February 2017 – renovations and fundraising…

February 2017 – renovations and fundraising…

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Each one of us can make a difference…
together we make change

Even in the fast paced world of Reuben’s Retreat that last month seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. As always we’ve lots to share with you, however we are mindful of not overburdening you with hundreds of pages of news! So whilst this newsletter is shorter than previous, if you’d like to know more about our work or the progress we’re making please do not hesitate to get in touch.


We recently attended a Together for Short Lives event at the House of Commons to help call for improvements to children’s palliative care which reaffirmed the desperate need for services like ours. It was also a chance to catch-up with our supporter and MP Jonathan and lovely wife Claire.

Today there are more than 49,000 children in the UK with a life-limiting or life-threatening illness. And with the needs of these seriously ill children becoming more and more complex, the cost of children’s palliative care increases and are now almost 10% more than last year. Yet the state’s contribution to the cost of children’s palliative care is decreasing year on year.

Urgent investment of palliative care services is needed and it must be age appropriate to meet unique needs. Statutory funding for children’s palliative care in England is a postcode lottery and the variation is huge. Short breaks are fundamental to families under such stresses as it alleviates the pressure and prevents family breakdown.

This is where we come in. As a Retreat, we are not a hospice and differ greatly. However if we cannot get our hospices partially funded for much-needed children’s care, then we can never hope to ever receive funding for projects such as ours.

To date, we do not and have not received any monies from the Government, CCG or NHS to assist us with our work. This is why we need you, our great supporters and generous hearts to help us take tentative steps forward and make a better future for our families in need.

We are immensely proud to have supported 423 adults & children from 227 families to date but sadness is never far from our door and we receive new referrals for support every week. Our first Dads Day (click here for more info) specifically for Dads of poorly children – was a great success despite the torrential rain!

If you know of anyone that may need our help, please ask them to get in touch on 01457 680 023, support@reubensretreat.org or share with them our website details, Facebook page, local newspaper columns or postal address.


Having already completed Phases 1, 2 and 3 of our 10 Phase Plan throughout 2015/16 (giving us ‘The Lodge at Reuben’s’ our counselling and bereavement support centre), February 2017 was an exciting time as we started primary internal works to the main building, the actual Retreat.

Our first foray into the structure and recesses of the building went smoothly and the works were completed in 2 weeks.  We’ve essentially stripped the whole ‘West wing’ section back to bare brick and rafters so that we can properly assess the space against our intended plans and – hopefully!!! – reduce the likelihood of costly problems during the refit stages. We’re so fortunate to have a gorgeous, characterful building but with parts of it being over

130 years old we have to make every effort to try and pre-empt potential problems. With the strip-out complete (which cost £30,000), we then dug test patches to ensure the foundations are suitable for our proposed positioning of the Hydrotherapy Pool, which again we’re chuffed to report are suitable.

We also commenced works to improve the visibility, safety and welcome for our families and visitors (and the local footfall) at The Lodge & Retreat thanks to the Tesco Bags of Help grant.  The first step is now complete with the installation of some decent (but aesthetically in keeping) lamppost lighting to the entrance and exit areas. Next we’ll be looking at changing the identity of the entrance, making it clear that it is Reuben’s Retreat and not the former Woods Hospital (understandably we don’t want beneficiaries to feel like they are arriving at yet medical facility), so more news on that to follow.

Because of the size and scope of the main building there are many regulations and legalities that we must work to and as you can imagine, that expertise is very costly. We have a small but formidably skilled team of amazing volunteers that work with Nicola on the designs and plans for the renovations and we’re delighted to share that the incredible hearts at DAY Architectural have agreed to add their support too. Working collectively we are determined to get the best from our facility for life-limited children and their families, and for families who have been bereaved of a child.


Whilst our families shape and drive our support services, our journey is also massively influenced by our supporters. It is so important to us that we convey our thanks and gratitude as without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We vow always to spend every single penny donated wisely and effectively, using the funds to move us further towards our goals and end vision, and maximise the minutes and hours of gifted time and skills to work as effectively and low cost as possible.

Here are a few words from a very special guest columnist…

“My name is Sophie I am nine years old, last year I did the Manchester mini run for Reuben’s Retreat for the first time. I had a very good time and it was lots of fun. I tried lots of different sports afterwards in the event village.  It made me proud of myself as I raised lots of money for Reuben’s Retreat. When I finished I got a goodie bag and a medal, I also got a gift of Reuben’s Retreat with chocolate and a special Reu Runner badge. It was fun to cheer other Reu runners on with Reu the rainbow gnu.

I am really looking forward to running again and if you would like to join me email: run@reubensretreat.org or ring 01457 680023.”

Sending love and thanks to each incredible supporter and volunteer of Reuben’s journey, including:  Werneth Concert Band, Dorothy and Elizabeth M, All Saints Catholic College, the Queens Arms, Glossop (Quiz), Rosco McCabe and all that supported his fantastic night in Broadbottom, Angela Boulton and Tom Hartland, to Strategic Group in Dukinfield for the corporate day at our offices and for saving us hundreds of pounds by carrying out some vital work. Thank you to Aleya for her extraordinary work on her new single, to Sphere Financial for your fabulous visit, Blackburn College for your support and to Paul from the Bodie Hodges Foundation for your recent visit.  Also to thanks to Susan Holland, Linda Moll, Wilsden Good Neighbours Scheme, David Charles Commercial, the Appleyards, Chris, Roger and Paul for their kind donations direct to our Virgin Giving account, Ashton-under-Lyne Soroptimists and to our supporter Stella and her lovely team of personal travel agents and Jet2, AMET & Ricomann, Ian Gillespie, the Magdalene Centre for supporting Ross McCabe, our bag pack volunteers supporting Reuben’s and Willow Wood Hospice through M&S Ashton.  Forever grateful to Kevin Heath from Travel Counsellors for climbing Kilimanjaro and to all who attended our Phoenix Nights event


Sunday 28th May Great Manchester Run for children – the “Mini Run” is 1.5k long (suitable for ages 3-8 years) and the “Junior Run” is aimed at 9-15 year olds and covers a 2.3k course (at Sportcity, Manchester)


Sunday 28th May Great Manchester Run for adults – choose either the traditional 10k course or try the new for 2017 Half Marathon distance (starts from Manchester City Centre)

Thursday 6th July Vintage Swing Tea Dance – a gorgeous 1940s themed afternoon tea and dancing (at the Village Hotel, Ashton-under-lyne)

Each life no matter how brief forever changes the world

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