Category Archives: Charities

CELEBRATION TO MARK OPENING OF TEMPLETON COMMUNITY LANDING SITE

Mr Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, joined local residents and Devon Air Ambulance Community Landing Sites Development Officer, Toby Russell, earlier this month to celebrate the opening of a Community Landing Site at Templeton Village Hall.

The idea to establish a landing site to support Devon Air Ambulance’s night operations was first raised by Sue Squire, Clerk to Templeton Parish Council, and the use of the land by the Village Hall was then explored. The Parish Council approved the idea and Parish Councillor, David Leeming, liaised with DAA, Devon County and Mid Devon District Council so a new lighting column could be provided at the Village Hall, an important requirement for a community landing site.

A landing site on the edge of the car park was selected by DAA, and the Village Hall Committee gave permission for DAA to use the land. The lighting column has two remotely operated lights that are switched on before the helicopter lands in the event of an emergency during the hours of darkness.

Toby Russell, Community Landing Sites Development Officer at DAA, said, “We were delighted to have the support of so many people who facilitated this landing site and to welcome Neil Parish to its opening. In addition to the grant given through the Bank LIBOR fines towards the project, we would like to thank Investing In Devon (for a grant towards the project), Sarah Coffin, Templeton Parish Council Chair, Parish Councillors (the Parish Council gave a grant towards the project) and Reg Coffin, Templeton Village Hall Committee Chair and Committee.

“Thank you to everyone involved for their time and support and for coming along to celebrate the opening.”

SPONSORED SILENCE FOR WALLACE AND GROMIT APPEAL

Proving that actions speak louder than words, pupils at King’s Hall School organised a major fundraising campaign recently in aid of sick and vulnerable children in the South West.

As part of their fundraising initiatives for the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal, a charity that raises funds for paediatric medical equipment at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, the Pupil Council took part in a sponsored silence, using only their facial expressions and body language to communicate with staff and pupils. They also arranged a non-uniform day in which the whole school adopted their brightest and most colourful clothes. Through these events, the children raised an impressive £2,240.

Karen Foster, Pupil Council Co-ordinator at King’s Hall, said: “It was great to see so many pupils eagerly accepting the challenge of a sponsored silence, which is a very difficult task, especially for children! We are all so proud of the pupils’ efforts and look forward to more fundraising events in the future.”

SPREAD SOME WARMTH THIS WINTER BY DONATING YOUR WINTER FUEL PAYMENT

Thank you to Somerset Community Foundation for sending us this information…

Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign, which encourages people to join the growing number of contributors who donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help local people living in fuel poverty, was launched before Christmas but there is still more that can be done to help.

Last year, over 500 older people living in fuel poverty in Somerset were helped to keep warm and better connected through the winter months, thanks to pensioners and other local donors who gave to Surviving Winter.

A Surviving Winter grant doesn’t just go towards paying the heating bill. It is also the first step towards connecting the recipient to a local Surviving Winter delivery partner; this can become the foundation for a new relationship that can help to overcome the isolation and loneliness many older people experience.

Last winter a single older lady, who already experienced mental health problems and severe anxiety, found a recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia almost too much to bear. The condition had a rapid effect on her mobility and ability to work and before long she found herself in debt. She became extremely depressed and isolated, spending most of her time fully dressed and in bed. It was the only way to keep warm as she could no longer afford to buy fuel for her open fire.

One of SCF’s delivery partners visited her at home. They filled in a Surviving Winter application form and organised a delivery of subsidised firewood to her house. With fuel to heat her home, she felt able to invite people in without feeling ashamed that her house was cold, and she didn’t have to go to bed to keep warm. Her Surviving Winter grant helped alleviate the loneliness she was experiencing and made paying the bills easier. This would not have happened if Surviving Winter did not exist.

Somerset ‘celebrities’ who have donated their Winter Fuel Payment to the campaign include Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis MBE, the Rt Rev’d Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath & Wells, West Country Master Baker Robert Burns MBE of Burns the Bread and Westcountryman Les Davies MBE.

Help Somerset Community Foundation to continue to help more isolated and vulnerable older people this year.

To make a donation to Surviving Winter, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949. Gift Aid forms are also available to download from the Somerset Community Foundation website or you can fill in the Surviving Winter Gift Aid Declaration Form when you send your cheque.

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about grant funding, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

A similar scheme is run in Devon (more to follow soon): mydonate.bt.com/events/devonsurvivingwinter/449732

DEVON AIR AMBULANCE SET TO FLY UNTIL 2AM EVERY DAY

Devon Air Ambulance (DAA) has announced another extension of the operational hours of its emergency service which will now fly until 2am every day of the week with immediate effect.

DAA’s Chief Executive, Heléna Holt, said, “This landmark is another step towards our goal of eventually providing Devon with a 24-hour emergency Air Ambulance service. There isn’t a timescale yet for when this will be, but it remains one of our key objectives.”

Heléna Holt was at pains to thank the charity’s “amazing fundraisers and supporters” who have made this significant development possible.

Since the extension of flying time to midnight in 2016, DAA has assisted 118 patients during the hours of darkness.

Nigel Hare, DAA’s Operations Director, said: “Flying into the hours of darkness isn’t necessarily about flying the patient to hospital. It’s also about getting the right specialist care to the patient, quickly.

“Our community landing sites across the county allow us to land at a pre-surveyed site, with lighting that we can turn on and off by using just a mobile phone, saving vital minutes. Our doctors and specialist paramedics can administer essential treatment.”

Heléna Holt added: “A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes with parish councils and communities to create a network of community landing sites. It truly is a testament to our amazing supporters that what seemed a dream just a few years ago has now become reality.”

RNLI IN SEARCH OF NEW RECRUITS

It may be deepest January, but the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is in search of new recruits to spend the summer working as fundraisers on some of the South West’s most popular beaches, as applications open for 2019.

An essential role in inspiring support for the RNLI’s lifesaving work, each year around 150 fundraisers spend the summer on the beach and at some of the UK’s top summer events, encouraging visitors to become supporters of the charity while also providing essential local safety advice to thousands of holidaymakers.

Annabelle Hobson, Senior Face-to-Face Fundraising Manager, said: “Our fundraisers are vital to the charity over the summer, working with lifeguards to provide beach visitors to the South West with important safety advice as well as encouraging them to support our lifesaving work. We’re looking for outgoing and passionate people to join the team and support our cause.

“A summer job fundraising with the RNLI will help develop valuable skills for a host of future careers, and those who have joined us in the past say the experience is life-changing. So, along with good rates of pay, being part of a lifesaving team working on the beach and at some of the country’s most popular events for a national charity, it really has to be one of Britain’s best summer jobs!”

Full training is provided to all successful candidates, to ensure they feel confident and capable in the role. Applications are now open and will remain so until Sunday 20 January 2019.

Find out more about how you can make a difference and apply to be part of the RNLI’s amazing lifesaving teams at rnli.org/bestsummerjob or search for #BestSummerJob on Facebook and Twitter.

 

UNDER-16 RUGBY SQUAD ROW FOR WALES

Members of the King’s Under-16 rugby squad completed an epic rowing challenge recently in aid of Cancer Research UK. Staff and pupils travelled a total of 274km, the entire length of Wales, on a rowing machine in just 11.5 hours.

The idea was introduced to the group by the Under-16 coach Dafydd Jones as a means of accomplishing something off the pitch to dovetail with their impressive achievements through their rugby. The boys, along with fellow Under-16 coach Tristan Stone, immediately embraced the idea, suggesting a number of charities both locally and within the UK, before Cancer Research UK was selected ‘out of the hat’.

Following an early start, the boys showed grit and determination as they undertook the lengthy workout. As a result of their hard work, the team have already raised in excess of £1,400 for the charity, with donations still pouring in.

Commenting on the event, Dafydd said: “I am immensely proud of their efforts and the way in which they continually drove each other on throughout the event – their teamwork and commitment to the cause was inspiring.”

Well done to the following pupils who were involved: Joe Wark, Ryan Phillips, Joss Chippendale, Connor Morrall, Tommy Richardson-Jones, William Hall, Tom Newman, Ethan Jordaan, Jamie Glaisher, Jack Masters, Alex Dalton, Charlie Spurr, Billy Turner, Harry Blakey, Oliver Mathew, Sonny Baker, Mr Tristan Stone, Mr Dafydd Jones.

LOOKING FOR: HUMAN GUIDE DOGS!

This is a story which Guide Dogs have asked us to publish in tandem with the article which you will find on page 112 of the new issue of Exmoor Magazine, which is out now.

You may well have heard of Guide Dogs, we’re a national charity working to ensure that blind and partially sighted people do not lose their independence. There are around two million people in the UK living with sight loss, and all experience a different level of vision and mobility. We offer a range of mobility services to help people keep their independence, and have an amazing number of dedicated staff, volunteers and, of course, dogs who support the Guide Dogs mission.

One of the services that Guide Dogs runs is called ‘My Guide’. It is a service whereby a trained, sighted (human) guide, is partnered with someone with sight loss. Many people with sight loss need support in gaining confidence to get out and about, and to achieve personal goals. My Guides accompany service users to facilitate tasks such as running errands, practising everyday routes, using public transport, or going to the gym to build confidence in these areas (playing fetch optional!).

Bethany Akielan, My Guide Ambassador, says, “When someone loses their sight, they can also lose confidence; or in the worst cases become socially isolated. Introducing a My Guide into someone’s life makes a real difference. In volunteering a couple of hours a week, it can make the seemingly insurmountable, possible for a service user.”

Guide Dogs provides full training for all volunteers in how to safely sighted guide and a general introduction to sight loss. We have several people waiting to be matched to My Guide partnerships in Exmoor and the surrounding areas. Being a volunteer is a great opportunity to learn new skills, socialise, and broaden your knowledge of supporting someone with a visual impairment.

Suzanne, a service user in Exeter, says, “Jan, my My Guide volunteer, has been invaluable in making my relocation from Sussex to Exeter a positive experience. Moving meant I had to make a mental map of my new surroundings and Jan has been key in supporting my independence in my new home town.”

If you’d be interested in finding out more about My Guide and other volunteering opportunities with Guide Dogs, head to our website: www.guidedogs.org.uk/ and click on ‘How Can I Help’ or call the South West Team on 0345 143 0204.

SOMERSET GARDENERS GROW SUPPORT FOR ST MARGARET’S HOSPICE

St Margaret’s Hospice was delighted to host a celebration event at Brympton House, near Yeovil, to thank the Somerset gardeners who kindly opened their gardens, allotments and farms this summer to raise vital funds totalling £16,600 for the hospice.

The use of the venue and gardens was kindly donated by the owners, and was enjoyed by this year’s participating gardeners along with the open garden volunteers who had supported them on their open days.

Each garden owner and volunteer received a thank you certificate, presented by Marisa Lovell-Fox, Head of Fundraising at St Margaret’s Hospice, who said: “We are humbled by the generosity of the garden owners in the Somerset and Sherborne community, who have so kindly allowed people to share their beautiful gardens, and enjoy tea and cake, while raising essential funds needed to keep our services free and accessible to local people. We have been overwhelmed by the donations received this season, which show an increase of £7,000 from the previous year.”

Susan Bickle, the scheme coordinator, added: “We had an amazing response to our Open Gardens season this year, with a variety of different visits available, from small courtyard gardens to large woodland and lakes, with allotments and farms in between. Unlike some of the national open gardens schemes, all of the donations raised from the St Margaret’s Hospice Open Gardens season are used to support local patients and families in Somerset and the Sherborne area of Dorset.

We are keen to hear from anyone who would like to take part in the 2019 season either to open their garden, allotment, orchard or farm, or to offer help as a garden volunteer. There are many ways to support the scheme, even if you are unable to open a garden, such as having a plant sale, serving refreshments at your local flower show, or having a scarecrow trail in your village. We are also seeking local businesses who would like to advertise in our 2019 Open Gardens brochure or donate a prize to the Open Gardens raffle.”

St Margaret’s Hospice is all about making each day count for their patients, families and carers – if you would like to be part of making this happen through the Open Gardens scheme, please contact Susan Bickle, Open Gardens and Fundraising Volunteer Coordinator, for more information on 01935 709182 or 07736 886145 or by email on susan.bickle@st-margarets-hospice.org.uk.

THREE RECENT NEWS RELEASES FROM ILFRACOMBE RNLI

Ilfracombe RNLI has been having a busy time of it recently. Here are three stories which they have released in the last week or so…

Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboat assists exhausted single-handed sailor

Ilfracombe RNLI all-weather lifeboat (ALB) launched at 3.35pm on Thursday 23 August to go to the assistance of an exhausted single-handed sailor.

The lone yachtsman was struggling to make headway towards a safe harbour in the three-metre waves and near gale-force wind. As he was suffering the effects of fatigue, he asked for assistance when the deteriorating weather halted his progress in the area of Copperas Buoy near Combe Martin.

The ALB Stormrider, on relief at Ilfracombe, immediately launched and reached the scene within ten minutes. Crew member Andy Day was placed aboard the vessel to connect a tow line. The yacht was then towed back to the safety of Ilfracombe harbour.

Andrew Bengey, volunteer RNLI coxswain at Ilfracombe, said: “This was an unfortunate position for the casualty to find themselves in. The weather had been deteriorating throughout the day and he had simply become exhausted attempting to fight through it.

“The casualty was carrying a means of calling for help which meant he could contact the Coastguard as soon as he required assistance. The RNLI always advises that you carry a VHF radio and preferably a waterproof one. We also ask that you check the weather and tide conditions before you set off and get regular updates if you’re planning to be out for any length of time.”

PHOTO: The single-handed sailor being towed to safety (courtesy RNLI).

Busy night for Ilfracombe RNLI lifeboats

Just the next evening, on 24 August, the all-weather lifeboat (ALB) and inshore lifeboat (ILB) were launched to two separate incidents.

The ALB Stormrider was launched at 10.15pm on Friday evening to a 41ft-motor cruiser which had become overwhelmed by the five-metre seas and very strong wind in the area of Foreland Point near Lynmouth.

The three people on board were exhausted and suffering the effects of seasickness, so volunteer crew member Matt Glubb was placed aboard the vessel to attach a tow line. The vessel was then towed the some 16 miles back to Ilfracombe harbour and secured to a mooring in the outer harbour.

Half an hour after the ALB was launched, the ILB Deborah Brown II was launched to a yacht that had run aground in the outer harbour. Due to the dropping tide, the yacht was beginning to list heavily so a tow line was attached to the vessel to attempt to pull it free from its position.

However, the yacht was too far aground to be towed clear so the volunteer RNLI lifeboat crew stayed with the single-handed yachtsman over low water to ensure his safety and that his yacht refloated without damage. As soon as there was enough water, the yacht was then towed clear of the beach and safely anchored.

Chris Wallis, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Ilfracombe, said: “This was a busy night for our volunteer crew at Ilfracombe and they faced some very adverse conditions. The RNLI always advises that you check the tide times and weather conditions before setting off on any venture and always carry a means of calling for help.”

Meet the final #RNLITopDog Louie!

Louie, a collie cross, is reminding dog owners what to do if their dog does get into difficulty at the coast.

The RNLI, with Louie’s help, is asking dog owners to remember never to paddle after their dog if it swims out too far. Instead, move to a place the dog can reach safely and call them – most can and will get to safety on their own. If not, however, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Simon Hannaford, RNLI community safety officer, said: “Often when a dog does get into difficulty, the owners want to help them but, in doing so, put themselves into more danger. We ask that you never enter the water after your furry friend but instead call for help.”

In June, two visitors to Whistand Bay in Cornwall did just that after their dog Barney became cut off by the tide chasing seagulls. Barney’s owners immediately contacted the lifeguards on duty for assistance instead of attempting to reach him themselves.

Due to the weather conditions, the only way to reach Barney was by boat so RNLI lifeguards Charlie Gillett and Joe Saunders immediately launched the inshore rescue boat (IRB) to bring Barney back to safety ashore.

Charlie, RNLI lifeguard supervisor for the area, says: “Barney’s owners here acted exactly as we advise and, instead of going in after Barney, called us for assistance. This incident was a lucky escape for Barney as the tide was coming in very quickly.”

Louie’s fellow #RNLITopDog Buddy advises dog owners to always check the tide times and weather conditions before setting off to save getting caught out. The first #RNLITopDog Dash reminded dog owners to take the lead; when walking near cliff edges always keep your dog on a lead.

Simon continues: “This is the last campaign picture featuring our three #RNLITopDogs so please share their posts across your social media channels to spread these important messages throughout the south west. Please remember that, here at the RNLI, we think you’re a top dog so don’t risk your life.”

 

 

TEAM CALVERT MAKES WAVES AT SUPERHERO TRI

Three teams from Calvert Trust Exmoor participated in the Superhero Tri recently at Dorney Lake in Windsor, rubbing shoulders with the world of Paralympians and raising valuable funds for the North Devon charity that offers outdoor activity breaks for people with disabilities.

The second annual running of the event saw some 2,500 participants take to the water, wheels and heels to compete in this unique competition that focuses on disability. Each team of three must include at least one person with a disability.

Regular Wistlandpound guest Daisy Gregory, 14, who has Down syndrome, completed all parts of the Sprint section with her sidekicks as helpers. She was also chosen to be part of 2012 and 2016 Paralympics gold medalist Jonnie Peacock’s Superhero Team.

“I had an amazing time, made some lovely new friends and loved being in Jonnie Peacock’s celebrity team!” said an extremely happy Daisy following the event.

Jonnie Peacock is a huge advocate of the Superhero Tri: “What sets this event apart is the fact that it is all inclusive, absolutely everyone can take part. It’s not restrictive in any way and there are no real rules or regulations about it either.”

Calvert Trust Exmoor’s Events and Corporate Fundraiser, Daisy Hockin, expressed delight that David Fraser from Truro joined one of the teams: “David has cerebral palsy, and did a marvellous job completing the 10km cycle on a recumbent bike.”

David first visited the centre some 20 years ago on a work placement and recently got involved with the fundraising team.

“I felt thrilled to be part of the team,” David said. “As a guest, I have witnessed first hand the great work that goes on at Calvert Trust Exmoor, so I’m chuffed to be able to help out. Now I’m looking forward to getting involved in other events too, like the Spooky Cycle along the Tarka Trail in October.”

Calvert’s third team came from the Stables, led by supervisor Kerri Marangone, London-based Martin Green, and long-standing Stables volunteer JoJo Charman:

“This was my second time competing for Calvert Trust Exmoor at the Superhero Tri,” JoJo said. “This year’s event was certainly a step up from last year in terms of numbers, and we’re all looking forward to bringing even more Calvert teams to Windsor in 2019.”

After successfully completing the event (some more than once), participants were presented with their Superhero medals and plenty of opportunity for photos to celebrate their achievements.

On top of the £1,000 raised by ‘Team Calvert,’ celebrity team captain and paraplegic adventurer Shaun Gash later dropped by the Calvert Trust Exmoor marquee to present a cheque for £750 following his team’s climb of Ben Nevis in the summer.

You can watch the best of the @SuperheroTri 2018, the UK’s only disability triathlon, on Saturday 1st September on Channel 4 at 11.30am.

PHOTO: Calvert Trust Exmoor Superhero Tri Team Jonnie Peacock including Daisy Gregory supported by Mum Lynn and Dad Paul.