January's News

A real-life Elf on the Shelf - Fleur's Festive Fundraising Story

On December 4th 2020, Fleur Jones transformed into a real-life Elf on the Shelf to raise vital funds for Alzheimer's Society. Read on to find out more!
Christmas in 2020 was never going to be a normal one, but 20 year old Fleur Jones from Shropshire wanted to spread some Christmas cheer whilst raising money for Alzheimer's Society. 'Elf Day' is a national fundraising campaign by Alzheimer's Society, where members of the public can fundraise by dressing up as an elf for the day! The options were endless, whether it was a full school event, an online family affair, or an individual going about their day - you could do anything so long as you were dressed as an elf! Fleur decided to take inspiration from the popular Christmas trend, 'Elf on the Shelf' by walking around prominent spots in Shropshire in her costume: 'I walked up the monuments of Shropshire: the Wrekin, Lilleshall Monument, Carding Mill Valley and Wrockwardine. I did it all in one day, one after the other.' Not only was Fleur dressing up as an elf, she was completing a huge physical challenge too! By visiting so many popular spots in Shropshire, she will have brought lots of Christmas cheer to anyone who saw her. The day was a huge success, with Fleur raising a massive £250 for Alzheimer's Society, a sum that will go a long way to help support people with Alzheimer's and their loved ones.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on those living with dementia, with 4 in 5 people experiencing worsening symptoms due to not being able to see their loved ones or access the support they need. A donation of £6 would provide a scientist with 50 microscope slides, which would allow research into finding a cure to continue, whilst £50 would give 312 people access to 'Talking Point', an online support community. The £250 that Fleur has made will therefore be a huge help for the charity. Fleur explained why she wanted to do the challenge: 'It's very close to my heart with my Nan affected, and I have lots of close friends who have also had family members affected by dementia. I have done lots of fundraising previously for different things and it's a thing I love doing to help.' Fleur is already looking out for future fundraising events to participate in and we can't wait to continue to follow the amazing work she is doing!
To read more about Alzheimer's Society, please visit their website: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/

A once in a lifetime experience that will change lives for the better - Henry's Story

In April, 18 year old Henry Willis will travel to Nepal as a volunteer with the charity, Raleigh International. While he is there, he will work with local communities to manage their natural resources, develop entrepreneurship within the community and build and improve hygiene facilities. Henry explained why he chose to go to Nepal: 'Rural communities in this country are in urgent need of support as they are lacking access to clean water. While we are out there, we will be building sanitation stations, toilet blocks and also teaching the community how to maintain them sustainably. I'm looking forward to working with the community and helping to have a positive impact on their lives. I think that the language barrier will challenge me but it will make me more determined to pick up phrases and connect with the community.'
Raleigh International focuses on bringing together young people and communities in need to create positive change. They currently offer Volunteer programmes in Nepal, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Tanzania, where young people work to ensure safe water usage, empower people to care for their natural resources and educate people to become entrepreneurs. In Nepal, 23.8% of the population live below the poverty line and inequality still rages. Only 6% of women are in formal employment, with only 10% of these women receiving payment for their work. Nepal is the 4th most climate vulnerable country globally. The devastating earthquake near Kathmandu in 2015 saw 8,000 lives lost, and 800,000 homes destroyed. The work of Raleigh International and volunteers like Henry is vital to help communities rebuild their livelihoods and to ensure a better future for people living in the poorest countries.
For Henry to embark on his 6 week volunteer programme, he has a fundraising target of just under £3000 to reach. Not only is Henry going to be making a positive change in Nepal, but he is working hard to increase funds for the charity too: 'I am currently fundraising by running the width of Nepal over the month of January which is 193km - so I've got a lot of running to do!' To achieve this goal, Henry is running 6 days a week - a huge physical challenge. You can follow Henry's progress or donate to his fundraiser by clicking the button below!

Henry has taken a gap year after finishing his A Levels in 2020. He will be attending York University in September to study Chemistry and has recently passed his ARSM Piano Performance Diploma, a fantastic achievement! Best of luck to you Henry with the rest of your fundraising and your volunteering experience!
To find out more about Raleigh International and the important work they do, please visit: https://raleighinternational.org/

Want to read more inspirational stories? Click here to find out what amazing things happened in previous months!