Archive for “December, 2014”

Hengoed’s fundraising efforts show power of generosity and community spirit

Charities are struggling to cope with rising demand and costs at a time when many are facing a funding battle.

But throwing your loose change into donation buckets may have more impact than you could possibly imagine. Individual donations are the largest source of income for charities and the typical gift is £10.  We all know that even a small donation can have a really big result if they’re given to a cause that really needs it.   Small donations can be particularly helpful for small charities. A survey by Charity Choice revealed that five percent of UK charities receive eighty-five percent of donations. It’s no wonder that smaller charities are in decline. A small donation within a large charity’s budget will seem insignificant but within a small charity it could make a real difference.  Compared to the voluntary sector as a whole, research (Beyond the Cuts, National Children’s Bureau) has shown that children’s charities will see a greater proportion of its public funding cut.   Most Children’s charities are taking action to manage the cuts. Many are reducing staff hours, reducing the range of services and reviewing their fundraising strategy. However, for some it’s ‘likely’ that their organisation will have to close.  SNAP Cymru is no different; and our funding is just as precarious.  However, we have survived for 28 years and have faced many periods of ‘up’s and down’s, always managing to continue to build and deliver a quality independent service for families across Wales.

So when Denise Inger (CEO) set the staff and volunteers a target to raise funds for SNAP Cymru the team in Hengoed took the challenge seriously!

Over the last few months, on top of their roles as family and young people’s officers, they have been successfully fundraising through various events, including a raffle, with wonderful prizes donated by local shops/businesses, friends and families and a team a pool tournament at the Cardiff Arm’s in Treorchy (the local pub of staff member Donna Morgan!) which incidentally was so popular, the Cardiff Arms is more than happy to host another.  Donna’s parents Valerie & Tom were roped in to take the collection boxes to Pentre Allotments & her husband Ian got involved in the Pool tournament.

It was also a family affair in Ynyshir where Alex Palmer’s partner and owner of Imprint, Jeremy James, made a t-shirt for the pool tournament and Alex’s mother Yvonne took collection boxes to her work local shops.

Big thanks also to Helen, the Hengoed team’s cleaner from Magic Mops who also made a valuable contribution to these efforts.

In Senghennydd, Teresa Bradley shared charity boxes with family and friends along with local shops and persuaded her husband to join the pool tournament, and a 11 a -side football match which was held at Heollddu Leisure Centre. Our very own SNAP team led by Chris, emerged victorious against the Derby Wanderers!

All the team are dedicated to SNAP

 ‘if you cut us in half we would have SNAP written through us… like a stick of rock!’ Donna Morgan

Collection boxes were placed around local communities and shops including in ANH stores and the Rhondda Kebab Shop.  Bucket collections are also being arranged for the Asda store in Caerphilly on the 12th December (a big thank you to the community support officer at ASDA Caerphilly). As part of their efforts the Hengoed team are also hoping to relink with other stores including Tesco and Wilkinson’s.

Initially staff were asked to raise £50 a head or to donate 50 bags each to our charity shop.  However, Team Hengoed weren’t about to stop at this amount!  Teresa, Donna, Nicola, Chris and Alex with the support of their volunteers, extended families and communities, have raised over £700 and still counting. They are also fortunate to have their SNAP office at South Road, Pennallta where generous members of the public are donating to the Hengoed warehouse, each black bag will add at least £20 to the fundraising effort!

These ongoing activities involve local communities and are a reflection of SNAP Cymru as a truly inclusive, family centred organisation. The SNAP Cymru Hengoed team would like to say a huge thank you to the joint enthusiasm of partners, volunteers and family; without whom they couldn’t achieved so much.

However we also believe the value of community fundraising goes beyond immediate financial support for SNAP Cymru.  It also provides long-term benefits of building a strong presence locally, creating trust, developing relationships and raising awareness of SNAP Cymru’s work with children and families.

Our staff and volunteers efforts are very much part our approach to become more sustainable and less reliant on ever diminishing local authority funding. With the spirit and determination demonstrated by our RCT, Merthyr, Caerphilly and Torfaen teams and their communities there is no reason we cannot achieve this aim.

Richard Mylan, SNAP Cymru patron, is interviewed on ‘The Wright Stuff’ on Channel 5

Richard, one of SNAP Cymru’s patrons, is perhaps best known as Oliver in the television sitcom Coupling, Chris in Grownups and Joe Andrews in BBC Wales drama Belonging. Richard has also appeared in as Dr Simon Hills in Doctors and currently plays Simon Lowsley, the deputy head teacher in Waterloo Road.

Richard also finds time to work with the Princes Trust teaching film and drama to young people in Cardiff and teaches at the Royal Welsh College of music and drama and at the Young Actors Studio.

What is less know is that Richards son Jaco, who is nearly nine, has a form of autism known as PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) which affects his speech and his motor skills.

Richard was interviewed  on the Wright Show on Channel 5 on the 3rd of December, on the merits of mainstream vs special school for children and young people with ASD and about Richards own personal experience.

“Jaco had an early diagnosis which was great, because it meant we could put all the systems into place for school and things early on but other children are a lot older which is harder.”

Richard said that Jaco attends a mainstream school in Cardiff and his teachers and peers are absolutely brilliant. “He is surrounded by these amazing people who help him and other children who nurture him.  He has a one-to-one teaching assistant at school and he loves it.  His teachers in Cardiff are superb and are always open to new ideas.”

“Jaco struggles to understand things but I see him as a unique, wonderful individual but that Autism is complex and each child is different, requiring different support and choices.”

Richard told Mathew Wright that “as a parent you need to be in tune with the needs of your child, that things constantly evolve and you need to be a few steps ahead of the system to achieve the best support and education for your child.”  Richard mentioned that SNAP Cymru in Wales and the NAS had been an enormous help to him and Jaco, during the statutory assessment process and beyond.

Richard has been a patron and strong supporter of SNAP Cymru for many years because he wanted to get involved with raising awareness, and much-needed funds, for a charity that he feels makes a difference.   Richard is also a patron for Autism Puzzles, a Cardiff-based charity run by parent volunteers who support others families going through diagnosis and following diagnosis,  with therapy led sessions, drop-in’s and family fun sessions.  They can be contacted on: 02920 811114 or email AutismPuzzles@hotmail.co.uk