Monthly Archives: March 2016

Charity of the Week – Community Options



Community Options is such a positive organisation that it’s hard to know exactly where to start telling people about them.

In 2015 they helped over 500 people with mental health problems across London and over 80% of those people say that they felt supported in achieving their goals.

They believe that everybody is unique and that their lives should be about value and hope despite the way that mental illness impacts on their life.

Community Options focusses on strengths and opportunities and provides a space for the people who use their services to use their imaginations and be creative. As people’s circumstances change then they are responsive and flexible and encourage those changes; for example, if they are residents in the supported living accommodation they can move out and into one of the shared houses if appropriate and make their way back to living independently.

Mutual respect, kindness and consideration is at the core of the work of Community Options and they both listen and respond to ideas and concerns with openness and honesty.

The community services on offer include gardening, a singing group and a creative arts project and play a vital part in strengthening the mental health of the people who attend the groups and help to develop a resilience against future problems.

12821357_1682871411973954_2103135801053423262_nThe Peer Activity Network (PAN) in Bromley meet the first Monday of every month at The Crown public house on Bromley Common. The group enjoy a good old natter and catch up. During the summer they arrange trips and days out! If you would like to join them give Andrea the group organiser a call on: 0770 6817337

Community Options has a parent organisation called Heritage Care and they provide help and support for people with learning disabilities as well as older people and cover the whole of the UK.

If you’re curious to learn more about Community Options, would like to volunteer with them or make a donation then please visit their website. If you’d like to find out more about mental health then tweet them – they’re @@CommOptions. You can also find them on Facebook!

Passionate People – Steve & Anne Brandreth

It is obvious that Steve and Anne Brandreth are committed to making their community a better place and, using their farm shop as a hub, they do a much as they can to make this happen.

SteLogove and Anne run Layhams Farm Shop as a family business and they are supporting Bromley Brighter Beginnings (BBB) as their nominated charity this year. They have collection boxes in the shop but also act as a drop off point when BBB put out an appeal for specific items.

Their annual Charity Fund Day & Easter Egg Hunt is on 26th March and there are lots of Family Fun Dayactivities for children to take part including getting up close and personal with some reptiles!

The day also sees the launch of the new toddler play area along with the revamped tea room and it is hoped that it will become a community hub. A notice board will be in place to announce local events and as a space for local groups etc. to advertise. It’s hoped that local groups will use the tea room as a venue and the Brandreths want to do all they can to support that. Holiday workshops for children and adults are already at the planning stage.

For the last two years Steve and Anne have invited all local PTAs, Church groups & local charities to be part of their Christmas Give Back scheme. It basically means that when somebody buys a Christmas tree they can give a voucher to a charity or group and Layhams Farm then donates £5 to that charity – buy a tree, give a good cause a fiver! In 2015 the scheme raised £535 for the community and more local charities and schools are being encouraged to sign up for this year! Some play centres and residents associations have had trees donated to them also which is simply a lovely thing to do.

As well as helping the human community the animal residents of Foal Farm are the grateful recipients of a weekly gift of fruit and veg from the shop!

I don’t think anybody can deny the passion for community that Steve and Anne have and it seems that they run the business as a sideline to the great work they do for the local community!

You can follow the shop on Twitter for regular updates of their brilliant input into the community.

Charity of the Week – St Mark’s PTA

St Marks LogoSt. Mark’s is proud to be a welcoming school where a loving and caring community is created and the children at the centre of the community are encouraged to achieve their potential, growing in confidence and assurance as they go. As they learn about themselves and the world in which they live they are taught to be considerate of others. At the same time a spirit of adventure and enquiry is encouraged so that children are ready to meet the opportunities and challenges in a changing society.

Like many Parent Teacher Associations St Mark’s PTA, is there to support the school and to help make the educational experience of the children there as best as it can be. Working alongside and with staff, they raise additional funds for the school and seek to enhance a sense of community amongst the families of the children who go to the school.

Meetings are held each term and all parents are welcomed to share their ideas and hear about how the money raised is spent to support their child’s education. Parents are encourage to use their skills to make the annual events a success.

Money that is raised by the PTA goes directly to St Mark’s and has been used to refurbish the library, purchase playground equipment, food technology amongst other things.

The PTA raises money via the Easy Fundraising site and have had wine tasting events which prove very popular. The Winter and Summer Fairs are the main events that the PTA organise and there is a disco each term for the children.

Currently the PTA is looking for donations of Easter eggs for St. Mark’s Easter Raffle – any donations can be left at reception!