A HELPING HAND Charity Roundup
Charities are incredible organisations; thanks to volunteers and hard working staff, donations and fundraising, they manage to keep as many people, animals and places in good health and with everything they need as possible. It’s not an easy job, and there can be tragedy as well as happy endings, but the fact that these charities continue, no matter what, year after year, helping countless individuals to live better lives, is what really counts.
Kent has many different charities that offer a wide range of different types of assistance. Take a look at our roundup and you’ll see what we mean. Remember, each and every one of these charities needs help, whether that be in the form of volunteers, donations, or taking part in fundraising events – take a look at their websites for more information about how to get involved.
Help Across Kent
Find A Voice
The mission of Find A Voice, a charity that works across Kent and Medway, is to support both adults and children who have severe problems with their speech and language, and who may also require additional communication methods and support. Their vision is to have a world in which no one is unable to communicate. In order to do this, Find A Voice is able to offer specialist equipment at no cost (on a trial basis), public awareness training, advice and access to legal, professional and public bodies.
Kent Association For The Blind
Working across Kent (including Medway, Bromley and Bexley), the Kent Association for the Blind goes above and beyond to ensure that anyone who has a sight impairment is able to live a fulfilling and fulfilled life. They should be able to make their own choices and walk their own paths – and it is the charity that helps them to do exactly that and achieve important personal goals.
KAB offers a number of different resources to help as many people as possible. For example, they have a rehabilitation arm that supports those who have lost their sight. They also have eye clinic liaison officers to support those travelling to eye clinics who might otherwise not be able to attend appointments. KAB also runs over 40 different social clubs across the county.
Pilgrims Hospices can do a variety of different things to make people’s last weeks or months happier ones. They offer bespoke care depending on what condition the patient has, but included in their work is counselling, practical advice to help patients think about the future, therapy centres and they also manage symptoms. On top of this, the Pilgrims Hospices in Thanet, Ashford and Canterbury also talk to patients’ families, and help them get through this most difficult of times.
There are 31 Pilgrims Hospices’ shops across east Kent, so helping this charity is not something that is difficult to do. As well as this there are fun events and challenges to take part in including skydiving and a trek along the Great Wall of China in September.
ellenor offers superb end of life care and support for patients and their families facing a terminal illness. Whether someone chooses to pass away at home, or in ellenor’s Northfleet care home, they will be able to make their own choice and die with the dignity they deserve. This is personalised care for all ages. Upcoming events include the Thames Bridges Trek (16 bridges and 25 kilometres) and an open air screening of The Greatest Showman at Hartley Social Club.
The Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust
The Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust is based at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham. The fund has been used to purchase essential equipment for the unit namely ventilators, incubators, blood gas machines, ultrasound machine to scan babies’ brains and hearts, bilirubin machine to measure the level of jaundice, infusion pumps and new computer-based cot side terminals with patient monitoring system. The Trust also provides travel expenses to help parents visit their babies on a daily basis.
The Bridge Trust
The Bridge Trust aims to help homeless people in West Kent. Over the past 24 years the trust has helped more than 6,000 people and housed over 700, getting them off the streets and keeping them safe, warm and fed. It’s not just about housing either; there is support and advice on hand for those who are unsure of what they should do and what their next step should be, and for anyone suffering difficulties with being homeless.
Martha Trusts is all about supporting people with profound physical disabilities and multiple learning issues. Martha Trust works by encouraging them to take a more active role in the world around them, in whatever way they can. This is done by offering a variety of challenges so that they really can meet their full potential. This might be sailing, horse riding, or relaxing in the sensory room. Not only that, but Martha Trust offers round the clock, high-quality, state-of-the-art nursing care.
Compaid helps almost 2,000 disabled and vulnerable people each year, making it one of the largest disability charities in the UK. So what is it that Compaid does? Compaid works with individuals, focusing on them as people and tailoring a bespoke plan so that they can use their own particular skills, whether that might be computing, art, or talking to people, and create a happy, fulfilling life for themselves.
New Leaf Support
New Leaf Support provides safe, temporary accommodation for women and their children who are victims of domestic abuse and violence who need to have somewhere to stay so that they can leave their dangerous situation. This could be elder abuse, rape, trafficking, child abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence, or stalking.
As well as the promise of a safe place to stay, New Leaf Support helps with all practical arrangements, and liaises with landlords who are able to provide more permanent homes.
Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust
Operating 24 hours a day, the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance trust provides an invaluable service for those who are critically ill and injured. Almost completely run on donations and fundraising, there are a number of different ways you can get involved. From fundraising at work or school to joining in with specific events such as Run Reigate (taking place on 16th September), you can help keep this all-important charity going.
The Kenward Trust was opened in 1968, and it was designed to help those who were seen as marginalised and disadvantaged; in particular, the Kenward Trust focuses on drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation across Kent and East Sussex, and is able to help around 200 people each year.
The Harmony Therapy Trust
Based in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey, the Harmony Therapy Trust aims to help the seriously ill to live their best lives by bridging the gap between invasive medical treatment and wellness. Support is offered to help cope with these often life-limiting illnesses, and have over 100 holistic therapists working to relax and rejuvenate wherever possible. This is not about medical intervention; this is about lifting someone’s spirits and making them feel more positive, no matter what their prognosis.
Events take place across the year, and during the summer there is an annual Sanctuary Day with lots of fun and entertainment. Everyone is welcome.
Heart of Kent Hospice
Established in 1991, the Heart of Kent Hospice provides care in the Maidstone, Aylesford, Tonbridge and Malling areas for those living with a terminal disease. The work done here is what makes the biggest difference in difficult times for both the patient and their loved ones. Caring for over 1,300 families each year means that fundraising and donation are always welcome – you can help by joining in with the family-fun event at Leeds Castle on 2nd September, buying tickets to an Elvis tribute night on 29th September, or taking part in the Moonlit Walk on 13th October.
The 3H Fund
For 40 years, the 3H Fund has been helping the disabled and disadvantaged to enjoy wonderful holidays that they would never otherwise have experienced. They are able to get away from the stresses and worries of their everyday lives and enjoy a little time away where they can really be themselves. It’s incredible what just a few days can do for someone’s spirits and mental health, and this aids them when they return home again, putting them in a more positive frame of mind.
In 2017, 3H helped over 600 people take a short break to many exciting destinations across the UK which included activities such as kayaking, sailing and abseiling. To help 3H, you can donate money or time – helping hands on holidays are always welcome, and training is given.
Hospice In The Weald
Hospice in the Weald provides care to patients with terminal illnesses, their families and carers, in West Kent and Northern East Sussex. They are your local hospice, independent from the NHS. The care they provide is completely free of charge, and they need to raise £7 million every year to continue to ensure this. The care they provide their patients, families and carers is tailored to their needs; everybody is treated as an individual to ensure they receive the best support possible, and their patients achieve a dignified death.
Hospice in the Weald organise different events all year round to gain much-needed funds so that they can continue their work. The details can all be found on their website, but coming up in September and October are the Hospice 10K Run, the Wheels Around Kent bike ride and a tandem skydive.
Catching Lives supports rough sleepers, the homeless and those in vulnerable housing situations in East Kent and particularly in Canterbury. These are the people who have fallen through the gaps in society; Catching Lives aims to give them somewhere to turn to when they feel there is nowhere left to go. The vision of the charity is that no one should ever feel excluded; everyone has some part to play and can always make a contribution to society.
Catching Lives offers meals, showers, laundry services, new clothing, even a postal address so that family members can get in touch or jobs can be applied for. There are health services including mental health help and GPs that can be registered with. And there are activities and learning centres too. Everything is geared towards giving the homeless what they need to be able to start fresh.
Holding On Letting Go
Holding On Letting Go focuses on children who are bereaved. Since the adults around them will also be grieving, they may not feel that they are able to ask questions, or ask to be comforted. This can have a detrimental affect on them well into adulthood. Holding On Letting Go gives them someone to talk to, and ensures that their questions are answered so that they can at least begin to understand what has happened and why their lives have changed, as is so often the case. Holding On Letting Go gives advice and guidance to the adults too, so that they know how to help the children at home.
The Umbrella Centre – Canterbury
Open to anyone who needs an extra bit of support, and in particular for those going through mental health issues, the Umbrella Centre is a charity community centre that makes people feel welcome and at ease. The aims of the centre are to provide a safe and stimulating environment for those looking to recover, to support social inclusion and to promote skills and independence.
Porchlight is a charity that aims to help and support those with housing issues across Kent. It began 40 years ago with one hostel in Canterbury, and is now able to support 4,000 people at one time. They offer a 24-hour rough sleep helpline, community support, supported housing and adolescent support services (for 10 to 18 year olds).
Porchlight has a number of innovative ways for you to donate. For example, they send out a ‘Pennies for Porchlight’ box to local schools. These house-shaped money boxes are filled with pennies, and then sent back to Porchlight. They also organise a sponsored sleep out, which not only raises money, but also gives vital insight into how rough sleeps have to live every night.
Oasis Domestic Abuse Service
Domestic abuse is a terrifying way to endure a relationship. It isn’t ‘just’ physical abuse, but can be psychological, sexual, financial, or emotional abuse too. If someone is suffering, they need help – and Kent based charity Oasis Domestic Abuse Service are there to do just that.
Donations go a long way: £2 gives a woman and her children a loaf of bread and a pint of milk when they arrive at the refuge; £5 gives a supply of toiletries to get them through their first week; £10 gives a set of pyjamas and underwear for the children and women that arrive with nothing; £15 gives essentials such as plates and pans for a homeless family resettling from the refuge; £20 gives bed linen for a family who are moving on to the next stage in their life; £30 provides an hour of counselling for a child or mother to help deal with the pain of their trauma.
Demelza Hospice Care for Children
Demelza provides specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy time together as family, for as long as they have. Demelza gives you choice and control of how your child is cared for, through support in their hospices, at home or in school.
Demelza is always coming up with fantastic events for people to join in with to raise money for this worthy cause, and some that will be taking place in the coming months including skydiving, the Thames Path Challenge and the Canterbury carol concert.
Happy Endings Rescue
Based in both Faversham and Sevenoaks, although potentially able to re-home animals further afield, Happy Endings Rescue is a non-destruct shelter that cares for all manner of different animals, who are all waiting for their forever homes. Animals include dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, goats, donkeys and more. It all depends on who needs help at any one time.
Help Across The UK
Beanstalk is a charity that helps children with their reading, bringing them up to expected levels through guidance and encouragement. The support is given in a one to one setting, and Beanstalk make sure that all volunteers are trained to ensure that all children can reach their potential.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
For those dealing with the aftermath of losing a loved one due to suicide, it can feel as though there is nowhere to turn. With Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), there is now somewhere these grieving people can go to talk, cry, laugh and heal.
The pain of a stillbirth is something that only a small number of people will have to go through, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t immensely important to acknowledge. Abigail’s Footsteps is a charity that was set up after the stillbirth of a baby named Abigail in 2010; her parents suddenly realised that there was very little support out there for people like them, and they desperately wanted to help others who had gone through the same trauma and grief.
Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, robbing people of their memories and their ability to live independently and safely. The Alzheimer’s Society is not solely about finding a cure; it’s about helping those already dealing with the disease to live as fulfilling and enriching a life as they can. And it’s about helping the loved ones of those people to come to terms with their loss, which happens a long time before their relative dies. The Society teaches people how to make the most of what they have.
People can donate, raise money through charity runs, skydives and even the London Marathon, or they can buy tickets to special Alzheimer’s Society events including Carols At Christmas at St Paul’s Cathedral on 18th December.
Last Chance Animal Rescue
Last Chance Animal Rescue is based near to Edenbridge, but covers as much of the UK as possible. Operating a no destruction policy, they care for and rehabilitate lost and abandoned dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs and then re-home them when they can. As you might imagine, caring for a number of animals at once like this costs a lot of money – and that is why donations and fundraising is so essential. Ways to do this include linking to Last Chance when you buy or sell on eBay, recycling your printer ink cartridges with Recycle4Charity and using the Give As You Live Scheme whenever you buy online.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation is the only charity for people with severe learning difficulties and whose behaviour is described as challenging. The charity aims to make a difference in these people’s (adults and children) lives throughout the UK. This is done through workshops, information, support and speaking up for families on a national level. Overall, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation wants to ensure that those with ‘challenging behaviour’ are given the same opportunities as everyone else.
Help Across The World
Computers 4 Africa
This Kent-based charity works to take redundant IT equipment from schools, businesses, individuals and organisations and takes them to Africa where they can completely transform the lives of those living and working there. Not only this does this help those in poorer African communities connect with the outside world and perhaps even start a business of their own, but it is also good for the environment as computing equipment that would have gone to landfill is reused instead.
Donations given to Computers 4 Africa also go towards training people in Africa how to teach computing and fix any IT issues to ensure that the computers are put to the best use.
Safe Anaesthesia Worldwide
Although we are lucky enough to be able to take safe anaesthesia for granted, there are millions of people around the world who don’t have that luxury, and for them, routine operations can become fatal due to dangerous anaesthesia practices, or even lack of anaesthesia altogether. Safe Anaesthesia Worldwide aims to train staff, and donate equipment and medicines so that people no longer have to die unnecessarily.
Big Cat Sanctuary – Wildlife Heritage Trust
With so many beautiful big cats endangered, the Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden offers perfect conditions for successful breeding programmes to go ahead. And it’s not just big cats either – small cats are just as welcome and all are included within the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. There are many different experiences you can book that help to fund this sanctuary including ranger for the day, photography days and big cat encounters.