Friday, 31 March 2017

Busy but Happy & Proud

We have had a pretty non stop beginning to 2017 and it doesn't seem to be slowing down at all.
Whilst this can be mentally and physically draining it is also very productive.

This week has kept us on our toes again but at the end of the week we look back and see we have achieved so much in just 7 days.

Our first fundraising event took place this week, an evening of 'Medium Entertainment'. 
This was our second medium event and it helped us raise a great amount. 
Last years event was a good evening but you still get a little nervous as the day arrives. 
We needn't have worried, plenty of people turned up and helped make the night a success. 
2016's event had Adrian Clarke who came again this year with his colleague Chantelle Lockhart. 
Adrian donates his services to us as he has had personal experience of child/baby loss and knows how important the correct support can be.
As usual our raffle was a big hit and helped us boost the total we raised for the evening to £438.

Every event we organise always amazes us at the amount we raise. Despite the fact that many people have less money nowadays they are always so generous and supportive towards us. We truly have some amazing supporters.

This week has also seen us launch our National Counselling Service.
We have wanted to do this since we started the charity so it has made us feel very proud that we were able to launch it today.

It has taken a lot of hard work, perseverance, determination and a lot of email writing to achieve but it will make a huge difference to the families we support. 

The service will continue to grow as we get more and more counsellors coming on board to work with us and our aim is to have a counsellor in every city across the country.

With the counsellors we have volunteering for us at the moment we can now provide families with counselling face to face, telephone, email and online.

Friday, 24 March 2017

From the onset we have always aimed to get our charity on the Charities Commission register. We knew that it would be a long process because there is so much that has to be done to prove that you are working for charitable causes. 

Over the last 6 - 12 months we have been working even harder to complete all of the things that need to be done in order to be able to register as a charity. 

The process can be very taxing, frustrating and entails lots of data collection and evidence proving along with detailed information about the charities accounts.

As you can imagine none of us had got a great deal of experience in this area so it was a massive learning curve for us all.

We have had times when we thought that the day would never come when we received the charity number and have felt like pulling our hair out with all the hoops we have had to jump through.

Well today has been one of the most amazing days we have had. 

When we saw the email in the inbox we initially thought that it would be asking for more details.

However, our breath was taken away and a few tears were shed by many of us as we saw the wonderful words 
"We are satisfied that Charlies Angel Centre Foundation is a charity and it has been entered onto the Register of Charities".

This means so much to us and means that we can begin to grow even more and help even more families across the country.

We know our next job will entail lots of form filling and applying for grants and funding that are now available to us, but these forms will be much easier (mentally) as we know they will result in us getting our centre open quicker. Strangely I enjoy form filling and I think I will enjoy these even more as they will be so beneficial to us.

Thank you to everyone of our supporters for staying loyal to us and giving us the motivation to keep going when we were feeling frustrated. 

Please stay with us to see what happens next. 

We know it is going to be an exciting time and definitely very busy but the families we work with and support deserve the right help and provisions in place. 
We will not stop our campaigning until changes are made and we will always be here to help all the families who contact us.

Friday, 17 March 2017

If you know a bereaved family remember that even their “good” days are harder than you could ever imagine. 
Compassion and love, not advice, is what is needed.
There will never come a day, hour, minute or second that they stop loving or thinking about their child. Just as parents of living children unconditionally love their children always and forever, so do bereaved parents. They want to say and hear their name just the same as non-bereaved parents do. They want to speak about their deceased child as normally and naturally as you speak of your living ones.
They love their child just as much as you love yours, the only difference is that theirs lives in heaven and talking about them is unfortunately still quite taboo. 
We want to change that. We want to make it that no family ever feels wrong or judged for wanting to talk about their child. 
Our society isn’t great at hearing about children dying, but that doesn’t stop a bereaved parent from saying their child’s name and wanting to share their love and life everywhere they go. Just because it might make you uncomfortable, doesn’t make them matter any less. My Grandson’s life was very short, but his love will live on forever,and our love for him will go on forever as well.
In the four years as a bereaved family, we are continually struck by the power of the bond between bereaved parents. Strangers become friends in seconds, something connects us, even if we’ve never met before. No matter what our circumstances, who we are, or how different we are, there is no greater bond than the connection between parents who understand the agony of losing a child. It’s a pain we suffer for a lifetime, and unfortunately only those who have walked the path of child loss understand the depth of both the pain and the love we carry with us.
There is no "getting over it". There is no end to the grief. We will grieve with all our hearts. There will never come a time where we won’t think about who Charlie would be, what he would look like, and how he would fit into the family. We wish people could understand that grief lasts forever because love lasts forever. The loss of a child is not just one event, it is a continuous loss over the course of a lifetime. 
This club called 'child loss' is a club we never wanted to join, yet we have met some of the best people we have ever known through it . We all wish that we could have met another way, one where we were not always faced with the loss of our children. We feel proud to know these amazing mums,dads,grandparents who continuously redefine the word brave.
If you know a family that could benefit from becoming a part of our 'Angel family' please get them to visit our website to see all the way we can support them helping them rebuild their lives.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Last Sunday saw Carrie appear in 'The Sun' newspaper. 

She has been nominated for the 'Mum Idol of the Year' competition that is being hosted by the paper. They had contacted us during the week to say that she was up for the award and could they come along to take photographs for the article.

It was quite a strange feeling knowing that she was going to be in a national publication. 
We have had articles in local papers and online but this is one of the big daily papers.

We know that this could be a huge thing for the charity as thousands of people all across the world read this paper and they will be reading Carrie and Charlies story.

Carrie was contacted by one of their reporters to get the full story of what happened and where we are today. 
They also contacted Sam (Carries mum) to find out all about the charity and what we are aiming to achieve in the future. They took lots of information from Sam about the website, the campaigning we do, and how we support bereaved families.

They then arranged a time to come along to take the pictures. The photographer was really good and put everyone at ease, even taking them down to the local park to take some images. 

We feel that Charlies Angel Centre is now becoming a nationally known charity, maybe not on a grand scale yet but definitely on the move up. 

With this publicity can only come good and positive things. 

When Sunday came around we all went to the online version of the article to see what it was like. Some of us also went and bought the paper edition as well.…/brave-mum-carrie-ann-curtis-use…/

It felt very surreal opening up this national paper and seeing Carries face looking out at us. 
We have always been extremely proud of Carrie and how she dealt with everything despite her young age but now it feels like so many others are now seeing this as well.

The pride we all felt seeing her there and getting over the story of her little boy, Charlie Arthur Curtis,was huge.

It would be great to see Carrie win the award and get some recognition for the amazing job she has done since losing Charlie. However if Carrie doesn't win the award she will always be an 'inspirational mum' to us and to her little angel. 

If you have not seen the article already please have a read and find out about Carries story.

Friday, 3 March 2017

As we move into the 3rd month of the year we are still totally amazed by how things are growing for the charity and the members of the family and friends involved. 2017 is exceeding all our expectations already and it looks like it is just going to get bigger and better.

Our telephones and emails continue to get busier and busier and  we are getting inquiries from across the country and from lots of different agencies.

The support we are now getting from professionals that are wanting to get the services we provide linked to their own services has been fantastic. We have been contacted by other bereavement support services, chaplaincy and many more specialist provisions.

We can see that the support bereaved families can access is starting to get bigger and it is now becoming a subject that is talked about more openly. There is still a long long way to go but at least it is starting to go in the right direction.
Part of the reason that child and baby loss has become more talked about has been down to some of the TV programmes over the last couple of years covering this subject and doing so in a sympathetic and informative way. 

Usually it is the big well known charities that can be effected by this type of story line but we definitely found that the number of people contacting us or visiting our website has increased.

We have also been busy with award nominations. 

We have 2 of our fundraisers shortlisted for the Yorkshire Choice Awards, which will be held on the 1st April, so we are keeping our fingers crossed for them.They are definitely winners already in our eyes but it would be great for them to receive recognition for their commitment.

The National Diversity Award nomination procedure has started and we have been told already that we have been nominated again for the Community Award. We wont know if we have been shortlisted until later in the year and as soon as we have all the details for you all to go along and vote for us we will let you know. 

This week we received a phone call from a reporter from The Sun newspaper stating that someone had nominated Carrie for 'Mum of the Year' and they wanted to come along and take pictures to go with an interview that will be published in the paper this Sunday.
It is fantastic that people are seeing Carrie, as we all have seen her every day since she lost Charlie, as a truly inspirational woman. Seeing Carrie & Charlies story in a main stream newspaper will makes us all feel so proud. 

We are also in the Yorkshire Mafia Gold Sponsors of the 'Buy Yorkshire Conference'. If we get the most votes from the public we would receive a sponsorship package worth £20,000. This amount would mean so much to us and would help us to continue to support the families we currently work with as well as allowing us to increase the support further.
We will let you know when we hear anything from them regarding our position in the scheme.

As you can see there are so many positive things going on for us right now and this is increasing every week. 
We know it is going to be hard work but we are all determined and dedicated to improving the provision of bereavement support for parents and families after the death of a baby or child.