Friday, 29 April 2016

At the beginning of our charity set up we all had very little experience or knowledge of what it actually meant to be a charity. 

We learned  pretty quickly that there was so much that went with becoming a charity.

The first realisation was the fact that you cannot just apply and get your registration number straight away. 
Maybe we were naive but we thought that if you were setting out to help people it would be much easier than it is !!

Then came the amount of paperwork that was involved and the legal hurdles you have to jump over to show that you are acting in a charitable manner.

Eventually we became registered with HMRC. 
This was a massive achievement and had taken a few attempts to get the paperwork correct, but now we felt like we were really getting somewhere. 
A lot of places then took us a little more serious and realised that we were a legitimate group. 
Sadly in today's society there are many unscrupulous people out there that set up bogus charities and dupe people out of their money making people very wary of trusting new ventures.

Next came our mission to take on the NHS and get them to review their current bereavement services. We wrote to many senior people within our local NHS and eventually started hitting the big guys, The Department of Health.

Twitter became a good way of getting people to respond to us, especially when we were getting nowhere with the usual methods of communication. 
At one point we were actually blocked by the Prime Minister as we were tweeting him too much. Maybe if he had responded to us we wouldn't have had to annoy him.

Since we have set up I can't even estimate how many letters, emails and phone calls we have made to people and companies for help and support. 
Initially we got a lot more rejections than offers of support. 
At first we got a little upset by this and even felt angry as we are all so passionate about what we want to achieve. 
We couldn't get our heads around why others didn't feel the same. 

Over time we have come to accept that not everyone we approach will be able to or want to help and the people who have supported us have been amazing. 
We have now got a really solid group of supporters and this gets bigger every week.
Our support comes from all walks of life from families that have been through the same experiences we have to local garages. 

Recently we have started to get people and companies approach us with offers of help. This felt really weird at first and you even become a little sceptical. The tables were turned on us. We now felt like those companies we had initially approached for help.

2016 is heading to be our most successful and busy year to date. We are now working along side a lot of other people and we are definitely being taken serious by the local NHS. 
The Department of Health is still a work in progress but we won't give up. 

The last 3 years have been very hard at times and I am sure that most of us have felt like quitting at some point, but quitting is not an option. 
We are sure that Charlie was given to us for a reason and whilst we have the strength and determination he showed we will never give up.

Thank you to all of those out there that have supported us so far and we hope that you will continue to stay with us as we move into the next part of our mission. 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Over the last couple of weeks we have started to realise that we are really making our mark on the 'charity scene'. We are now being contacted by several agencies for our help.

We have recently had a few referrals sent to us from other agencies including Cruise, which I still find amazing. When we received the referral I think it was the first time that we all actually sat back and thought 'wow, we are actually now on the radar as a charity offering good quality bereavement support'.

Our charity has now been going for 3 years and during that time we have been told by others that it usually takes about 5 years for a new charity to be accepted as a legitimate functioning charity. 

We are now beginning to see that we are hitting that point and we are doing it in a relatively quick time. 

I think it is because we are all determined and passionate about the cause we are fighting for and none of us are the type to give up, even when it gets really difficult.

When we started this venture I don't think any of us realised just what was involved in getting everything up and running and how hard it was to get people involved. 

We all thought that everyone would feel like we did and would see how important what we were doing was but it quickly became apparent that there are many people out there that cannot understand what we are fighting for. They are not horrible people or insensitive it is just that they have never experienced the death of a baby or child and have not been touched by death in their lives. 

When you are going through grief you forget that others do not feel the same as you and sometimes it can make you feel angry and frustrated. Understanding this and realising that not everyone will want to help has been difficult at times but we are becoming much more understanding of this now.

We are all still learning on the job but we have found out so much and have achieved such a lot in a quick space of time. 

Now we are starting to get referrals and are able to get bereaved families the professional help and counselling the deserve it makes us feel that all the struggles we have been through and all the doors shut in our faces have been worth it.

It makes us feel very proud to feel that we are now helping other families and that we are being taken seriously.

Our vision to have support available to families going through the death of their baby or child all across the United Kingdom is slowly but surely evolving.

We now have a very loyal group of supporters and fundraisers and this group gets bigger each week. Without all these people we would not be at the point we are now at.

Charlie Arthur Curtis, in his brief 19 minutes of life, has had such a major impact on the future provisions of bereavement support. 
Our 'Little Prince' will always be remembered by many as the reason behind our continual fight to get improvements made to the current provision of bereavement support across the United Kingdom.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Every week seems to see us busy with fundraising activities. 

This week we have been busy finalising the menu for our Autumn Ball, all the food looks absolutely yummy so think we are in for a great night.

We have also had a day fundraising at Asda Living at Crown Point Shopping Centre where we raised £111.17. The shoppers at Asda were very friendly and we cant thank them enough for their generous contributions.

We have also confirmed another fundraising event for July.

Clive came up with the idea for a 24 hour marathon darts and pool tournament. He wanted to do an event in honour of his father who passed away and felt that this kind of event would be one his dad would have enjoyed.

After discussion with Charlies uncle Shane and the boss at his work place, The Yorkshire Rose pub in Guiseley, the date has been set.

The Saturday Fun Day to run alongside the sponsored event came about when we were asked by our friend Mark Wilson if we would like to have a joint venture where he could also raise funds for his chosen charity Parkinsons UK.

Mark has helped us at many events and at his recent Comedy Spectacular he allowed us to have our charity buckets on the bar during the evening. We thought it would be a great idea to have a joint day, as 2 charities working together can surely raise twice as much !

If you like the sound of the Pool and Darts Marathon please contact us to get more information and a sponsor form.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Over the last 24 hours we have been in a discussion with our local Council offices regarding having a room there to hold our fortnightly Community Support Group meetings. 

We all think that this would be a big step forward for us and the charity and would show that we being seen as one of the main stream charities in the region.

Today we have been contacted by St Georges Centre in Middleton, Leeds to be informed that as from next Thursday 14th April we are able to hold our meetings in one of their meeting rooms. 
They have said that we can continue to use this room for as long as we require it and we can use it for free.

We are so happy and excited about this and cannot wait to start using the centre. 

St Georges Centre is quite central within Middleton and is on a good bus route as it is near the new Asda Middleton. 

We really feel that this is a huge step forward for our charity and cannot thank St Georges for their support.

Whilst we are excited about this move forward for us it is tinged with a little sadness as we will be giving up the room we currently use at St Cross Vicarage in Middleton. 

The vicar, Andy Myers, has been a great support for us and enabled us to get our Community Support Meeting up and running during 2015.
Without his support and allowing us to use the vicarage meeting room for free we would not have been able start our group and it would have delayed the support we are now giving to bereaved parents and families.

Andy has also recommended us to some of the families he has had dealings with, to come along to our meetings to start them getting the help they need.

Thank You so much for your kindness and help Andy it has meant so much to us and to the families we support.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

We all thought that 2015 had been an amazing year for our charity, we achieved so much and became a much more known about charity.

We had many more people join us to organise or participate in fund raising events, and more businesses were willing to help us out with donations or services. 

We also managed to raise a brilliant amount of money for our funds.

But 2016 has already been an outstanding start to the year and we are only 3 months into it.

It feels like we are definitely being seen as a much more serious charity. 

When new charities start up they are faced with so many hurdles to jump, and in today's society unfortunately people are initially reluctant to donate as there are so many scam charities around. 

2015 helped us conquer many of those hurdles and we are now becoming more known about within the general public and bereavement services. 
People have also realised that we are in it for the long haul, even when things have been really tough and we have felt very deflated we have still carried on with our fight to get improvements to bereavement support.
Whenever we feel like giving up we all just have to look at a picture of Charlie and his mummy and the motivation to carry on kicks in.

The other change that has helped us has been the acceptance of companies to take our HMRC number as proof of our charitable status, allowing us to take part in many more fundraising ventures e.g. bucket shaking at events or bag packing at supermarkets.

So far this year we have managed to secure several events to be held throughout the year and have some that are currently in the pipelines.

Already in 2016 we have had a bucket shaking event at the Leeds Rhinos. We have our evening with 2 Spiritualist Mediums taking place in May and our very first Autumn Charity Ball in September. We also have an event currently in the organisation process taking part in July (as soon as we have all the details we will let you know).
We have also got a friend who is taking part in Gung Ho in Leeds and very kindly decided to choose our charity as the beneficiary of this.

The support we have had so far for all of these events has been phenomenal, most of the events we have organised are being done through the generosity of people donating their services or venues for free. This again shows us that we are now seen as a main stream charity.

What makes us feel the most proud is the amount of people we are now able to support and help. 
With the addition of 5 qualified bereavement counselors providing free counselling we are now able to get parents and their families the help they need without them having to be added to a long waiting list. Our first family were able to access their counselling within a week of contacting us. 

This is how support should be done.

Our community support group is also now established and provides that vital help that is so needed. The website, social media and telephone support are continuing to keep us busy but that is how we like it. It makes us realise that what we are doing is working.

We hope that the rest of 2016 is just as busy and successful as it has been so far and we hope you stay with us on our venture. 
Please go and have a look at our website, there are so many things to see and you can find many ways in which you can become involved to help bereaved families across the UK. 

Thank you for all the support you have given us so far everyone of you has helped us make a difference.