ENews February 2016
Two projects in particular this month show how our services are still as vital as they first were when we opened our doors all those years ago. Our new Supported Living home, Fotherby House, opened its doors this month and is a lovely home for five people with Learning Disabilities. Currently there are 2 residents and a third will move in at the end of this month. Residents are also moving into our new Homes for Veterans House in Wrexham which officially opened at the end of last month. It has been heartening to see the local community embrace the home and its residents and we can’t wait to see this relationship develop over the coming months and years.
It’s important to remember that we couldn’t carry out this life changing work without you, our loyal supporters. Already this month, we have seen a fearless fundraiser pledge to jump out of a plane to raise money for our Homes for Veterans project, we’ve been very encouraged by the response to our Big Sleep sign-up and we’ve been truly humbled by the kind donations given to us by the congregations of local churches who gave either to our Christmas appeal or have promised support over the coming year. Thank you all. Together we really are transforming lives.
Read on to hear more news from the Alabaré family, in particular, an interview with our founder, John Proctor, and to find out how you can get involved in our special 25th anniversary celebrations.
With warmest wishes,
Chief Executive, Alabaré Christian Care & Support
Looking Backwards and Forwards: a personal perspective from Alabaré’s Founder
To celebrate our bumper year of anniversaries (not only are we celebrating our 25th birthday this year, March sees us ring in a decade of fundraising success through our Big Sleep event), we have taken the opportunity to sit down over a cup of tea with our founder, John Proctor, and find out what made him decide to set up the charity, what he is most proud of and his hopes and aspirations for the future.
What are you most proud of?
When we founded Alabaré all those years ago, we never dreamt that it would have expanded at such a rapid and successful rate. The heart of our mission was to enable the most vulnerable in our society to live an independent and fulfilled life – even if that was just one person.
Now, I’m proud to say that with the dedicated support of an incredible staff and an army of selfless volunteers, we consistently help 1000’s of people every year. In 2014/15 alone we helped over 3,000 people to overcome challenge or crisis which, for a regional charity, is a staggering number.
One of the nicest things at Alabaré and perhaps what I am most proud of is that, a lot of our Service Users stay in touch with us and let us know how they are getting on. It is so wonderful to see them grow and succeed and to go on to happy, independent lives. To know that we have played a part in that transformation is truly wonderful.
What has been the hardest thing you have had to deal with over the last 25 years?
I think for me, the hardest thing is realising that, despite our best efforts, we cannot always help everyone - sometimes the trauma that our clients have suffered in life is just too great to overcome. That realisation can often be a hard burden for our staff to bear but the transformations that we do see and the knowledge that we can and do help a huge variety of people really does spur us all on.
What are your hopes for the next 25 years?
One of the greatest challenges we face is the uncertainly around funding from Government which makes it difficult for us to plan for our future and give those we help the assurance that we will be there when they need us. Because of this I hope that over the coming years we can find ways of making sure that we are not overly reliant on funding that comes from ever-shrinking government coffers . This would mean us building on the good will and support that we have had over the years from the communities and churches near our projects, through people donating their time and skills, or, through financial support or organising a fundraising event. It sounds like a tall ask but I’m confident that we can achieve this; our success over the years has been largely based on the incredible support of our local communities and the partnerships that we have built. This continues to grow at our new projects, the most recent of these being Wrexham Homes for Veterans where we are working in partnership with First Choice Housing Association, and have local community support through initiatives such as the Erlas Victorian Walled Garden project. There are so many ways that people can get involved, so I really would encourage people to take a look at our website to find out more about what we do and get in touch with our volunteering team if they would like more information or consider making a regular donation so that we can make plans for the future with greater confidence.
On a more personal level, I’ve seen so many people helped by discovering and embracing their spirituality; this doesn’t have to be a religious experience, it can be finding joy through nature, family, and friends or helping those in their community. It’s such an integral part of our being and I hope that we can continue to help people use their spirituality to transform their lives.
How will you be celebrating this special anniversary?
I’m hoping that before the year is out, I will be able to visit all of our projects – it’s so important to know and understand the people we are helping and also to get to know our staff and volunteers. I have already started this process and it has brought me great joy to meet so many wonderful people and I look forward to meeting many more!
I’ll also be heavily involved in our main celebrations and re-dedications and I would like to take this opportunity to invite supporters to get involved as much as they are able to. We are having a day of celebration at Riverside on the 11th March and would be thrilled to see supporters, Service Users and staff there. If you would like more information or would like to attend, please email Jo King.
Finally, this year I’ll also be taking part in our 10th Anniversary Salisbury Big Sleep; I cannot believe that this will be the 10th Sleep Out and it will be wonderful to be joined by so many dedicated supporters to swap stories, reminisce about Alabaré ‘s past and look forward to the future together. There are still places left, so do head to our website to sign up, or, if you are unable to attend, perhaps you might consider sponsoring one of our Team who will be ‘Sleeping Out’ this year.
News in Brief
Have you seen our Community Fundraisers out and about in your local area? We have a team of dedicated fundraisers working in your area and they’d love to hear from you! They can help you organise anything from a bake sale to a bike ride and everything in between. One such successful event was organised by our Plymouth Homes for Veterans Community Fundraiser Anna Maria, who held a charity evening at the spectacular Crownhill Fort. Guests, including the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, the Town Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Ivybridge, were treated to an evening of musical entertainment from local choirs The Tamar Concert Choir, Myxd Up Barbershop Quartet and the Plymouth Mayflower Chorus and tucked into mouth watering food provided by Orange Chilli Catering and Events. The successful evening raised over £500 which will go directly to helping Plymouth Veterans who are struggling with the transition to civilian life.
If you’d like to organise your own event or fundraise for us, why not get in touch with your local representative. Find out who your Community Fundraiser is here.
Do you know your bobbin from your binding?
The Learning Disability Team will be hosting a Fashion Show at Wiltshire College on the 21st April and our Service Users are scouring the rails of our Charity Shops for items to be upcycled and re- designed into fashion forward pieces to be modelled on the night. It’s set to be an evening of high end glamour as Toni and Guy Salisbury have kindly offered to do the hair and make up for our models and there will be an exquisite raffle with top prizes on offer. We’re still looking for volunteers to help our Service Users, so, if you would like to help, please email Shannon Colsh or Ruth Telford.
Great news for the Young People at our Test Valley Foyer in Andover. Paula Philp has secured 18 places for them to attend a 6 week induction gym course at Valley Leisure Centre. On completion of the induction all participants will receive two months free membership followed by 2 months half price membership if they want it. It’s a fantastic example of the way that local communities are getting behind our projects and we’d like to say a big thank you to all involved.
News from Alabaré Place
We have begun to work with Wiltshire Substance Misuse Service (WSMS) in Salisbury to see whether we can work in partnership with them with low risk Service Users ready for community detox. Matters are progressing and it’s great to see how much our work is valued in this way. Watch out for further news!
Dates for your Diary
4th March 2016
The Big Sleep – Salisbury – celebrating our 10th Sleep Out at Salisbury Cathedral
4th March 2016
11th March 2016
11th March 2016
Volunteer Opportunity of the Month
If you’d like to help us transform even more lives, why not consider becoming a volunteer? Opportunities this month include:
- Volunteer Gardener - This position calls for an enthusiastic gardener to keep the garden looking pretty and to assist Service Users who would like to help.
- Volunteer Activity Co-Ordinator - Many of our Service Users would love the opportunity to be more active as this will support them in their recovery. We would like a volunteer to start a walking group or run various activities to help build self esteem and keep the Service Users fit and healthy
- Committee Member - We are looking for people to join Alabaré ‘s committees. We have four committees, Finance and Resources, Quality and Audit, Governance and Income Generation. If you have skills to contribute to the work of the committees we would very much like to hear from you.
For more information on these roles and other, please visit our website.