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Appreciation Day Stories

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

This year, Small Charities Coalition were asked to host 'Appreciation Day' for Small Charity Week. For many, the hard work of individuals who make up these small but mighty organisations, are the reason as to why they continue to exist. We wanted to give Smalls an opportunity to show their appreciation and gratitude for their team members, and let them know their incredible work has not gone unnoticed.

Zoe Carter - Chaddy Mission - Nominated by Jennifer Kennedy

"I’d just like to mention our trustee Zoe Carter. All our trustees are volunteers but in the last 12 months Zoe has gone above and beyond. She has organised most of the events single handed, raised 1000's for the charity and has volunteered to do a sponsored climb of Kilimanjaro. The climb may not go ahead now due to COVID but that hasn’t stopped her constantly trying to think of new ways to fundraise in these uncertain times. She created and introduced our Sponsor a teacher campaign to try to get regular donations coming in alongside managing our Twitter account, bring in some great connections in our community that have been invaluable. So proud and privileged to have her on our team especially right now when our little charity needs all the help we can get."


The Team - Recovery Assistance Dogs - Jessica Crathorne

"I'd like to talk a little about Recovery Assistance Dogs in Leicester which is a small charity. Where I am both a client and a volunteer. Recovery Assistance Dogs helps people to recover from mental health and helps survivors of mental health.

This is just a snippet of what they do as a charity, as they advocate for people, dogs and many other areas for mental health and wellbeing. I am fortunate enough, and very grateful that I began contact with the charity in march, and have felt nothing but love, joy, care, understanding and inclusiveness with them (just to name a few)

I would like to give a special thanks to Liz Maitland - Recovery Executive Director for bringing me into the RAD family. It is very much a family and community. I would also like to thank all the fabulous volunteers and clients I have been fortunate enough to meet. It really makes a huge difference. RAD as a charity includes everyone, and what they do is as close to a miracle that I have witnessed. I myself suffer with mental health and I am also in recovery from alcohol addiction. The RAD family have made me feel nothing but welcome, and have never passed any judgement on my past. With corona mercy and what is happening globally, I was welcomed with open arms. Whilst being in lockdown RAD have put all their training/groups online on zoom, which has been a god send to me. I attend all of their zoom meetings. Without the support of RAD and their online meetings I'm not sure where I would be at the moment in respect to my mental wellbeing. Especially in this current situation. I have made many new friends whilst I've been on this fabulous RAD journey. I now feel like I have like minded friends around me, who I can talk to about anything. RAD deserves recognition for all the hard work they do, and creating a platform for people to come together and feel safe and not judged. And for keeping me going at the moment. More people need to know/hear of what Recovery Assistance Dogs do. RAD changes people lives without a doubt."


Bikeability Team - Outfit Moray - Nominated by Karen Cox

"As an outdoor learning and adventure charity, we have be hard hit by the Covid-19 lockdown and haven’t been able to deliver our work with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in Moray. What we have been able to do though is deliver cycling sessions to the school hubs, so I would like to shout out to our amazing Bikeability team, Donna Brown, Iain Bamber, Anna Vince, Scott Menzies, Archie Morley and Sam Newton, who have been working very hard. Our social enterprise project, Bike Revolution, have also been working extremely hard and were able to offer free servicing and repairs to key workers, thanks to funding from Cycling UK. They have been working tirelessly since 1st May to keep the people of Moray cycling, so I would like to share our appreciation of their hard work."


The Team - The Rockinghorse - Nominated by Lucy Pond

"I’d like to send you this story from our team at Rockinghorse (there are 9 of us) who have continued working throughout the pandemic. I organised for these hampers to be delivered to the Drs and Nurses at the Royal Alex Children’s Hospital in Brighton to show our appreciation of their efforts. But I’d also like appreciation to be shown to the whole team at Rockinghorse as we have worked around the clock to ensure sick children in Sussex are still supported."


Bethan Probert - icandance - Nominated by Juliet Diener

"Bethan joined icandance in March 2019 volunteering 5 plus hours each Saturday to support young people with varying disabilities to dance. icandance celebrates children and young people with disabilities through dance and Bethan volunteered to work 1 to 1 with young people to make dance possible. This was on top of her being a student at London Contemporary Dance school currently completing a dance degree. It was soon evident that Bethan was a complete natural with the young people. She was able to grow very quickly in skill and confidence and is a valuable team member that we trust with some of our most complex young people to engage with. When lock down hit and we as an organisation had to rethink ways of working Bethan was their to offer support wanting to help the charity as much as she could. During her time with us she had created an exhibition as part of her dissertation about our approach of using Dance movement Psychotherapy within the dance community setting and she was looking forward to exhibiting her pictures and experiences gathered from her time with icandance. Bethan shifted the exhibition to online and this began another step in her growing with the organisation. She created such a beautiful, meaningful online exhibition that we asked if she would help with reviving our very dormant social media platforms. Bethan has transformed our social media helping to share the message of the work the charity delivers. Whilst doing this she also adapted to becoming part of the online delivery team as icandance transferred all our work online. This took loads of careful planning, thinking and training and Bethan was there always wanting to give even more to the charity. She has been unbelievably generous through this difficult time all whilst she has been trying to complete her degree in lock down, being away from her home and having to celebrate her 21st birthday without friends and family around her. Bethan embodies the true community spirit and that of a leader of tomorrow."


The Team - The Charterhouse - Nominated by Gabby Swaffield

"We, like all charities have been affected by COVID-19, but probably more than others as we are an almshouse with an infirmary on site, as well as a museum, and we care for elderly people in social and financial need. As a result of the crisis, we have sadly lost three members of our Charterhouse community and our revenue, brought in through our museum and tours of our heritage site, has ceased. Many staff have been furloughed and unfortunately some redundancies may be on the horizon, so it has been a challenging and unsettling few months for all. I just wanted to get in touch to recognise and pay tribute to the hardworking staff and volunteers who are doing a fabulous job by looking after the elderly residents on site, ranging from our kitchen staff keeping them fed, to our infirmary staff as well as our cleaners, office staff, and Chief Exec who has managed the crisis incredibly well!"


Honey Foxwell - Women + Health - Nominated by Gemma Tighe

"Honey Foxwell has worked for Women + Health for nearly 16 years, starting off as a Creche worker and also working in Reception before now reaching the dizzying heights of Office Manager which is her current role. Honey is vital to Women + Health and we would be lost without her. She is a fountain of information about the organisation and knows where to find everything! Her job is a challenging one, managing the receptionists,the Creche, the cleaner, the building, and ensuring our 40 odd counsellors are matched with suitable clients and our 20 odd Complimentary practitioners have a room available for themselves and their clients. Honey was also a driving force behind the refurbishment of our garden, which has gone from being a semi-derelict space to a calm Oasis in the busy centre of Camden for staff and clients alike. Always with a smile and a willingness to help, especially for our clients many of whom are vulnerable and arrive at our Centre is some distress. Honey is always available with a listening ear and a cup of tea if needs be! THANK YOU HONEY!!"


A Tribute to Carol Jamabo - MyHealthNet - Clara Sogunro-Koko

"A good volunteer’ and one of MyHealthnet’s best team leaders. She was friendly, reliable, committed, loyal to MyHealthnet and helping colleagues. In 2017, Carol was appointed as a Trustee - Director of Fundraising, a role she was very proud to hold. She was worked very hard to help with fundraising and in securing donation of clinical supplies for youth projects. Carol was kind, and cheerful, some of the great qualities that we love in MyHealthnet volunteers. Her friendship, loyalty, professionalism, dedication to service and organisational development makes losing her so much more difficult to bear. She is well loved by us all and we miss her dearly. Carol is survived by her two loving sons who misses their mum too. May Her Gentle Soul Rest in Peace."


Pauline - Bedford Open Doors - Nominated by Michele Flynn

"Pauline has been an absolute superstar team member at Bedford Open Door. She has volunteered for the service for many years offering her time during the evenings for one to one work and then on Saturday mornings to deliver a Drop In Service. She has developed specialist skills to work with young unaccompanied asylum seekers who have experienced significant trauma and has engaged with them through creative workshops and art based sessions. She has delivered two of our school based counselling services, developing excellent relationships with the students and school teams. She has always been ready to support the organisation at community and fundraising events often giving up a Saturday to do a tombola! She has also kindly stepped in at short notice to cover the reception office when we have had unexpected absences. During the COVID-19 crisis period Pauline has been very flexible to enable us to offer initial assessments and appointments to young people in a quick turnaround time ensuring those in need do not have to wait long before accessing the service. All round Pauline is a total trooper and we appreciate all she does for Bedford Open Door and young people in Bedfordshire."


The Councillors - Bedford Open Door - Nominated by Michele Flynn

The Bedford Open Door team has been so dedicated to continuing to support young people through the COVID-19 crisis. We had to switch our service from face to face to online and telephone counselling to ensure we have been able to continue to provide free, confidential one to one counselling support to local young people aged 13 - 25 years. This involved undertaking additional specialist training to ensure everyone was confident in working in new ways and finding appropriate spaces to work in from their own homes. Our experienced counsellors volunteer their time to offer specialist counselling to young people every week.  We also have specialist counsellors working in schools, in YMCA hostels, with young asylum seekers and with victims of crime. We also have a fantastic team of Trustees who give so much time to support the governance of the organisation. All of this is supported by a small admin and management team who have worked extra hard during times of change and challenge. We appreciate each and every one in the team and would love to say a HUGE thank you for all you do for young people in Bedfordshire - you are all fabulous!"


Di Cannon - Melonama UK - Nominated by Gillian Nuttall

"Di has been by my side for a number of years now, and as soon as we went into lock down, she switched gears and put some amazing ideas together, to keep our patients safe and sane. These have included, weekly zoom get togethers for us and patients, a network of helpers throughout the UK, all done with a smile and whilst living alone. Di lost her older sister to COVID a few weeks ago, and last year, her other sister also passed away.  She is an amazing advocate for our cause and we want to show her how much we appreciate her."


Danni Freeth - St Lukes Cancer Centre - Nominated by Fiona Dick

"We are a small charity in Guildford, based at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, and 

provide all sorts of counselling and complementary therapies to cancer patients and their families. We obviously had to change our working practices radically as we went into lock down, and started to provide respite and support for hospital staff looking after COVID patients. Danni is a manager for our Children and Family Services in normal times, but since mid-March has been providing a much needed emotional support service for hospital staff on a daily basis. The clinical teams have been under a huge amount of stress, as has been well documented - in particular many transferred over from other specialisms where they were not used to dealing with intensive and end of life care. She has been amazing."


Kim Maidment - Resource Centre - Nominated by Victoria Sterman

"I’d like to nominate one of my colleagues, Kim Maidment, for recognition. Kim has worked, (with much of it on a voluntary basis), every day without a break since the lock down began to ensure our charity is able to continue to provide a full and seamless service to our clients. And as a result several of our clients have secured employment during this period.

This simply would not have been possible without all of her hard work and dedication."


The Mentors - Lifespace Trust - Nominated by Andrea Gardener

"We have been delighted by how well both phone and email mentoring has worked, each slightly differently for individual students, including those with additional needs. There has been a hugely positive response from parents, carers and grandparents who have been very grateful for our support for them and our mentees. After one mentoring session by phone, a parent said to the mentor “thank-you, I feel like I’ve got my son back”. Our mentors’ commitment and enthusiasm for being there for children and young people, embracing new ways of working, even when they didn’t know how well they would work, has been fantastic.   Everyone at Lifespace has been inspired by the leadership and pastoral teams at our partner schools. We are incredibly proud to work with them to support their students. It has been heart-warming to hear a Deputy Head at a local secondary school say “Lifespace mentors have been absolutely invaluable, a focus for those young people when need it most” and another say that “Lifespace is integral; their mentors are part of our team”. We don’t usually share individual stories because confidentiality is so important to our work but during lockdown our mentors have been reminding their mentees to go to sleep (and the breathing techniques that will help them); giving them a reason to get up and helping them to plan their days so that they balance work, rest and sleep; encouraging them to reach out to their friends and helping them find the words to do that; exploring ways that they can share their feelings with their family; signposting them to other specialist services and being there while they contact them; listening to their fears about the future and suggesting ways to manage them; suggesting ways to manage their anger/frustration at not being able to see siblings or other family members; and being there while they cry, just so that they can."


The Supporters -Dingley's Promise - Nominated by Dingley's Promise Team

"We want to show our #gratitude and say thank you to all of our wonderful supporters; Dingley’s Promise wouldn’t be where it is today without all of the love, kindness, generosity and enthusiasm that we have received from such a wide range of people! Thank you!"


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