It’s Christmas Eve and the 24th day of our Advent Calendar. Today we will be donating £120 to the charity Sightsavers.
From the Sightsavers’ website
There are 39 million blind people in the world, but 80 per cent of blindness can be cured or prevented. That’s 31.2 million people who are blind when they needn’t be.
Shocked by this? So are we. We want to eliminate avoidable blindness and support people who are irreversibly blind or disabled to live independently.
We help blind people to see again, and prevent people from going blind wherever we can. We improve the lives of people with disabilities, particularly those who have permanent sight loss.
We need to change the lives of people at risk of sight loss for the long term, not just today. So we campaign to make the world a fairer place for people with disabilities and we tackle the underlying causes of avoidable blindness.
Almost there! It’s the 23rd day of our Advent Calendar and we will be making a £150 donation to Operation Smile.
Operation Smile was founded in 1982 when Dr. William (Bill) P. Magee, Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife, Kathleen (Kathy), a nurse and clinical social worker, traveled to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children’s cleft lips and cleft palates.
What they found was overwhelming. “People pushed their babies at us.” recalls Kathy. “They tugged at our sleeves with tears in their eyes and begged us to help their children.” In Naga City, approximately 300 families arrived hoping their children would receive surgery, but the team could only treat 40 children. As they prepared to leave, the Magees made a promise they would return to help more children.
They began soliciting donations of surgical equipment and supplies from manufacturers, threw themselves into grassroots fundraising and assembled a volunteer team of 18 doctors, nurses and technicians for their own medical mission to the Philippines. They helped approximately 100 more patients, but again, hundreds still waited.
They saw the need and Operation Smile was born.
Today, Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose global network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children from more than 60 countries. We’ve provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term sufficiency in resource poor environments, we train doctors and local medical professionals in our partner countries so they’re empowered to treat their local communities. We also donate medical equipment and supplies and provide year-round medical treatments through our worldwide centres.
It’s getting close now to Christmas Day and our charity swim on Southwold Beach. For day 22 of our Advent Calendar we will be donating £100 to the Charity Centrepoint.
Centrepoint is the UK’s leading charity for homeless young people. Together with their partners, they support 9,000 young people every year. They help 16-25 year olds into a safe place to live, give them a health assessment and plan support for their individual mental and physical health needs. They start them on a path to more independence and a job.Homeless young people, aged 16-25, stay with Centrepoint for up to two years, but they keep supporting them for another six months to make sure they can live independently.
They provide accommodation, health support and life skills to get them back into education, training and employment.
Day number 21 of our Advent Calendar. We will be making a £100 donation towards the Halesworth Scouts fund for a new headquarters.
The Existing Hall
The 1st Halesworth Scout Group has had a number of headquarters since it was formed in the nineteen twenties, For many years we have used our present building, once a Church Mission Room built about 1899 and once used as a Salvation Army Chapel. It is a typical ‘Tin Chapel’ of its day, and now not fit for purpose as an activity base for a Scout Group. In its favour is that the land is freehold and owned by the Group. The site is well placed in the town and has a reasonable amount of land around it, allowing outdoor activities. However it now costs a lot to insure, maintain and service; costs that will increase over the years.
The New HQ Plan.
The proposed Headquarters consists of a main hall with a lobby and store rooms at the front of the building and toilets and a large kitchen at the rear. Although the HQ is roughly the same footprint as the current one, the new hall will be wider as it encompasses the existing storage rooms. A store room will be set below the kitchen and the toilets, making use of the natural fall in the ground level. Access to the store will be at ground level.
The main hall will be the focus of the building. The hall will have a pent roof which will allow roof lights to be used, rather than conventional windows. The building will be well insulated both thermally and acoustically. Not having windows at ground level will help the insulation and security. The pent roof means that one wall will be higher than the other which will allow us to use the taller wall as a climbing wall. There will also be four small store rooms, one for each sections basic equipment and storage of projects in hand.
The design will incorporate good environmental building standards, such as energy efficient heating, a grey water system for the toilets and possibly solar powered water heating.
Not long to go now to the big day. It’s day 20 of our Advent Calendar and today is the day we have our Toy Service. The service will take place at the united reform Church in Halesworth at 10am, where toys will be collected and given to under privileged children.
For day 19 of our Advent Calendar we will be donating books to the Bramfield House school for boys.
Bramfield House School stands in magnificent grounds and gives pupils extraordinary educational opportunities through its innovative, successful teaching approach inside and outside the classroom.
The rural location, just off the main A12 in Suffolk, attracts interest for places across East Anglia to achieve happiness and success for even the most reluctant learners and vulnerable pupils.
The boys are taught in small, informal and relaxed classes, with clear structures in place. They forge strong working relationships with teachers and staff, who encourage their self-confidence and self esteem through stimulating and realistic targets. Previous failure is replaced with a positive pattern of success and quantifiable educational achievements.
As well as practical and creative lessons on site, including sports pitches and an RHS accredited horticulture department, Bramfield House offers the boys a huge variety of opportunities for education outside the classroom, including sailing qualifications on the Norfolk Broads, study along the East Anglian coastline, and numerous field trips.
Securing a weekly boarding place at Bramfield House will ensure that progress can be accelerated with a 24-hour, wraparound curriculum. The comfortable boarding facilities are located in the main house until the boys reach Years 10 and 11, when the emphasis develops towards semi-independent living, and preparation for life at college, an apprenticeship, university or work.
As well as academic, educational progress, Bramfield House School develops self- esteem, self confidence to ensure its pupils can go on to lead meaningful and successful adult lives.
There is a week to go to the big day and it’s day 18 of our Advent Calendar. We will be making a £50 donation to the Voluntary Help Centre in Southwold to support their Thursday lunches.
The VHC’s weekly Lunch Club is held on Thursday at the Southwold Stella Peskett Millennium Hall, it provides an opportunity to socialise informally over morning coffee and afterwards to enjoy a light lunch. For many elderly and disabled residents in particular it is a much valued chance to stay in touch with friends and the wider community. Around 35 local people regularly attend, some every week, others on an occasional basis. Transport is provided for those who need it. The price of just £4.50 per head is made possible with the support of a team of rotating volunteers.The Lunch Club is proving very popular indeed and is regarded by the trustees as a natural and highly appropriate development of the Charity’s core services.
For the 17th Day of our Advent Calendar our members will be holding a collection for the Halesworth Dementia Carers at the Rainbow supermarket in Halesworth. Come along and say hello.
For day 16 of our Advent Calendar we be making a delivery of donated Christmas food to the Lowestoft Night Shelter now known as the Access Community Trust.
Their vision is to promote social inclusion for the community benefit by preventing people from becoming socially excluded, relieving the needs of those who are socially excluded and assisting them to integrate into society.