September was another busy month at Reuben’s Retreat, progressing our services and facilities for families in need but tinged with sadness as we pass another milestone date of Reuben’s journey…
As our financial year runs December to November we have to file our “Audited Accounts” with the Charity Commission (CC) each September. By law every charity with an income above £10,000 has to provide a “Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts” to the CC which become a public record for everyone to see, and includes details on how we raise and spend money as well as a narrative review of the period, which for me is the interesting part! Even though it’s a big task that takes a significant amount of my time and I get a little bit word-weary (it was 33 pages long!), I love the uniformity of the process. It helps you to really evaluate the work of the charity and ask, did you achieve the results you sought to accomplish? As a charity providing services to the public the reality is we will have to adjust our programmes and services to ensure they are providing the type of support that people actually need, not what we THINK they need. So the annual review is a great opportunity to look ahead and refine our short- and mid- term goals, keeping us track to accomplish the long-term goals of the charity. We also enclose a number of testimonials and quotes from the families we’ve supported, which I think represents the true impact of our efforts and keeps us striving to do more, to achieve more, for families like Reuben’s. Click here to view our Annual Report and Accounts.
Saturday the 10th September was Reuben’s 6th birthday. Mottram Church kindly flew his flag and his family gathered to dine on Reuben’s favourite sausage and mash dinner and feast on rainbow cake, paying tribute to a life cut far too short. Isaac worked extra hard on his spellings and they baked cookies shaped as stars for his little brother, releasing a dove too for the angels. Nicola said they were “lifted by the gifts of love, support, friendship, cards, messages and photos of you all remembering him…you make it all a little better. A big thank you from me, Mike and Isaac to all that remembered Reuben, it means more than you know”. We’d like to thank Bradleys Bakery and Alf from Pearsons for sharing their wonderful sausage pies and Chorley Primary School for eating sausage and mash for their school dinners. As Reuben would be reading now it seemed appropriate to launch our second book “Reuben’s Rainbows” on Sunday 19th September. We had a fantastic day with lots of visitors to The Lodge, it was fantastic to see so many of our supporters including the wonderfully talented and kind Catherine Whitmore, Heather Dickinson and Vicky Trundle.
As a small charity it can be challenging to find new ways to raise the funds we need to sustain our work so this year we’ve looked at doing more of our own events. We were delighted with the turnout and the fun had by all at our first Afternoon Tea back in July and I’m chuffed to say that the September Tea was an equally fabulous afternoon! Thank you to the Saddleworth Male Voice choir for their spectacular entertainment and to the wonderful Trish. Watch this space for more dates coming soon!
Drum roll please…We are delighted to announce the completion of another phase of building works! Since May we’ve been making our 100+ year old building watertight, safe and fit to move on to the internal renovations; it’s been a huge job but the team at LJ Roofing have been fantastic to work with and they have cemented the place in the Reuben’s Retreat journey. Our next big task is to tackle the asbestos in the pipe lagging, another costly exercise for the charity but one that will have a marked impact on the placement of our day-care facility services. So we’ll roll up our sleeves and forge on, embracing the best solution rather than the easiest one, because we’re building a sanctuary to last for decades…
Which leads perfectly to an update on our work with families in need. Over the last couple of months we’ve been working on increasing the types of support we provide, exploring new holistic ways to help families and in particular, parents. At the end of September we facilitated our first “Coffee Connect” morning at the Retreat, enabling like-minded parents of children with life-limiting or threatening needs to sit and share coffee and cake, experiences, support and a chat. It can often feel very isolating looking after a child with extra needs so these new monthly get-togethers will allow Mums and Dads the chance to off-load a little and realise they’re not alone on what can be a daunting path.
And last but by no means least. Reuben’s Retreat has been shortlisted for a public vote in the Tesco’s #BagsofHelp initiative! We’re so thankful to have got through to the voting stage of this fantastic programme and we’d love you to vote for us to win the top prize in the Hattersley, Glossop or Stalybridge Tesco stores. The project with the highest number of votes across our region will receive £12,000, the second placed project £10,000 and the third placed project £8,000. We will spend these much needed funds on improving the entrance and exit routes into the Lodge at Reuben’s Retreat (our counselling and bereavement support centre), reducing the amount of dense foliage that surrounds these areas to make them safer for our visitors and local residents, families, dog walkers, horse & riders whilst giving our forever home a true sense of identity, community and the welcoming embrace that our families deserve. VOTING IS OPEN FROM 31 OCTOBER TO 13 NOVEMBER 2016.
Sending love and thanks as always to all who support Reuben’s Retreat including Bill Westhead & friends, TSB Cheetham, the Wheatsheaf Quiz Night teams, Megan and team (NCS Group), Elizabeth Way’s Reuben’s Ramble team, Iain Gillespie, Tesco Teddy Tombola Glossop, Sarah, Molly, Lily and Helen for bag packing, Haughton Green Children’s Centre, Travel Weekly for the Northern Travel Ball, St Lukes, Stuart and the North West Golf Stewards, Ladies of Ashton-under-lyne Golf Club, Aleya our beautiful busker, David Taylor from Tameside Radio, Green Charter for helping with our gardens, Emma Bowman for her sky dive and Andy Thomson for cycling and raising across 217 miles. Special memories remembering Betty Robinson. Thank you Mottram Road, Mottram Stores and Glossop Baths for their charity pot collections for Reuben.
A huge well done to British Gas Hattersley for their Snowdon climb, to Great North runners Chris and Dave and to the Tough Mudders of Travelzoo…thank you also to our friend and patron Julie Hesmondhalgh for running 23 very special kilometres…to Glossop Fire Station’s Blue Watch for their mammoth 3 peak challenge for Reuben, we are forever grateful xx
Our heartfelt condolences and love to the families of two ladies with very kind hearts, Joyce Ainsworth and Jean Bailey, never forgotten.
Don’t forget our upcoming events: “Rockin’ for Reuben” on Saturday 29th October and our “Prince and Princess” party on the 11th of December. Tickets are available online or you can call our office on 01457 680023. Back by popular demand, our Christmas Grotto at Lymefield Garden Centre will take place this December on the 3rd & 4th, 10th & 11th and 17th & 18th.