Monthly Archives: February 2016

Charity of the Week – The Breast of Bromley

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There are around 50,000 cases of breast cancer in women diagnosed each year and on top of that about 350 men also receive a diagnosis. Currently more women and men are surviving breast cancer but more are being diagnosed than ever before and, thanks to local charities such as The Breast of Bromley, that the hope that all breast cancer can be diagnosed and cured is becoming more of a reality.

In their own words, the Breast of Bromley is, “a fabulous, regional volunteer group” and since it was started by the passionate Debbie Lock it has raised in excess of £70,000!

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Debbie ran a marathon way back in 2011 and has since trekked in Tanzania to raise funds for The Breast of Bromley. Two new members of the team are doing the London to Brighton cycle run this year. Not all of their fundraising activities are quite so strenuous though so take heart if you’d like to take part in any of them!

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One volunteer goes into the chemotherapy ward at South Darent Hospital to do simple things like painting somebody’s nails because boosts to physical appearance can boost mood and resilience.

Chislehurst Golf Club has adopted the Breast of Bromley as their charity of the year and are provided much needed funds and thus providing support and hope to women and men who have breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Now are the national charity that Breast of Bromley raises funds for but, because of their volunteer work in Bromley and Kent, they have the attitude of a local charity and focus on their local community.

The next big fundraiser is the Pink Party which is held at The Warren in Hayes on May 21st. Tickets are £45 each and it’s the must go to party of the year! If you can’t make it then perhaps you can sponsor a prize? £20 will provide a prize to go into a balloon to be popped on the night – can you donate a gift or service, e.g. a haircut, car valet, lunch for two, afternoon tea or even an ironing session or some home cleaning?

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The Breast of Bromley can be contacted via their website, Twitter account or Facebook page so why not check them out and, at the same time, check your breasts!

Social Enterprise Employment Company (SEEC)

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It’s difficult at times to return to work after a period of absence or to find the right job but when you have to factor in an illness (either physical or mental) or a learning disability then it can be so much harder.

The Social Enterprise Employment Company (SEEC) is there to help people with mental and/or physical health problems or learning disabilities to gain the confidence and self-esteem needed to take their place in paid work.

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust seed funded SEEC in 2012 in order to help support its clients to find employment and the services are managed and delivered by Twining Enterprise which is a specialist charity supporting well-being through work.

It wasn’t just support applying for roles but what hours would fit with my son, how this would affect my benefits, what I enjoyed doing and what my goals were- Susan saw me as a whole person.

They are essentially an independent organisation but continue to work in close partnership with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

SEEC support people who live in Bromley, Bexley & Greenwich and work on the principle that recovery is achievable and that the right job can be key to achieving that recovery.

Focussing on the aspirations and skills of their clients, SEEC work with them to find a job that they not only want but that they can sustain. Offering one-to-one support they help people to apply and find work rather than provide training or placements. Working with local businesses helps to find opportunities for volunteering as well as becoming aware of job vacancies. As a result of this SEEC has helped over 100 people get back to the workplace.

Throughout my 1-2-1 sessions I could slowly feel my confidence growing and I felt for the first time I had direction and a sense of purpose. We talked about what to disclose about my mental health and this helped me feel more confident to apply for jobs.

Though SEEC work with a large number of organisations in the area (one of which is Jobcentre Plus) they are always happy to explore working with more and it’s simple to get in touch if you would like more information about doing this.

Whilst linking closely with partners in bridging the gap between health and employment, SEEC ensures that their independence is maintained and that they stay true to their core values.

So if you are:

  • unemployed or looking to change careers,
  • have a mental health problem or a disability,
  • want to get back to work or into volunteering or training and
  • live in Bromley, Bexley or Greenwich

then SEEC could be a great port of call for you!

You can find out more about SEEC on their website or by following their Twitter account which is @SEEC_employment

Charity of the Week – Bromley Brighter Beginnings

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Inspired by a project in Staffordshire that assisted the parents of young children living in deprived areas, Bromley Brighter Beginnings (BBB) came into being in October 2012 and, in the same month, had their first referral. They provided a woman, living in a refuge in Bromley, with clothes for her baby and since then they have helped hundreds of families.

BBB provides second hand items that have been donated by a network of mums and dads and also provides “newborn packs”. Requests for help do not come directly from individuals but via health professionals, refuge officers and parenting practitioners through a referral system.

“You truly do not understand how genuinely grateful we are….From the bottom of our hearts thank you all so very much

The aims of BBB are simple:

  • to provide new and expectant mums in dire financial need with essential items (such as cots, buggies, clothes, nappies and other toiletries) to ensure they and their children have what they need,
  • to thereby reduce stress, anxiety and depression, which will in turn help their children,
  • to facilitate the recycling of baby- and child-related items that the original owners no longer use.

Since their beginnings in October 2012 BBB have helped around 450 families in the London Borough of Bromley and have provided toys and household items for women and children either living in or moving on from a refuge. During that time BBB has built up a solid network of contacts with professionals so that they can effectively reach the people that need their help.

With their team of volunteers they have set up a website, a Facebook group (please join if you want to help!), a Twitter account and they also produce and distribute leaflets to promote their work to people who wouldn’t necessarily see it online.

Emma Martin, the chair of BBB, was awarded the NCT Parents’ Champion of the Year award in October 2013 for her work in setting up Bromley Brighter Beginnings.

You can read more about BBB on their website, follow them on Twitter and  support them on Facebook!

Charity of the Week – Living Well Bromley

 

Logo-001If I asked you what living well meant then perhaps you’d say that it was about eating the right things, exercising and having occasional treats but Living Well is a caring community a place where, hopefully, people feel not just accepted but also loved and valued.

Living Well supports people with different kinds of needs such as addiction, mental health problems, debt or homelessness. The work they do reflects their Christian beliefs and they welcome everyone who needs help.

Living Well provide services that leave you in awe of this small charity and it’s inspiring to see just how much they do:​

  • Foodbank – open three times each week
  • Hot lunches weekly
  • Community garden
  • Help with addiction
  • Debt advice
  • Mental health support
  • Listening and drop in
  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Christian meditation
  • Benefit clinic

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“What I like most about Living Well is the meditation each Friday.  There is a great sense of equality, no labels, just being, we are all equal.”

The busiest day is Friday when they can serve up to 90 hot lunches served with plenty of conversation! After lunch there is an opportunity to join in with an art or music group and there is time for of Christian reflection and meditation. The foodbank is also open on Friday afternoon.

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The food bank has 568 registered users of the foodbank and in the last two years they have given out 5,010 bags of food.

In 2014, nearly two-thirds of people used the foodbank up to five times before moving on thoughh a small group of people are much more reliant on the foodbank and other help that Living Well give them.

About one-third of the foodbank users are women and this number of women increasing slowly

Approximately one-third of users are homeless, sofa surfing or living in hostels

About 35% of users come from Penge (SE20) but people come to the foodbank from Bromley, Sydenham, Crystal Palace, Croydon, Catford and even North and West London.

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The core of committed volunteers who keep Living Well running smoothly and safely help with the foodbank or in the kitchen, make tea and coffee or simply sit and chat.  Some people help by donating food regularly and others use their skills and abilities in lots of different ways; one volunteer takes her sewing machine to repair people’s clothes.  The volunteers are what keep Living Well’s services free of charge.

“Volunteering at Living Well has made such a difference to me – I’ve made new friends, learned new skills and got to know my neighbours better.”

If you’d like to find out more about Living Well or make a donation of any kind please do so and you can also follow them on Twitter!

Living Well is a registered charity with the Charity Commission no 1157385.