Browsing Tag


Live Below The Line #CharityTuesday

Posted on 24th April 2012 in #charitytuesday/ poverty/ Unicef

For #CharityTuesday this week I’d really like you to think about your family budget. If it is anything like my own then it will involve regular swaps and adjustments with unexpected expenses being paid for by missing out on a trip to the cinema or a take-away. Hardly a hardship when you consider that the official global poverty line is classed as having to live on less than £1 a day! £1 a day – for everything – could you do it?


‘Live Below the Line’ Guest Blog

 Written by Erin Bishop

At UNICEF we work for the world’s children. Our mission? To build a world where the rights of every child are realised no matter where in the world they live. Every day  millions of children across the world are struggling to survive because they lack adequate food, shelter, basic medical care and often miss out on the chance to go to school. It shouldn’t be like this.

Here at UNICEF UK we organise loads of great fundraising events to raise money that will directly fund UNICEF’s work to help give these children a better start in life. From trekking up Kilimanjaro, biking through India and running across the country in events such as the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, anyone can take part or do their bit for UNICEF and raise much-needed funds to help save children’s lives.

This year to add to the colourful mix of events is ‘Live Below the Line’, which is taking place from the 7th – 11th of May. This challenge really does what it says on the tin: participants live below the poverty line for a week, spending only £1 a day for 5 days on food and drink, to highlight the fact that 1 billion children across the globe are struggling without enough to eat and drink day in, day out. Could you live on £1 a day for a week? Anyone can sign up and take the challenge to help save and transform a child’s life.

The global poverty line is defined by the World Bank who classifies poverty as having to live on less than £1 a day. Hence why we are encouraging people to try to survive for 5 days on £5 alone.

For those taking on the ‘Live Below the Line Challenge’ getting by on £1 a day clearly isn’t easy – but it’ll definitely get you planning ahead, practising your best budgeting skills, and consulting a few trusty recipe books. Taking part in the ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge is one way to understand some of the difficulties that children living in poverty have to face daily. It’s also a fantastic way of encouraging people to sponsor you in order to raise vital funds for UNICEF’s work with children.

Michael from the UNICEF UK Media team ‘Lived Below the Line’ for a week this February. He says it was tough, but it really opened his eyes to how much we take for granted in our day-to-day lives.

“I had approached the week not really having thought about the cost of food, or even the amount of food we consume on a daily basis… I even made an unconscious mistake early in the week when I put butter on my toast without accounting for the price,” he tells me, adding, “the idea that so many people, many of them children, live on LESS than £1 a day is unfathomable.”

Mickey’s shopping list for the week:

5 cans of soup          £1.55

1 loaf of bread            35p

4 packets of rice       £1.79

Peas                             36p

12 potatoes                 69p

Grand total:            £4.84

UNICEF relies entirely on voluntary donations and receives no funding from the UN budget for its lifesaving work.  This means that any money you raise will help to make a real difference to children’s lives.  Last year ‘Live Below the Line’ raised an impressive £180,000.  Help us beat it this year by taking part!

For more information about ‘Live Below the Line’ and to register to take part go to

For more information about UNICEF and for other ways to help raise money for UNICEF go to


Ellie’s Fund #CharityTuesday

Posted on 17th April 2012 in #charitytuesday/ cancer

My #CharityTuesday page is written today by Heather Othick who is going to introduce you to Ellie’s Fund. Please read, share the information and donate if you can. A great way to donate (without spending any additional money) would be to send them your empty babywipe packets! Sounds odd but it’s true, see below or visit the facebook page for more details.

For me this post highlights the sheer bravery of Ellie and family for choosing to fundraise to help others. I also found some of the facts quite hard-hitting; for instance, ‘Shockingly, 65% more women die from a brain tumour each year than from cervical cancer.’

I’ll now hand you over to Heather who can tell you about Ellie’s Fund in her own words. Thanks for reading and please comment to show your support. 

Ellie’s Fund – Brain Tumour Trust was set up after the death of 14 year old Ellie Othick-Bowmaker.

At just 11 years old Ellie was diagnosed with a grade 4 Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour, and expected to live no more than 6 months. Ellie fought for 3 years, and during that time helped to raise over £25,000, which she donated to charities close to her heart. She inspired many people to join in. Sadly, Ellie’s battle ended in February 2010.

I always knew that the fundraising would continue. It did almost straightaway, and a few months later I was approached by Shaun Tymon and Tina Boden who now work alongside me and my husband, Jason, as Trustees.

Ellie’s Fund – Brain Tumour Trust recognises that life is turned completely upside down when you or a family member is diagnosed with a brain tumour, and whilst we would like to offer a complete support package, we are only a small charity. We decided that our efforts would be best put to supporting the brain tumour research laboratory in Leeds; the Leeds Institute for Molecular Medicine, which was opened in February 2011, and to supporting children in Yorkshire and Humberside who are going through treatment for a brain tumour, as well as working to increase brain tumour awareness. If you would like to know more about what we do our website address is

Since 2010 Ellie’s Fund has raised over £60 000, supported 19 children and sent £16,500 to the research lab and £1,900 towards the cost of refurbishing the children’s neurosurgical ward at Leeds General Infirmary.

Did you know that:

  • Brain tumours are the most common solid tumour found in children and they have overtaken leukaemia as the biggest cancer killer of children in the UK
  • There are 16 000 new cases diagnosed every year. Of these, 85% will succumb within 5 years of diagnosis
  • Shockingly, 65% more women die from a brain tumour each year than from cervical cancer.
  • 20% of all cancers now spread to the brain
  • More men under the age of 45 and women under the age of 35 die from a brain tumour than any other cancer
  • While the five-year survival rate for many cancers is over 50% and rising to over 90% for some cancers, for brain tumours, the five year survival rate for men is 14.1% and women is now 13.8%
  • Brain tumour research receives less than 1% (0.7%) of cancer research spending in the UK
  • Adults and children who do survive are left with side effects that affect them for the rest of their lives.
  • ‘We’, the brain tumour community, are asking MPs to discuss brain tumour funding in the House of Commons.
  • We have until June to collect 100 000 signatures, and we might stand a chance of making a start to changing these statistics. So please do sign the petition and ask all your family and friends to as well. Thank you. Here’s the link:

Ellie’s Fund – Brain Tumour Trust baby wipe packet collection.
When I found this recycling initiative that involves parents, and raises money, as well as helping the environment, it made me think that this could be a way of raising a lot of awareness about this deadly disease to the people who need to be most aware – parents.

Here’s how it works:

1) Collect your empty baby wipe packets (any brand, but just baby wipe packets) and wrap them in a thick plastic bag or box. Fewer, bigger parcels are better; so if you and your friends/nursery are collecting, please think about sending one parcel between you. This is an ongoing fundraiser, there is no end date.

2) When you have a parcel ready (suggested minimum 25 packets, no maximum) e-mail and we will email you a freepost postage label. (Ellie’s Fund is a small charity, this will save us postage costs.) Drop the parcel at your local post office as soon as possible.

3) Each postage label can only be used once so if you need more just e-mail again!

The packets go directly to a recycling centre who credit Ellie’s Fund Brain Tumour Trust with 2 pence for each packet received. The baby wipe packets are made into other items such as plastic bibs, dustbins and watering cans.
If you would like to send your packets to us we will gladly deal with them for you, please send them to Ellie’s Fund BTT, PO Box 473, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO11 9DQ.

Further details and downloadable posters can be found at 

Heather Othick
Ellie’s Mum, founder & Chair of the Trustees
Facebook group: Ellie’s Fund – Brain Tumour Trust
Twitter: @elliesfundinfo

Registered charity number 1138359

Currently of every £100 raised for research into cancer, brain tumour research receives just 70 pence. We’re asking MPs to discuss brain tumour funding in the House of Commons. Would you sign the petition to support this please? We have until June to collect 100 000 signatures

PO Box 473
North Yorkshire
YO11 9DQ

Donate to Ellie’s Fund via JustTextGiving: text ELFU01 £2/£5/£10 to 70070.
Texts are charged at your normal rate.

Proud member of Brain Tumour Research
Registered charity number 1093411
Funding the fight.

Thanks for reading – please comment to show your support. 

Support Cake for CAFT! #CharityTuesday

Posted on 3rd April 2012 in #charitytuesday/ cake/ Childrens Adventure Farm/ the cake nest/ Whitehaven

I am delighted to hand my #CharityTuesday page over to @C2C_Run Abi (from @TheCakeNest) today. She is going to tell you about the incredible charity run that she is doing to raise much-needed money for @AdventureFarm. I know that there is no way I could even contemplate running 180 miles so it is deep respect and admiration that I added my donation and with much pride that I’m sharing her story. In her own words, over to Abi:

I will cover the breadth of the country at Easter, running 180 miles coast-to-coast between Tynemouth and Whitehaven on my own, with just my husband Stephen for support and our dog, Crackers.

Abi hopes that Crackers will run in the same direction as her one day!

I am a mother-of-two and hope the two-week challenge, hot-footing the famous Reivers Coast to Coast cycle route, will raise over £2,500 for The Children’s Adventure Farm, which provides holidays and activities for terminally ill, chronically sick, disabled and disadvantaged children from all over the North West. They are an amazing charity that rely solely on donations, providing special holidays to special children.

My inspiration for the challenge has come from Eddie Izzard, who in 2009 completed 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief, despite no prior history of long-distance running. I am not an athlete, up until 3 years ago I’d never run for more than a bus!

I just thought he was amazing, the way he kept going. I do think there’s going to be a point in my challenge when I’m tired and don’t want to get up. But I have made a commitment to the charity, and it is also something that I want to do for myself as well. In January I completed my first marathon as a “mini-event” in the lead up to this. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but the feeling at the end is indescribable. I felt like I could do anything – except walk the following day!

I set off on Saturday so please join me with your support on twitter (@c2c_run) and facebook and if you have a few pennies to spare…. Please donate here.

Jenny from CAFT, Crackers the dog, Abi and Linda Arkey – the Mayor of North Tyneside

Haven Easter Egg Appeal 2012 #CharityTuesday

Posted on 20th March 2012 in #charitytuesday/ domestic violence/ Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton based charity The Haven is appealing for donations of Easter Eggs for their annual campaign which aims to distribute seasonal treats to children and young people affected by domestic violence and homelessness.

The Haven has been providing practical and emotional support to women and children who are vulnerable to domestic violence, homeless and abuse for over 39 years. The Haven provides a range of support services including a 24 Hour Helpline, Emergency Refuge Accommodation, Community Support and a Children and Young People’s Service. This Easter it is anticipated that The Haven will support up to 100 children through its refuge provision and many more out in the community.

The Haven Easter Egg appeal has been launched in order to help make Easter ‘eggs-tra’ special for these children and young people. Donated eggs will be distributed across The Haven’s 5 refuges where staff and volunteers will organise Easter Egg Hunts for the children and young people and encourage them to take part in craft and cooking activities using the eggs. Easter eggs are also distributed to the children of clients accessing our Community Support services.

Last year’s appeal saw over 300 eggs being donated by generous individuals and organisations across the Wolverhampton borough. This year it is hoped that The Haven will top that amount. Grace Lee, Public Relations Officer for The Haven said “we would like to encourage as many people as possible to get behind this appeal and help spread a little chocolate cheer to our young service users. Whether you donate 5 eggs or 500 eggs your donation will go a long way to making Easter 2012 memorable for all the right reasons.”

All you need to do is pick up an extra egg whilst out shopping and drop it into The Haven Women’s Resource Centre which is located at 103 Salop Street, Wolverhampton, WV3 0RX. Donations will be accepted up until Wednesday 4th April and deliveries can be taken from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

For more information on The Haven Easter Egg appeal please contact Grace Lee on 01902 572173 or email

Wear A Blurt Badge With Pride #CharityTuesday

Posted on 6th March 2012 in #charitytuesday/ blog badge/ Blurt/ depression

The good people at Blurt feel strongly that the stigma won’t go away unless we all keep talking. They need YOU to help start a conversation and raise awareness which is why they’ve designed these badges for you. There are many ways you could use them; as an avatar on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook or perhaps you have a blog/website and would like to use them on your pages.

NB: copy the orange html coding only to embed on your blog or website. You will need to embed in a widget or the html section of a post. Alternatively, please right click on the image and save on your computer to then upload into your blog.


<pre>  <img src=”×125.jpg” />  <pre>
    <pre>  <img src=”×150.jpg” />  <pre>

So, pick your favourite badge, add it to your blog and let’s all help spread the word together and stamp out the stigma of depression forever.

(Yes, that did rhyme, sorry about that….)

Eczema Support #CharityTuesday

Posted on 31st January 2012 in #charitytuesday/ childhood eczema/ eczema

Today for #CharityTuesday I am handing you over to @EczemaSupport. This isn’t a plea for money, just for a little more awareness and understanding.

This is something I am 100% behind as my oldest son has suffered with eczema all his life and we find that people can be quite ignorant of the condition. Even today I have had to email his school as yesterday he was told he couldn’t use the cafeteria anymore because his fingerprint won’t scan properly – why wont it scan? because he has eczema! I’ve told them I consider this to be discrimination and that I expect them to find a solution, that does not cause him any embarrassment, very quickly!

Anyway, over to @EczemaSupport – who I have to say are absolutely lovely to tweet with, always there with a suggestion or a caring word.

Eczema is a problem that some children get but, not to worry because they grow out of it, right?  Like most easy statements, there is much more to it than that.  One in five children have eczema and  it can improve with age (but not always).  One in ten adults have eczema, either because they never ‘grew out of it’ or eczema manifested itself later in life.

We are a unique collaboration between health care professionals based at the paediatric department of the local teaching hospital and carers of children with eczema.  So we have an understanding of the nightmare that living with eczema can be – plus all the evidence based knowledge about current methods of managing eczema.  Nottingham Support Group for Carers of Children with Eczema was started about twenty years ago and five years ago we moved to providing support via the web.  There are over 30 patient information leaflets on our website

Since eczema is episodic, it can be unpredictable.  You can never tell when a flare will happen.  The wonderful thing about Twitter (@eczemasupport) is that we are able to interact with those living with eczema in real time.  Eczema in childhood disrupts sleep for the whole family and coping with the distress of seeing a loved one ripping their skin to pieces is not easy at any time, but add sleep deprivation into the mix and it does not make for an easy situation.  Those with eczema may also go on to develop asthma or hay fever or food allergies.  This multiplicity is the reality of many families’ lives.

Everyone’s skin and lifestyle is slightly different.  Eczema responds to multiple triggers and the same ones do not affect eczema skin, even in siblings, the same way.  So there are lots of different ways to manage eczema and often it is trial and error to find the right treatment for that particular skin.  We hope we are there to offer encouragement and information about the options, whilst helping to steer people away from a multitude of dubious remedies.

And then there are other discussions we have had on Twitter – for instance, in this digital age, should photographs be retouched to remove the ravages of eczema or be a reflection of the struggles that exist?  Most eczema sufferers hate having their photographs being taken but some are unavoidable (school photographs and family events perhaps).

For further information:



Twitter: @EczemaSupport

First ever Facebook card shop is launched by Dogs Trust #charitytuesday

Posted on 24th January 2012 in #charitytuesday/ Charity Greetings/ Dogs Trust

Regular readers will know that I’m more of a (mad) cat lady than a dog person, so this week for #CharityTuesday I’m handing the page over to Crage Hartzel from Charity Greetings to tell you all about an exciting new way to donate to The Dogs Trust:

UK charity Dogs Trust has launched the first greeting card shop on social networking site Facebook.

The interactive card shop sits on the Dogs Trust Facebook page and allows users of the site to send greeting cards to friends and family.

Fundraising greeting card firm, Charity Greetings pioneered the new card buying platform and is delighted to launch it with such a high profile charity.

Founder of Charity Greetings, Craig Hartzel said: “There are 800 million Facebook users worldwide, and it’s estimated that 1 in 6 web pages looked at in the UK is a Facebook page.

“It seems only right to treat Facebook as if it is a separate Internet platform. For this reason it makes sense to integrate our charity card shop technology within Facebook’s pages to help charities.

“Dogs Trust understands the power of social media and we’re excited to be helping them while pioneering this exciting greeting card Facebook revolution.”

Users of the networking site can send greeting cards for every occasion all from within Facebook.

Users also have the opportunity to send a donation to Dogs Trust at the same time as sending the card, which helps the charity to raise much needed funds.

Jacqui O’Beirne, Digital Manager of Dogs Trust said: “We’re always looking at new ways to raise awareness of the charity and our current online card shop is consistently providing a new stream of revenue for us.

“Being the first charity to launch the Facebook card shop was an easy decision for us and we can’t wait for our 230,000 fans to start using the platform.”

Supporters can visit the new Facebook card shop at

Charity Greetings aim is to empower millions of people to raise millions of pounds for charity, all without the need for a single marathon being run. Their platform makes this possible, enabling people to connect and give regularly; helping good causes… one card at a time.

Every card purchased raises money for charity, and supporters can also make a voluntary donation as a gift to their recipient when they buy a card.

In the UK alone we spend £1.47 billion on greeting cards, that’s on average 31 cards each a year. 47 cards are sold every second of every day.

Take a look for yourself and can send charity cards from

If you are a charity find out more at

Vanessa Riddle Appeal #CharityTuesday

Posted on 17th January 2012 in #charitytuesday/ stage 4 (high-risk) neuroblastoma/ Vanessa Riddle

My #CharityTuesday post today is an appeal from the parents of Vanessa Riddle. Young Vanessa needs an operation that is not available in the UK and which the NHS will not pay for. The treatment can  be done in the United States and her parents need to raise a staggering £500,000 in order to pay for it. So far they have nearly raised a whopping £100,000 but urgently need more donations to raise the remaining four fifths of the money. Here is their story:

“In Feb 2009 our then 8 year old daughter Vanessa, was diagnosed with Stage 4 (High-Risk) Neuroblastoma, a very rare, aggressive and difficult to treat form of childhood cancer. Fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year, most of which are below the age of 5 and generally have a better prognosis as the older the child is the worse the prognosis is.

Since Feb 09, Vanessa has undergone many different treatments at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, these include; 12 rounds of High Dose Chemotherapy, two 7 hour surgical operations, the removal of one of her kidneys, a stem cell transplant, Radiotherapy, Retinoic Acid treatment and Immunotherapy treatment……all of which was agonising to watch as parents never mind to have to endure as a child!

Having undergone all this difficult and often very painful treatment the fact remained that due to a high relapse rate the long term prognosis for Vanessa’s survival remained very poor with less than a 40% survival rate. All the same, Vanessa finished her treatment at Yorkhill Hospital in Aug 2010 and was given the all clear.

In Dec 2011 after routine scans, Connie and I were given the devastating news that Vanessa had relapsed. She has many hotspots on the skull, neck, spine, leg & knees. The UK doctors have told us that this time round there is very little chance of survival; “much less than 10%” they said, as we do not have any relapse protocols in the UK. This is due to the Government not investing any money into relapse treatments for this disease. This is a very different story to the United States where there are many relapse protocols and taking her there will dramatically increase her chances of long term survival.

We now find ourselves in the position of urgently having to take Vanessa to the United States for relapse therapy treatment which the NHS will not fund. The treatment Vanessa requires is likely to involve Antibody Therapy and cost in excess of £500,000. Vanessa’s latest scan results will be used to determine which therapy is best and this is likely to happen at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Please help us to raise the funds in order to save Vanessa’s life.

You can donate by text message by texting VANY99 and your amount £1 –  £10 to 70070, or by visiting this page

Every single penny counts, no matter how little.

Thank you for reading and donating.”

Chris & Connie Riddle

Vote For Dean #CharityTuesday

Posted on 10th January 2012 in #charitytuesday/ Dean Symmons/ paralympics/ Stoke Mandeville/ torch bearers

Today my #CharityTuesday post is an appeal for votes not money. Please vote, it will only take a few seconds of your time.

Dean Symmons, who is paralysed from the waist down needs your vote so that he can carry the Paralympic torch to start the games this summer.

Dean, aged 16, was paralysed in a freak accident while playing softball at school in June 2010. As he swung to hit the ball he slipped a disc which then scraped his spinal cord causing a clot which prevented bloodflow to his legs. After 4 months in a rehabilitation ward at Stoke Mandeville and is now back at school, in St Neots, in a wheelchair.

To vote for Dean please visit the website and enter your nomination details.

For more information, and to find out about fundraising events to help buy Dean a lighter weight K4 wheelchair, please visit the site for the Dean Symmons Trust.

Red Balloon 13/12/2011 #CharityTuesday

Posted on 13th December 2011 in #charitytuesday/ bullying

Bullying someone is such a despicable thing to do and the effects of it can remain for many years after the bullying has stopped. It can often go ‘un-noticed’ either because people turn a blind eye or because the victim feels too scared or even ashamed to speak out. Fortunately there are many anti-bullying campaigns and a greater awareness of the problem. Today, for #CharityTuesday, I’d like to hand you over to the Red Balloon Learner Centre Group to explain what they do:

Red Balloon was founded in 1996 by Dr Carrie Herbert when a parent of a thirteen year old girl, who had attempted suicide because of severe bullying, contacted her. Following that meeting Red Balloon was established, operating for over seven years in the founder’s house before moving to its own premises in central Cambridge.

Today there are five further Red Balloon Centre, in Norwich, NW London, Merseyside, Warwick and Reading, each with a capacity for fifteen eleven to seventeen year olds.  Children attend daily and receive a full-time education comprising 60% academic studies and 40% well being, counselling and the creative arts.  This has proved to be a successful programme and 95% of the children who stay longer than six weeks return to school, move on to college or find employment.

Until recently there have been no published estimates of how many children in the UK are unable to go to school because they have been badly bullied.  In 2010 Red Balloon commissioned the first national survey to ascertain the number of students absent from school because of bullying; the findings estimated that over 16,000 children aged between 11 and 15 are missing education.  Frightened, humiliated, ostracised, beaten up and threatened, they stay at home, often under their duvet.  Over time, away from education, with no social contact, their self esteem is further eroded and they become suicidal, self harming, depressed, often having to endure other problems such as post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, eating disorders and social phobias.  However, these children are eminently recoverable given the right environment and, if given an appropriate education and recovery programme, will go on to lead fulfilling and worthwhile lives.

Red Balloon has recovered over 180 in the past fifteen years.  This year across the centres we celebrated the recovery of 22 students, 14 of whom either returned to mainstream school or moved on to sixth form college, and three entered employment or apprenticeships.

Of the 60 exams taken by our students this year the students achieved 27 A* to C GCSE grades, 28 other GCSE grades and 5 Edexcel qualifications.  Without Red Balloon it is unlikely these students would have gained any qualifications.

This year Red Balloon has launched a new initiative called Red Balloon of the Air, a virtual Red Balloon which provides distance learning, a virtual world, one to one tuition and on-the-ground support from a local teacher.  New Centres are planned for Braintree, Greater Manchester, the North East and South Yorkshire.

You can follow Red Balloon on twitter – @RedBalloonLCG

Or visit their website

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