Group Shot

Stars Join Forces

Some of the biggest names in the world of journalism, literature, film and TV have come together for one night only to raise money for a domestic abuse charity working in Brighton & Hove and throughout West Sussex.

Known as ‘End Of’, it is the brainchild of writer and journalist Julie Burchill, who might seem an unlikely target for domestic abuse but, like many women, has been there and back, recovered and is now rather cross.

Those who have already promised their services include Caitlin Moran, Linda Lewis, Jackie Clune, Julie Graham, Suzanne Moore, Dominique Olliver, Vanquish, Dora Dale and Tamzin Outhwaite.  The final running order and list of performers will be revealed closer to the date.

Absolute Brighton caught up with some of those involved to find out more about the event.

We asked Julie Burchill where the idea came from? Says Julie: “When my career went down the swanee I began to spend a lot of time on Facebook and whenever I did a post about domestic violence I got lots of response, many of them from Brighton.  The temptation is always just to sit around and talk about it but I’ve got no interest in just picking at scabs.  I wanted to get on and do something.  I wanted to make a difference and have fun at the same time.  I had a vision of a girl gang with a real great cause.

“I then saw that Rise were having their money cut this year and thought they would be an ideal group to do this for.

“At first we were just going to make it a small event at Latest Music Bar and then I thought, let’s ask Caitlin Moran and she said she could EASILY fill a bigger venue.  Then another kind friend gave us the money to hire the Town Hall for the night and the whole thing took off.’

Founded in 1994, RISE stands for Refuge, Information, Support and Education. RISE is a domestic abuse charity working in Brighton and Hove and throughout West Sussex helping women, children, young people and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The charity works with statutory, voluntary and community organisations to deliver specialist services to survivors.

Gail Gray is the Chief Executive Officer of RISE.  She said: “We are very excited and delighted to be chosen.  RISE, like many other voluntary sector organisations, faces uncertain times.  The money raised at this event will help secure RISE services in Brighton & Hove and benefit the over 1,200 people we help every year.

“Our services include refuge accommodation, resettlement, crisis appointments, helpline, counselling, housing, legal and financial advice, solicitors appointments, support groups, play therapy, 1-to-1 support and training and preventative education.

“We want to help make sure that help is there for years to come.”

Another one of the founders of the event is local actress Julie Graham.  Julie has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for over 25 years including the RSC, The National and in the West End sand was most recently seen in The Bletchley Circle.

Julie told us: “My involvement with End Of came about because of a conversation I had with Julie Burchill. After hearing about too many friends who had all recently experienced some sort of domestic abuse situation she came up with the idea putting on a charity event that would highlight an increasing problem and at the same time raise money for a great cause.

“I needed little persuasion to join our wonderful band of women in putting on what we hope will be a night to remember. It’s been a privilege.”

Readers may not immediately associate Julie B with voluntary works.

“I’ve never been involved in anything like this before as I’ve always been too selfish and focussed on fun,” but in fact Julie is no stranger to voluntary work having worked in a Jewish care home, a home for the blind and a homeless centre.

“I’ve also worked with young people with Downs Syndrome and originally we just had the radio on and we used to dance around making moasics but then the new management came in and said it wasn’t a disco and turned the music off and that was the end of that.

“Rise is such a great organisation.  I’m proud to be associated with them.”

Will Julie be performing herself?

“I am under strict instructions to restrain myself and have only two whiskies beforehand but if I do get drunk I might just jump on stage and sing ‘Jump Around’ with Dora Dale.

“Come along and enjoy yourself and I guarantee you’ll have the best night of your lives.”

The event takes place at Hove Town Hall on Tuesday 29 April.

Tickets are now on sale and cost £20 each (inc VAT) and will be sold on a first come first served basis with the best tickets on tables at the front.