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296 blogs
  • 25 Apr 2016
    Wendy Richmond, 80, is no ordinary granny.  Far from the TV and slippers, Wendy prefers to spend her time proving that age is not barrier. To celebrate her 80th birthday Wendy carried out a zip-wire descent among the snowy mountains of South Wales, raising funds for The Acorn Cancer Support Group . This zip-line challenge was a birthday present from Wendy’s family, who have gotten very used to her thrill seeking birthday requests. In recent years Wendy has been wing-walking, parachuting, outdoor and indoor ballooning and zip-lining. Each time she has been raising funds for charities that are close to her heart. What made Wendy start taking these challenges? “I’ve always been interested in planes. I saw a film a long time ago about wing walking and I remember thinking “I want to do that” but I never ever thought I’d be able to do it. Then, my family bought me this as a present for my 70th – They know what I like!” “I loved wing-walking – it’s the freedom – it was as if I had the will to fly.   You couldn’t see the plane as you were standing on the wing.  It was just an amazing feeling!  It’s absolutely out of this world, more than I ever expected it to be.” Why Acorn Cancer Support Group? Acorn Cancer Support Group, a small charity in St. Ives,  has made a big difference to Wendy’s life. Wendy sees this as a great way of giving back: “I had breast cancer 7 years ago.  A friend of my sons persuaded me to go. You don’t talk about cancer unless you want to. They take us out for meals and trips down the river – it’s just a beautiful place to go.  So relaxing – I love it”. A very proud family Wendy says that her family are “very proud” of her for her age-defying escapades.  Infact, the adventurous gene seems to have been passed down. Wendy’s son, Karn, was happy to take up the challenge when Wendy was too ill to complete the higher zip-wire in Wales.  Morever, Wendy’s grandchild is currently planning to walk over the 02 in London!     Has the time come for Wendy to put her feet up? “Well, I’m 80 now… but If I see a challenge I like, and I think I can do it, then maybe I will!” To donate to Wendy please go HERE,  and to find out more about Acorn Cancer Support Group  HERE   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Dawn rises over Mount KilimanjaroStorytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep    
    5010 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Wendy Richmond, 80, is no ordinary granny.  Far from the TV and slippers, Wendy prefers to spend her time proving that age is not barrier. To celebrate her 80th birthday Wendy carried out a zip-wire descent among the snowy mountains of South Wales, raising funds for The Acorn Cancer Support Group . This zip-line challenge was a birthday present from Wendy’s family, who have gotten very used to her thrill seeking birthday requests. In recent years Wendy has been wing-walking, parachuting, outdoor and indoor ballooning and zip-lining. Each time she has been raising funds for charities that are close to her heart. What made Wendy start taking these challenges? “I’ve always been interested in planes. I saw a film a long time ago about wing walking and I remember thinking “I want to do that” but I never ever thought I’d be able to do it. Then, my family bought me this as a present for my 70th – They know what I like!” “I loved wing-walking – it’s the freedom – it was as if I had the will to fly.   You couldn’t see the plane as you were standing on the wing.  It was just an amazing feeling!  It’s absolutely out of this world, more than I ever expected it to be.” Why Acorn Cancer Support Group? Acorn Cancer Support Group, a small charity in St. Ives,  has made a big difference to Wendy’s life. Wendy sees this as a great way of giving back: “I had breast cancer 7 years ago.  A friend of my sons persuaded me to go. You don’t talk about cancer unless you want to. They take us out for meals and trips down the river – it’s just a beautiful place to go.  So relaxing – I love it”. A very proud family Wendy says that her family are “very proud” of her for her age-defying escapades.  Infact, the adventurous gene seems to have been passed down. Wendy’s son, Karn, was happy to take up the challenge when Wendy was too ill to complete the higher zip-wire in Wales.  Morever, Wendy’s grandchild is currently planning to walk over the 02 in London!     Has the time come for Wendy to put her feet up? “Well, I’m 80 now… but If I see a challenge I like, and I think I can do it, then maybe I will!” To donate to Wendy please go HERE,  and to find out more about Acorn Cancer Support Group  HERE   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Dawn rises over Mount KilimanjaroStorytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep    
    Apr 25, 2016 5010
  • 19 Apr 2016
    Well, what a week it’s been for our Local Heroes!  Just as the leading pack seemed to be breaking away, we saw a sudden surge of support for new fundraisers.  Still lighting the way is Jordan Ignatius with his 5k per day challenge.  Jordan has so far accumulated 87 unique sponsors – quite a feat! Will our top prize be going to Jordan’s Reaching Higher Football Academy? Racing into second place is Tracey Avey who spent the night of 15th April sleeping rough for Street2Homes.  Just behind Tracey, in third place, is Laura Runham who is raising funds for Berkshire Lowland Search & Rescue in memory of her late grandfather. With so much changing on the leaderboard in the last week alone, it’s difficult to make any real predictions.  So, it’s all to play for as as we enter the final stretch of the race to be our Local Hero 2016 champion. With so many heroes to highlight, choosing who to feature is becoming harder and harder.  Here are four fundraisers who have raised the office cheer this week:   And it burns, burns, burns! The walk of fire  On April 14th, the members of Imara walked an impressive six metres for their cause.  Six metres that is on hot coals burning at 1236 degrees fahrenheit!   Walking the wall Foster Morton has recently followed an 84 mile walk along a roman wall up with a 2 day cycle home. Inspired by his grandson, who was recently born with severe epilepsy, all funds will be going to Smile for Life Children’s charity. A love of the Open water  Louise Eaton will be taking part in the Great East Swim at Alton Water Reservoir on 18th June. Louise is raising money for Suffolk Accident Rescue service. SARS supported her during a tragic accident 20 years ago this year. Dreams of para-para Parachutes Dayne Britten suffered a brain trauma at 23 which saw him spend 30 days in Hospital.  His passion for supporting other brain trauma survivors has  inspired him to take this leap, through which he will be raising funds for Headway Milton Keynes.   Bern-t food Bernie Lally and his family are buying no food for a fortnight! Dont' worry though - they'll still be getting-their fill. They'll be eating food that would otherwise go uneaten, supplied by Elsie's cafe (pay-what-you-feel. rescued food specialists). Bernie & co will be cooking creatively and sharing pictures of their rescued food creations. Donations will go to Fruitful Abundance, the charity that runs Elsie's cafe.  We’re want to hear your stories! If you have a fundraising tale that needs telling get in touch today! Happy fundraising local heroes!     Found this Blog useful? You may also like:      The Sky is the limit for daring Granny Wendy   Dawn rises over Mount Kilimanjaro  
    4498 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • Well, what a week it’s been for our Local Heroes!  Just as the leading pack seemed to be breaking away, we saw a sudden surge of support for new fundraisers.  Still lighting the way is Jordan Ignatius with his 5k per day challenge.  Jordan has so far accumulated 87 unique sponsors – quite a feat! Will our top prize be going to Jordan’s Reaching Higher Football Academy? Racing into second place is Tracey Avey who spent the night of 15th April sleeping rough for Street2Homes.  Just behind Tracey, in third place, is Laura Runham who is raising funds for Berkshire Lowland Search & Rescue in memory of her late grandfather. With so much changing on the leaderboard in the last week alone, it’s difficult to make any real predictions.  So, it’s all to play for as as we enter the final stretch of the race to be our Local Hero 2016 champion. With so many heroes to highlight, choosing who to feature is becoming harder and harder.  Here are four fundraisers who have raised the office cheer this week:   And it burns, burns, burns! The walk of fire  On April 14th, the members of Imara walked an impressive six metres for their cause.  Six metres that is on hot coals burning at 1236 degrees fahrenheit!   Walking the wall Foster Morton has recently followed an 84 mile walk along a roman wall up with a 2 day cycle home. Inspired by his grandson, who was recently born with severe epilepsy, all funds will be going to Smile for Life Children’s charity. A love of the Open water  Louise Eaton will be taking part in the Great East Swim at Alton Water Reservoir on 18th June. Louise is raising money for Suffolk Accident Rescue service. SARS supported her during a tragic accident 20 years ago this year. Dreams of para-para Parachutes Dayne Britten suffered a brain trauma at 23 which saw him spend 30 days in Hospital.  His passion for supporting other brain trauma survivors has  inspired him to take this leap, through which he will be raising funds for Headway Milton Keynes.   Bern-t food Bernie Lally and his family are buying no food for a fortnight! Dont' worry though - they'll still be getting-their fill. They'll be eating food that would otherwise go uneaten, supplied by Elsie's cafe (pay-what-you-feel. rescued food specialists). Bernie & co will be cooking creatively and sharing pictures of their rescued food creations. Donations will go to Fruitful Abundance, the charity that runs Elsie's cafe.  We’re want to hear your stories! If you have a fundraising tale that needs telling get in touch today! Happy fundraising local heroes!     Found this Blog useful? You may also like:      The Sky is the limit for daring Granny Wendy   Dawn rises over Mount Kilimanjaro  
    Apr 19, 2016 4498
  • 13 Apr 2016
    We’re coming up to the half way mark of Local Hero 2016 and the race is on a knife-edge.  Who will make the cut? Leading the way today is Jordan Ignatius, igniting us with his 5K challenge. Jordan is fundraising to bring his youth team, Higher Reach FC,  to France for a summer football tour. Hot on Jordan’s heels is Dawn Prior who will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for Sporting Family Change.  Dawn’s moving story is an inspiration to us all. Just a few paces behind Dawn we have Noah Stanton running a half marathon for Leeds Carers and Suzy Hands skydiving in Dubai for Alzheimers Dementia Support. Check out our leaderboard HERE. With over two weeks to go there is still plenty of time for the table to turn! Of course, it’s not only our leaders who are doing amazing things this April.  This week’s featured heroes are: 10 Marathons in 10 days! Easy-Stevie! Steve Rulton, 54, only started running 18 months ago – now he’s planning to run 10 marathons in 10 day in aid of Suffolk Accident Rescue Service.   Milton Keynes YMCA is running a “Sleep-Easy" on 22nd April. Fundraisers will spend a night sleeping rough to highlight the issue of youth homelessness. Check out the pages of Ayesha, Ami, Katie, Keith  and many more!   Crossing the Tyne, on a line, a zip-line!  Paula Wright will be Zipping across the Tyne bridge on April 16th to raise funds and awareness for Escape Family Support   Leon McLeggan, fundraising for SAFE! Support for Young People Affected by Crime, promises “special moves” at the finishing Line of the London Marathon! Send us your pics Leon!         On April 10th Wendy Richmond showed us all that age is no barrier. To celebrate her 80th birthday Wendy carried out a zip-wire descent on the longest wire in Europe and fastest in the World - soaring five hundred feet in the air at speeds up to 100mph over a distance of a mile! Wendy is fundraising for The Acorn Cancer Support Group.     We’re always eager to hear your stories.  So, if you have a fundraising tale that needs telling get in touch today! Happy fundraising local heroes!        
    3970 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • We’re coming up to the half way mark of Local Hero 2016 and the race is on a knife-edge.  Who will make the cut? Leading the way today is Jordan Ignatius, igniting us with his 5K challenge. Jordan is fundraising to bring his youth team, Higher Reach FC,  to France for a summer football tour. Hot on Jordan’s heels is Dawn Prior who will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for Sporting Family Change.  Dawn’s moving story is an inspiration to us all. Just a few paces behind Dawn we have Noah Stanton running a half marathon for Leeds Carers and Suzy Hands skydiving in Dubai for Alzheimers Dementia Support. Check out our leaderboard HERE. With over two weeks to go there is still plenty of time for the table to turn! Of course, it’s not only our leaders who are doing amazing things this April.  This week’s featured heroes are: 10 Marathons in 10 days! Easy-Stevie! Steve Rulton, 54, only started running 18 months ago – now he’s planning to run 10 marathons in 10 day in aid of Suffolk Accident Rescue Service.   Milton Keynes YMCA is running a “Sleep-Easy" on 22nd April. Fundraisers will spend a night sleeping rough to highlight the issue of youth homelessness. Check out the pages of Ayesha, Ami, Katie, Keith  and many more!   Crossing the Tyne, on a line, a zip-line!  Paula Wright will be Zipping across the Tyne bridge on April 16th to raise funds and awareness for Escape Family Support   Leon McLeggan, fundraising for SAFE! Support for Young People Affected by Crime, promises “special moves” at the finishing Line of the London Marathon! Send us your pics Leon!         On April 10th Wendy Richmond showed us all that age is no barrier. To celebrate her 80th birthday Wendy carried out a zip-wire descent on the longest wire in Europe and fastest in the World - soaring five hundred feet in the air at speeds up to 100mph over a distance of a mile! Wendy is fundraising for The Acorn Cancer Support Group.     We’re always eager to hear your stories.  So, if you have a fundraising tale that needs telling get in touch today! Happy fundraising local heroes!        
    Apr 13, 2016 3970
  • 12 Apr 2016
    I want to tell you about my right knee. Have you got a minute? You see, I had surgery to reconstruct my Anterior Cruciate Ligament a couple of months ago and have been recovering since. Don’t worry, I won’t show you my scar, though it’s really cool. Next time, maybe. No, instead I want to tell you about the lessons I’ve learned while recovering, lessons that I think can be applied to charities. So, please read on. Balance patience and impatience I’ve learned that I need to be patient. Time is the greatest healer, and all that. Getting better will take a while. And yet I need to be impatient as well. I need to push it along a little, try exercises out, make it hurt a little in order to improve. And I’ve found balancing these two contradictory mindsets quite tricky. I’ve realised that we face this issue all the time in charities, particularly with fundraising. We need to think about long term goals while at the same time trying for ‘quick wins’ and doing the painful smaller jobs that will push us along the way. We need to have both sets of targets in our heads at the same time? Be patient and impatient. “Good leg to heaven. Bad leg to hell!” Stairs are a bit of a killer after knee surgery. As you’d expect, I suppose. But there’s a mantra that has helped me to remember the best way of tackling them. Start with your good leg if you’re going up, and start with your bad leg if you’re going down. Simple, but effective. But how is this applicable to charities? Well, leading with your ‘good leg’ and focusing on your strengths when things are on the up makes sense, doesn’t it? What is more counterintuitive is that when times are tough we need to focus even more on what’s not working so well. How can it be strengthened? Think about regression to the mean Sometimes, I’ve noticed that my knee pain on an afternoon, say, is greater than it was a few hours earlier. And this can be upsetting, until I remember that generally, things are a lot better than they were a week ago. In other words there are repeated blips but I need to focus on the overall trend. This is what is known as regression to the mean, and I think charities do not account for it enough. We tend to focus on short term blips, and think they indicate a broader trend. They don’t. Let’s ensure that our analysis has some decent longitudinal basis. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be paying attention to sudden peaks or troughs, but we need to ensure that what we infer from them is correct. “Don’t limp like House!” Hugh Laurie may have scared us all silly in The Night Manager recently, but I wanted to talk about a previous character of his, House M.D. Remember how House limped with his walking stick? When I progressed to a single crutch, my physio was quite clear in his instruction: “Don’t limp like House!” In other words, again counterintuitively, I learned to hold the crutch on my good side, rather than leaning into it on the other side. This was a general lesson to me, and I think for charities too. Our weaker areas grow stronger not when we lean into them or overly support them, but when we think about our function as a whole body. If a fundraising initiative isn’t working well, for example, assuming we can see potential and want it to grow, let’s consider how it fits into the work of the department and the organisation as a whole. How can we draw strength from our constituent parts? So there you have it. That’s what charities can learn from knee surgery recovery, all courtesy of my physio. Four simple… erm… steps to think about, and you’ll be up and running in no time. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe AmarBig Strong Heart: Tips for your Charity Challenge   
    5406 Posted by Richard Sved
  • I want to tell you about my right knee. Have you got a minute? You see, I had surgery to reconstruct my Anterior Cruciate Ligament a couple of months ago and have been recovering since. Don’t worry, I won’t show you my scar, though it’s really cool. Next time, maybe. No, instead I want to tell you about the lessons I’ve learned while recovering, lessons that I think can be applied to charities. So, please read on. Balance patience and impatience I’ve learned that I need to be patient. Time is the greatest healer, and all that. Getting better will take a while. And yet I need to be impatient as well. I need to push it along a little, try exercises out, make it hurt a little in order to improve. And I’ve found balancing these two contradictory mindsets quite tricky. I’ve realised that we face this issue all the time in charities, particularly with fundraising. We need to think about long term goals while at the same time trying for ‘quick wins’ and doing the painful smaller jobs that will push us along the way. We need to have both sets of targets in our heads at the same time? Be patient and impatient. “Good leg to heaven. Bad leg to hell!” Stairs are a bit of a killer after knee surgery. As you’d expect, I suppose. But there’s a mantra that has helped me to remember the best way of tackling them. Start with your good leg if you’re going up, and start with your bad leg if you’re going down. Simple, but effective. But how is this applicable to charities? Well, leading with your ‘good leg’ and focusing on your strengths when things are on the up makes sense, doesn’t it? What is more counterintuitive is that when times are tough we need to focus even more on what’s not working so well. How can it be strengthened? Think about regression to the mean Sometimes, I’ve noticed that my knee pain on an afternoon, say, is greater than it was a few hours earlier. And this can be upsetting, until I remember that generally, things are a lot better than they were a week ago. In other words there are repeated blips but I need to focus on the overall trend. This is what is known as regression to the mean, and I think charities do not account for it enough. We tend to focus on short term blips, and think they indicate a broader trend. They don’t. Let’s ensure that our analysis has some decent longitudinal basis. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be paying attention to sudden peaks or troughs, but we need to ensure that what we infer from them is correct. “Don’t limp like House!” Hugh Laurie may have scared us all silly in The Night Manager recently, but I wanted to talk about a previous character of his, House M.D. Remember how House limped with his walking stick? When I progressed to a single crutch, my physio was quite clear in his instruction: “Don’t limp like House!” In other words, again counterintuitively, I learned to hold the crutch on my good side, rather than leaning into it on the other side. This was a general lesson to me, and I think for charities too. Our weaker areas grow stronger not when we lean into them or overly support them, but when we think about our function as a whole body. If a fundraising initiative isn’t working well, for example, assuming we can see potential and want it to grow, let’s consider how it fits into the work of the department and the organisation as a whole. How can we draw strength from our constituent parts? So there you have it. That’s what charities can learn from knee surgery recovery, all courtesy of my physio. Four simple… erm… steps to think about, and you’ll be up and running in no time. Found this blog post useful? You may also like:   5 free tools to share your organisation's story by Nisha Kotecha The Refugee Crisis: make a difference on your doorstep How Charities can tap into the hyperlocal by Zoe AmarBig Strong Heart: Tips for your Charity Challenge   
    Apr 12, 2016 5406
  • 07 Apr 2016
    And they’re off!! We’re just one week into our Local Hero campaign and the race is already heating up. Our early front runners were Emily Lynn fundraising for Always a Chance and Richard Jennings fundraising for Berkshire Youth, both of whom recently ran the Reading Half-Marathon. However, a recent surge in support has seen Martin Green edging ahead for the Riff Raff Society. Jockeying for position in the following pack is an exciting array of runners, riders (and rough sleepers) Take a look at our leaderboard now to keep up to date with any changes. As well as updating you on our leaders, each week during the campaign we’ll highlight some of the fundraiser pages that have caught our eye.  This week’s featured heroes are: A group of intrepid fundraisers are climbing up Kilimanjaro for Sporting Family Change!  Now that’s dedication - Kila la kheri! After a drunken promise,  Roger and Lee have found themselves walking coast to coast walk across England - 195 miles from the west coast town of St Bees to  Robin Hood's bay in aid of Charlotte's Brightside CLC. Keep up with their journey on twitter. Alistair is winging his way across Wales on his bike for Taking Fight Theatre Company. From Cardiff to Haverfordwest West – We wish you all the best! Carole Hickey is walking an extraordinary 800 Miles across Spain! This will take her from Seville in the south of Spain to Santiago de Compostela in the north.  Her funds are going to Suffolk Accident Rescue Service. On World Autism Day, Grace Wild and the amazing kids at  Helping Hands carried out a walk around the Peace Gardens in Sheffield. If you’ve got stirring story or a creative challenge why not get in touch! Until then, happy fundraising!       Images (top to bottom): Berkshire Youth Shoes, Fundraising for Sporting Family Change, Carole Hickey preparing for her spanish adventure  
    3402 Posted by Lewis Garland
  • And they’re off!! We’re just one week into our Local Hero campaign and the race is already heating up. Our early front runners were Emily Lynn fundraising for Always a Chance and Richard Jennings fundraising for Berkshire Youth, both of whom recently ran the Reading Half-Marathon. However, a recent surge in support has seen Martin Green edging ahead for the Riff Raff Society. Jockeying for position in the following pack is an exciting array of runners, riders (and rough sleepers) Take a look at our leaderboard now to keep up to date with any changes. As well as updating you on our leaders, each week during the campaign we’ll highlight some of the fundraiser pages that have caught our eye.  This week’s featured heroes are: A group of intrepid fundraisers are climbing up Kilimanjaro for Sporting Family Change!  Now that’s dedication - Kila la kheri! After a drunken promise,  Roger and Lee have found themselves walking coast to coast walk across England - 195 miles from the west coast town of St Bees to  Robin Hood's bay in aid of Charlotte's Brightside CLC. Keep up with their journey on twitter. Alistair is winging his way across Wales on his bike for Taking Fight Theatre Company. From Cardiff to Haverfordwest West – We wish you all the best! Carole Hickey is walking an extraordinary 800 Miles across Spain! This will take her from Seville in the south of Spain to Santiago de Compostela in the north.  Her funds are going to Suffolk Accident Rescue Service. On World Autism Day, Grace Wild and the amazing kids at  Helping Hands carried out a walk around the Peace Gardens in Sheffield. If you’ve got stirring story or a creative challenge why not get in touch! Until then, happy fundraising!       Images (top to bottom): Berkshire Youth Shoes, Fundraising for Sporting Family Change, Carole Hickey preparing for her spanish adventure  
    Apr 07, 2016 3402
  • 05 Apr 2016
    The UK is one of the richest countries in the world and yet 1 in 7 people live in food poverty - meaning they struggle to obtain healthy, nutritious food. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, almost 50% of which comes from our homes. So, what can we do to tackle this? Here’s five tips to help you cut down. 1. Share - three technology solutions to help you connect with your community Olio is a free app which connects neighbours with each other and with local shops and cafes so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. FareShare and the Irish social enterprise FoodCloud have announced a collaborative partnership designed to help UK retailers address the issue of edible surplus food. If you are a charity or community group that uses food to support people, you can sign up to FareShare FoodCloud and collect good quality, surplus food from Tesco stores for free! Casserole Club is an online platofrm that brings together volunteers to share extra portions of home-cooked food with people in their area who aren’t always able to cook for themselves. Currently operating in Staffordshire, Cheshire West and Chester. 2. Grow - local community groups across the UK are growing food Dorking Community Orchard is a nearly two acre site located on the western end of Dorking. The orchard is home to 100 fruit trees as well as several mature fruit and nut trees. The site is maintained as a community orchard. The site is free and open to the public. The Orchard is available for school groups and community events. The Growing Project Pensilva is a community business that delivers weekly veg boxes or fruit bags with  superb food grown locally to organic standards. The Growing Project provides people of all abilities and from all walks of life with the opportunity to learn new skills, socialise, get fit and gain valuable training and work experience. Everyone is welcome to come and join in, whether you’re a seasoned allotment-eer or an spade-less newbie. They convene every Wednesday from 10 a.m. and a hearty lunch is always provided. Bring your wellies! Petworth Community Garden is a group of local volunteers of all ages and abilities, who meet together weekly to tend their organic community garden. They share the gardening tasks, along with tea, cakes and seasonal soup, and each take home fresh, free, organic fruit and vegetables. 3. Learn - local community groups who support people to connect with their environment Sacred Earth is dedicated to supporting life and learning. They aim to assist in regenerative culture through nature connection. Their programmes, courses and community events are vessels to help people of all ages establish healthy relationships with themselves, with each other and with the more-than-human world of nature. From a medicinal herb garden to an organic and bio-dynamic farm. Global Generation connects people to each other and their natural world by creating hands-on and reflective opportunities. They combine activities such as supporting bees, carpentry, urban food growing, cooking, and eating together with dialogue, story, creative writing, silence and stillness.   4. Meet-up - local people working on community sustainability Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT) began as an environmental group but in the last few years has worked on broader sustainability issues. BEAT has installed a community wind turbine to generate a regular income for the community, created two community orchards in Blackshaw Head and helped to establish community allotments in Charlestown. Transition Network aims is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities to self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions. The Conservation Volunteers work across the UK to create healthier and happier communities for everyone - communities where their activities have a lasting impact on people’s health, prospects and outdoor places. 5. Get inspired ReJuice re-directs food surpluses from local markets/supermarkets and transforms it into healthy socio-enviro friendly soups and smoothies. Rubie in the Rubble makes handmade chutneys and jam, made as much as possible from surplus fruits and vegetables, fresh from farms and markets before they’re discarded. Toast Ale is made using a Belgian recipe that includes fresh, surplus bread that would otherwise be wasted. It has a malty taste similar to amber ales and wheat beers. All profits go to the charity Feedback to support the fight against food waste  
    3568 Posted by Cara Sanquest
  • The UK is one of the richest countries in the world and yet 1 in 7 people live in food poverty - meaning they struggle to obtain healthy, nutritious food. Meanwhile, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year, almost 50% of which comes from our homes. So, what can we do to tackle this? Here’s five tips to help you cut down. 1. Share - three technology solutions to help you connect with your community Olio is a free app which connects neighbours with each other and with local shops and cafes so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. FareShare and the Irish social enterprise FoodCloud have announced a collaborative partnership designed to help UK retailers address the issue of edible surplus food. If you are a charity or community group that uses food to support people, you can sign up to FareShare FoodCloud and collect good quality, surplus food from Tesco stores for free! Casserole Club is an online platofrm that brings together volunteers to share extra portions of home-cooked food with people in their area who aren’t always able to cook for themselves. Currently operating in Staffordshire, Cheshire West and Chester. 2. Grow - local community groups across the UK are growing food Dorking Community Orchard is a nearly two acre site located on the western end of Dorking. The orchard is home to 100 fruit trees as well as several mature fruit and nut trees. The site is maintained as a community orchard. The site is free and open to the public. The Orchard is available for school groups and community events. The Growing Project Pensilva is a community business that delivers weekly veg boxes or fruit bags with  superb food grown locally to organic standards. The Growing Project provides people of all abilities and from all walks of life with the opportunity to learn new skills, socialise, get fit and gain valuable training and work experience. Everyone is welcome to come and join in, whether you’re a seasoned allotment-eer or an spade-less newbie. They convene every Wednesday from 10 a.m. and a hearty lunch is always provided. Bring your wellies! Petworth Community Garden is a group of local volunteers of all ages and abilities, who meet together weekly to tend their organic community garden. They share the gardening tasks, along with tea, cakes and seasonal soup, and each take home fresh, free, organic fruit and vegetables. 3. Learn - local community groups who support people to connect with their environment Sacred Earth is dedicated to supporting life and learning. They aim to assist in regenerative culture through nature connection. Their programmes, courses and community events are vessels to help people of all ages establish healthy relationships with themselves, with each other and with the more-than-human world of nature. From a medicinal herb garden to an organic and bio-dynamic farm. Global Generation connects people to each other and their natural world by creating hands-on and reflective opportunities. They combine activities such as supporting bees, carpentry, urban food growing, cooking, and eating together with dialogue, story, creative writing, silence and stillness.   4. Meet-up - local people working on community sustainability Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT) began as an environmental group but in the last few years has worked on broader sustainability issues. BEAT has installed a community wind turbine to generate a regular income for the community, created two community orchards in Blackshaw Head and helped to establish community allotments in Charlestown. Transition Network aims is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities to self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions. The Conservation Volunteers work across the UK to create healthier and happier communities for everyone - communities where their activities have a lasting impact on people’s health, prospects and outdoor places. 5. Get inspired ReJuice re-directs food surpluses from local markets/supermarkets and transforms it into healthy socio-enviro friendly soups and smoothies. Rubie in the Rubble makes handmade chutneys and jam, made as much as possible from surplus fruits and vegetables, fresh from farms and markets before they’re discarded. Toast Ale is made using a Belgian recipe that includes fresh, surplus bread that would otherwise be wasted. It has a malty taste similar to amber ales and wheat beers. All profits go to the charity Feedback to support the fight against food waste  
    Apr 05, 2016 3568
  • 01 Apr 2016
    Becky Slack is founder and managing director of Slack Communications, and author of Effective Media Relations for Charities: what journalists want and how to deliver it. Recently I met with a volunteer clown who had been working with child refugees in Europe. He told me how, armed with a purple curly wig and a red nose, he had spent time on the Greek island of Lesvos, helping spread a little love and cheer among the families who had made the treacherous journey by boat from Syria. He described how the children, with their mucky faces and scared eyes, were at first very suspicious of his games and magic tricks, but before too long they would be grinning from ear to ear, all desperate to play along. The story of those children and the image it created in my mind really stuck with me. Much more so than the statistics I’ve read, or the calls for the refugees to be “resettled” (whatever that means) that have come from many aid organisations and politicians. Storytelling is a key component of effective communications. Neuroscience has taught us that humans learn and communicate best through stories. Fundraising research has highlighted how strong personal stories help supporters connect to the cause. Human interest stories form the foundation of most journalism. So how can charities create engaging stories about their work and the impact they achieve? 1. Tell real stories about real people People are interested in other people. They give money to help other people. They buy magazines and newspapers to read about other people. Therefore, charity stories should focus on people. From the people the organisation has helped to those who work and volunteer for, and donate to, the organisation, charities have a wealth of stories about real lives that they can share. Where possible, the person in the story should be allowed to speak for themselves; this can be a powerful way to demonstrate how an organisation makes a difference. For an excellent example of this in practice, check out Invisible People, an organisation that uses film to share the experiences of people who are homeless.   2. Use techniques used by traditional storytellers Traditional storytelling techniques involve characters – usually a protagonist and antagonist, and structures centred around themes such as conflict and resolution, or triumph over tragedy. These techniques translate perfectly to charity communications: could your charity or the person you helped be the hero? Can you identify a problem and explain how your organisation brought a resolution? The Invisible Children documentary about child soldiers in Africa provides a great example of this. The story has a bad guy (Warlord Joseph Kony), lots of good guys (the children, the charity workers, the donors), and it highlights how something terrible can be transformed into something positive (conflict and resolution). The story had a global impact with 100 million views over just six days and 3.7 million people pledging support.   3. Don’t be afraid to use emotion Charity communications should be centred around a number of key messages, the objective of which is to influence how people think, feel and behave, particularly in relation to the way in which they support your organisation. Psychologists and therapists use visual, audio and kinesthetic modalities to help the mind imagine different experiences. When an individual thinks about an emotional and/or sensory experience, parts of the brain light up as if they’re actually happening for real. Encouraging people to think about how they would feel in a particular situation helps immerse them in that story, and will help connect them to that experience. This means providing more than just a basic outline. To really visualize what is happening/has happened, the story needs to contain descriptions of the key elements, such as the location, the weather, the look on someone’s face, what they were wearing etc etc. A case in point is this story by the Guardian, which featured as part of its 2015 charity Christmas appeal and helped raise a record-breaking £2m.   4. Think about style, tone and format Minds wander, very quickly. If you haven’t grabbed someone’s attention in the first few seconds you will have lost them altogether. Opening with a question can be a good way of achieving this, as can introducing a tantalizing nugget of information that will leave audiences wanting more. The length of a story is also important, particularly in relation to digital media. While there are some occasions where long-read essays are welcomed, in the main online stories need to be short, sweet and concise. Language is also very important. Littering a story with complex technical terms will almost certainly turn people off. Use plain English at all times. For examples of charity jargon at its best (or worst, depending on which way you look at it), read Aidan Warner’s blog on charity clichés. It’s a couple of years old but the same sentiment still applies.   5. Make the most of photos, video and audio As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words. Photos, graphics, cartoons and illustrations can all be used to help convey complex ideas simply and effectively. Indeed, digital content, be it on Facebook, Twitter or websites, receives many more click-throughs and shares if accompanied by a photo. Video and audio can also be hugely impactful. A colleague of mine told me about the time she interviewed a number of donors about why they gave to her charity. These were then played to the entire organisation in a darkened theatre. Removing all other sensory elements while the team listened to the supporters was a hugely emotional and motivational experience for all those involved. WaterAid used images – both still and moving – to full effect as part of its The Big Dig. They armed their workers on the ground with smart phones and instructed them to report back on the progress made as they provided a village with clean water. Day-by-day, week-by-week, images of the build and stories of the villagers were uploaded, providing supporters with an almost real-time perspective on how their money was making a difference. In a world where we receive thousand of messages every day, standing out is difficult. Storytelling can help you cut through the clutter and engage people in powerful, emotive and inspiring messages. Tell a memorable story, and chances are your audience will remember you.     Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield        Image © WaterAid/ Jason Larkin/ Emily Fyso  
    9357 Posted by Becky Slack
  • Becky Slack is founder and managing director of Slack Communications, and author of Effective Media Relations for Charities: what journalists want and how to deliver it. Recently I met with a volunteer clown who had been working with child refugees in Europe. He told me how, armed with a purple curly wig and a red nose, he had spent time on the Greek island of Lesvos, helping spread a little love and cheer among the families who had made the treacherous journey by boat from Syria. He described how the children, with their mucky faces and scared eyes, were at first very suspicious of his games and magic tricks, but before too long they would be grinning from ear to ear, all desperate to play along. The story of those children and the image it created in my mind really stuck with me. Much more so than the statistics I’ve read, or the calls for the refugees to be “resettled” (whatever that means) that have come from many aid organisations and politicians. Storytelling is a key component of effective communications. Neuroscience has taught us that humans learn and communicate best through stories. Fundraising research has highlighted how strong personal stories help supporters connect to the cause. Human interest stories form the foundation of most journalism. So how can charities create engaging stories about their work and the impact they achieve? 1. Tell real stories about real people People are interested in other people. They give money to help other people. They buy magazines and newspapers to read about other people. Therefore, charity stories should focus on people. From the people the organisation has helped to those who work and volunteer for, and donate to, the organisation, charities have a wealth of stories about real lives that they can share. Where possible, the person in the story should be allowed to speak for themselves; this can be a powerful way to demonstrate how an organisation makes a difference. For an excellent example of this in practice, check out Invisible People, an organisation that uses film to share the experiences of people who are homeless.   2. Use techniques used by traditional storytellers Traditional storytelling techniques involve characters – usually a protagonist and antagonist, and structures centred around themes such as conflict and resolution, or triumph over tragedy. These techniques translate perfectly to charity communications: could your charity or the person you helped be the hero? Can you identify a problem and explain how your organisation brought a resolution? The Invisible Children documentary about child soldiers in Africa provides a great example of this. The story has a bad guy (Warlord Joseph Kony), lots of good guys (the children, the charity workers, the donors), and it highlights how something terrible can be transformed into something positive (conflict and resolution). The story had a global impact with 100 million views over just six days and 3.7 million people pledging support.   3. Don’t be afraid to use emotion Charity communications should be centred around a number of key messages, the objective of which is to influence how people think, feel and behave, particularly in relation to the way in which they support your organisation. Psychologists and therapists use visual, audio and kinesthetic modalities to help the mind imagine different experiences. When an individual thinks about an emotional and/or sensory experience, parts of the brain light up as if they’re actually happening for real. Encouraging people to think about how they would feel in a particular situation helps immerse them in that story, and will help connect them to that experience. This means providing more than just a basic outline. To really visualize what is happening/has happened, the story needs to contain descriptions of the key elements, such as the location, the weather, the look on someone’s face, what they were wearing etc etc. A case in point is this story by the Guardian, which featured as part of its 2015 charity Christmas appeal and helped raise a record-breaking £2m.   4. Think about style, tone and format Minds wander, very quickly. If you haven’t grabbed someone’s attention in the first few seconds you will have lost them altogether. Opening with a question can be a good way of achieving this, as can introducing a tantalizing nugget of information that will leave audiences wanting more. The length of a story is also important, particularly in relation to digital media. While there are some occasions where long-read essays are welcomed, in the main online stories need to be short, sweet and concise. Language is also very important. Littering a story with complex technical terms will almost certainly turn people off. Use plain English at all times. For examples of charity jargon at its best (or worst, depending on which way you look at it), read Aidan Warner’s blog on charity clichés. It’s a couple of years old but the same sentiment still applies.   5. Make the most of photos, video and audio As the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words. Photos, graphics, cartoons and illustrations can all be used to help convey complex ideas simply and effectively. Indeed, digital content, be it on Facebook, Twitter or websites, receives many more click-throughs and shares if accompanied by a photo. Video and audio can also be hugely impactful. A colleague of mine told me about the time she interviewed a number of donors about why they gave to her charity. These were then played to the entire organisation in a darkened theatre. Removing all other sensory elements while the team listened to the supporters was a hugely emotional and motivational experience for all those involved. WaterAid used images – both still and moving – to full effect as part of its The Big Dig. They armed their workers on the ground with smart phones and instructed them to report back on the progress made as they provided a village with clean water. Day-by-day, week-by-week, images of the build and stories of the villagers were uploaded, providing supporters with an almost real-time perspective on how their money was making a difference. In a world where we receive thousand of messages every day, standing out is difficult. Storytelling can help you cut through the clutter and engage people in powerful, emotive and inspiring messages. Tell a memorable story, and chances are your audience will remember you.     Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    The Power of Storytelling: Six Top Tips by Mike Zywina  Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield        Image © WaterAid/ Jason Larkin/ Emily Fyso  
    Apr 01, 2016 9357
  • 01 Apr 2016
    James Rees, Anthony Nutt Senior Research Fellow, The Open University Business School These are difficult and unsettling times for voluntary organisations – with resource constraints, increasing media scrutiny, and turbulence in public perceptions being added to the ongoing challenge of responding to public policies and diverse social needs.  In such times of uncertainty it is more important than ever that organisations have effective leadership; and particular concern has been expressed about the need for smaller organisations in the sector to develop and enhance their leadership skills. Leadership skills, of course, can be applied at different levels of organisations. New sector resource from The Open University It is against this backdrop, and thanks to a generous donation by an alumnus, Anthony Nutt, that the Open University Business School has established a new resource that provides access to free leadership courses and knowledge for voluntary sector organisations. The Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership builds on research and expertise within the university and aims to progress new research of particular relevance to the leadership challenges faced by smaller organisations. Smaller organisations make up the majority of the sector – they really represent the backbone of much voluntary and community effort – but in many ways have been under-researched and many issues facing them are poorly understood. The Centre will work with stakeholders from academic, practitioner and policy groups to advance understanding of the complex issues voluntary organisations face, the ambiguities of stakeholder responsibilities and accountabilities, and the dynamics caused by changing public policies.  As well as providing free leadership development opportunities, it will lead on new areas of research and help to disseminate best practice and new thinking. Free courses The first online course, Introducing the Voluntary Sector, is eight weeks long and is now available on the free learning website OpenLearn. Involving three hours of study each week, the course covers the structure of the UK voluntary sector, funding issues, stakeholders and the role of volunteering.   It is a Badged Open Course (BOC), which means that on completing the course, each learner will get a digital badge and certificate of participation. This can be shared on social media profiles, made public in the learner’s OpenLearn profile, and can help build confidence by providing a record of achievement. Working in the Voluntary Sector, the second course from the new Centre, focuses on the practicalities of working or volunteering in voluntary and community organisations including: working with volunteers; marketing and communication; budgets; fundraising; taking part in meetings; working in teams and partnerships; and building resilience.  This course will be available later in the year and is also a BOC. Two further free courses focusing on leadership will be available in Autumn 2016.  The courses are open for anyone interested in learning about and developing leadership in the context of voluntary organisations.  You do not need to be in a position of seniority to enrol.  Volunteers and professional staff at any level are welcome; indeed a key argument made in the courses is that leadership can come from many levels.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield      
    4292 Posted by James Rees
  • James Rees, Anthony Nutt Senior Research Fellow, The Open University Business School These are difficult and unsettling times for voluntary organisations – with resource constraints, increasing media scrutiny, and turbulence in public perceptions being added to the ongoing challenge of responding to public policies and diverse social needs.  In such times of uncertainty it is more important than ever that organisations have effective leadership; and particular concern has been expressed about the need for smaller organisations in the sector to develop and enhance their leadership skills. Leadership skills, of course, can be applied at different levels of organisations. New sector resource from The Open University It is against this backdrop, and thanks to a generous donation by an alumnus, Anthony Nutt, that the Open University Business School has established a new resource that provides access to free leadership courses and knowledge for voluntary sector organisations. The Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership builds on research and expertise within the university and aims to progress new research of particular relevance to the leadership challenges faced by smaller organisations. Smaller organisations make up the majority of the sector – they really represent the backbone of much voluntary and community effort – but in many ways have been under-researched and many issues facing them are poorly understood. The Centre will work with stakeholders from academic, practitioner and policy groups to advance understanding of the complex issues voluntary organisations face, the ambiguities of stakeholder responsibilities and accountabilities, and the dynamics caused by changing public policies.  As well as providing free leadership development opportunities, it will lead on new areas of research and help to disseminate best practice and new thinking. Free courses The first online course, Introducing the Voluntary Sector, is eight weeks long and is now available on the free learning website OpenLearn. Involving three hours of study each week, the course covers the structure of the UK voluntary sector, funding issues, stakeholders and the role of volunteering.   It is a Badged Open Course (BOC), which means that on completing the course, each learner will get a digital badge and certificate of participation. This can be shared on social media profiles, made public in the learner’s OpenLearn profile, and can help build confidence by providing a record of achievement. Working in the Voluntary Sector, the second course from the new Centre, focuses on the practicalities of working or volunteering in voluntary and community organisations including: working with volunteers; marketing and communication; budgets; fundraising; taking part in meetings; working in teams and partnerships; and building resilience.  This course will be available later in the year and is also a BOC. Two further free courses focusing on leadership will be available in Autumn 2016.  The courses are open for anyone interested in learning about and developing leadership in the context of voluntary organisations.  You do not need to be in a position of seniority to enrol.  Volunteers and professional staff at any level are welcome; indeed a key argument made in the courses is that leadership can come from many levels.   Found this Blog useful? You may also like:    Storytelling Tips for Charities by Becky Slack How to make friend with the media by Kay ParrisGet your charity’s voice heard by Duncan Hatfield      
    Apr 01, 2016 4292
  • 01 Apr 2016
    From the BBC’s Spaghetti trees to the ‘Taco’ Liberty Bell, April 1st is the annual day for the jokers and japers in our ranks.  Today also marks the start of our first campaign of the year, Local Hero 2016. No joke! Local Hero, which will run until 30th April, recognises the incredible work put in by fundraisers, from the arty to the athletic to the absurd.  All participants need to do is think up a challenge, set up a fundraising page and persuade as many people as possible to donate. Throughout April all fundraisers will be ranked according to the number of unique online donors who sponsor their page. At the end of the campaign £5,000 in prizes will be awarded to the causes supported by the top 20 fundraisers, with a top prize of £1,000 going to the cause of the fundraiser who has secured the most donors. Local Hero 2015 saw nearly 300 fundraisers raise over £80,000 in donations, prizes and Gift Aid from over 2,500 donors. We would like to give a huge thanks to Making a Difference Locally for funding Local Hero 2016. Additional thanks to Lord David Puttnam and intu for their support for the campaign. So, get involved now - you’d be a fool to miss out! And to put a grin on your face, here are some of the best & worst pranks of the day so far: East London Pop-up to sell water from river Thames The Royal Albert Hall to become mini-Hadron Collider Marco Biagi of the SNP starts his campaign for mayor of London  Scotland and Wales to form own country of Britain votes to leave the EU German Embassy enveil hens that lay 'rugby-eggs' Equal Rights for Left Pits- says Right Guard  
  • From the BBC’s Spaghetti trees to the ‘Taco’ Liberty Bell, April 1st is the annual day for the jokers and japers in our ranks.  Today also marks the start of our first campaign of the year, Local Hero 2016. No joke! Local Hero, which will run until 30th April, recognises the incredible work put in by fundraisers, from the arty to the athletic to the absurd.  All participants need to do is think up a challenge, set up a fundraising page and persuade as many people as possible to donate. Throughout April all fundraisers will be ranked according to the number of unique online donors who sponsor their page. At the end of the campaign £5,000 in prizes will be awarded to the causes supported by the top 20 fundraisers, with a top prize of £1,000 going to the cause of the fundraiser who has secured the most donors. Local Hero 2015 saw nearly 300 fundraisers raise over £80,000 in donations, prizes and Gift Aid from over 2,500 donors. We would like to give a huge thanks to Making a Difference Locally for funding Local Hero 2016. Additional thanks to Lord David Puttnam and intu for their support for the campaign. So, get involved now - you’d be a fool to miss out! And to put a grin on your face, here are some of the best & worst pranks of the day so far: East London Pop-up to sell water from river Thames The Royal Albert Hall to become mini-Hadron Collider Marco Biagi of the SNP starts his campaign for mayor of London  Scotland and Wales to form own country of Britain votes to leave the EU German Embassy enveil hens that lay 'rugby-eggs' Equal Rights for Left Pits- says Right Guard  
    Apr 01, 2016 3640
  • 31 Mar 2016
    Local charities do amazing things, but often remain invisible, despite their good work. 83.1% of the UK voluntary sector is made up of small and micro charities – the vast majority of which operate at a local level – but only 5.3% of funding goes to support these organisations. To shine a spotlight on local groups and their good work, here are a few recent inspiring stories from our members. If you're interested in getting involved with a group in your area, you can use our search to find local charities near you. SERV Sussex SERV Sussex is an amazing charity that is comprised of volunteer bikers who provide night time transportation of emergency blood products and other urgent medical items for NHS Hospitals across Sussex. SERV volunteers, who generally use their own machines and pay for their own petrol, are on call from 7pm till 6am, 365 nights a year. This Easter Sunday, the group of bikers swapped night for day and medical supplies for chocolate, delivering hundreds of Easter eggs to sick children in hospices and hospitals across the county. Leading the project, SERV also encouraged a number of other local biking groups to get involved and help with the delivery. The ride culminated at the conquest hospital in Bexhill-on-Sea, with around 300 eggs being delivered to the Kipling Children’s Ward. Watch a short video of the ride here. Heart of Bucks Heart of Bucks - Buckinghamshire Community Foundation supports local groups in Buckinghamshire by providing small grants to help with projects and the delivery of essential services. It supports various disadvantaged groups, including those dealing with homelessness, fuel poverty and youth training. On Saturday 5 March, in the early hours of the morning, the police and fire brigade were called to the Hughenden Valley Community Shop. A volunteer arrived to open up for the day and discovered that the community store had been broken into, burgled and then set fire to. Heart of Bucks has now set up a fundraising appeal to raise money to rebuild the shop. Heart of Bucks said, “Many people have said the village seems to have 'lost its' heart' since the fire, and there has been a noticeable difference in people being out and about in the village. The area was thriving and vibrant before these devastating events. We would really like to put the heart back into the village and rebuild the village shop and coffee shop, both of which are a hub and psychological centre of the area which many say has really brought the village together.” You can contribute to the Hughenden Valley Village Shop SOS appeal here. Taking Flight Taking Flight Theatre Company is a fantastic Welsh charity that creates accessible, inclusive theatre performances and projects. It aims to challenge perceptions of disability and what is possible, whilst creating theatre that is ever more accessible to wider audiences. This April, Alastair Sill - an audio describer for theatre who provides live verbal commentary of a play for blind and partially sighted audience members - is fundraising for the group.  Al will be cycling from Cardiff to Merthyr to Kidwelly to Stackpole to Haverfordwest West, stopping off at local schools and groups each day to find out what “love” means to the people of Wales.    Dubbed “Cupid on Wheels”, Al is aiming to raise £15,000 to support the great work of the Theatre Company. He is also currently taking part in our Local Hero campaign! You can find out more about Al’s fundraiser here. How you can make a difference Hopefully these stories have proven that supporting a local charity, be it through fundraising, donating or volunteering, can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Get involved with a local charity and see the difference you can make. Use our local charity search tool to find a group in your area today. 
    4620 Posted by Lou Coady
  • Local charities do amazing things, but often remain invisible, despite their good work. 83.1% of the UK voluntary sector is made up of small and micro charities – the vast majority of which operate at a local level – but only 5.3% of funding goes to support these organisations. To shine a spotlight on local groups and their good work, here are a few recent inspiring stories from our members. If you're interested in getting involved with a group in your area, you can use our search to find local charities near you. SERV Sussex SERV Sussex is an amazing charity that is comprised of volunteer bikers who provide night time transportation of emergency blood products and other urgent medical items for NHS Hospitals across Sussex. SERV volunteers, who generally use their own machines and pay for their own petrol, are on call from 7pm till 6am, 365 nights a year. This Easter Sunday, the group of bikers swapped night for day and medical supplies for chocolate, delivering hundreds of Easter eggs to sick children in hospices and hospitals across the county. Leading the project, SERV also encouraged a number of other local biking groups to get involved and help with the delivery. The ride culminated at the conquest hospital in Bexhill-on-Sea, with around 300 eggs being delivered to the Kipling Children’s Ward. Watch a short video of the ride here. Heart of Bucks Heart of Bucks - Buckinghamshire Community Foundation supports local groups in Buckinghamshire by providing small grants to help with projects and the delivery of essential services. It supports various disadvantaged groups, including those dealing with homelessness, fuel poverty and youth training. On Saturday 5 March, in the early hours of the morning, the police and fire brigade were called to the Hughenden Valley Community Shop. A volunteer arrived to open up for the day and discovered that the community store had been broken into, burgled and then set fire to. Heart of Bucks has now set up a fundraising appeal to raise money to rebuild the shop. Heart of Bucks said, “Many people have said the village seems to have 'lost its' heart' since the fire, and there has been a noticeable difference in people being out and about in the village. The area was thriving and vibrant before these devastating events. We would really like to put the heart back into the village and rebuild the village shop and coffee shop, both of which are a hub and psychological centre of the area which many say has really brought the village together.” You can contribute to the Hughenden Valley Village Shop SOS appeal here. Taking Flight Taking Flight Theatre Company is a fantastic Welsh charity that creates accessible, inclusive theatre performances and projects. It aims to challenge perceptions of disability and what is possible, whilst creating theatre that is ever more accessible to wider audiences. This April, Alastair Sill - an audio describer for theatre who provides live verbal commentary of a play for blind and partially sighted audience members - is fundraising for the group.  Al will be cycling from Cardiff to Merthyr to Kidwelly to Stackpole to Haverfordwest West, stopping off at local schools and groups each day to find out what “love” means to the people of Wales.    Dubbed “Cupid on Wheels”, Al is aiming to raise £15,000 to support the great work of the Theatre Company. He is also currently taking part in our Local Hero campaign! You can find out more about Al’s fundraiser here. How you can make a difference Hopefully these stories have proven that supporting a local charity, be it through fundraising, donating or volunteering, can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Get involved with a local charity and see the difference you can make. Use our local charity search tool to find a group in your area today. 
    Mar 31, 2016 4620