Dunelm Telford - Delivering Joy this Christmas
The staff at Dunelm Telford are helping to give everyone in the town a little bit of joy this Christmas. Read on to find out more about their campaign!
For many, Christmas is a time for family, joy and celebration. Whether it’s spending time with loved ones or exchanging gifts, Christmas gives you that warm feeling inside! Unfortunately, not everyone in our community has the same wonderful Christmas experience, but the staff at Dunelm Telford want to help change that. Their Christmas campaign this year aims to ensure as many people as possible in the community have a small gift to enjoy over the festive season. So how does it work?
In store, a beautiful Christmas tree is decorated with gift tags which detail an individual in the community who is in need of a treat this Christmas. Customers can take any tag, fill up a shoebox with gifts for that individual and return it to store so that the brilliant staff can wrap up and distribute the boxes. Dunelm Telford are distributing the gifts to individuals within various local establishments including a primary school, a women’s refuge and a care home. Kim Harrington, a sales assistant at the store, explained more about the scheme: ‘The more people who take a tag, and return a full box, the more people will benefit. If anyone wants to help but can’t commit to filling a box, we are desperately in need of empty shoe boxes to hand out too.’ Kim is part of the hardworking staff at Dunelm who are giving up their spare time to contribute to the project: ‘We have a little team of colleagues who have volunteered to spend an evening after work sanitising and wrapping the filled boxes ready for distribution.’
Thank you to all staff at Dunelm Telford for organising this fantastic scheme to spread joy this Christmas and encourage community spirit. If you would like to get involved and make someone’s Christmas a whole lot brighter, pop into the Dunelm Telford store today for more information. If you don’t live in Shropshire and would still like to get involved, please check at your local Dunelm as the Delivering Joy campaign is being rolled out nationwide!
Touring Shropshire's Churches in memory of his father - Matthew's Story
Alongside his mother, Pat, Matthew Hall decided to participate in a charity fundraising event every year in memory of his father, who passed away two years ago. Read on to find out about his fundraiser and which charity he decided to support.
The Shropshire Historic Churches Trust was established in 1991, with the aim of providing grants to help preserve the beautiful churches of Shropshire and to also encourage interest in the heritage of churches. Part of the Trust’s annual calendar is the ‘Ride + Stride’ event which occurs on the second Saturday of September every year and encourages many people in the county to discover more about the churches that make up our stunning countryside landscape. The Ride and Stride event involves participants walking, cycling or driving to a number of the 240 participating churches in Shropshire, whilst being sponsored by their friends and families. Matthew told me why he decided to get involved: ‘Dad was a Churchwarden at Leaton Church for over 25 years and now Mum is. Leaton Church has received support from the Shropshire Historic Churches previously so it made a good choice of the charity I wanted to raise funds for. Most people might visit 5 or 6 churches, or perhaps about 10 at the most. So, I came up with a slightly different take on the ‘Ride’ section of Ride + Stride by driving around a much larger area and hence a bigger number of churches. In 2019, Mum and I visited over 100 churches all over North Shropshire, but ended up taking two days so in 2020 we were a little more realistic and aimed for 50!’
In previous years, participating churches would often be open, offering refreshments and telling fundraisers about the history of the church. Unfortunately, this year could not offer the same experience, but Matthew and Pat still really enjoyed their hugely successful day: ‘I organised a route all around South Shropshire visiting 50 churches taking in places such as Bridgnorth, Cleobury Mortimer and Ludlow, that we could hopefully complete in one day! The day went really well. Definitely learnt the lesson from the year before as the timings were pretty much spot on and meant we finished at a decent time!’
The 2019 Ride + Stride event raised a massive £29,205 for the Trust and participating churches, and Matthew and Pat’s efforts this year will be a huge contribution to the overall 2020 figure: ‘We managed to raise about £600 which gets split between Leaton Church and The Shropshire Historic Churches Trust. We have managed to visit 150 churches out of about 250 so far so maybe we will have to carry on and finish the job over the next couple of years!’
Congratulations Matthew and Pat for two successful years of fundraising and thank you for sharing your story.
To read more about the Shropshire Historic Churches Trust and the vital preservation work they help with, please visit their website: https://www.shropshirehct.org.uk/
Wrekin View Community Café - offering free hot food and drink over half term
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON...
Wrekin View Primary School in Wellington is already host to a hugely successful Community Fridge, which supports up to 30 families a week by providing food and living essentials. They have now announced they are expanding their efforts to help end holiday hunger in Shropshire by opening a Community Café in the school hall over half term. Read on to find out more!
During the lockdown, school caretaker Russell Garner established Wrekin View Community Fridge. The motto of the food centre is ‘take what you want, donate if you can’, an inclusive message inviting the whole community to engage. No referral or documentation is required to use the fridge, and many families across Shropshire have benefitted from the scheme. Several months on and the community fridge is still going strong, now supporting up to 30 families a week. If you would like to read more about the community fridge, click the button below to read our August feature on this fantastic scheme!
Russell has now decided to expand by creating Wrekin View Community Café which will open in the Wrekin View Primary School Hall during school holidays. The café will open for the first time in October half term (week commencing Monday 26th October) every day from 10am-2:30pm. A wide variety of free food and drink will be available, from breakfast items including toast, cereal and bacon or egg baps, to tea, coffee and cakes in the afternoon. There will also be a lunch menu that will change on a daily basis, with both meat and vegetable options.
Whilst the aim of the café is to provide hot food and drinks to families struggling to eat over the holiday period, the facility is open to all. Everything on offer is free, however if patrons feel that they can donate there will be a donation box to do this.
The café will be complying with all current coronavirus guidelines. Upon arrival there will be a temperature check and visitors are asked to use the NHS QR code for Track and Trace where possible. Face coverings are required to be worn when not seated at a table and the café are welcoming guests through bookings only.
Russell is extremely excited to launch the café and is looking forward to welcoming the local community: ‘It will be a lovely place to be where people can relax and have good hot healthy food.’
The Wrekin View Community Café will be open from Monday 26th - Friday 20th October, 10am-2:30pm. If you would like to visit the café, please make a booking by calling either of the following numbers:
07305 767781 or Wrekin View Primary School: 01952 388088
The café will be situated in the school hall at the following address:
Wrekin View Primary School and Nursery
North Road, Wellington, Shropshire
A massive thank you to Russell and everyone at Wrekin View Primary School for all you are doing to help end holiday hunger in Shropshire, whilst encouraging a wonderful community spirit!
Nature and Well-being: is there a positive correlation between the two?
Recent research suggests there definitely is, and the number of people getting outdoors and enjoying nature is growing! Read on to learn more and find out how you can enjoy the space around you.
If this year has made me feel eternally grateful for one thing, it is nature and it’s power to transform your mood. During lockdown, I felt so privileged to have access to green spaces and going outside for some fresh air quickly became one of my favourite daily activities. From speaking to friends and family, I know I’m not alone. Whether it was going for a long run for daily exercise, or just a quick walk in their lunch break to clear their heads, many people have noticed the benefit getting outdoors has on us. Research shows that thousands of people feel the same, and in fact, getting outdoors can increase your general life satisfaction.
The National Trust, alongside the University of Derby, published their ‘Noticing Nature’ report this year and their results demonstrated a positive correlation between spending time outdoors and people’s general wellbeing. Findings showed that the top 25% of adults who were the most nature connected scored an average of 19% higher than the rest of the population in feeling that their life activities were worthwhile. They were also 15% happier on average than people who didn’t connect as much with nature. Furthermore, it was found that children with a strong connection to nature and who participated in nature-based activities were more likely to report that they felt healthy. The report’s findings are supported by Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement of the Natural Environment (MENE) Survey. Over the last 10 years, the MENE survey found that:
97% of people said they enjoyed nature.
90% said nature made them feel refreshed and revitalised.
88% said it made them feel calm and relaxed.
It is clear that many of us across the country feel the benefits of getting outdoors, however the MENE Survey highlighted that engagement is unequal: low income, ethnic minority and old age groups were less likely to frequently visit. This could be due to a multitude of factors. Some national parks charge a fee to visit and many require a car or some form of transport to get there, which could isolate those with limited mobility or low income. More affluent areas tend to have more green spaces available, whereas green space is limited in built up areas such as towns or cities. Whilst not everyone has the privilege of a green space near them, I believe everyone has access to some form of nature. As research has proven that nature has a positive effect on people’s health and wellbeing, I think now more than ever it is incredibly important to engage with nature when we can. Therefore, I decided to compile a list of ways to enjoy nature and uplift your spirits, no matter where you are:
- Watch the sunrise
- Watch the sunset
- Dance in the rain!
- Get muddy and jump in some puddles
- Look up at a cloudless sky or make pictures from the cloud shapes
- Look at the stars
- Admire a rainbow
- Admire the view, wherever you are!
- Get some exercise outdoors - it could be walking, running, cycling, skipping… whatever you fancy!
Whilst the list above highlights nature activities you can do wherever you are, here are some ideas if you live near or are visiting a green space or coastal area to get creative:
- Rock painting, maybe even encourage others in your local community to join in and display your rocks together!
- Leaf painting/printing
- Tree hunt - how many different trees can you identify?
- Create a nature journal
- Find some conkers and have a game
- Make a daisy chain
- Take some photos!
- Listen to birdsong and watch the nearby wildlife
- Smell wild flowers or freshly cut grass
- Make a den
- Feed some ducks (check you have suitable food though first!)
- Spotting fish in ponds or lakes
- Listening to the waves
- Go shell collecting
- Paddle your feet as you walk along the sea front
This is not an extensive list, just some ideas to get you started. You could even create a ‘Nature Bucket List’ with ideas for every season! There are so many ways to get outdoors and enjoy nature and it will always be there for us, even in our darkest times. The more we love and invest in nature, the healthier and happier we will feel!
What is your favourite thing to do outside? Feel free to get in touch by sending me an email: email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you!
National Trust Noticing Nature Report 2020 - https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/documents/noticing-nature-report-feb-2020.pdf
MENE Survey 10 year story-map - https://defra.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=d5fe6191e3fe400189a3756ab3a4057c
Saturday 10th October 2020 - World Mental Health Day
On 10th October 1992, the World Federation for Mental Health observed ‘World Mental Health Day’ for the first time. Since then, the awareness for mental health has massively improved, but it still has a long way to go. Read on to find out how you can help today, on World Mental Health Day 2020.
The theme for this year is ‘Mental Health for All. Greater Investment - Greater Access’. As part of their campaign the World Health Organisation (WHO) have released some shocking statistics on the mental health crisis across the world:
Almost one billion people around the world have a mental disorder.
Suicide claims the life of one person every 40 seconds.
On average, countries spend less than 2% of their national health budgets on mental health.
With the outbreak of Covid-19 this year, the number of people suffering and seeking mental health support is rising at a staggering level. Lockdowns and the easing of restrictions have caused a huge increase in anxiety and depression for thousands of people, and mental health charities are struggling to keep up with the demand for their services. That is why the theme for this year is all about investing more in mental health services, so that everyone who needs them can have easy access.
The WHO are piloting this years World Mental Health Day by organising ‘The Big Event for Mental Health’. The online event will feature world leaders, health experts and celebrity guests who will discuss and explain how we can all try to improve our mental health. You can tune in at 3pm on the WHO’s social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.
Mind's #DoOneThing poster
UK Mental Health charity, Mind, are launching their #DoOneThing campaign. The charity is encouraging people to do one thing a day to help improve their mental health. From going for a walk, to calling a friend, anything goes! If you would like to get involved with this campaign, please share your activity on social media with the hashtag #DoOneThing. If you would like to introduce more mindful activities to your life, Mind have also released a calendar template with a daily #DoOneThing activity to complete. You can get your digital copy of the monthly calendar here: https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/6283/calendar_a4.pdf
Meanwhile, the Mental Health Foundation are promoting ’Tea & Talk’, where you can host a virtual tea party with your friends and family to encourage a more open conversation on the topic of mental health. Click the button below to apply for a downloadable pack if you wish to fundraise for the Mental Health Foundation too, or you can do your bit by simply picking up the phone and having a chat with family and friends.
Yesterday, charity Young Minds encouraged workplaces and schools to show their support for young people’s mental health by wearing yellow as part of their #HelloYellow campaign. Why not put on your brightest clothes today?
These are just a small selection of campaigns, activities and events taking place for World Mental Health Day. Charities from across the globe are getting involved through their own campaigns, fundraisers or online platforms. By being open about mental health and creating a feeling of understanding, we will already be making massive steps to providing better care and support for those suffering.
For more information, support and advice please visit any of the following websites:
UK Charity Time to Change's campaign poster for World Mental Health Day.
Doing something good helps you feel good - 5 ways to help make the world a better place
2020 has been a challenging year and at times I have felt helpless. Everyday, thousands of key workers were risking their lives to keep our country going and I wanted to help. If you feel the same but are unsure of what you could do to help, here are a few ideas!
Donate to a Food Bank
When doing your weekly shop, consider buying a few extra items to donate to a food bank. Some cans can cost as little as 30p but would make a massive difference to a family in need. Canned food including tinned meats are often popular, as well as toiletries and cleaning products. There are thousands of foodbanks across the UK to donate to, so check with your local council to find your nearest. I have been very lucky to have been part of a community that is actively supporting local food banks. Over the course of lockdown, there has been a series of 'Drive-Thru Foodbank Donation Days', an event where people from across the region can drop off donations in a Covid-secure way. The donations are then dispersed to multiple foodbanks in the area. Check on social media to see if there are events similar to this happening in your local community, and if not... why not set one up yourself!
Food collected from a Harvest Drive-Thru Foodbank Donation Day in Wellington, Shropshire
Volunteers from the Shawbirch, Bratton, Admaston and Wrockwardine Community Group at one of the Drive-Thru Foodbank Donation Days in Shropshire
Volunteer in your local community
Across the country, thousands of volunteers give up some of their time to contribute to a charitable cause. Whatever your skillset, whether you have 1 hour or a full week spare, your time would be greatly apprieciated by charities. Check on your local council's website to see what volunteering opportunities are available to you, and apply to get involved. Your contribution will make a massive difference in your local community and you will feel good for doing it too! Meeting other volunteers allows you to meet new people and make friends for life.
Help raise awareness for fundraising events - or create one yourself!
Throughout the year, thousands of people take on a variety of challenges to raise funds for a charity of their choice. From running a marathon, to giving up your favourite food - anything goes! If you see a friend participating in a fundraising event, share their story on your social media pages to help them reach their target, and donate if you can! Sharing fundraisers not only makes social media feeds a more pleasant scroll, it helps individuals to raise as much awareness as possible for their charity. If you would like to start walking more, or you want to eat less chocolate, consider setting yourself a fundraising challenge to motivate you to do it. Not only are you reaching your own goals, you are providing vital support to charities that have a massive impact in your community.
A photo of my dad and I after completing the 'Run 5k, Tag 5 people, Donate £5' challenge back in April in aid of Run for Heroes.
Live more sustainably
Do your bit by fighting against climate change. Make sure you recycle everything you can, and avoid using single-use plastic wherever possible. Here are a few examples of easy switches to make:
- Use reusable cloth face coverings rather than disposable ones
- Swap your plasic water bottle for a long use reusable one
- Use paper straws instead of plastic ones
- Buy second-hand or mend clothes where you can, rather than participating in fast fashion
- Consider swapping one meal to a plant-based alternative a week
- Walk, cycle or use public transport where possible
We have a long way to go with saving our planet, but if we all make some small changes we could make a massive difference!
Support small or local businesses
This year has been very challenging for everybody, small businesses included. Already struggling to compete with massive chain brands, small businesses have taken another blow by having to close shops, let staff go and reduce order intake. By supporting small businesses when you shop, you are helping to slowing rebuild our economy whilst allowing UK businesses to continue to run. Furthermore, small businesses often create unique products you won't find on the high street, so gift your friends and family with something special this Christmas. To browse some small businesses, please visit our Spotlight On page:
Pretty Good News' Spotlight On advert - offering free promotion to small businesses from all over the UK
By implementing just one of these things, you will be making a positive difference to our country, spreading goodwill and happiness to your local community. Not only that, but you will feel better too! If you haven't done any of this, try it. I dare you. Feeling helpful is the best feeling in the world.
Walking over 100km in September in memory of her Dad - Hannah's story
Every week, 10,000 people are diagnosed with lung disease. After seeing a fundraising campaign advertised online, Hannah Stevenson decided to join the campaign to raise awareness and funds for the British Lung Foundation. Read on to find out more.
Hannah Stevenson chose to support the British Lung Foundation for a very important reason. She explained why: ‘I’m doing this challenge in memory of my Dad who died 7th October 2015, a week before I was due to get married. It was also my brother’s birthday and he was buried on Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary. His birthday is 16th September so after scrolling the internet one night when I couldn’t sleep, I saw that British Lung Foundation were doing a walking challenge throughout the month of September. I thought this would be a great event to sign up to in memory of my Dad. He was diagnosed with a chronic lung condition and it eventually caused his heart to fail. I absolutely adored my Dad. The most beautiful, funny, caring, intelligent rascal you could ever hope to meet. Always full of life and incredibly active. It was the worst thing ever to watch his health decline and when he died, it devastated us all beyond measure. I feel lucky that we have such a close family and can lean on each other and Dad had all of us to visit him all the time and Mum.’
This devastating story gave Hannah the determination to participate in the British Lung Foundation’s ’Take Steps this September’ challenge. Participants could walk any distance, anywhere and Hannah initially set herself the target of 50km. By the end of the challenge, she had walked over double this amount, a phenomenal achievement! Hannah also quadrupled her fundraising target: ‘I set out hoping to raise £200 and reached that within the first few days. I’m up to £850 now so I’ve increased my target to £1000. I am blown away at how generous and supportive people have been, friends, family and strangers too, especially in difficult times that we are in. Anything anybody could donate would make such a difference to the charity as this area is vastly underfunded and lung health is more important and relevant than ever.’
1 in 5 people in the UK have a lung disease, with someone being diagnosed every minute and due to the coronavirus pandemic this number is likely to grow. Many people who have suffered with Covid-19 are now seeking the vital help and support from the British Lung Foundation and the charity is relying on donations now more than ever. Last year, over half of the organisation’s income came from donations, with 73p from every £1 donated going directly to looking after the nation’s lung health. The British Lung Foundation provide support and advice through support groups, helplines and a web community over 20,000 members strong. The charity hopes that one day everyone will breathe clear air with healthy lungs, and last year £1.8 million was invested into research to stop lung disease having the same heart-breaking impact on future generations as it does today. Hannah explained why she thinks the charity should be supported: ‘Imagine people who have nobody in times like this, or can’t have family round because they are vulnerable to COVID. This charity helps those people and anybody who suffers from any kind of lung condition. They have call centres offering companionship and medical advice from respiratory nurses. Comfort, support. They also put millions into research into lung diseases and hope for kinder testing, prevention and one day, hopefully a cure.’
Hannah’s fundraising effort is truly inspiring, and whilst the challenge is now complete, there is still time to support Hannah by donating to the British Lung Foundation. Hannah’s fundraising page is open until 25th October and Hannah is going to keep walking until then! Let’s help Hannah reach her target of a massive £1000! If you would like to donate, please click the button below to be directed to Hannah’s fundraising page.
For more information and support, please visit the British Lung Foundation’s website: https://www.blf.org.uk/
Fundraising events take place throughout the year, so there is plenty to get involved with if you would like to fundraise too!