Category Archives: Charities

COULD YOU HELP SAVE LIVES BY VOLUNTEERING FOR DEVON AIR AMBULANCE

The Devon Air Ambulance is currently looking for people to join their volunteering family.

Cara Jones, Volunteer Manager for Devon Air Ambulance, said, “Our volunteers are an invaluable part of our team and ensure we remain truly rooted in the community we serve. If you have a couple of hours to spare, we would love to hear from you. We appreciate you may have other commitments so we welcome flexible volunteers who do not need to commit to a minimum amount of time.”

She added, “We have a variety of rolls to suit everyone such as, box collecting, giving talks, attending cheque presentation, assisting in our charity shops and attending our events.”

If you are interested in finding out more please contact our Volunteer Manager Cara Jones by calling 01392 466666 or emailing c.jones@daat.org for more information.

PHOTO: Volunteers at the South Molton shop.

MICHAEL CAINES MBE BECOMES CALVERT TRUST EXMOOR AMBASSADOR

Celebrity chef Michael Caines MBE, who visited Calvert Trust Exmoor earlier this month, has agreed to become an Ambassador for the charity, calling the centre “one of North Devon’s ‘hidden gems”.

“Calvert Trust Exmoor is a fantastic facility,” Michael explained following a motivational speech he gave to an invited audience of visitors and local dignitaries at the centre on Tuesday. “It provides amazing opportunities for people who are challenged in life through a variety of disabilities, and it also supports the families who care for them.”

Born and raised in Exeter, Michael lost his right arm in a road accident in 1994, but has risen to the top of his profession, being named AA’s Chef of the Year in 2007 and holding two Michelin stars for 18 consecutive years. Michael describes the accident as a defining part of his life, alongside the day he was adopted in terms of importance.

“My upbringing defined my outlook in the sense of who I am; but the love and support of friends and family that got me through that difficult day,” Michael said. “That day changed me, for sure. It made me a better person because I became more compassionate. If it hadn’t been for the compassion of others, then I’d have never got through that day.”

Calvert Trust Exmoor CEO, Heidi Watson, said the charity was delighted that Michael has agreed to become an Ambassador. “He’s a shining example of someone who has not only overcome disability but has proved to the world what a disabled person can achieve in their lives.”

Michael, who recently added The Coach House at Kentisbury Grange to his portfolio and the newly opened Lympstone Manor near Exeter, explained that the local community can play its part in helping the guests that stay at Calvert Trust Exmoor: “The community has a big role to play, making sure that the individuals who come here, for whatever reason, whatever background or circumstances, whatever their individual story is, get the opportunity to live a thorough and fulfilling life – one that challenges them and gives them the qualities of life that we all want: ‘happiness.’ That’s the one key quality that I think is vital.

“We’re all challenged; we all have demons,” he continued. “Some of us might suffer from depression, some of you might have got up this morning feeling like it’s a tough day; but their days are always tough and always challenging. This wonderful facility at Calvert Trust Exmoor gives people what I call ‘positive challenges’ that add value to their lives, and in doing so breaks down that word ‘disability’ into opportunity and ability.”

One of the UK’s most celebrated chefs, Michael concluded by saying that every day he gets now is “a gift”.

“I could have died at 25, but I didn’t. Life is short enough anyway, and given those challenges that we have, they make us a stronger and a better person. If you’ve been given opportunity to continue your life and drive forward with the help and support of others, then your potential can be realised too.

“It’s really inspiring to see so much passion in the people that run Calvert Trust Exmoor and the community that supports it. And I’m very proud to be associated with the centre.”

To find out more about how you can get involved in the work of Calvert Trust Exmoor, visit the website www.calvert-trust.org.uk/support or call 01598 763221.

DRIVING THE DISTANCE FOR DEMENTIA WITH JOHN DEERE

HMP Kirkham prison officer Andy Maxfield from Inskip in Lancashire is finalising plans to set a brand-new Guinness World Record by driving from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a John Deere lawn tractor, whilst raising money for the charity, Alzheimer’s Society.

The ‘Driving the Distance for Dementia’ Challenge will set off from John O’Groats at 8am on Tuesday 25 July 2017; the signposted distance to Land’s End is 874 miles. The planned route expects them to arrive in the South West on Saturday, passing Bristol around midday, then on to Taunton and Crediton, reaching Okehampton early Sunday morning then past Redruth, Penzance and finally their end destination Land’s End.

Roger Prior, Director at Masons Kings said, “As the local John Deere dealership for Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, we are looking forward to seeing this challenge arrive in our region on Saturday. It’s going to be exciting to see how the X750 lawn tractor, a popular product at Masons Kings, gets on with such a big distance and different terrains. This is such a great cause and myself and the rest of the team can’t wait to see this Guinness World Record achieved.”

This distance has not been attempted before on an unmodified lawn tractor, but Andy is still hoping to complete the distance in less than five days on his own. He has recently been promoting the challenge at shows and events in the north of England, starting with a visit to his beloved Blackburn Rovers FC – see the club’s video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2hyoHbP5j8&feature=youtu.be – and including this month’s Great Yorkshire Show.

Andy Maxfield will be using a 24hp X750 John Deere lawn tractor and accompanied by support vehicles provided by John Deere. The X750 has power steering, cruise control and a top road speed of around 10mph. Andy will also be supported by his wife Karen and their two daughters Kathryn and Kaitlyn.

Andy’s 77-year-old father James and James’ mother Theresa were both diagnosed with dementia, which prompted Andy to start seriously fundraising for the charity in January this year. “Initially I had the idea of a fundraising ball to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society, which will be held on Saturday 9 December at Preston Masonic Hall,” he said.

“After that, because friends and neighbours often take the mickey out of me for being into lawnmowers – I’ve got eight altogether for cutting the grass around the village – I just thought it would be appropriate to try for the world record for driving a lawn tractor the length of Britain. I asked John Deere, although I don’t have one of their mowers at home, as I know they make quality products and I wanted something to get me from A to B without breaking down!”

John Deere Limited, turf division manager Chris Meacock, said: “Our UK and Ireland employees select a specific charity each year to support with a variety of fundraising activities. By coincidence we had chosen Alzheimer’s Society when we were approached by Andy Maxfield to help with the Guinness World Record attempt, so it was very good timing on his part!

“We are delighted to back this very worthy cause and are looking forward to the challenge. In addition to providing the X750 for ‘Driving the Distance for Dementia’, we have offered Andy a new X350R lawn tractor worth over £5,000 as a special raffle prize for the family’s charity ball in December.”

Sue Swire, regional community fundraising officer for Alzheimer’s Society in Lancashire, said: “It’s wonderful that Andy is taking on such a great challenge to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society to unite against dementia, and we are really grateful. Funds raised from the challenge will help us move a step closer to a world without dementia – dementia devastates lives, but dementia won’t win.”

Andy Maxfield’s charity ball has a JustGiving website page for donations at www.justgiving.com/andrew-maxfield, with the total already standing at over £2,200 in early July, and donations can also be made by texting MAXF80 £3 to 70070. More information on the ball and the challenge are available at www.facebook.com/ForgetMeNotPreston, and by following Andy on Twitter @AndyMax69.

Alzheimer’s Society is available for anyone affected by dementia and there are lots of ways the charity can help – for details call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit www.alzheimers.org.uk.

TICKETS ON SALE FOR SOMERSET WEST LOTTERY

Tickets are now available online for the Somerset West Lottery and the chance to scoop a £25,000 jackpot and help local good causes.

The first draw takes place on Saturday 29 July, with 60p from every £1 ticket going to local charities and good causes. Players can choose which cause they want to support. It’s free for good causes to register for the Somerset West Lottery and more are encouraged to sign up.

The lottery is a joint initiative by Taunton Deane Borough and West Somerset Councils and an example of the two authorities working together in partnership.

Katrina Midgley, Chief Officer of Engage, the first good cause to sign up, said: “We were keen to support the lottery not only for the benefits it can bring to us as a charity and our work but also for the benefit it will bring to the areas of Taunton Deane and West Somerset. We will be actively encouraging all the charities and community groups that Engage supports to sign-up as good causes.”

Clare Pound of Home-Start West Somerset, said: “For small charities, getting this money is going to make a lot of difference, and will go a long way. We’d encourage other local good causes to sign up.”

Players have a 50 to 1 chance of winning one of the prizes, which range from the £25,000 jackpot to three extra tickets.

Cllr Jane Warmington, the Borough Council’s Executive councillor for community leadership, said: “The Somerset West Lottery is a great way to support charity and voluntary organisations, while the council manages its reduced budgets.

“We believe this option, with an external company taking responsibility for the prize fund costs, mitigates any risk to the council.

Cllr Dave Westcott, Leader Member for Community and Customer at West Somerset Counci, said: “We will be encouraging local causes to register as a beneficiary of the lottery. The society lottery concept is an idea other local authorities are exploring and has been successfully launched by several councils already.”

A lottery management company, Gatherwell, has been appointed to run the scheme, having already launched similar lotteries with Portsmouth, Corby, Peterborough and many others.

Ben Speare, Gatherwell’s managing director, said: “We are delighted that Gatherwell has been awarded the opportunity to run the new Somerset West Lottery.

“We’re looking forward to helping support Taunton Deane and West Somerset local causes in partnership with the council.”

To buy your tickets or register as a good cause visit www.somersetwestlottery.co.uk

PHOTO: Home-Start West Somerset. Left to right: Siobhan Lennon-Patience (mum, service user and newly appointed trustee), Pam Shambrook (volunteer) and Clare Pound (Minehead Home-Start manager).

This photo was used in our spring issue’s article about the charity. Click on the pages below to read it here if you missed it!

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THE GREAT EXMOOR RIDE IS COMING!

The Great Exmoor Ride is a brand-new city-to-coast challenge bike ride from the team behind the hugely popular Great Weston Ride (GWR), and the inaugural outing is taking place in the West Country this summer.

Billed as the GWR’s ‘baby brother’, the Great Exmoor Ride starts in Taunton and ends on the seafront at Blue Anchor near Minehead, but only after it has covered 63 miles (100km) of a stunning route through tranquil Somerset country lanes and on to and across the eastern part of Exmoor National Park.

The Ride is taking place on Sunday 3 September 2017 and participants are promised another great day to remember, courtesy of a spectacular route and the prospect of a late summer day out by the sea with friends and family at the end of it all.

And, while the Great Exmoor Ride may be the GWR’s baby brother in terms of its age, it is worth noting that it is every bit as challenging as an event – probably even more so, with the 63-mile route packing almost 1,600 metres of climbing.

A spokesman for the Great Exmoor Ride commented: “The aim with the Great Exmoor Ride is to replicate the challenge and enjoyment of the GWR in another wonderful part of Somerset and, while this new event is most definitely a decent cycling challenge, it’s been designed to still be accessible and to appeal to as many people as possible.

“We want to see lots of people out on their bikes and rising to their own personal challenge on the Great Exmoor Ride. It’s a truly spectacular route and there’s certainly enough of a challenge on offer. Like the GWR, it’s something that most people with a degree of fitness and the right mindset should be able to tackle – we want to see all sorts of people taking part, it’s very much intended as a social and community occasion so people are actively encouraged just to do it at their own pace with no time pressures, and we’re certain that riders who take the challenge will feel a huge sense of achievement when they reach the coast and cross the finish line.

“And, of course, with the long-established Great Weston Ride in July and the new Great Exmoor Ride in September, it’s a fantastic opportunity for people to bookend their summer with two fabulous West Country bike rides!”

The event is registered with British Cycling, the sport’s governing body, and riders will be provided with a whole host of event support services, including clear route signage, marshalling, medical cover, and ample mechanical support throughout the route.

The event organisers are once again asking riders to consider if they can fundraise while taking on the challenge, with Prostate Cancer UK being the event’s official charity partner. Over £150,000 has already been raised for the charity via the GWR and it is hoped that the Great Exmoor Ride can emulate that success over time.

Further information and full details on the event, including how to enter, can be found at www.greatexmoorride.com.

NEW ERA FOR AIR AMBULANCE PATIENTS IN DORSET AND SOMERSET

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is delighted to announce that its new AgustaWestland 169 (AW169) helicopter entered into service yesterday. This becomes the first AW169 to enter air ambulance operational service in the UK and is the culmination of years of planning and development.

The aircraft was selected following an extensive evaluation process. Its outstanding characteristics, superior capabilities and safety standards will ensure unprecedented levels of mission effectiveness and provide an enhanced life-saving service for the people of Dorset and Somerset.

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer, said: “It has always been the Charity’s aim and clear vision to pursue clinical excellence; pairing Critical Care Teams with the outstanding capabilities of the AW169 s is a natural development of that vision. Patient benefit remains our top priority and this was the single biggest criteria in selecting the new aircraft.

“Our ambitions and clinical aspirations determined a particular requirement from whichever aircraft we selected. The capabilities and flexibility offered by the AW169 made it a clear winner and in our view it was the only aircraft which fully met our criteria. Another major plus in selecting a new mark of aircraft is that you are taking advantage of the latest advances in technology. That means that it is safer and easier to maintain and operate.

Larger cabin area gives full access to patient

The medical equipment in the AW169 will not be hugely different to that which was carried on the Charity’s previous aircraft. However, the biggest difference is the space inside the cabin. This allows the Critical Care Team to have complete access to a patient, head to toe; a significant benefit if a patient needs further intervention or treatment on-route to hospital.

Over the past few months, the life-saving service has increased its operating hours from 12 to 19 hours a day (7am-2am).   During this time and in the hours of darkness, the crews have been deployed using a Critical Care Car.

Bill continues: “We are most grateful to Specialist Aviation Services who operate the AW169 helicopter on our behalf. They have worked closely with our clinical team to develop a medical interior that will enable them to more fully meet the needs of our patients than ever before.

“The AW169’s night-flying capabilities mean that we can now move forward into providing full night HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) missions. Our team will have the ability to fly directly to the patient without the need of any fixed or pre-established lighting which is a significant advantage. We are now looking forward to completing night HEMS training and subsequently operating the new aircraft for 19 hours a day.

“Our approach has been truly innovative and as a result the AW169 has had to undergo very intense scrutiny by the European Aviation Safety Agency. This is why it has taken a little longer than we had hoped for the aircraft to become operational. However, it has certainly been worth the wait and we are delighted to now have clearance to fly.”

More information on Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance can be found by visiting: www.dsairambulance.org.uk or by calling: 01823 669604.

EXMOOR PONY CENTRE CANTERS INTO THE FUTURE

Staff, volunteers and trustees from the Moorland Mousie Trust, which runs the Exmoor Pony Centre at Ashwick near Dulverton in Somerset, are celebrating an astounding achievement as their crowdfunding campaign draws to a close.

The 42-day appeal has seen the charity raise a staggering £35,000, exceeding the initial target by several thousand pounds thanks to the generosity of more than 850 people. The Centre is now safe until the end of the year and the staff and trustees can now focus on plans for its long-term survival. Centre Manager, Linzi Green, explained: “When we launched the appeal we were so desperate for funds to prevent the Centre from closing, it really was a make or break situation. We are totally overwhelmed by the response and are so grateful to everyone who has donated. However, we still desperately need funding to ensure the future of the charity and of the many Exmoor ponies we care for. ”

Trustee Juliet Rogers has been amazed by the public’s support: “It has been wonderful to see people from all over the world, of all ages and backgrounds, getting behind our charity and helping us to continue our work taking the unwanted Exmoor ponies who would otherwise have no future.”

The charity’s trustees have praised all the volunteers who help to keep the Centre running day to day and have bestowed huge thanks on two volunteers, Gail Cheeseman and Doulla Aebli, who have organised the Crowdfunder campaign and devoted the last six weeks to ensuring the threat of closure no longer hangs over the Exmoor Pony Centre.

Sarah Bryan, chief executive of Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “Many congratulations to the Exmoor Pony Centre for a fantastic fundraising effort, we are delighted to hear that their target was so comprehensively beaten. It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of a small team of people who care so much about the Exmoor ponies which enliven our landscapes.”

Donations and offers of help have poured into the Centre and fundraising events such as sponsored rides, cake stalls, non-uniform days and pony parties are being organised by supporters throughout the UK. There is still much to achieve before the charity’s future can be assured and the fight still goes on for the ponies. Staff and volunteers hope a busy summer will continue to boost funds with revenue from riding sessions, activity days and visitors.

“The real stars of this campaign have been the Exmoor Ponies themselves.” said Linzi, “I am sure if they could speak they would like to have the final word and say thanks to everyone for supporting this appeal and giving them, and the Exmoor Pony Centre, a future.”

You can find details of activities and events, follow the charity’s progress or sign up to be a supporter and receive newsletters, on the website: www.exmoorponycentre.org.uk or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheExmoorPonyCentre. The charity is also pleased to accept donations via our website, by post and by phone on 01398 323093.

 

VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERT GIVES DEVON AIR AMBULANCE A 360° HELICOPTER WALK-THROUGH

A businessman who specialises in virtual reality (VR) walk-throughs for property sales has used his state-of the-art technology to create a virtual tour of Devon Air Ambulance’s (DAA) emergency helicopter and hangar at the charity’s Eaglescott air base.

Noel Sexton, who runs based Somerset based View It 360, providing VR Solutions for businesses from London to Truro, has donated the VR tour to thank DAA for the role in getting his new-born son Callum to hospital after he suffered severe breathing difficulties and was turning blue.

Although the incident happened 11 years ago, it was when Noel set up his VR business last year that he realised he could do something unique for the charity.

He said: “A few years after the incident my mother heard about the airbase visits for former patients and contacted Head Office to arrange a visit for us all.  Afterwards my parents signed up to become volunteers with the charity and they now service the DAA collection boxes in the East Devon areas and also help man DAA stalls at various events.

“Callum is now a fit and healthy 11-year-old who loves life.  The entire family are very grateful to DAA and over the years we have held several fund-raising events for them.  So when I set up my new business, View It 360, at the end of last year, I immediately saw an opportunity to raise awareness of the work of the charity by offering to donate a 360 degree virtual reality tour of the helicopter and hangar at Eaglescott.”

Using the latest technology, View it 360’s immersive and photo-realistic tours provide an easy-to-navigate walk through with the ability to zoom in and out and rotate the image.  The tour can be viewed on mobile, tablet and desktop devices by visiting www.daat.org/vr-tour-of-devon-air-ambulance and can also be viewed through VR headsets.

DAA Chief Executive Heléna Holt said: “This is a wonderful gesture from Noel.  It’s a visually stunning tour and will give more of our supporters a better idea of the helicopter’s specification and controls as well as being great fun to navigate around.  It’s a very different type of donation but one we are extremely grateful for, especially as it will attract more visitors to our website to see the work we are doing on behalf of the people of Devon.”

 

DEVON AIR AMBULANCE SUPPORTER PROMISE

Cara Jones

Devon Air Ambulance would once again like to take an opportunity to promote its ‘Supporter Promise’ at the same time as welcoming new Volunteer Manager, Cara Jones, to its team to support over 430 amazing volunteers.

After receiving questions on whether it pays its volunteers a cut of monies they collect, Fundraising Director Caroline Creer, said, “All of our amazing volunteers donate their time and efforts day in, day out.  They could be attending events, working in one of our 17 charity shops, collecting boxes or picking up a cheque at a presentation.”

She added, “We’ve been asked a lot recently if we pay commission to our volunteers – no, we do not! Every single penny raised goes straight into the pot to keep Devon’s two Air Ambulances flying up to 17 hours a day. That’s why our volunteers are so amazing and we couldn’t achieve what we do without them.”

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Devon Air Ambulance why not get in touch? It’s not only a feel-good thing to do, it’s also a great way to meet new friends and learn new skills.  Contact Devon Air Ambulance on 01392 466666 or email: fundraising@daat.org.  Alternatively, if you would like to volunteer in one of their shops why not pop into your local one to find out more?

Supporter Promise:

Devon Air Ambulance’s Supporter Promise to you:

  • We don’t share or sell any of our supporters’ data
  • We treat our supporters as they wish to be treated
  • The only mail we send out is our Helipad magazine up to four times a year to keep our supporters up to date with our activities and local interest
  • We send monthly enewsletters – only to supporters who have asked to receive them
  • We don’t authorise anyone to go door to door on our behalf
  • The only representatives of the charity who may ask for your personal information are our lottery canvassers but only if you choose to join
  • We do not employ third party companies to ring our supporters asking for more or to cold call
  • We do not pay commission to anyone collecting our boxes or cheques on our behalf

AIR AMBULANCE COAST TO COAST CYCLISTS RARING TO GO!

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance is holding its seventh annual Coast to Coast (C2C) Cycle Challenge on Sunday 14 May 2017 and is hoping that the public will come out in support of the 600 cyclists taking part.

The event, which is not a race, involves a challenging 54-mile cycle ride which starts at Watchet Harbour in the north and ends at West Bay in the south, following a wonderfully scenic route through the beautiful Somerset and Dorset countryside. A staggered start will see the stronger cyclists set off first at 11am, with the less experienced riders departing at 11.15am. A shorter 11-mile route starts at the Royal Oak public house in Drimpton at 2pm and also finishes at West Bay.

Last year’s event saw people of all ages and abilities take part, raising over £81,000 (including gift aid) for the life-saving charity. With only 600 places available, it was no surprise that the event sold out within 11 hours of online registration being open.

This ever-popular event is renowned for being an emotional and inspiring day out for everyone involved. That’s no surprise given the fact that the cyclists include patients who have experienced the work of the air ambulance first-hand and those who take part in memory of a loved one. Others get involved as part of a team or simply want to challenge themselves and support the charity in return.

This year, for the first time, the cyclists who were fortunate in gaining a place, will be joined by members of the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance crew who are set to cycle the 54 mile route on triplet bicycles.

The team, who call themselves the ‘COASTBUSTERS’ have been training for the event at their Henstridge airbase and are hoping the public will get behind them and show their support.

In a bid to raise £2,500 and fund one life-saving mission, the team have set up a JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/dsaa-coastbusters where donations of any size can be made. Mobile phone users can easily donate by texting: CREW54 £5 to 70070. Every penny raised really will make a big difference.

Bill Sivewright, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge is a fantastic occasion and the atmosphere is incredible. The fact that members of our crew are taking part this year makes the event even more special. They are incredible ambassadors of the Charity and I’m sure it will be an extremely emotional day all round; the aches and pains will definitely be worthwhile.

“Every year the event seems to get better and that is mainly due to the wonderful team of volunteers, members of the public and local businesses who help us with marshalling and keeping the cyclists safe.

“Our thanks go to the event sponsors and the various pit stop locations along the route, without their help and support, we simply could not put on such a large scale event.

“Finally, a very big thank you to all the cyclists taking part who are encouraging their friends and family to sponsor them. Let’s hope the weather stays fine and we raise as much as possible and make this the best Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge yet!”

Supporters will be able to encourage the cyclists at the starting point, along the route, or at the finishing line celebrations at East Beach Car Park in West Bay.

More information about the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance can be found by visiting: www.dsairambulance.org.uk or by calling: 01823 669604.