Monthly Archives: January 2016

Charity of the Week – St John Ambulance, Orpington

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We are all accustomed to seeing people from St John Ambulance (SJA) at a sporting event or a community show but how many of us know about their history or what they do now?
The long and diverse heritage they are so proud of goes all the way back to Jerusalem in the 11th century where the first Knights of St John set up a hospital so that they could care for sick pilgrims. The eight-pointed cross on volunteers’ uniform is the symbol worn by those same knights.

The St John Ambulance Brigade was formed in 1887 as a voluntary organisation which offered free medical care and has been a presence at most major public events since the jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria’s 50 anniversary on the throne to the London bombings on 7 July 2005.

SJA has a unit in Orpington which has been around since 1920 and it is thought that it could have formed as a result of the SJA presence in the area during the First World War. Since the Orpington unit was formed it has moved to many different locations and is now based at TS Whirlwind which is the Sea Cadet Hall on Park Road.

A lot of the history about the unit was destroyed in a fire in 2013 so if past members of the unit can help fill in the gaps then please tweet @SJAOrpington!

SJA Orpington attend both the Remembrance Sunday and Armed Forces Day services in addition to attending St Olaves rugby games, the Orpington Marafun, the May Queen crowning and many other events through the year.

“It is great feeling to provide care and assistance to someone whatever their concern, injury or condition. The ability to turn what is a sad or unhappy situation into a happy or positive one is special.”

As part of an adult only unit headed by John Matthews the volunteers train regularly to maintain their skills and take assessments yearly to ensure that they are competent. Volunteers from the unit provide training to local schools and members of the public and would like to expand that work but need more volunteers – could you be one of them? There are several volunteer roles and perhaps you could fill one of them?

  • First aider – be part of a team that saves lives. As a first aider, you’ll deliver care to people in need at public events in your community
  • Professional clinical roles – nurses, doctors and paramedics play a vital role for us at larger events. Clinical leaders support the professional development of our first aiders and help us keep our standards high
  • Working with young people – can you inspire the next generation of life savers? As a youth leader, you’ll encourage and inspire young people from all walks of life to develop their potential
  • Management positions – whether it’s looking after your local unit, or supporting a number of units in your area, as a volunteer manager you’ll gain experience and develop your skills, and help us deliver our life saving work
  • Support roles – we’re also looking for volunteers who can lend their expertise to roles such as safeguarding, human resources, quality assurance, fundraising and communications, and health and safety.

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All of this takes money and the unit (as well as other units across the country) are reliant on funding. As you can see, your donation, no matter how small, can go a long way.

£4 – The price of a meal deal lunch can give a child a 60-minute first aid lesson in school
£7 – The price of two pints of beer can run one of our ambulances for a day
£25 – The price of a takeaway for two allows us to equip someone with the first aid skills to save a life
£40 – The price of your monthly TV package can train a volunteer to give first aid at events like football matches and concerts
£60 – The price of a pair of trainers can provide a volunteer with the kit they need to save a life
£100 – The price of your family’s weekly shop can train a young person to teach other young people in essential first aid skills

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You can find St John Ambulance in Orpington on Twitter as @SJAOrpington.

Charity of the Week – Give2Give

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Give2Give was established in 2003 and has, over the years, expanded the range of charitable activities it is involved in and is now the leading re-use charity in the Bromley area.

They provide a range of charitable activities, supporting local people in need and also help small charities and community groups in the Borough of Bromley.

“Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity of a holiday. It has been a lovely stay here, we have been able to relax and I have seen my son blossom and really enjoy himself again. Thank you.”

Give2Give sells reusable furniture, household and white goods from its two large furniture stores in Hayes and Orpington, and has two shops, in Hayes and Petts Wood that sell clothing, toys, books and bric-a-brac.

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People on a low income can benefit from the discount scheme that give2give operate and, if these people are enduring financial hardship, then goods may be given to them free of charge.

The charity also provides opportunities to volunteer, work experience and training for local people.

Since their formation in 2003 the charity has donated in excess of £200,000 to local good causes across. These include:

  • making small grants to almost 100 community organisations, charities and individuals,
  • providing 120 families in need across Bromley with a free holiday at the give2give caravan in Combe Haven,
  • providing over 30 local organisations with free minibus transport through their partnership scheme with Bromley Council,
  • re-used and recycled more than 73,000 items of donated furniture saving over 3,500 tonnes of furniture from going directly to landfill.

The charity can also help with light removals, house clearances and they have a scheme called Community Repaint which, with the help of supporters Brewers (local branches), and Whites Trade Paints of Forest Hill, means that they can supply discounted paint.

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If you’d like to find out more about give2give then you can visit their website, check out their Twitter account and their Facebook page!

Charity of the Week – St Christopher’s

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We often pass charity shops in the street, and a lot of us pop in and buy goods from them, some of us donate items to them but how often do we think about the charities that these shops raise money for?

I’ve walked past the St Christopher’s shop on Bromley High Street countless times and decided it was about time to find out more about the organisation it helps to fund.

St Christopher’s provides care services for people at the end of their lives and these services are delivered in a range of settings including patients’ own homes, four inpatient wards and the Anniversary Centre.

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“St Christopher’s makes such a difference to my life. Coming here lets people feel not alone, it’s like a second family to me.”

The vision that motivates St Christopher’s is of a world where dying people and those people close to them have appropriate support and care when and wherever they need it whoever they may be.

“I have learnt death is more about my attitude to life than anything else. It has been by far the most important lesson I have learnt since dealing with bereavement.”

Care is delivered by teams of specialist doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and welfare support workers. There is also access to art and complementary therapies and spiritual and religious care. There is specialist support for bereaved children.

Hospices are no longer solely about the end of life, they’re also about making what remains of life fulfilling.

“Nobody actually knew how much heartache it was for me being able to get up and basically feel like nothing. Ever since St Christopher’s entered my life you have opened doors and made me realise I can do better…”

It costs over £19 million every year to keep St Christopher’s running and of which approximately £13 million has to be raised from grants, legacies, the generous support of the community and local businesses, trusts and also through the shops. There’s still time to donate to their Christmas appeal!

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Aside from donating to the Christmas appeal there are several ways to donate to make a donation and one of the more unusual ways is to give plants for the gardens in their hospices. One for the horticulturalists and allotmenteers amongst you perhaps?!

St Christopher’s can benefit from corporate sponsorship and gifts are welcome – that end of year stock could be sold in their shops or on eBay and such gifting can’t be bad advertising can it? You could also invite them to your business networking meetings – great links can be forged during networking and charities can benefit greatly from this.

If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer with St Christopher’s then you can find out about the wonderful opportunities on their volunteers page.

Events coming up include the Bluebell Walk and a free presentation on 21 January “Dame Cicely Saunders and the Hospice Vision: Is hospice fit for the 21st Century?”. You can book for the talk here

You can find St Christopher’s on Twitter and on Facebook. Their fundraising team have their own Twitter account.

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