteem is immeasurable. The Kezi Silverstone Trust helps children believe in themselves when others have made it hard to do so.
We currently work with 11 children at our performing arts school and these children are all from very local neighbourhoods. We also work with three domestic abuse refuges in Surrey and within these refuges we support up to 30 children.
Do you have any key dates where the public can get involved with your work?
The Kezi Silverstone Trust School of Performing Arts stages one or two shows per year, which the public can attend. Our shows are always a sell-out and a great success. The 2019 dates are still to be confirmed, so watch this space.
What are your hopes for the future with the charity?
Our hopes are to have the funds to sponsor more children and offer them places at our performing arts school. Our scholarships provide funds for vulnerable children to attend theatrical workshops. Not only do the arts provide an outlet for emotional escapism, but they are also a proven method of developing confidence, self-esteem and well-being. The Kezi Silverstone Trust helps children bounce away from a dark past into a bright and sunny future.
Finally, if someone is hoping for the charity’s support, what’s the best way to get in touch?
You can reach us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01883 626859. We are always here to help. You can find more about our charity, our policies and our mission with this Youtube video.
Registered charity number: 1157051