Ribbons, messages and prayers will be displayed along Colmore Row this week (Monday 3 – Sunday 9 October), as a sign of visible solidarity with survivors of abuse.

The initiative, known as LOUDfence, is being hosted by St Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, with the support of various partners, including survivor-led charity Survivors Voices and the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham. Members of our Diocesan Safeguarding Team are set to attend various events.

LOUDfence represents the voices of those who wish to express support for those who have been subjected to injury by abuse and for those who are dealing with the consequences for themselves and others.

As well as ribbons and messages along the railings on the edge of Cathedral Square, there will also be a smaller display within the main entrance of the cathedral too. Anyone is invited to add a ribbon, message, or prayer to either of these displays.

Ribbons and note cards will be available from the entrance of St Philip's Cathedral and from some local businesses. There is also the opportunity for anyone to join in with LOUDfence virtually, by requesting that a ribbon, message and / or prayer be added to the LOUDfence on their behalf. A member of the cathedral team will then add these to the physical LOUDfence during the week. Details for both of these options can be found on the LOUDfence page of the cathedral's website as these are confirmed.

Additional pastoral support will be available at all times when the cathedral is open. Clergy, Chaplains and other trained members of the cathedral safeguarding team will be on hand for anyone wishing to discuss any issues.

The Dean of Birmingham, The Very Reverend Matt Thompson, said: “We are inviting anyone who wants to show their support to come and attach a ribbon or message onto the LOUDfence, and to take a few moments to pause, reflect and pray if they wish. LOUDfence also gives us a chance to reflect on the times the Church has failed the victims of abuse, to say sorry, and to commit ourselves to doing our utmost to being a place which is safe for all people.”

Antonia Sobocki, LOUDfence UK Project Manager said: "LOUDfence is a visible display of support, solidarity and compassion for those affected by abuse. The ribbons tied to each fence represent the voices of those who wish to send a message of support to those who have been injured and traumatised in the church or any other setting. LOUDfence sends a collective message: ‘You matter, what happened to you matters and we, the Christian community, care very much'."

LOUDfence will be taking place alongside other opportunities to explore how abuse survivors can be fully supported by the church and wider society during the week.

On Thursday 6 October, there will be a day of seminars at St Philip's Cathedral, led by Theologian Professor Gillian T. W. Ahlgren. In the evening, Professor Ahlgren will be giving a free lecture on public social theology, taking place in the cathedral as well as being livestreamed on YouTube. The lecture will be exploring recovery, growth and how people can live out their Christian faith in a world surrounded by trauma. All are welcome to sign up if they wish to attend the lecture in person.

On Sunday 9 October, St Philip's Cathedral will be marking Safeguarding Sunday, in which the church is challenged to reflect on its safeguarding culture and practices, and to commit to continue being a place and people of safety.

Full details on LOUDfence