Friday, 29 July 2011

Friday, 29th July- Community Furniture Project



While MrM was away a couple of weeks ago (subtext - I had to cook for myself), I managed to completely smash the glass top of our electric cooker. I really must do something about my temper. Only kidding - I was cleaning a jar of honey and it fell out of my hand, obliterating the glass below. As I recounted to MrM with much apology, "my hand was the only thing that the honey didn't stick to".

So today, I went to the Community Furniture Project on Greenham Business Park as I am not a fan of brand new furniture and I think their project is very good for the environment - it's the best kind of recycling! There were no cookers at all - electric or gas, but I didn't come away empty-handed though - somehow I managed to haul this chest of drawers out of the shop, into my car and into the house. I still haven't recovered and even my third cup of tea hasn't revitalised me yet.

Still, I'm happy with it, the charity got a decent whack for it from me (and MrM who had to cough up when I surprised him by appearing at his office and begging for some top-up cash)....

We are a charity selling good quality re-used furniture and household goods at affordable prices to everyone – with special discount prices to those in need. As well as helping the environment by saving unnecessary landfill, we also provide a range of volunteering and accredited training opportunities.

We also work with community groups and local businesses, helping provide greener waste and re-use services.

URGENTLY NEEDED COOKERS, FRIDGES AND WASHING MACHINES IN WORKING ORDER


http://www.cfpnewbury.org/

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Wednesday, 27th July -Shaw Trust



I tried to take a bag of goodies to the Scope shop in town yesterday but didn't get there until 4.50pm, and it had closed, despite the sign in the door saying it shut at 5pm! The funny thing is that such is the extent of my recent declutter that each charity shop in town that I go into seems to selling my stuff! So it was nice to be in Chalfont St Peter for work today, where I dropped a bag of things to the Shaw Trust...

Shaw Trust is a national charity which supports disabled and disadvantaged people to prepare for work, find jobs and live more independently.

We believe everyone has the right to work and we have campaigned for over 25 years to turn our vision into a reality.

Every year we work with over 75,000 clients who face barriers due to disability, ill health or social circumstance. Thousands of employers and public sector organisations also benefit from our range of services for business.

We are the UK’s largest third sector provider and one of the Government’s lead partners in the delivery of employment programmes for disabled and disadvantaged people.

www.shaw-trust.org.uk

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Tuesday, 26th July - Marbles4MS



I'm a day behind thanks to pressure of work, but noticed that I was being followed by an innovative and caring five-year-old on Twitter.

I've donated in dollars (ah, the beauty of being able to donate to the US with the click of a button) to Connor's fund where he raises money to "fix" his mother who suffers from MS.


Marbles For MS is the idea of our 5-year old son, Connor. Connor is sort of a big picture guy who one day came up with an idea to raise money to help his mother who suffers from the debilitating disease, Multiple Sclerosis. Connor wanted to sell his artwork to help find a cure so his mom could be, in his words, "fixed."
Connor makes his paintings by placing paper in the bottom of a cigar box. He dips the marbles into paint and drops them in the box one at a time. He closes the lid and shakes like crazy.

Some of the resulting pictures can be seen on this page. Each design is different and colors vary. Connor named this project "Marbles For MS."


www.marbles4ms.org/

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Monday, 25th July - Iain Rennie Hospice at Home



Annoyingly, I lost my voice yesterday -who knew that so much of what I say all day is utterly pointless!! So after treating myself to ice cream for lunch, (the only thing I could swallow), I had a quick stroll in Beaconsfield where I popped into the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home shop and stumbled upon another Jennings book - this time brand new!

I snaffled it and read most of it in one go yesterday evening, under a blanket and with lots of vitamin C!

Iain Rennie nurses are never more than a phone call away...
The Iain Rennie Hospice at Home is a registered charity offering specialist and supportive care and advice for patients with cancer and other life threatening illnesses in their homes. We also aim to help the relatives and those carers close to the patient during the illness and bereavement period.

The service is available 365 days a year and offers patients and carers access to specialist advice and nursing visits on a 24 hour on-call basis.

The professional care and advice offered by our teams of specialist nurses provide more people with the choice to stay at home during the final stages of a terminal illness, and allow patients to achieve the best quality of life. This year our nurses expect to care for over 1000 people in the Chilterns area.

Our Hospice at Home service is offered to patients and families free of charge. It costs £4.8 million to provide our service, but less than 10% of this is funded by local Primary Care Trusts. We work hard to raise the balance, relying on donations, fundraising events, legacies and the overwhelming support we receive from our local community.

In 2010 we celebrated the charity's 25th Anniversary - that's 25 years of continuous 24 hour care. Towards the end of the year we cared for our 10,000th patient since the service began in 1985.


www.irhh.org

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sunday, 24th July - Oxfam




I think it was Samuel Johnson who said: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." You'll note that he did not say that about our current hometown of Newbury. MrM and I have a young French student staying with us at the moment. He's not been here a week and he's already had enough of Newbury, so we took him to Oxford for the day, where I headed into Oxfam to top up our huge supply of teabags.

Check out this competition that Oxfam is running, highlighting the great fashion that's available in direct contrast to the cheap, wear-it-once shops that are so prevalent....

www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/content/secondhandstore/street-style-comp.html?intcmp=hp_shop_text-street-style-comp_180711

We’re looking for guys and gals that have that great ‘Oxfam’ street style. Be it a vintage Liberty scarf, a retro pair of Levi jeans or a cool pair of shades, we want to see your look with a bit of Oxfam thrown in.


www.oxfam.org.uk

Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday, 22nd July - East Africa Crisis Appeal

Just a simple online donation today as the pictures from Somalia have been horrible and reminiscent of the famine in the 1980s in Ethiopia.

We really appreciate your support and generosity in helping us raise funds to aid people who are affected by the severe drought in East Africa.
Please give whatever you can afford. A gift, no matter how small, will help us reach the most vulnerable.

Thank you for your donation to UNICEF's East Africa Children's Crisis.

Your kind gift will help UNICEF’s work for children worldwide. Our ongoing work helps to ensure that the basic needs of every child are met - that they have clean water, food, health care, education and a safe environment in which to grow up.

UNICEF is the leading children's organisation reaching children in more than 150 countries around the world. We rely entirely on voluntary contributions from supporters like you to fund our work for children worldwide and receive no funding from the UN budget.

Thank you so much.

www.unicef.org.uk/landing-pages/donate-east-africa

Thursday, 21st July - Save the Children

Dare I say it, I am almost enjoying the clear out that's been going on for months. I filled another bag with greetings cards (why I have such cards as "Wishing my wife a happy 60th anniversary" is beyond me...), medical textbooks, clothes and books. I hauled this lot to Save the CHildren where I mistook a member of staff for a customer and wouldn't hand over my bag!

Here's Save the Children's latest advert, a very touching film that shows exactly what they do:




www.savethechildren.org

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Wednesday, 20th July - Dingle Family Centre

At the beginning of the year, at the same time that I started this charity blog, I decided that I would not buy any new clothes this year. Well, today I buckled. I have put on so much weight recently that I needed a top to cover my belly, so to ease the shame, I headed to a certain supermarket before 9am and bought two which hide everything brilliantly!
While I was there, I contributed to their charity collection which was for DIngley Family and Specialist early years centres.

Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years Centres is a charity that provides a place where children, from birth to five years, with special needs and disabilities come to develop skills through therapeutic play. More than this, it is a place where their parents and carers are welcome, where they can make friends and share experiences.

Every child who attends is regarded as an individual with the right to take a full and active part in every day life and Dingley aims to facilitate their entry into full-time education.

Qualified staff plan specific programmes tailored to each family's needs. The child's development is nurtured through therapeutic play and the group works in partnership with parents, carers and health care professionals


Children with additional needs require more play experience to realise their full potential. There are many therapeutic play opportunities on offer at the centres that are geared to all stages of development.

www.dingley.org.uk

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Tuesday, 19th July 2011 – Blue Cross Animal Charity

I had a strange dream yesterday night that I was trying to raise money for a charity by spending a night in one of their shops. The idea was that I was supposed to straighten out the shop and sort out their stock; however, I got distracted because my favourite boy (not my husband, but a member of my favourite band) got locked in the shop with me!

Not sure what that reveals about my psyche – a need to sort out my house, my brain, my life? Anyway, when I passed by the Blue Cross shop in town in real life, I had such a strong sense of déjà vu, that I ventured in (looking for my favourite band member, no doubt!).

In there, I spotted a book that for some reason did not qualify for the “all books 95p” pricing and snapped it up for £1.55 (actually they let me have it for £1.49 as that’s all I had in my wallet!)

We are a charity dedicated to improving the lives of sick and unwanted pets. At The Blue Cross we take in animals of all shapes and sizes, from hamsters to horses, and we find them loving new homes. We make sure thousands more get the veterinary treatment they need when their owners cannot afford to pay.

Owning an animal is one of the most rewarding things you can do and we’re here to champion both people and their pets.

www.bluecross.org.uk

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sunday, 17th July - West Berkshire Hospital League of Friends

Thanks for the lovely comments- it's heartening to know I'm not talking to myself!

Today, I braved the wind and rain and went to a bootsale in aid of the West Berkshire Hospital League of Friends. I was astonished that the bootsale was still on, but when I arrived and started nosing around the books, the heavens really opened and the rain started pouring biblically, and that's when people started packing up. Shame - I had my eye on a gorgeous plate and an enormous bowl as well, but they all got flung quickly into the backs of cars!

Long live the British summer!

The West Berkshire Hospital was officially opened in 2004 -(I know this because I was sent there to cover its opening on my first day working for the local paper and also as I have here the special 12-page newspaper supplement my husband wrote beforehand!) It was built on a plot of land worth £4m that was left to the town specifically for a hospital by an elderly spinster called Rosemary Rooke who kept goats on the site.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Friday, 15th July - Cancer Research UK




More literature from the Race for Life today!! I wish they'd spend their money on research instead of being my penfriend! However, it did turn out to be apt in the end as I offered two tickets to the Rhythms of the World Festival to my friend who lives near to the venue. I asked if they'd like to give a donation to charity rather than paying me, and they chose Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK's history dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Back then, there were few treatments for cancer, and even fewer that were effective.

But cancer wasn't the major cause of death - assuming it was correctly diagnosed. That dubious honour went to infectious diseases such as smallpox, measles and typhus.

But our scientists were still working hard, starting to understand cancer and how to treat it. Here are some highlights of their pioneering work.

Thanks to improved public health and vaccination - discounting the devastating impact of two World Wars - life expectancy rose through the first half of the 20th century. Because the risk of cancer increases with age, cancer rates also rose.

Due to a lack of refrigeration and poor living conditions, stomach cancer was relatively common and claimed many lives. Since the 1950s, death rates have fallen consistently from around 45 deaths in every 100,000 men in 1950 to around 9 today, while rates in women have fallen from 25 to only 4 in every 100,000.

Back to top Back to the beginning In July 1902 the Royal Colleges of Surgeons and Physicians, concerned about the suffering caused by cancer, set up the UK's first specialist cancer research organisation. It later becomes known as the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF)

In the 1920s a group of doctors and scientists decided they want to focus more heavily on clinical research rather than the fundamental lab research in progress at the ICRF.

Controversially, they formed a new charity, later renamed The Cancer Research Campaign. Decades later, the two organisations would merge, forming Cancer Research UK.

http://info.cancerresearchuk.org

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Wednesday, 13th July - Zaytoun



A friend and I went to see the brilliant Mark Thomas once again, performing his Walking the Wall show about rambling along the separation barrier between Israel and Palestine. Today's charity thing was buying a programme with all of the money going to Zaytoun which is an organisation which helps producers of fairly traded Palestinian produce to bring their goods to market.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Inspirational charity couple!!

How cool are these two?!!

www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Disgust-library-rescue-bid-thwarted/story-12814305-detail/story.html

Not sure the URL fits the story, so here it is in full:

THEY have lain on a bed of nails and jumped through fiery hoops but a duo of octogenarian fundraisers from Yeovil are facing one of their biggest obstacles to date – the 25ft climbing wall at Buckler's Mead sports centre.

Over the last 18 years Flo and Jim Essex, of West Coker Road, have raised tens of thousands of pounds for good causes with a series of long-distance walks, physical challenges and stunts including abseiling down the front of Yeovil District Hospital.

Next month they plan to scale the indoor climbing wall which presents a tough physical challenge to people a quarter of their age.

The idea came about after they asked their sponsors to suggest unusual challenges and chose the venue because it will allow their attempt to be witnessed by an audience.

The climb will be a particular challenge to Flo, who is afraid of heights.

She said: "We were looking for something different. Over the years we have done many, many things, but this is something we have never done before so it will be a challenge. That's especially the case for me because I am afraid of heights.

"When we abseiled down the hospital, I kept my eyes closed all the way down although people were saying what a wonderful view."

The couple hope to raise £1,500 for equipment at the accident and emergency department at Yeovil District Hospital.

Flo, 80, and Jim, 85, were crowned Charity Champions in the Western Gazette Pride Awards in March. They received an MBE for their charity efforts in 2007, the same year they lay on a bed of nails for a second time to raise money for charity.

They are inviting people to watch them take on the challenge on July 16. The sports hall will be open for the climb at 1.15pm.

Railway Children update

Just got a lovely email from a charity I donated to recently. I'd not heard of them until I wrote a press release for someone who was helping them out.

Thank you for your recent donation made via our website. There are so many charitable causes in the world today and that makes us even more grateful that you have entrusted your hard-earned money to Railway Children.

With your support Railway Children were able to help 27,756 children worldwide last year.

Runaway and abandoned children are often overlooked in society but, it is our belief that no child should have to live alone and at risk on the streets. Railway Children will continue to reach vulnerable children by intervening at an early stage, before they can be exploited. Your continued support will assist us in this work and help more children across the world.

Thank you once again for your donation.

www.railwaychildren.org.uk

Sunday, 10th July -Cancer Research UK Race for Life



I signed up to do the Race for Life months ago - March, I think, and was surprised that it had rolled around already and caught me unaware with no training at all!

As you know, it's a 5km race for females who gain sponsorship from friends and family to raise money for Cancer Research UK. My nearest event was at Newbury Showground which is frustratingly unwalkable from Newbury and with no public transport, creates traffic chaos on the A34. However, the target for this event was £216,058, so if that is anywhere near achieved, then these traffic niggles and my quibble about the amount of mail that the charity sends through the post can be considered minor.

There's always a nice atmosphere of togetherness at these events and there's a lot of fun to be had during the warm up (I elected to snooze through this bit though - I needed to conserve every drop of energy for the run itself!).

There's people of all ages - I saw a mother run the event with a very small baby, there were little girls, teenagers (one who stopped dead in front of me to reply to a text!), mothers and grandmothers.

Most women have a sign for their backs to let you know who they're running the Race for Life for, and these are hugely personal and inspiring.

I finished my race in just over half an hour, and considering I'd done no training at all and didn't want to push myself for reasons that I can't share here, I was fairly pleased with that!

About Cancer Research UK
The UK's leading funder of cancer research
Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research.

Our groundbreaking work in finding new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer has saved millions of lives.

What we do
We fund research into many aspects of cancer through the work of more than 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK.

Our vision – together we will beat cancer – is only achievable thanks to people like you taking part in and supporting Race for Life events.

In 2007 we set ourselves ten ambitious goals to help measure our success in beating cancer. We work to achieve these goals by:

Carrying out world-class research to improve our understanding of cancer and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
Ensuring that our findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
Helping people to understand cancer, the progress we are making and the choices each person can make.
Working in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
Our work is entirely funded by the public so the money you raise for your Race for Life event can help us achieve our goals and give hope to people affected by cancer both now and in the future.


www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/margaretmcdonnell0101
www.raceforlife.org

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Saturday, 9th July - Ladybirds pre-school



I actually did this last night, but since I intend to do nothing but decorating today, I'm going to count this for Saturday!

Yesterday, I spent two hours at lunchtime collecting for the Volunteer Centre and Fairclose Day Centre for the elderly. In these two hours, I met lots of nice people but sadly, a few youngsters would felt that it was acceptable to shout racist abuse at me. So I decided that my next charity thing would be far gentler and kinder to me meaning that a ladies pamper evening at Ace Space in aid of Ladybirds pre-school was just the thing!




After paying an admission fee, each treatment cost just £5 and lasted 20 minutes, so I had a soothing massage which went by far too quickly and my first ever reflexology treatment which was incredibly relaxing!




Ladybirds is a small and friendly, stimulating and happy pre-school. We are registered for 30 children aged between 2.5 and 5 years old.

Our premises are purpose built and fully accessible for all children and adults, with ramps and toilets. We have recently been singled out as the only purpose built pre-school in our area to be awarded ‘Outstanding’ in our Ofsted report and are very proud of our achievements.

Ladybirds pride ourselves on understanding the children as individuals. We adapt our environment and a routine to ensure every child is included, whatever their individual needs.

The Pre-school itself includes a large playroom, a quiet room for reading and computer activities along with an art and craft room. Our outdoor area is well maintained and the activities are extremely varied.


www.ladybirds-pre-school.co.uk

Friday, 8 July 2011

Friday, 8th July - West Berkshire Volunteer Centre and Fairclose Day Centre



Today's charity thing was spending my lunch hour in town, wearing a big yellow hand and holding a collection bucket in aid of the Volunteer Centre and Fair Close Day Centre.

We will be collecting much needed funds in Northbrook Street, Bartholomew Street and the Market Place. Our volunteer collectors will be wearing BIG YELLOW HANDS and hoping to fill our yellow buckets. We hope to establish "A Big Hand for Newbury Day" as an annual fundraising day for our charity and a different partner charity each year.


www.volunteerwestberks.org.uk

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Thursday, 7th July - Fairclose Day Centre/ Helen and Douglas House

Bright and early, I headed to St Nicolas Church hall as they have a weekly charity coffee morning. MrM muttered something about how people are always rude at these events and said he'd wait for me across the road.

I purchased two little cupcakes in aid of Fairclose Day Centre (one for MrM, I promise!) and went to have a look at the books, and just as MrM predicted, got tutted at by an elderly woman who told me that I was in her way. I moved to get out of her way, provoking more unnecessary tutting when a man stopped me to tell me that he had just had an argument with her about her rudeness. "She's always like that", he laughed.."make sure you tut right back at her."

So, time to go. But having spent less than a pound on unhealthy treats and feeling distinctly uncharitable, I felt I should do more and caught up with MrM across the road in the Helen House charity shop where I bought two more books, one called "The Fabulous Girl's guide to life" where the absence of a chapter on tutting implied that I need to work on my fabulousness!

The support of charitable trusts and foundations makes a significant contribution in helping us sustain essential services and develop specialist care. This enables Helen & Douglas House to be at the forefront of palliative care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions; internationally, nationally and locally.

We are most grateful for the generous support of all the trusts who support our pioneering and life-enhancing work.

Opportunities to further our common aims



We welcome enquiries and open engagement with all trusts with whom we can further our common purposes.



We have a “total care” approach to patients and families, and invite funding to support the breadth of our hospice operation. This includes:

•Medical service and research in paediatric and young adult palliative care
•Nursing and specialist care work
•Physiotherapy
•Bereavement and family support
•Sibling support
•Social work
•Chaplain and spiritual support
•Music therapy
•Complementary therapy
•Occupational therapy
•Youth work
•Volunteer involvement and development
•Medical supplies
•Capital equipment and building development


www.helenanddouglas.org.uk

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Wednesday, 6th July - Salvation Army

After a few lengths at our ultra long outdoor pool, I cycled back past the Salvation Army shop which had loads of vintage suitcases for sale outside which intrigued me, and led my eye to a massive declutter! The shop has always been a treasure trove but the new look means it's easier to have a look around. Having soaking wet hair which I'd just used the last of my shampoo on, I bought this:




The Salvation Army is a church and registered charity which helps with social welfare provision.

Worldwide there are over 1.6million members, with programmes including homeless centres, drug rehabilitation centres, schools, hospitals and medical centres, as well as nearly 16,000 church and community centres. The work of The Salvation Army is funded through donations from its members, the general public and, where appropriate, local authority and government grants.

Local Salvation Army church and community centres offer a range of activities and services within their local communities. People can become involved in all sorts of ways, through volunteering with fundraising initiatives, attending church services and helping with local activities.

The Salvation Army also supports the work of the emergency services by providing refreshments, shelter and counselling at major incidents.

Tuesday, 5th July - St Raphael's Hospice



A busy day dealing with all sorts and no time to think about the self-pitying nonsense that was running through my head yesterday (thanks for the supportive emails!) so I'm going to count the press release that I wrote for one of my clients; they're supporting a school fundraiser which is set to raise money for St Raphael's Hospice and also Barnardo's and Oxfam.

Welcome to St Raphael's Hospice, a registered charity offering high-quality specialist medical and nursing care for people with cancer and other serious illnesses as well as providing support for their families.

A safe and reassuring service that is free of charge to all of our community.

Since 1987, St Raphael's has offered the special skills of Hospice care to those facing life-threatening illness living in the boroughs of Merton and Sutton (predominantly Wimbledon, Merton, Sutton and Cheam). The service is completely free of charge, and provides high quality medical and nursing skills, as well as support to family and friends. St Raphael’s fully recognises and respects cultural, ethnic and religious differences and patients of all faiths or none, are welcome at St Raphael’s.

Medical, nursing and support staff do everything possible to relieve pain and sustain quality of life in an atmosphere of peace and comfort. In each case, Hospice care is tailored to the individuals needs. Services may include:

Skilled medical care provided by doctors and nurses
Care at home or in the Hospice/palliative care centre
A day centre providing social and creative opportunities, as well as treatments, sometimes including complementary therapies.
Support for friends, family and children
Spiritual support
Respite care to give carers a break
Counselling


St Raphael's Hospice relies heavily on charity fundraising, donations and legacies and depends on the generosity of the local community to continue providing a high quality of care. It costs nearly £80,000 a week to keep the Hospice running. More than 80% of income is spent on direct patient care, including medical and nursing salaries. We receive a grant of about 25% of the those costs from Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust (the NHS) but the rest must be raised from donations and fundraising activities.



And my release....:

ROCK AND ROLL SEVEN DICE IN AID OF ST RAPHAEL’S HOSPICE WITH GREENSHAW HIGH SCHOOL

Visitors to Greenshaw High School’s school fete could roll their way to driving a brand new car while helping to raise money for St Raphael’s Hospice.

Greenshaw High School in Sutton is holding the fete on Saturday, 16th July from 11am to 2pm where in addition to a huge variety of stalls, there will also be the chance to win a brand new Renault to the value of £20,000.

To win, entrants simply need to throw seven dice, and if they all land as sixes, the winner can choose between a Renault or the equivalent cash value.

The school decided, by way of a vote, to donate funds from the event to the local St Raphael’s Hospice, with additional funds going to both Barnardo’s and Oxfam.

Morgan Jamison, marketing manager at Renault dealer Wilson’s of Epsom said: “We’re delighted to be involved with the fete and very much hope to be handing over a Renault Scénic or other family car to a lucky winner!

“It’s a great prize, so make sure you practise rolling sixes as much as possible before the big day!”

For more information on St Raphael’s Hospice, click onto www.straphaels.org.uk

Ends
Ref: CAT2
Words: 196

www.straphaels.org.uk

Monday, 4 July 2011

Monday, 4th July - Helen House Hospice and a halfway wobble



I have been thinking about abandoning this silly challenge as it's a bit pointless, but pure stubbornness and wanting to see it through for a year is keeping me holding on!! I've been thinking that the reason I wanted to do it was that our time on this planet is relatively short and I've always wanted to leave it having done more good than bad.

So, now I'm thinking that maybe I have a reputation as a "do-gooder" which is not me at all. Maybe this silly challenge isn't helping anyone but me. If it comes to the end of day and I think that I must find a charity and make a donation just for the sake of it, then clearly I'm not doing it for the right reasons. Initially, I thought it would be a good way to find out more about those smaller charities that don't get as much publicity and money as the larger ones, but now I can't help thinking that most people have a charity that's close to their hearts and they then run marathons every day or cycle to Africa and back and raise tens of thousands of pounds, which is far better than spreading yourself too thinly.

Anyway, there's a little insight into what's been going round my head of late, frightening though it is! So all I did today while I appraise this situation, and my life in general (hoho!) was to take a bag of clothes and books to Helen Hospice. Fortunately the volunteer had no idea of the contents of my head, and was pleased with the contents of the bag!

There are currently around 300 families on the charity's books and we actively support over 60 bereaved families. Helen House has eight beds - two are for emergency use. There are also four family flats so that the whole family can stay at the same time. Douglas House has seven beds, one is for emergency use. There are also three family suites so that the whole family can stay at the same time.

The limited number of beds in each house means that we can offer a very high level of 1-1 care for the children and young adults who visit us.

At our busiest periods, we cannot always meet the demand for our services and we may not be able to offer a family their first choice dates for respite stay. However, as we plan well in advance, we can almost always offer an alternative.

There is no charge to families using either House.

It costs £4.5 million every year to run Helen & Douglas House, the vast majority of which comes from voluntary sources (i.e. not the government).

Around 150 people across a range of disciplines. Most people work on the Care Team, but we also need people who can manage our finances, give HR and administrative support to our staff, look after our buildings and grounds, cook food, manage our shops, answer the telephone and, of course, look after our donors!


www.helenanddouglas.org.uk

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sunday, 3rd July - De La Salle Brothers Rwanda Project



St Cassian's Centre, Wallington's Road, Kintbury. Cream tea afternoon from 2pm until 5pm and open day. The day will include tours of the house and a film presentation of the work done at the centre. All proceeds will go to the De La Salle Brothers Rwanda School Project.



A cream tea? I'd love to!
Having just spent a couple of hours thrashing up and down the local swimming pool, I undid all of the good I'd done by eating a cream tea or two for a good cause! I went to St Cassian's in Kintbury for their open day where there was a tour of their house and grounds, in return for a donation in aid of the De La Salle Brothers Rwanda Project. I also bought a raffle ticket without realising it, such was the forcefulness of the woman on the door, before getting a tour of the facilities from a lovely young volunteer called Enda. The brothers offer young people the chance to come here for a few days of peace and prayer in a Christian retreat centre which provides a spiritual experience.

The Brothers as a whole have been supporting world projects since 1985 all over the world, but proceeds from today were aimed at Rwanda
www.thekintburyexperience.com/retreats

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Saturday, 2nd July - Action for Children


I am feeling incredibly lazy today and have not done one productive thing. So continuing this lazy theme, I've donated some nectar points to "Action for Children" a charity that provides support to the most disadvantaged children in the UK.


Working exclusively with leading children's charity Action for Children, we have identified two projects More Than Words, helping children with communication difficulties and disabilities, and Big Days Out, giving child carers the opportunity to be children again. Action for Children support the most vulnerable children and young people and their families so that they have an opportunity to reach their full potential.

More Than Words Imagine what life would be like if you could never describe how you felt, never explain to someone what you need, or never express to anyone that you were upset or in pain. This is the reality for thousands of disabled children across the UK for whom communication is not such a simple, everyday skill. Providing the right support for these children can mean the difference between them remaining trapped in their own isolated world, cut off and frustrated, or being able to express themselves and live their lives to the full. As a leading provider of services for disabled children and their families, Action for Children has developed a number of community-based projects under the More Than Words banner to which you can now donate Nectar points:

IT for All – Provides state-of-the-art IT equipment for severely disabled children.

Pictures for Words – Enables children who can’t speak or sign to express themselves and their needs.

Signing for Change – Training Action for Children project workers in simple Makaton sign language.

Environment for Learning – Creating stimulating play and relaxation environments for disabled children.

Social skills Workshops – Helping autistic children make sense of the world around them.

Raising Awareness – Disability awareness training for local communities.

Sibling Group Outings – Workshops, adventure groups and outings to provide a break for siblings of disabled children.

Maximising Communication – Strengthening the link between Action for Children support centres and disabled children’s schools.

Speech Therapy – Improving children’s confidence in communication.

Big Days Out

Imagine what life would be like if you spent every spare minute caring for a sick or disabled parent, could never go out with your friends, and had never spent time away with your family.

Now imagine what this would be like if you were still a child.

Up to 50,000 children in the UK are the main carers for a sick or disabled relative and more than three million live in poverty. As a leading provider of services for such children and their families, Action for Children has developed a number of community-based projects under the Big Days Out banner to which you can now donate Nectar points. "Children In Our Community" projects.

www.actionforchildren.org.uk

Friday, 1 July 2011

Friday, 1st July - the Railway Children



Halfway through the year - unbelievable! I was hoping to send out a release about a charity that I hadn't heard of called "The Railway Children" as a client was planning to do the 3 Peaks Challenge to raise funds for them. Unfortunately, it's fallen through although the release is ready to go, so I am going to donate instead.

The Railway Childre look after children in the UK, India and East Africa who are living on the streets in terrible conditions.


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Railway Children.

Railway Children exists to help vulnerable children in grave circumstances. Our objective is to provide relief to children and young people who are in conditions of need, hardship or distress and in particular to those living on the streets.

For these children, the streets are often the only means of support available but also where they suffer abuse and exploitation.

Since our inception in 1995, Railway Children has helped many thousands of children and young people living alone and at risk on the streets.

Our belief is that early intervention is a crucial aspect of preventing children living on the streets coming to harm, and reaching street children before an abuser can is a vital element of our work.

Railway Children recognises that only a multipronged approach will create sustained change for street children and that's why our 3 Step Change Agenda forms the backbone of our work and the way we aim to achieve our goals. Most pressingly, the immediate needs of children living on the streets in the here and now must be met. Concurrently Railway Children aspires to create a safer, brighter future for our children and we believe that to achieve this we must effect the sustained change that can only come about by educating communities and lobbying governments.


www.railwaychildren.org.uk