Charity Skydive for Acorns Children's Hospice
Jessica Hubble, alongside colleague Melissa Greatrix, are skydiving in September to raise money for Acorns Children's Hospice. Read more about their story below.
Enoch Evans LLP selected Acorns Children's Hospice as their charity of the year and they are undertaking several fundraising tasks to raise as much money as possible. Employees Jessica and Melissa volunteered to take part in a skydive in September, and Jess explained why she decided to participate: 'I've done a skydive before when I was 21 and didn't think I'd ever be doing it again but when the opportunity came I was so motivated to help a good cause by doing something I knew I could do!'
Acorn’s Children’s Hospice provides round the clock care and support to families in the West Midlands. Life limited and life threatened babies, children and young people can visit the three hospices in the area or access community services which include therapeutic fun activities such as arts and crafts or hydrotherapy, as well as emergency and end of life care. In the past year alone Acorns has cared for over 780 children and has supported more than 1,220 family members by providing respite, short breaks and bereavement support. It costs around £11 million a year to run the care services at Acorns, and the charity relies heavily on donations from the community and enthusiastic fundraisers like Jess and Melissa to keep running their services.
Despite the skydive not taking place until Saturday 19th September, Jess and Melissa have already raised £620, a fantastic sum. Their final target is set around £900-£1000, and Jess is working hard to try and reach this: 'I've been asking family and friends to sponsor me to raise money and I’ve been doing odd jobs for people to raise more money and reach the target! Also, Melissa was able to raise £200 at a car boot sale which has helped us towards our target massively!'. Good luck to Jessica and Melissa for taking on this scary but exciting challenge!
If you would like to support them by making a donation, please click the donate button below to be redirected to their JustGiving page.
Take what you want, donate if you can - the community fridge helping to end holiday hunger in Shropshire
Wrekin View Primary School in Wellington is home to the Wrekin View Community Fridge. Established in the midst of lockdown to help end Easter holiday hunger, it has now grown to help over 20 families a week all over Shropshire. Read on to find out more about this wonderful project.
Russell Garner, who works at Wrekin View Primary School, came up with the idea to create a community fridge: ‘I thought that when our children come to school they have a hot healthy meal and snacks at break time. But when the holidays come around, especially the summer holidays, if people are struggling for money it’s such an anxiety for parents having the children home and struggling.’ To get his idea up and running, Russell sent emails to local companies, supermarkets and charities to try and get support for his idea. After a meeting with Dodd Group, he managed to secure a sponsorship which has helped massively with setting up the fridge: ’The Dodd group are a local electrical mechanical company. They loved the idea of the fridge and the concept of helping the local community. They have donated a glass fronted fridge soon to be followed by another and a glass topped freezer so soon we will be doing frozen food!’
Since it first opened on 27th April 2020, Wrekin View Community Fridge has strived to offer free food, clothes, school uniform and books. With the motto, 'take what you want, donate if you can', the fridge now helps around 20 families a week and this number is growing all the time. Many local businesses and charities have been supporting this project, including local supermarkets Aldi, Tesco and Morrisons. All Saints Church in Wellington have been providing assistance with deliveries on Fridays to families in need, as well as partnering with the Shawbirch, Bratton, Admaston and Wrockwardine Covid-19 Community Group on three successful Drive Thru Foodbank Donation Days. I asked Russell what impact the fridge has had on the local community: ‘I think the one of the good things about the community fridge is that you don’t need to register or be referred. If you need anything just come in and get it! ’
If you are interested in donating, the most popular items at the fridge include:
- Tinned meats (curries, hams, hotdogs, stewing steak, corned beef etc)
- Washing powder
- Toilet rolls
- Washing up liquid
- Shower gels
- Kitchen/bathroom sprays
- Nappies and baby items
The introduction of the freezer will provide even more food for the fridge to give away. Russell already has ideas for the kind of items that will be in there, as well as some exciting plans for the future: ‘I’m planning on getting some frozen turkeys and chickens for Christmas to take away a little of the worry. My hopes for the community fridge is that it continues to be a huge help for people in our local area for a long time to come. I’m going to open a community café during the school holidays which should be open by October half term. Same rules apply - anyone can come and eat for free.’ Thank you Russell for coming up with and organising such a wonderful project and we are so excited to see how the community fridge and café develop in the future!
The fridge is open for people to visit, whether to donate or pick up items, on Monday-Fridays between 10am-3pm in school holidays and 8am-4pm in term time. Their address is: Wrekin View Primary School, North Road, Wellington, Telford, TF1 3ES.
You can contact the school about donations, help and support or advice either on their phone line, 01952 388088, or via their Facebook page:
Let My Love Be Heard (In Memory of Katie MacRae)
Musical Performance in Memory of Katie McRae
George Ellison, former student of Thomas Telford School, was delighted to be offered a place at Cambridge University to study Music. Upon meeting other offer holders, he became aware of a heart-breaking story and decided he wanted to do something to help. Read on to find out more.
When George first posted the virtual performance of ‘Let My Love Be Heard’ by Jake Runestad, I was moved by the beauty of the song. Reading into the fundraiser going alongside the video, I realised this song was picked for a reason. Speaking to George, he explained how the video came about: ‘I met a Cambridge offer holder whose girlfriend, Katie, had passed away last year due to cancer. Around this same time, I first heard ‘Let My Love Be Heard’. It’s a plea to the angels to let our love be heard in Heaven, to let our love transcend life and death. One evening, I was talking to the offer holder and the song played – in that moment, the conversation and the piece combined into a beautiful message. That was when I knew that a performance of this piece was what I needed to do.’
Katie McRae was diagnosed with cancer at 16 years of age, but her determination and positivity, known by her family as her ‘Katieness’, stayed strong throughout her treatment. Despite struggling with side effects of chemotherapy, Katie managed to go to her prom, and push on with her A-Level studies. Last year, Katie passed away peacefully, but her ‘Katieness’ will live on in her friends, family and in the people who have read her story. To read more about Katie’s story, please click this link: https://www.maggiesontherunway.com/mword/keeping-your-katieness
When talking to Katie’s girlfriend, George found out about two of the charities that helped Katie during her treatment. Milly’s Smiles provide Milly Bags to families of children who have been diagnosed with a cancer related illness at Manchester and Alder Hey Children’s Hospitals. These bags provide the essentials for every family who have just been given a devastating diagnosis. Each bag costs £160 to make, and the charity is hoping to supply a Milly Bag to families all across England! Katie’s family are fundraising for this wonderful cause, and George decided to support them by fundraising for Milly’s Smiles too. The second charity is Maggie’s, who provide free cancer support and information through workshops, courses and one-to-one sessions. Maggie’s focus on helping families take back control after receiving a cancer diagnosis, providing support on things like money worries, stress and depression and managing side-effects. Maggie’s is expanding and are hoping to have 30 centres open by the end of 2022, both in the UK and abroad.
After deciding on the charities he wanted to support and the song he wanted to perform, George had the big task of creating the performance. He reached out to fellow Cambridge offer holders to get involved, and the piece evolved from there: ‘I created a website with musical and recording notes for the singers as well as a link to the backing track video. Over the next 3 weeks, the singers practiced and recorded their parts, keeping me updated on how they were doing and sending me any questions they had. The following 3 weeks were spent mixing and mastering the audio as well as obtaining permissions to release the video. It was made public on Youtube at 12:00am on 13th August, what would have been Katie’s 18th birthday.’ The end result is a beautiful choral track and a strong message – to love above all, and to keep your ‘Katieness’! If you would like to watch the video, please click the link below.
If you would like to donate to Milly’s Smiles or Maggie’s, then please visit the following JustGiving pages:
To find out more about the wonderful work both charities do, then please visit their websites:
Running 100 miles in a month to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust - Jess' Story
The Covid-19 pandemic brought life as we know it to a halt as we embarked on full lockdown. Daily routines and habits were thrown into chaos, but now that lockdown is easing people are establishing habits once more.
Jess Herbert is not only getting back into running, she is setting herself a huge challenge - to run 100 miles in August for Teenage Cancer Trust: ‘I decided to take on the challenge to push myself after not running very much over lockdown.’ For Jess, lockdown has given her time to reflect: ‘I think the past few months have made me realise how privileged I am to be healthy as I know a lot of people with cancer who have had to shield completely for months.’ This realisation has motivated Jess to fundraise for Teenage Cancer Trust to support the fantastic work they do. She was originally hoping to raise £100 but has already surpassed this, so her new goal is now £150, a wonderful sum.
Every day, seven young people aged 13-24 are diagnosed with cancer. Teenage Cancer Trust provides specialist care and support so that young people don’t have to face cancer alone. Through donations, Teenage Cancer Trust has built 28 specialist units across the UK, funded 48 specialist nurses and youth support co-ordinators and have reached 118,000 young people through presentations in schools. For every £1 donated, 75p goes straight to providing essential care to those in need, while 25p is invested in raising future funds.
Jess will be running 100 miles in August, which averages at just over 5km a day! Thank you for your wonderful fundraising efforts Jess and good luck with this huge physical challenge. If you would like to support Jess, you can donate by clicking the button below.
Bethan and Jemima - the friends who ran a marathon to raise awareness and funds for two charities
On Saturday 18th July, students Bethan Olliver and Jemima Parker challenged themselves to run a marathon to raise awareness for the crisis in Yemen and the Black Lives Matter movement. Read on to find out just how successful their efforts were!
Running 26.3 miles in one day isn’t an easy task, but it was a challenge Bethan and Jemima were ready to take on, despite not considering themselves as runners! The need to see change both in the UK and worldwide fuelled them to start fundraising, so they started a GoFundMe page: ‘we chose Black Lives Matter and Yemen because of the current injustices we see with these two situations.’
The situation Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world and this national emergency has been going on since conflict escalated in March 2015. Over 24 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and 12 million of these people are children. UNICEF is on the ground in Yemen, helping to treat malnutrition in children, shipping vital equipment to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic and establishing safe learning spaces.
Bethan and Jemima are donating the other half of the money raised to charity, The Black Curriculum. Founded in 2019, The Black Curriculum addresses the lack of Black British history in the UK curriculum by delivering arts focused Black history programmes, teacher training and campaigning. With racially aggravated hate crime on the rise, teaching Black British history in schools is imperative to educate future generations on race and equality.
Overall, the event was a huge success with the pair managing to raise a massive £600, which will be split between the two charities. The girls successfully completed their marathon which is a huge achievement. On asking them on how the day went, they commented: ’We enjoyed the first 20k, but the next 22k was really hard, but we pushed through and completed it!’. Congratulations Jemima and Bethan for this fantastic fundraising effort for two very important causes.
For more information on UNICEF and The Black Curriculum, please click on the following links:
Shrewsbury Flower Show goes online!
Shrewsbury Flower Show holds the record for the longest running flower show held in the same place each year, and this year should have been the 133rd Flower Show for the town. The annual show, which draws thousands of people to The Quarry for a two day event full of food, floral arrangements and fun activities, had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to find out how the event organisers are still making 2020 a year to remember for Shrewsbury Flower Show.
The sun is shining as you step into The Quarry in Shrewsbury. There is a buzz all around as people admire beautiful displays of flowers, sample delicious food and relax whilst listening to live performances. There is no experience quite like Shrewsbury Flower Show, and over the years it has become a staple event in the calendar for the people of Shropshire and beyond. The news that the show had been cancelled was disappointing for many, but the event organisers were determined to do something to replace the event.
Amanda Jones is Project Manager of the ‘Virtual Shrewsbury Flower Show’, and explained how she came up with the idea: ‘It started with an idea to share footage of previous fireworks displays, but having seen other shows take their events ‘online’ I thought it was worth seeing whether people would be interested - a couple of posts on Facebook and Instagram proved there was interest, so here we are!’ The Virtual Flower Show will take place on the Shrewsbury Flower Show website and Facebook page this Friday 14th and Saturday 15th August. Moving the show online hasn’t hindered any of the wonderful events that are taking place which include tours of beautiful gardens, local band performances, flower arranging, pony club show jumping and much much more! In fact, moving the show online has one huge advantage, as Amanda pointed out: ‘One of the benefits of being virtual means the content will remain in place for people to enjoy when they have the time.’ There is no fear of missing out here!
Broadcaster, writer and chartered horticulturist David Domoney will be presenting a special 20 minute Facebook Live Show on Friday the 14th of August at 4:30pm as part of the virtual show. David will be talking about:
- Summer Drinks – what better way to enjoy the summer than with freshly made drinks using ingredients from your garden.
- Top 10 flowers you would have seen at the show – flower shows are a treat for our eyes and our noses, what are the beautiful blooms that you could have seen at the show?
- Caring for wildlife in the garden – learn how to attract wildlife into your garden that are beneficial for your plants and great for the local ecosystem too.
Not only is there a fantastic list of events and performances for people to enjoy, there are also opportunities to get involved too: ‘Leading up and during the course of the two days virtual show we are asking people to share photographs of their gardens for us to add to an album, we really want people to engage and enjoy the videos we’ll be posting’. There will also be step by step cupcake baking and cookery demos from local chefs Paul Crowe, James Sherwin and Chris Burt which will provide plenty of opportunities to extend your culinary skills!
If you would like to participate in the Virtual Shrewsbury Flower Show on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th August, please like the Shrewsbury Flower Show’s Facebook page for all updates. The whole show will be streamed on both their website and Facebook page so please click the buttons below to be directed to those pages!
You can also follow Shrewsbury Flower Show on their other social media channels: on Instagram, @shrewsburyflowershow, or Twitter, @shrewsflowershw.
Quarantine Concert - Theatre graduates fundraising to protect the future of the arts
As lockdown restrictions in the UK appear to have halted, the future of the arts and live performance industry remains uncertain. Most theatres are now cancelling their Christmas shows which normally brings in almost half of their annual income, leading to worrying finances in the theatre industry. Guildford School of Acting Stage Management graduates Phoebe Smyth and Katy McDaid decided to use their skills to make a difference, by organising a live streamed concert to raise money for the charity, Acting for Others.
When asked how they came up with the idea of a live streamed concert, they commented: ’Not being able to work in the theatre due to the current situation has been difficult, so we wanted to create something of our own that people could watch and be entertained by and also showcase talent that needed to be heard.’ The concert featured 10 live music and spoken word performances, alongside a full sound system, lighting and cameras to cover different angles. All of the performers adhered to social distancing and mic covers were changed after each performance. Katy and Phoebe explained how wonderful the atmosphere was: ’The mood was extremely positive between everyone and the sun was shining! We did a sound check earlier with everyone so they felt comfortable. We all supported one another and you can hear us all cheering the performers on during the live-stream.’ The theatre industry is very community driven, something that hasn’t been able to happen during lockdown, however seeing the footage of this concert is a reminder that this community spirit between artists is still very much thriving. It is a joy to watch this concert! If you would like to watch the Quarantine Concert, please use this link: https://www.twitch.tv/quarantineconcert2020 (please note that this live stream will only be available until Friday 14th August).
The concert was a huge success and the pair managed to raise £345 for Acting for Others, surpassing their original target of £250 by a long way! Acting for Others was originally set up by Laurence Olivier, Noël Coward and Richard Attenborough in the 1960s, with the aim to promote an annual fundraising event for all theatrical charities. Today, Acting for Others is made up of 14 member charities that help provide financial and emotional support to those in the entertainment profession who are going through difficult times. The member charities cumulatively dispense over £2 million a year to those within the performance profession. Now more than ever this support is greatly needed and over £600,000 has been raised for the Acting For Others Covid-19 Fund. To find out more information, please visit https://www.actingforothers.co.uk/
If you would like to donate to Acting for Others, please visit Phoebe and Katy’s JustGiving page by clicking the donate button below.
Katy and Phoebe are planning to organise similar events in the future, so if you would like to follow their journey, please follow their Instagram page, @kp_productions2020.
Walk 7 for Yemen - walking 7 marathons in 7 days to raise awareness and funds for the Yemen Crisis
Yemen is currently the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with around 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. The effects of COVID-19 are only worsening an already horrific situation and the few health facilities that are functioning in Yemen have huge shortages of masks, gloves, oxygen and other essential supplies needed to treat the coronavirus. With the rest of the world struggling to deal with the pandemic, the crisis in Yemen has been somewhat forgotten in the media, so Hanna Khogali, Katy Ellis, Lara Lewis and Ros Ford all decided to raise awareness by themselves.
Between 20-26th July, the group of four walked 7 marathons in 7 consecutive days, camping overnight and walking different routes in and around Surrey and Sussex. Speaking to Hanna about why they chose this specific challenge, she said: ‘We wanted to set ourselves a physical challenge that really pushed us to our limits in order to grab people’s attention. We researched a lot of charities and spoke to many relief/aid workers and decided on UNICEF as that had a strong focus on helping those at ground level - empowering Yemenis to improve their infrastructure and support themselves alongside providing immediate aid.’
The challenge itself was gruelling, with the women walking for 12 hours a day, every day for seven days. Despite being covered in blisters, swollen ankles and cuts, the group of friends really enjoyed the experience: ‘We had people joining us each day to help boost morale and set the pace which was absolutely crucial we found as the week went on! We also found it imperative to keep returning to why we had set out on this journey whenever we were struggling. Reminding ourselves of the tens of millions suffering in Yemen was extremely helpful whilst we were dealing with a small amount of pain in comparison, for one week!’ The fundraising events didn’t end there, with the team also organising online exercise classes, competitions and to finish the fundraiser on a high, a charity concert. Hanna, Katy, Lara and Ros are all actors and musicians so invited some friends including Olivier award winner Rebecca Trehearn to sing and play for the concert which included original pieces and material from new musicals.
This literal marathon of an event was a brilliant success with the initial fundraising target of £1000 being smashed within the first day. The new target is a massive £10,000 and earlier this week this was reached too! If you would like to help Hanna, Katy, Lara and Ros raise even more money, then please click the donate button below to be redirected to their GoFundMe page.
Step Up for Dementia - raising funds to support those suffering with dementia
Alzheimers Society needs more support than ever to help support those suffering with dementia during the coronavirus pandemic. Read about how Holly and Gill have been fundraising for this wonderful charity.
On 11th May 2020, Gill Porter and her daughter Holly began walking to raise awareness of dementia and fundraise for Alzheimers Society. Step Up for Dementia is a campaign run by Alzheimers Society, the idea being that participants walk 850,000 steps over a three month period, which represents the 850,000 people currently suffering from dementia in the UK. Holly explained why they decided to take on this challenge: ‘My Grandma has dementia which unfortunately deteriorated rapidly when lockdown started, resulting in her coming to live with us for 5 weeks in an emergency situation until she could move into a care home. Alzheimers UK offered us great support and advice and we wanted to do something in return.’
Initially the challenge seemed quite daunting: ‘It averages at 10,000 steps a day and we weren’t doing anything near that total beforehand, however since starting we have begun to really enjoy walking! We also found this challenge to be beneficial to us, especially Mum as Grandma’s main carer. It allowed us to get out of the house and focus on something different for a short while.’ Now in the final few days of the challenge, Gill and Holly have managed to raise a fantastic £320 for Alzheimers Society, and are so close to reaching their target of £350! These donations will go a long way to help fund vital support during the current coronavirus crisis, which can leave people even more isolated and without support than before. A donation of £9.90 can enrol someone with Dementia Connect by providing the first phone call conversation with a Dementia Advisor, whilst just £3.83 turns an ordinary citizen into a Dementia Friend, which helps eliminate the stigma attached to living with dementia.
Alzheimers Society have been working harder than ever during lockdown to provide support. Since lockdown, over 115,000 Welfare Calls have been made to those suffering with dementia to ensure they have access to food and medication. They have also helped over 2,500 people combat loneliness through the new Companion Calls service, where 500 volunteers have already made over 9,000 calls. Gill and Holly are helping Alzheimers Society continue to provide these essential services by taking on this challenge and are so close to reaching their fundraising target - can you help them?
If you would like to donate, please click on the button below to be redirected to Gill and Holly’s JustGiving page.
Facing fears to raise money for Parkinson's - Lily Craig's Skydiving Fundraiser
In August 2019, Beryl Humphreys sadly passed away after suffering with Parkinson’s disease for over 14 years. Throughout this time, Beryl received a huge amount of support from charity Parkinson’s UK and their nurses, so granddaughter Lily Craig wanted to do something special to give back and commemorate her Nan’s life.
On 23rd September 2020, Lily will be facing her fear of heights to skydive in memory of her Nan. Lily is no stranger to charity work, but this event is her biggest and most important yet: ‘I’ve done charity work for a few years from runs to cutting my hair and I wanted to do something really out there in memory of my Nan and I thought a skydive would do that!’
Parkinson’s UK is a charity that provides information and support to people suffering from Parkinson’s and to those who support and care for them. They rely on public funding to help accelerate breakthroughs in research to find a cure and to educate on Parkinson’s and its many symptoms. Perhaps most importantly, donations go towards ensuring Parkinson’s UK is there from the day of diagnosis to provide support.
Lily initially set a target of £500, however she has already raised a massive £640 plus over £100 Gift Aid, a fantastic sum. She is hoping to raise even more money and is now aiming for £1000 by the time she takes to the sky! Thank you Lily for sharing your story and good luck with your sky dive!
Can you help Lily reach this goal to improve the lives of everyone affected by Parkinson’s? Click the button below to donate.