Our Visit to Naomi House & Jacksplace
When we set up Birch Associates Events in 2016, we made a conscious decision we wanted to raise as much money as possible, through the events we organise, to be able to donate to various deserving charities.
Working with Douai Pavilion and Park, located in the lovely rural countryside of West Berkshire has enabled us to do this, through the Community Events Programme that we host there. In addition to raising much required funds for the Douai Pavilion and Park Association, (a voluntary run charitable organisation), we have also chosen specific children and young adult charities, to help and support. During the last 3 years, since we commenced our working partnership with Douai Park, we are delighted to have been able to raise over £16,000. This has been generated through raffles, auctions and donations given at the Open air cinema, Christmas market, Christmas party night and other events and even a half marathon that Katie ran (never to be repeated)!
During the first 2 years, our chosen charity was CLIC Sargent, supporting children and young adults with cancer. We received some very heart felt letters from children we had helped, and this encouraged us to continue our efforts.
Last year we decided to support Naomi House & Jacksplace and will be continuing to raise money during 2020, for this wonderful hospice, set in grounds at Sutton Scotney, Winchester. The fund raising team at Naomi House are so passionate about their facility and have attended our events, to share their story and explain to our customers who help us raise funds, how vital their support is and how it goes towards changing lives for children and young adults with terminal conditions.
We were delighted to be invited to go down there by Lucy, one of the fund-raising team, and have a tour and meet some of the inspiring young people who benefit from the money we raise. So, Friday 17th January we drove to Naomi House, not quite sure what to expect. What immediately struck us, was how relaxed and at home all the children and young adults and their families are made to feel. I suppose we were expecting it to be a little like a hospital, due to the complexity of some of their conditions, NOT at all!! No smell of hospitals, just areas with lots of fun activities, chill out areas and specialist equipment to allow these incredibly brave young people to share valuable experiences with their families and smile. Huge ball pits, specialist swimming pools, music instrument rooms, needless to say all of which cost a lot of money.
Lucy told us that everyone who comes to Naomi House, whether that be for respite or end of life care, always want to utilise the swimming pool, it is always booked! In the summer they have BBQ’s, in the extremely well-kept gardens, where the children love to go and use the play equipment in a safe environment.
We also had the opportunity to look at some of the extremely sophisticated equipment, required to cater for all the needs of the young children/adults, whilst they are staying. The cost of which escalates into thousands of pounds!
What really impressed us, was the attention to detail that goes into making each young person’s stay so personal. From their favourite cartoon character/animals on pillows and covers, to their precious cuddly toy at the end of the bed. Everyone who stays at Naomi House & Jacksplace have their own identity and they are not just a name/number. This is especially important as the children grow into young adults and need their own space and have the freedom at Jacksplace to develop their own characters and build friendships.
Naomi House & Jacksplace offers 525 children/young adults, across Berks./Hants./Wilts./West Sussex and Surrey to spend much needed respite time, with or without their families (their choice) at this fabulous ‘Bolthole.’ However, to provide such a unique facility comes at a cost – 9.2 million a year, to be precise. The majority of which is reliant on people’s generosity.
Unfortunately, there is the inevitable ending for the majority of these families. BUT this unbelievable oasis caters for this too. Such sensitive and tranquil surroundings for families to spend their last days together. I am sure you can imagine we struggled to keep it together, whilst visiting this particular space.
The other thing we need to mention is the dedicated and committed staff. Just so selfless. Not quite sure how they do it.
Our visit just reconfirmed for us, we had chosen such a great deserving charity to support and so worthy of the small contribution we can make to the enormous pot required every year, to make just a little difference to these children and young adult’s lives.
We are looking forward to returning later in the year, to learn more about these inspirational young people and just appreciating how lucky we are and how important it is to keep raising the money we do.
SO – A big thanks from Naomi House & Jacksplace and us, to all of you that come to our events and buy a raffle ticket, buy an item at the auction, donate money in the charity box – please keep doing it!