How to plan a challenge badge!

Sam Morgan talks of how she produced her, very successful, challenge badge to mark the centenary of votes for women and the role of the Suffragettes

In August 2017 I saw a little phrase ‘Vote100’.  On investigation I discovered a whole range of events planned this year to celebrate the centenary of women starting to get the vote.

I had already created a challenge badge for my unit (1stRhiwderin Brownies) ‘Roman Challenge badge’ so thought maybe someone had put a challenge together for the centenary.

I asked around and kept getting the answer ‘No – but if you do create one we would do it!’.  So I decided to create a challenge badge.

I often tell people that my first thought at that point when someone mentioned suffragette was the mum in Mary Poppins so I knew I had to educate myself on the topic.

I knew of the names Pankhurst and Davison and they were my starting point.

Through the name Emily Davison I came across the amazing Dearsley Window in the Palace of Westminster and a recent drawing of it. Melanie Unwin is the curator at the palace and was also working on the Vote100 project and managed to secure the use of the image of the drawing at no charge.  Melanie also mentioned that she could put me in touch with Helen Pankhurst who she thought may be able to assist.

Helen turned out to be as amazing as expected.  She wrote the opening foreword to the challenge which reduced one of my Brownies mums to tears.

It took about 3 months to write the challenge – I even had a note book next to my bed just in case I had inspiration for an activity!

Then it came time to design the badge – I researched various badges that the different groups wore and came up with a few designs – finally settling on the design that incorporated the violets that suffragettes wore and gave to each other and a ribbon based on an actual piece of suffragette jewellery.

I thought maybe if I sold 1000 badges I could donate £200 to Care International – the charity that Helen is an advisor and ambassador. Fastforward to 1 year later and I cannot believe the impact that the badge has had.To date we have sold 20,000 badges with over £8000 being donated to Care International from badge sales and tea parties held all over the country. Money from the badge sales has paid for neckers for the girls – which are violet, green and white!

Our unit appeared on BBC news via TV and radio which was an amazing experience for the girls. 1stRhiwderin Brownies hosted a visit from Helen Pankhurst when she spoke about her book and it was attended by Jayne Bryant AM and unit leaders from across the county. We received so many letters of encouragement and photos from events that made the bagging up of thousands of badges every week worth it.

If you’re thinking of a way to raise funds this was a hugely successful endeavour – but I would go for something original, like a centenary that would grab peoples attention – such as GCHQ is 100 years old next year – but I’m not quite ready to create another challenge!