Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wednesday, 30th November - Community Furniture Project

A lovely lady recently gave MrM and I a lovely crib for the baby. Unfortunately, neither of us can put it up! So MrM today took it to the Community Furniture Project who can make use of it - the baby can sleep in the top drawer of our chest.

The Newbury Community Resource Centre is a registered charity (no.1082243) that runs the Community Furniture Project (Newbury), the Community Reuse Centre at New Greenham Park, the Community Furniture Project (Basingstoke) and the Growing Together Project at Kingsclere.

As well as running the furniture and horticultural projects we provide support and accredited training in practical skills to over 300 volunteers and trainees from all backgrounds, many of them requiring high levels of support due to learning disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health issues or young people with behavioural issues. The income derived from our furniture sales only covers 60% of the costs of all the services we provide so we are always grateful for any financial support people are able to offer us.

For more information about our Growing Together Project please visit

Tuesday, 29th November - Movember

A few hours too late, but am donating to Movember again before all the moustaches get shaved off!

Today I donated to my former journalism tutor at Highbury College who has grown a rather impressive moustache all in aid of this brilliant cause.

On Movember 1st, guys register at with a clean-shave face and then for the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Mo Sistas are the women who register to support the men in their lives, raising funds by seeking sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valor by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Partés held around the world by Movember, for Movember.

The Movember Effect: Awareness & Education, Survivorship, Research
The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers - prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

For more information on the programmes we are funding please visit the following:
The Prostate Cancer Charity
The Institute of Cancer Research
Awareness & Education
Global Action Plan

Movember - a global movement
Since its humble beginnings in Melbourne Australia, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 1.1 Million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate, with formal campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Ireland. In addition, Movember is aware of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas supporting the campaign and men’s health cause right across the globe, from Russia to Dubai, Hong Kong to Antarctica, Rio de Janeiro to Mumbai, and everywhere in between.

No matter the country or city, Movember will continue to work to change established habits and attitudes men have about their health, to educate men about the health risks they face, getting them to act on that knowledge thereby increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment.

In 2010, over 112,000 UK Mo Bros and Mo Sistas got on board, raising £11.7 million.

Big steps have been taken towards changing attitudes and habits relating to men’s health around the world but there is still much to be done to catch up with the women’s health movement. Via the moustache, Movember aims to fulfill its vision of having an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health, by continuing to spark conversation and spread awareness of men’s health each year.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Monday, 28th November - Helen Hospice

More decluttering sees a bag fill up with books and magazines primarily. I haul this down to the RSPCA shop as it's on our way to the train station. As we walk along I tell my mum about my bad experiences in this shop.

The door's open, so we head in and a surly woman tells us that the shop is closed just as someone else enters.

I tell him the shop is closed, but she says they're open for donations in such a draconian manner that I daren't tell her that I was trying to donate. We then try the BHF who don't take magazines. I'm about to put the lot in the rubbish bin in the marketplace when my mum takes them to Helen House who again save the day.

I love this charity shop and will make them my first destination next time; not the third.

Helen & Douglas House has the time and expertise to care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions and support their families. The two hospice houses offer specialist symptom and pain management, medically-supported short breaks and end-of-life care, as well as counselling and practical support for the whole family.

Helen House opened in 1982 as the world's first children's hospice. Douglas House opened in 2004 as the world's first hospice specifically for young adults aged 16-35.

Sunday, 27th November - Vision Aid Overseas

My declutter is ongoing and one of the items to be filed under the OUT list was a pair of MrM's glasses that I found - the arm had broken and he'd just bought a new pair so I asked him if I could take them to the optician to send on to an African charity.

He said that was fine and I put the glasses, in a box, at the foot of the stairs to remind me to take them in. So a few days pass and I decide to take them. I lock the front door and just check that the glasses are in the box. That's funny - they're not broken?

Then I realise that MrM has swapped the two pairs over and that I was inches away from taking his new glasses back to the shop. He does not know this and now he has stronger glasses, I'm in danger of his reading it on here.

Anyway, Vision Express seemed pleased and a nice lady in the local branch told me that they get sent to prison to get repaired before being sent onto a charity called Vision Aid Overseas.

Vision Express celebrates five years of support for Vision Aid Overseas

15 February 2010 - Vision Express is celebrating its fifth year of support for optical charity Vision Aid Overseas by making a donation of £60,732 following store fundraising support throughout 2009. The donation comes at the end of a tough financial year for businesses and not-for-profit organisations in the UK and Ireland and demonstrates the enormous commitment that Vision Express staff and stores have for the aims of Vision Aid Overseas.

Vision Express has supported Vision Aid Overseas since 2005 and in five years has helped to raise over £205,000 towards their work. This support has been vital towards supporting the delivery of a programme that has helped over 250,000 patients. Vision Aid Overseas aims to transform access to quality eyecare in developing countries through the creation of Vision Centres, the training of local eyecare personnel and the provision of outreach services in areas away from existing facilities.

The fundraising support has been led by staff members from Vision Expresses’ 320 stores based in the UK and Ireland. Initiatives have ranged from collecting donations for repairs and adjustments to running fundraising days including raffles, money collections and prize draws. Vision Express staff have also participated in half-marathons and bike rides to raise funds and awareness.

Many Vision Express professional employees also support Vision Aid Overseas by travelling on volunteer programmes in Africa and India. Mark Harris, a dispensing optician and Product Manager at Vision Express, recently travelled to Ethiopia to take part in a programme of supervision and mentoring for optical trainees. “It is such a good feeling to know that you are contributing to the future of eyecare in developing countries when you work with Vision Aid Overseas. During my recent project to Ethiopia, the Vision Aid Overseas team and our trainees helped to transform patients lives through the provision of eye examinations and glasses. I am also extremely proud of Vision Expresses’ fantastic fundraising effort because I know what an enormous difference this money will make.”

Jeremy Jalie, Communications Director at Vision Aid Overseas expressed his admiration for the support of Vision Express colleagues: “We are extremely grateful to Vision Express for their fundraising support and for their enormous commitment to the work of Vision Aid Overseas. It is fantastic to have such resounding support from the company and to be supported by individual stores in such a dedicated way. Vision Aid Overseas was built on the support and enthusiasm of individuals and organisations in the optical profession and industry and Vision Express demonstrates that the commitment to improving lives through good vision is still inspiring patients and customers to support our work. Vision Aid Overseas will use the money to utilise the skills of UK optical professionals in the development of eyecare services in our partner countries.”

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Saturday, 26th November - Parkinson's UK

My mum bought us a book of raffle tickets in aid of Parkinson's UK - thanks Mum!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Friday, 25th November - Mayor's Benevolent Fund

Tonight was the Christmas light switch on in Newbury marketplace with the mayor and his predecessor collecting for charity. I simply savoured the lights, enjoyed the carols and put some coins in a bucket for the Mayor's Benevolent Fund which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Trust..

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

•Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of the UK's most common life-threatening inherited diseases.
•Cystic Fibrosis affects over 9,000 people in the UK.
•Over two million people in the UK carry the faulty gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis - around 1 in 25 of the population.
•If two carriers have a child, the baby has a 1 in 4 chance of having Cystic Fibrosis.
•Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food.
•Each week, five babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis.
•Each week, two young lives are lost to Cystic Fibrosis.
•Only half of those living with Cystic Fibrosis are likely to live past their late 30s.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Thursday, 24th November - Soroptimists

I had to be in two places at once this morning so sent my mum to the weekly jumble sale at St NIc's. This week was a fundraiser for the Soroptimists and my mum did a great job buying a cutlery holder and a plate of yummy shortbread.

About our Club

Welcome to Newbury & District branch of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland. Our Meeting Venue is the annexe at St George’s Church, Wash Common, Newbury. Following speaker meetings, a short business meeting will be held.

Newbury and District was chartered in June 1956. At present we have 26 members from a variety of professions and voluntary and other organizations. We are active in the community and enjoy meeting together for fellowship and fun.

We meet on the 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month, except August, at St. George’s Annexe, Wash Common, Newbury, RG14 6NU at 7.30pm. Usually we start with coffee and biscuits followed by a speaker or business meeting, the evening ends about 9.45pm. During August we organize a summer luncheon at the home of one of our members to which we also invite our partners.

Each year our president nominates a charity for which we raise funds by organizing various events such as a coffee mornings and a quiz. This year we will be raising money for the Tissue Bank for the Breast Cancer Research Campaign.

Wednesday, 23rd November - NCT

Another NCT session today (by donation). This was my third session on breast feeding, but I still learn new things each time.

Tonight we learned about the importance of a partner's support; they can help, burp the baby and provide you with drinks of water. "Big jugs" as the peer supporter said, appropriately...

Why does breastfeeding matter and what are the benefits for mum and baby?

There are lots of reasons why breastfeeding is important for mums and babies:

For babies
Breastmilk is a living fluid and every mum’s milk is tailor-made for her own baby. It contains many ingredients which help a baby stay healthy, such as antibodies to fight germs and hormones that help your baby’s development.
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have ear or urine infections or get stomach bugs or chest infections.
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight children.
If your family has allergies, your baby is less likely to get eczema or a wheezy chest if they are breastfed.
Fewer babies who are breastfed get diabetes in childhood.
Premature babies who receive breastmilk have a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (a potentially dangerous bowel disorder).

For mums
Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of developing certain types of ovarian and breast cancer.
Mums who have breastfed have a lower risk of hip fractures and diabetes when they get older.
Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to its normal size after birth.

For everyone
Breastfeeding doesn't have an impact on the environment.

Get the support you need

Newborn babies have instincts that help them to breastfeed and mums have instincts too – but in the UK, many women become parents without ever having seen breastfeeding first hand, and feel uncertain about what to do. That's why when you are learning to breastfeed, you may need support and information. You can find articles on our website about breastfeeding straight after birth, getting your baby attached correctly at your breast, common concerns and how friends and family, your partner and employers can support you.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday, 22nd November - NCT

I think I might now be a volunteer for the local looks like I will be helping out at a twice-monthly meeting for new mums.

The forget it thing is a bit strange though!

Do let me know your thoughts and we can either forget it or link you up.

West Berkshire toy appeal - now with new picture

The last one was the stuff of nightmares - fortunately they've now changed it...

MrM is in there

Christmas Crafternoon

The magic of twitter!

Got a tweet from who is organising a fundraising Christmas Crafternoon on Saturday, 17th Dec 2-5pm in Stalybridge,Cheshire.

Bit far for me (and there was no space for "please" in the tweet :D ) but good luck!

Monday, 21st November - West Berkshire Christmas Toy appeal

I'm going to count MrM's activities today as he bought a lovely toy as part of his role in launching this year's Christmas Toy appeal.

I don't *think* he donated a disembodied doll's head as suggested by this pic though...

WEST Berkshire’s annual appeal for Christmas toys is to be launched in Newbury today (Monday), aiming to make sure no local children or young people go without a gift this Christmas.
The appeal, in its sixth year, is run by the Newbury Weekly News, Swift Couriers, Apple Print and Newbury Sound, in conjunction with West Berkshire Council’s children’s services.
Starting the ball rolling with a toy donation at the launch of the appeal, outside Broadway House near the Clocktower in Northbrook Street at 12.30pm , will be dignitaries including the mayor of Newbury, Jeff Beck; mayor of Hungerford, Martin Crane (to be confirmed) and Thatcham mayor Lee Dillon.
Newbury MP Richard Benyon has said he is unable to attend but will be sending a gift, while others due to attend and make a donation include: the chairman of West Berkshire Council, Peter Argyle; Julian May, on behalf of Greenham Common Trust; and Garry Poulson for the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire.
Karen Smith, on behalf of Newbury Building Society, and representatives from both Newbury’s Parkway and Kennet Shopping centres are also due to attend.
Donations wanted include new and unwrapped toys, games and gifts, suitable for boys and girls from newborn to age 19 plus. Alternatively, people can give £10 gift vouchers to spend at local shops. All donations must be given to the various collection points (listed below) prior to December 22.
“Whilst some of us are gasping at the amount we are spending, or the amount our kids hope we are going to stretch to, there are families on very low incomes, in debt, homeless, awaiting benefit determination, or living in a refuge, who will find it very hard this year to give their children any toys at all.” said Yvette Jones, West Berkshire Christmas Toy Appeal co-ordinator, adding: “And there are teenagers unable to live at home, and young people who do not have parents, or family here in the UK - living in hostels, bed-sits, rooms or even homeless, who will also have a pretty grim festive season unless we all rally round.”
The various collection points in West Berkshire can be found at the following places:

Newbury Sound offices in Hambridge Lane
Apple Print offices in Faraday Road
Swift offices in Hambridge Lane
Council offices in Market Street, Newbury
Co-op Thatcham Broadway
Tesco Stores in Pinchington Lane and A4, Newbury, and Hungerford
Sainsbury’s – Newbury
Camp Hopson department store
Budgens – Wash Common
Parkway Sales office in Northbrook Street, Newbury
Newbury Building Society – Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford offices
Newbury, Hungerford, Thatcham and Theale Libraries
Hungerford Leisure Centre
All children’s Centres in West Berkshire
Kennet Centre
Debenhams in the new Parkway development

Sunday, 20 November 2011

West Berks Alz update

"Twenty-seven volunteers & staff swung into action like a well-oiled machine! What an incredible team you all are - even the ladies in the church are amazed by the Alzheimer's Society coffee mornings. Thank you for all your hard work yesterday, and baking, donating goods for sale etc.

We counted the money this morning giving us a total of £564.67 minus expenses for purchase of tea / coffee / milk etc.

Thank you so much.

Street collection date

Also, another date for your diary - there's a street collection in Newbury town centre on the 15th of December from 9am and 5pm. Please get in touch if you can help"

Sunday, 21st November - Dorothy House Hospice

MrM and I were out for a walk and swung by the town hall in Hungerford on the way back where we happened upon the Gaia wellbeing show.

20/11 Sun: SHOW GAIA WELLBEING HEALTH SHOW 11am to 4pm at Hungerford Town Hall

It was a little disappointing, but entry was donated to Dorothy House Hospice in WIltshire so not a wasted 5 minutes!

Our Approach

Dorothy House is a charity, founded on Christian principles of care. All our services in the community and the hospice are provided free of charge and with equal access to all. Our aim is to offer physical, psychological, social and spiritual care to patients and their families facing life threatening illness, death or bereavement, who have specific problems which need our specialist skills. In partnership with all others involved, we focus on quality of life, respecting the uniqueness of each person and their family. We seek to promote the development of palliative care through education of others and research.

To the best of our ability to strive:
•For the highest quality in all we do, to enable the best patient and family care.
•To recognise the commitment to staff and volunteers through support, education and development.
•To respect each person as an individual.
•For effective, open and sensitive communication.
•For effective teamwork and collaboration.
•To share knowledge.
•To review and evaluate all our services.

Saturday, 19th November - Women's Land Army Tribute

What a blissful morning! I was back in Exeter, one of my favourite towns, and the one where I spent three years as a student, so as I was looking back at my University years, how fitting that one of the town centre hotels should play host to a fabulous vintage fair.

"Crikey it's vintage" was a one day celebration of vintage with amazing clothes stalls and handmade goodies. It was absolutely heaving and a lovely morning of shopping (and this is from someone who hates shopping). I only bought a cake stand, a bedspread, a Christmas decoration for my sister, a 60s dress and a Leslie Charteris book.

Ticket sales went towards the Women's Land Army Tribute:

The Women’s Land Army Tribute project has been established by the Staffordshire Women’s Food and Farming Union.


1.To raise enough funds to provide a permanent memorial and lasting tribute.
2.To commission a sculptor to design and create an appropriate memorial, which will be installed and erected at the National Memorial Arboretum.
3.To organise an appropriate dedication ceremony.
4.To raise awareness of the project and make every effort to contact former Women’s Land Army Girls and Lumber Jill’s.


We will promote a high profile fundraising campaign to achieve the aims of our project. We will seek quotations for all aspects of the project from appropriate experts and invite them to tender for the work through a proper tendering process which will be overseen by the Staffordshire WFU under the umbrella of the National WFU. We will raise funds through grants, sponsorships and donations.


We aim to have the memorial designed, manufactured and installed at the National Memorial Arboretum with a target date of October 2012.


We aim to have a ceremony to dedicate the memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum when the project has been completed. This memorial will recognise and acknowledge the achievements of the Women’s Land Army – a legacy for future generations.

The Women’s Food and Farming Union (WFU), which was founded in 1979, has branches all over the UK. The Staffordshire branch started in 1985. The WFU is a voluntary organisation committed to promoting an understanding of, and confidence in, all aspects of quality British produce. Its strap line has always been ‘Linking Producer with Consumer’ and as members we like to feel that we represent the interests of both consumers and producers to the benefit of British agriculture.

“They had obeyed the call of duty in the nation’s hour of greatest peril and Britain owed them an everlasting debt”

HM The Queen Mother October 1950


Friday, 18th November - Big Issue

Back in my hometown so bought a Big Issue with Gary Barlow on the cover.

Take That frontman to Saturday night TV fave; Gary Barlow tells us why 'Noel Gallagher couldn't do what I do'... Also in this issue... Album art supremo Storm Thorgerson on the LP sleeves that rocked the world... Prisons at breaking point; We bring you the inside track on the state of Britain's jails... And actor Jason Schwartzman on his suprising obsession... PLUS Your chance to win Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Railway Children's Letter from Santa

I got this from the Railway Children (having already ordered one of these from the NSPCC) hopefully someone will find it useful for a child they might know!

Send a personalised letter from Santa

Just imagine their excitement if a special child in your life were to get a letter from Santa.

We can arrange for Santa Claus himself to send a personalised letter to a little person or a big kid of your choice.

Each Santa letter is wonderfully illustrated and unique to its recipient. Every child at the same address will receive a different Santa letter, which can be tailored by:

o Age
o Gender
o Where they are staying over Christmas
o Pet's name
o Hometown

All that we ask in return is a small suggested donation of £3, with all proceeds going to Railway Children to help us fight for children living on the streets this Christmas.

Make Christmas extra special this year. Click here to order your letter.

Railway Children
Registered Charity No: 1058991
1 The Commons, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 1EG

Thursday, 17th November - Alzheimer's Society

Today's charity thing was the jumble sale and coffee morning at St Nic's in aid of the Alzheimer's Society. Just bought a couple of things and ran back in time for work.

When a person with dementia finds that their mental abilities are declining, they often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance and support. The people closest to them - including their carers, friends and family - need to do everything they can to help the person to retain their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth.

Wednesday, 16th November - Oxfam

Today's charity of the day ended up being Oxfam back in my hometown of Sherborne, Dorset, where I bought a notebook and two books on business. One of these was on customer service which really I could have donated back for one of the guys behind the till to read.

When someone tries to pay for something, generally, GENERALLY, it's a good idea to say "hello" or "smile", not just stare at them and wonder how the hell they appeared in front of you. Not only did this happen in Oxfam (and I do not think this guy was a volunteer - he looked like a paid manager), but also two minutes before in the British Red Cross shop further up the road where the staff member's breathtaking rudeness nearly had me in tears.

I saw a dress in the window (often if something is in a display, then staff don't like you to touch it) so waited in the queue to ask how much it was. The woman behind the counter finished her chat, the customer/friend walked away and she and I came face-to-face. She frowned at me. I waited. She frowned a bit more and continued to stare.

"Hi!" I said. She stared a bit more, still not speaking. "Hi!" I tried again. "Did you want something or not?" she growled. "I wondered how much that dress is in the window, please?" I asked.

"I don't know!" she snapped.

"OK - I'll look myself. On second thoughts, forget it - I'll go somewhere where people don't feel the need to be rude to me." When I said that, she smiled very sweetly and ran around to where I was and said: "Oh that dress, it's a size 10-12".

Too late! Why do people volunteer in places where they meet real people if they're not people people?

So, some tips for my new friend from the book I bought in Oxfam:

17: Meet and greet - first impressions last
18: Treat your customers with respect
23: Smile!
36: Make it easy for customers to shop
37: Eliminate all obstacles to making a purchase
47: be patient and courteous to your customers
48: Be welcoming
103: Always think about your customers

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday, 15th November - St John Ambulance

More coins in a tin - gosh, I'm even boring myself now! Hopefully tomorrow's offering will be slightly more interesting!

About St John Ambulance

We believe that it’s absolutely unacceptable that so many people die needlessly – because no one could give them first aid when they needed it.

St John Ambulance teaches people first aid - about 800,000 last year alone – so that they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

We teach young people in schools and through our activities for young people.

We teach people in the workplace and provide first aid products.

We teach people in the community.

And we teach people who become our volunteers, who offer their skills and time to be the difference right in the heart of their community – at public events, first responders or back up to local ambulance services.

As a charity, we’re committed to making sure more people can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. To do that, we need your help.

Monday, 14th November - Help for Heroes

Nothing more interesting than putting some coins in a collection tin in the Royal Oak in Marlborough in aid of Help for Heroes.

Help For Heroes is the charity that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Help for Heroes strives towards 100% effectiveness – so that for every £1 donated, £1 will go directly to helping wounded Servicemen and women. So, we do exactly what we say on the tin – your donations go directly to supporting the wounded boys and girls.

How do we do this?
We do of course have running costs but these are kept as low as possible, and the costs we do have? Well those are covered by the sale of our fantastic Help for Heroes merchandise. Every t-shirt, mug, wristband and calendar sold ensures that the money you donate goes to the men and women who need it, not office bills!

In fact, thanks to the range of challenges we hold through the year and our H4H shop, last year we actually made more than we needed to run the charity. So, of course, the rest goes to the wounded.

What do we spend your money on?
We spend every penny possible on making grants that aim to provide practical, direct support for our wounded.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Sunday, 13th November -Children with Cerebral Palsy

Bit worrying this one - I popped some money into a collection tin. It was being held by a woman outside a petrol station and said: "CHildren with Cerebral Palsy" on the side. HOwever, I can't find any information about this charity anywhere....

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Saturday, 12th November - Community Furniture Project

Today's charity thing was buying some books that were - gasp! - destined for landfill. £1 for this little pile that will keep me occupied for ages and will help me with my new project of teaching Spanish to MrM!

The Community Furniture Project takes donations of furniture that people are looking to throw away and then sells them to others who need it. It's a brilliant idea that employs local people and keeps lots of items from landfill. I recently bought a chest of drawers - there's no way I could afford to buy a newer set and why buy a new flatpack set from that well-known blue and yellow furniture when there's already one in existence.

The Newbury Community Resource Centre is a registered charity (no.1082243) that runs the Community Furniture Project (Newbury), the Community Reuse Centre at New Greenham Park, the Community Furniture Project (Basingstoke) and the Growing Together Project at Kingsclere.

As well as running the furniture and horticultural projects we provide support and accredited training in practical skills to over 300 volunteers and trainees from all backgrounds, many of them requiring high levels of support due to learning disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health issues or young people with behavioural issues. The income derived from our furniture sales only covers 60% of the costs of all the services we provide so we are always grateful for any financial support people are able to offer us.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday, 11th November - Alzheimer's Society

After two minutes of silence at 11am, I decided to take a bag of bric-a-brac to the Alz Society so they can sell it (or give it away) at their coffee morning next week. I volunteered at their annual sale last year the day after I got back from my honeymoon. An amazing TWENTY people helped out that day, so I'm going to be a customer this time around.

While I was there, I also dropped off a bag of wool. For some reason, I decided that I could knit and crochet last year and bought lots of supplies. I made one blanket for my nephew (I just knew he was going to be a boy) so knitted an almost blanket shaped item in blue and white. My sister thought it was for her dog....

A year later I decided to crochet a blanket for another baby and have made two long items that look like scarves. My craft days are over. The wool can now be used by people with dementia who find knitting therapeutic.

We have information for anyone worried about potential symptoms of dementia including if you are worried about your own memory or someone else's.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Alzheimer's Memory Walk

I nearly didn't open it as it was addressed to someone else (ahem - me by my married name, which I never use!) but how exciting! A certificate for completing the recent Memory Walk!

Thursday, 10th November - St Thomas Church Woolton Hill

Today's charity was St Thomas Church in Woolton Hill who held a coffee morning at St Nicolas Church Hall where I made today's contribution by buying lots of lovely things; a photo frame, a notebook (I am addicted to these - as if the prettier the book, the lovelier the things I will write in them!) and some toiletries.

Is it possible to be addicted to a coffee morning, because I think I might just be.....

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Enter a fab photo competition and help Peruvian children at the same time....

Just had a note about a lovely photographic competition from a photographer that we work with:

Wendy has just set up to help raise funds for a charity close to her heart, that helps impoverished Peruvian children from having to walk eight hours daily to get to school and back.

The competition has great judges including the Director of Photography at the TATE and some great prizes.

It's nationwide and open to anyone over 18 years old amateur and professional.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wendy xxx

Wednesday, 9th November - Operation Christmas Child

Finally dropped my full shoebox to the Shoe Zone in the Kennet Centre. There is no real sign that they're collecting shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child; I thought there might be a Christmas tree with boxes underneath it stacked up festively. But...nothing..

I handed my box to the lady behind the counter, who said: "I'll take that for you". I thanked her for taking my donation and she rolled her eyes and said "you should see how many we have out at the back".

Not the most festive charitable experience, but never mind, it's for a great cause. Hopefully someone will be a bit more excited about the things I've placed in the box!

Operation Christmas Child is, by its very nature, creative. The finding of an empty shoebox. The selecting of the gifts to fill it with. The selecting of the wrapping paper. The wrapping of the shoebox. The packing of the gifts.

What's more, when groups of children and adults come together - be they families, churchgoers, school pupils, workplace colleagues or members of local community groups - that creativity and inspiration just grows. There are countless ways in which your group can make Operation Christmas Child an exciting, involving and meaningful pre-Christmas project.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tuesday, 8th November - Woodland Trust

Today's charity was the Woodland Trust which is great as I was thinking that I needed to do more for environmental charities - a subject which is very close to my heart.

Such is my lifestyle that I actually got a call from someone I hadn't seen for a while asking me if I could come round for tea and cake and advise them on how I make their house and life greener! Perhaps there's a business idea in there!

Having just said that, today's charity thing might not be considered green in many regards. I don't actually intend to send many Christmas cards this year - for anyone who I'm in touch with via FB, Twitter or LInkedIn, I'm afraid, I won't be using resources to wish them a Happy CHristmas. I did buy just one packet today so that I can send cards to older people that I know who would benefit from the contact!

So this packet raises money for the Woodland Trust and the beauty is that the recipient can, if they like, recycle them and turn them back into trees as they're collected in January in biggish shops. I've also only written on the right hand side so they can also be reused as gift tags.

I really do think of everything (a work-in-progress strapline for my new green consultancy business!).

The Woodland Trust has a vision. A UK rich in native woods and trees enjoyed and valued by everyone.

We believe:
•there should be at least twice as much native tree cover in the UK

•there should be no further loss of any ancient woodland

•every child should have a chance to plant a tree

•there should be a wood with open access close to everyone’s home

•everyone should recognise that trees and woods are an essential part of a healthy environment

We aim to enable the creation of more native woods and places rich in trees; protect native woods, trees and their wildlife for the future and inspire everyone to enjoy and value woods and trees

Monday, 7 November 2011

Monday, 7th November - Operation Christmas Child/Samaritans Purse

I finally finished making up my shoebox for Operation Christmas CHild but today had to make an additional £2.50 payment so that the box will be delivered!

I'll be dropping this off at the Shoezone shop in the Kennet Centre tomorrow!

Operation Christmas Child is the largest children's Christmas project in the world, run by the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse. We have been sending gift-filled shoeboxes to disadvantaged children around the world since 1990, bringing joy into the lives of over 80 million children.

Last year, over 500,000 people from across the UK and Ireland got involved - including many churches, schools and workplaces. Children and adults alike wrapped and packed around 1.12 million shoeboxes full of gifts and goodies, which were then sent to disadvantaged children across Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Sunday, 6th November - NCT (again!)

More NCT!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Saturday, 5th November - Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust

I'll never, ever forget how lucky I was that my experience with cervical cancer was put to an end thanks to early detection. So I made a special effort to ensure I attended Hungerford's annual Christmas fair which is a fundraiser for Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

Unfortunately, while there were lots of lovely goodies at the fair, the lady on the door was so rude to me that it took the Christmas gloss and shine off a little and I didn't end up buying anything.

HOwever, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust is a great charity.

Our Vision
To improve the lives of those affected by cervical cancer and to work towards a future where cervical cancer is a thing of the past.

Our Mission
Our mission is to see cervical cancer prevented, reduce the impact for everyone affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer through providing the highest quality information and support services and campaigning for excellence in cervical cancer treatment and prevention.

Core values
Everything we do, across all aspects of our work is based on our core values:
•Highest quality
•People focused
•Working in partnership
•Valuing and respecting others
•Openness, transparency and accountability
•Honesty and integrity
•Innovative and creative

How we do it
•Providing information, emotional and practical support to women, their families and friends affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer.
•Bringing people affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer together for shared support.
•Campaigning for improvement in standards of support and care.
•Promoting the importance of prevention and early detection to the public, health professionals and key decision makers.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Friday, 4th November - Poppy Appeal

I finally got around to buying my Poppy today.

Fundraising for The Royal British Legion

Each year the nation expresses its unequivocal support for The Royal British Legion's charity work through the Poppy Appeal, emphasising the need to help all generations of the Armed Forces and their families - today and for the rest of their lives.

Thanks to you and your generosity, we reached our target of £36 million for 2010 but our work is as vital as ever and with your help hope to reach £40 million this year.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thursday, 3rd November - Big Issue

Today's charity thing was buying the Big Issue and am looking forward to sitting with a mug of hot milk to read the cover article "Can you really feed your family for £50 a week?"

MrM and I can live on that for a month - but we desperately want to know if that's sustainable once there's a new member of the family!

Can you really feed a family for £50 a week? As inflation hikes up the cost of living we ask family of 4, the Jardines, to put shopping on a budget to the test... Also in this issue... Star of Batman Begins and Inception, Cillian Murphy, on why he's happy to let the 'charismatic Justin Timberlake' take centre stage in his latest film... We explore the UK adoption crisis which is leaving thousands of kids stranded in care... And funnyman Stephen Merchant on going from gawky teen to Golden Globe winner.

Wednesday, 2nd November - NCT

A bit of a cheat maybe, but today's charity was again the NCT! I went to an evening hosted locally and bought a few raffle tickets, all in aid of the area group.

There were some fabulous prizes on offer all donated by local small businesses.

Run by local parents, your local Newbury and District Branch offers you support, information and friendship to new parents and parents-to-be.

We try to reach everyone in West Berkshire from Hungerford and Lambourn in the west to the borders of Reading in the east, the Downlands villages in the north, the Cleres in the south and everywhere in between.

Please take a moment to join us on Facebook where you can ask questions, get advice from other mums and keep up to date on local gossip, activities, events and groups where you can meet other members, mums and dads.

We would also really like to meet you, our members and their friends, at any of our committee meetings. nearly new sale, bumps and babies group, relax stretch and breathe, working bumps, cafe bambino or any of our other get togethers. Please take a moment to visit the groups and events pages.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tuesday, 1st November - The Prostate Cancer Charity

It's Movember!!

Most of my male friends are partaking and growing themselves a fine bit of facial hair for a very good cause. Today I decided to sponsor my lovely friend James the Cat who is not the sort of chap who looks as if he could grow a 'tache!

Thank you for your donation. Your support of Movember and the more than 10,000 men who will die of prostate cancer and the more than 2,000 men who will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year, is sincerely appreciated.

Through the Movember Foundation and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and The Institute of Cancer Research, Movember is funding world class awareness, research, educational and support programmes which would otherwise not be possible.
During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in the UK and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

On Movember 1st, guys register at with a clean-shaven face and then for the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valor by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Partés held around the world by Movember, for Movember