November 2016 – Snowflakes and sELFies

November 2016 – Snowflakes and sELFies

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Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together

Season’s greetings from us all at Reuben’s Retreat! I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of another year, it’s crazy how times flies here at RR HQ. The pace really ramps up in November and December as we hold our annual celebration and fundraising events, plus so many of our lovely supporters use the festive season to raise pennies and pounds for us and we try to get to as many as possible, stretching our little team but for the best possible reason!

As I write this update we’ve just completed our third and final weekend of this year’s Reuben’s Retreat Grotto at Lymefield Garden Centre in Broadbottom. It was another magical and madly busy 6 Saturdays/Sundays, a combination of tried and tested fun – Father Christmas, donkeys and presents – with contemporary twists like our sELFie photo boards. We want to give visitors (young and not-so-young!) the best experience possible so we put an awful lot of effort into every year. But even with all our hard work, the Grotto wouldn’t be possible without our army of volunteers, who take on frontline and behind the scenes tasks, heartfelt thanks to everyone xx

23 kisses to each Santa and Elf and the lovely lot who wrapped 600+ Grotto gifts, 120 P&P presents and hundreds of selection boxes: Sally Anne, Lynne, Karon, Alex, Kirsty, Lauren, The Bradshaws, Ciaron, Amy, Stella, Deborah, Ellen, Caroline, Vikki, Doris, Jan, Beryl, Gill and the Hedleys.

On to a key date in our autumn calendar, #GivingTuesday. It was a pleasure to spend the day with our visitors to The Lodge and thanks to all who pledged their support. Pledges not only remind us of the millions of kind and generous hearts we walk the earth with, it also raises awareness of our work which helps us to reach more families. It can also inspire new challenges and personal feats…

…Like abseiling down a 350 foot building! Last month the fantastic team from Overbury, together with Reuben’s Daddy Mike, Ben our filmmaker, our designer (and newlywed!) Katie and Helen our supporter scaled City Tower – one of Manchester’s tallest buildings at a height of 107 metres – and abseiled down to a cheering crowd of RR supporters.  It was a fantastic day and they smashed their original £1,000 target, raising an amazing £4,000 for Reuben’s Retreat, we’re very thankful to all involved.

We are delighted to confirm that in recent weeks our asbestos removal was completed to a large section of what we affectionately refer to as the “West Wing”, at a cost of over £40,000.  This task was a sub-section of Phase 3 and part of our overall 10 Phase Plan (summarised below), so another big step forward for us – thanks to Winsulate for all your hard work. Next year we will commence the internal transformation but we need to raise as much as possible to get as far along as we can in that wing, creating our Day-care Facility with a host of new fantastic resources for children and their families. Which brings us to 2 gorgeous bits of news…

In November we were the chosen charity for the company that Reuben’s Daddy works for, Travel Counsellors, for the proceeds they raised at their annual conference. We honestly don’t have the words to describe how stunned we were, especially Nicola who worked in the travel industry for 20+ years and only left to create, lead and steer Reuben’s long-lasting legacy. Staff, peers and partners dug deep and smashed their £5k goal, raising a staggering £23,000 for our cause. Such generosity is never taken for granted here at Reuben’s Retreat, #forevergrateful xx

Every single penny raised for Reuben’s Retreat is huge for us. And no two donations are ever the same – whether it’s a £5 or £5,000 donation, it’s all relative for what it’s used for, a £10 bereavement book or £40,000 worth of asbestos removal. So we’re equally delighted to announce that earlier this month we agreed the finer details of our single largest donation ever…

Having been in talks with the Charity team since June 2015, we can now share that we will be receiving an incredible grant of £150,000 from the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity. It will be put towards Phases 4 and 5, our hydrotherapy suite and multifunctional day-care area, which is estimated to cost just over half a million pounds. That their Trustees understand our vision and see the impact their grant will have on our services for families was a proud moment and it goes without saying we’re extremely thankful. We’re keen to share that the grant’s awarded by Thomas Cook Children’s Charity is money raised by their branches, employee’s fundraising, change/currency collected on their aircrafts and customers offering to opt-in to a one-off £2 donation when booking a Thomas Cook holiday. So thank you to everyone who has in turn supported us through supporting Thomas Cook’s Charity.

We’ve also been out and about in the community this month, with Lynne presenting to Year 10 at Denton Community College, our newest group of young fundraisers, and Nicola spending the day at St Pauls School in Stalybridge. Together with our friend and author of Reuben’s Rainbows they ran workshops, attended assembly and spoke with every class.  It was a really special day and we’d like to thank Kerry for organising it. Last week we had 17 places for our families on a Santa flight from Leeds Bradford airport, a magical time was had by all, and on the 2nd December Nicola attended the Be Proud Awards at Manchester Town Hall with members of the Virgin Money Lounge team, our nominees and chosen finalists for the Awards’ “Business in the Community” category, for their support of our annual Great Manchester Run events.

Thank you to everyone who placed their green token in the Reuben’s Retreat box as part of the Tesco’s “Bags of Help” scheme, we are so very grateful…and delighted to share, thanks to your support we were awarded the top grant amount! In fact anyone who has bought a carrier bag in Tesco’s has effectively contributed to this, as it’s all these 5p’s that fund the scheme and help local causes. We’ll be using the grant to improve the visibility, safety and welcome for our families and visitors (and the local footfall) at the Retreat as well as diversifying the biodiversity of pockets around our entrance and exit. We’ll share more in the New Year as we progress the plans. Whilst we’re talking flora and fauna, thanks to Ciaran, Jack and Barbara who planted at our Lodge garden recently, we are excited to be showcasing our new little fairy garden soon!

We would like to take this opportunity to give huge thanks to all the shops and stores that hold Reuben’s Retreat charity pots, they are absolutely vital to our fundraising efforts. We try to react as quickly as possible to anyone who needs their pot emptying but could always use more help on this if you live local to or travel in and around Ashton or Glossop. Thank you for your pot donations to New Charter Housing, Glossop Market Cafe, Direct Dry Cleaners Hazel Grove, Currys PC World, The Harewood Arms, Seraphina Cafe, Tracy Glaser and Saddleworth Leisure Centre. If you would be happy to place one of our branded charity pots in your business please contact us on 01457 680 023.

Calling all Co-op members…we received the fantastic news that Co-op has extended this round of their Local Community Scheme for an extra 3 weeks, so now finishes on 8 April 2017. So anyone who shops in these stores (or online and lives within 15 miles of us) you can choose for Reuben’s Retreat to receive the 1% they are giving back to 3 local charities: Co-op Gorton, Simmondley and Reddish stores, Co-op Funeralcare services in Gorton and the Carriage Company Glossop

Thanks to all that worked and volunteered at our annual Prince and Princess party including Sinead and Molly, Neil, Alice, Chesney, Princess Stella and her family, Darren for the apple juice, Tesco Glossop for all that chocolate, Daniel’s Delights for the gifts, Ian, Lydia for her dollies and hamper, Denis from BK Executive, Ian and Wendy from Hawthorn Gallery and Laura from the Village Hotel.

And finally, following reports in the press and on TV that the Charity Commission are investigating a number of charities and their fundraising activities, it is important to us that you, our incredible supporters who work hard to earn a living from which you so generously donate pennies and pounds to us, know that we use those monies wisely and transparently. We will not work with partners whose ethics don’t align with that of a children’s charity and have turned down offers of support when we’ve been unsure they are pure of heart.

We are such a giving nation and we must protect that for the sake of charities like ours, so before you give to any cause please take a few minutes to check that your donation is going to someone reputable and who will use it to make a difference:

  • all charities should clearly show their Registered Charity number, please use it to check their credentials with the Charity Commission (if they’re aren’t registered see this as a red flag and do some research to learn why
  • whilst on there have a look at their Annual Reviews as many, like us, put a lot of effort into making them an informative read and show how the monies raised are spent and to what charitable or public benefit
  • if you or your business are approached for sponsorship, raffle prizes or gifts, ask for a letter of representation from the charity or give the charity a call directly to make sure they know someone is canvassing support on their behalf

Thank you to all of our incredible volunteers and supporters, including: Williams Bakery, Aleya, Living City in conjunction with Kelly Massey, GMP Nexus House, new £5 donators, the White Horse Bolton, Chris Sagar and Liz Dowd for Snowdon marathon, Panaderia, Saddleworth Male Voice Choir, Gill Calderbank, Brian Ellis, Puddleducks, Thomas Ashton school, Isaac and Harriet Jackson Trust, Michael Smith from LJ for cycle sponsorship, St Thomas More, Nationwide Building Society, our friends at Travel Counsellors, St Pauls School, Lymefield Garden Centre, Emma Bowman for her Skydive, Gordon M, Dave Jones Electrical, Mr and Mrs Reynolds, Ian G our banner man, Slimming World Xmas party, Children for Most Nursery/Little Stars Hadfield, Glossop Markets, British Gas’ football match, Simmondley Primary School (thank you Alex and Karon Edmunds for their volunteeting too), SES Electrical in Glossop, Mr MacNiven, Mr McCarthy MBE, Sarah England school of dance, Charlestown Sunday School, Costco, Inner Wheel Club of Glossop, the Soroptomists, the Beeleys, our Glossop fair volunteers, Melandra Country Band and Marple Methodist church, Rosemary, Mrs Hunter, Ian Fletcher, Marple Xmas sale, NWC Estates and Neil, Bridgetots, Rush Insurance, Jilly Green and our friends Chris Smallwood and Leon Hand. Also for all those donating Xmas card monies too, Glossop Methodist church, RCM Convenience Store, Molly Malones, Betty’s fish and chip shop, Weightmans, Audenshaw Masonic Lodge, Lowry Court coffee morning, Whitfield WI, Nicole and Garstang travel, Hadfield Tai Chi group, Mark Scholes, Werneth concert band, Audrey and Bev, Co-op Glossop and Kath and Sue for hosting the most beautiful meditation evening. Thank you to Carol too, and all those that climbed Pendle Hill to mark Victoria’s birthday and donated to her chosen charity, Reuben’s Retreat xxx. A special thank you to our lovely friend Davina who calls in each month to work on our accounts.

If you know of anyone that may need our help, please ask them to get in touch on 01457 680 023, or share with them our website details, Facebook page, local news columns or postal address. Sadly we know first-hand that no time of year is easy, but the festive season can be particularly dark and isolating…so encourage them to not walk it alone, we are here for them at Reuben’s Retreat.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and love, health and happiness for 2017 from all at Reuben’s Retreat xx

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