We were overjoyed to be chosen as one of two local charities to be supported by the Apprentice & Graduate Association in Derby. Earlier this year the Association held a fundraising ball to benefit both ourselves and our friends at the Tiny Tim Trust. Additional fundraising by the apprentices and graduates followed during the remainder of the year. Last week we were invited to Rolls-Royce to receive a cheque for the Association's fundraising efforts. We received £2914.96 from the team and we've just been informed that an additional £500 is also on its way. We're truly humbled. A huge thank you to all involved. This amount will make a tangible difference to approximately 8 local families living with cancer (*grant applications average out at approximately £400 per family. We don't hand over any money - all items/services are paid for directly by the charity)
It's time to sit back and relax for a moment now that I've just submitted our Charity Commission Annual Return. Reflecting on 2014 - 2015 has been a humbling experience for me. We've done so much and met so many people during this last year. On behalf of our Trustees I'd like to say a huge thank you to all the sponsored event fundraisers, bucket shakers, runners, swimmers, knitters, tea makers, cyclists, bag packers etc and contributors.
Thanks also to all the businesses out there who have supported us during the last year - from donating time and space for events to assisting us with design time and materials for our promotional items.
Here's a quick rundown of what's been happening:
· Partnerships have been developed with other National and Local charities to promote our aim – Macmillan Cancer Support, Mummy’s Star, Derby Breast Cancer Support Group and The Laura Centre.
· Ben Nevis sponsored walk (group activity).
· Auction events held on regular basis at various sites.
· Promotion of individual’s fundraising events via own website.
· Charity race night organised by Alvo Boys FC.
· Charity of the year status and ongoing support with The Bubble Inn, Stenson, Derbyshire. Several fundraising opportunities have taken place at the Bubble. This will continue into 2015/2016.
· Bucket collections in supermarkets and businesses around Derby.
· Wristband sales in businesses around Derby have increased.
· Charity sweets partnership developed across Derby with ‘Reach Out’ – 20% of money taken for sweets sold are donated to Annabel’s Angels.
· Election of a Macmillan/Derby Royal Hospital employed individual to enhance grant application promotion via local hospital.
· We supported 40 women living with breast cancer by means of funding bespoke clothing – in partnership with Derby Breast Cancer Support Group.
· Enhancement of website and social media promotion via volunteer support from individuals with expertise in this area.
· Granted designated charity of year status by Status Social, a Midlands based social media specialist. This led to bespoke training provided at no cost, along with an increase in our social media output and engagement along with networking/promotional opportunities.
· Sale of merchandise via partnerships with local businesses.
· Increased presence in health and social care establishments in Derby – static displays at Macmillan Information Centre, Combined Day Unit, Breast Clinic and Outpatients Clinic.
· Promotional literature about the charity is offered to newly diagnosed cancer patients and families.
· BBC Radio Derby and The Derby Telegraph have published several Annabel's Angels news stories.
· Our volunteer reach continues to grow. Volunteers play a huge part in our work. Put simply, the charity would not be able to function were it not for the significant contribution made by the volunteer team of Trustees and the ever-increasing team of ad-hoc event and fundraising volunteers. Based on national minimum wage, we have calculated a financial contribution of £4382 made by volunteers. However, we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg; it's too simplistic, way too simplistic to measure input and impact from volunteers in this way.
So many people have all helped us raise our game this past year. You've helped to connect us into important conversations with others, you have helped tirelessly to promote our name and you have boosted our fundraising income significantly. With your support we have seen our income from donations increase by 84% from the previous year. We are grateful, we are humbled.
Our grant applications have shown a steady increase in 2014 - 2015 from the previous year. We expect this to increase as we forge new partnerships across the city. We continue to process grant applications quickly and responsibly, with an aim of making a decision within ten days from the date of receipt.
We move forward with the intention of keeping the charity 100% volunteer-led. We recognise that this could, and probably will, impact on our personal time (all Trustees have commitments etc) but we felt strongly, very strongly in fact that almost all of the fundraising donations we receive (91%) is given to the individuals and the families who need it most in the form of grant funded services and items to improve quality of life.
The Trustees and I have all been affected by cancer at some point, either as someone living with cancer, a carer or a close friend of someone affected by cancer. We have a good idea of how life can change when a diagnosis is given. That's why we do what we do, that's why we will continue to do what we do.
Thank you all for your support so far. Let’s build on this for 2015 and beyond
A note from Simon, Chair of Annabel's Angels
I've seen many people come and go since December 2012. I've seen friendly faces become even more friendlier. I've seen faces become distant, perhaps unsure about what to say or what to do. I've seen my own face in there too, equally unsure at times about what to do, say, interact, feel etc.
I've been very vocal about how lucky I feel I've been with the support I've received along the way. Family and friends helped with listening ears, broad shoulders and culinary skills. And dog walks too.
A key part of my well-being has been my involvement in a widower's forum set up by my good friend Benjamin Brooks-Dutton. Ben and I got in touch with each other in January 2013. I wanted to talk to other widowers to see if what I was thinking, feeling and fearing was normal. And so, the doors were opened for other widowers to join a small online group, a safe space whereby us chaps could talk openly and share our innermost thoughts and feelings about this new and unexpected stage of our lives.
It's now March 2015 and the group has grown considerably. Some are parents, some aren't. Some live overseas, some are young, some not so young. It's an eclectic group. Several guys have gone on to give their time and energy in helping to improve the lives of others. This has been in the form of fund-raising, joining charity committees, sharing their skills in a practical way, sharing their experiences in print and online, and some, like me, have gone on to set up a charity where gaps might exist.
Last weekend I ran the Lincoln 10k with three of those chaps - Paul Verrico, Andy King and Pete Wallroth.
Paul set up Teamverrico following the loss of his wife Anna. Team Verrico concentrates on Cancer Support, Research and Treatment Options and Education about all aspects of Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Andy supports the St Barnabas Hospice Trust which provides specialist palliative and end of life care so that everyone can access and receive the support they need to live well and ease the process of dying. He does this with his children Alex and Harry through their charity Screw Cancer.
Pete is the founder and CEO of Mummy's Star. It is the only UK charity with the aim of supporting pregnancy through cancer and beyond. The charity offers support to other women and families finding themselves in this situation by providing a single point for medical advice and guidance, a small grants programme to provide financial relief; and campaigning and advocacy.
Running the Lincoln 10k with these chaps was such a privilege for me. I felt a real resonance with them, a strong connection and unity. And, of course, a 'never give up' outlook on life. It’s safe to say we’ve become very good friends.
Experiencing a tragic life event has shown me the value of creating those all important life opportunities for me and my boys, to push ourselves physically and mentally, and to seize the day. Things don't, and never will, always go according to plan of course, but that's the beauty of life, we just never know what will happen. Do we?
Seize the day, connect with those around you, forge new friendships. Live and love life.
23 March 2015
* I'd also like to say a huge thank you to those who sponsored me for this event, those who shared Facebook posts, those who tweeted and those who cheered us all on during the race itself. Thank you all so very much x
The Bubble Inn is a pub/restaurant and hotel in Stenson, Derbyshire. The owner, Connie Eleftheriou, and his staff team have been supporting Annabel's Angels since early 2014. Our wristbands are available for sale on the bar, and our posters, pull up banners and logo can be found dotted around the place.
Saturday 29 November 2014 saw Connie and the team hold a charity raffle night with all proceeds going to Annabel's Angels. The night raised a total of £550, a fantastic amount. Our Chair, Simon, got up on stage and gave a quick history about the charity and thanked Connie for his continued support. It's clear to say they've become firm friends.
A huge thank you to Connie, his fantastic team and, of course, the customers of The Bubble Inn. We're looking forward at continuing our special relationship into 2015 and beyond
We're pleased to announce that our team of trekkers completed their August ascent of Ben Nevis (1344 metres) over the August bank holiday weekend. We had a fabulous time and we were blessed with stunning scenery and sunshine. We'll share a fundraising update shortly :)