Suffolk Family Carers celebrate after beating £250,000 target for their Eight Days a Week Appeal
09:55 31 October 2014
A charity is celebrating beating its £250,000 appeal target after a year of fundraising activities.
Suffolk Family Carers has raised £252,465.41 for their “Eight Days a Week Appeal”, which means it has been able to buy, equip and run a mobile family carer centre, which will tour the county bringing the charity’s services to those who need it most.
The charity worked in partnership with the EADT and BBC Radio Suffolk, and the mobile centre, a former public service bus has been transformed into a place where family carers can be supported through advice, guidance, information and a listening ear.
The bus has been out and about over the last month visiting events throughout Suffolk and beyond to promote the mobile service the charity is now able to provide.
After many fundraising events since launching the appeal on October 21 last year, Suffolk Family Carers launched its final wish list at the beginning of this month, asking for the public to donate the last of the equipment needed on the carers bus to kit it out.
Among the items donated were a new website to allow the charity to better advertise where the bus will be visiting, a lifetime supply of tea and coffee, outside floodlighting and a selection of tablet computers.
This means the bus will be able to offer a fully equipped and efficient mobile service where people can receive support, advice and guidance in their caring role and have access to the latest and most up to date information available.
Neil Bowles, a family carer from Felixstowe, has been heavily involved in fundraising for the appeal as he cares for his wife, Linda. He said: “Suffolk Family Carers have supported me greatly over the past eight years, and so I was delighted to be able to help them with the appeal.
“The idea to buy and equip a carers bus to go out to the family carers all around Suffolk was a brilliant one.
“So many family carers struggle daily to look after loved ones, and they often struggle in silence – seemingly with no hope.
“Now Suffolk Family Carers can go to them, in their own town or village, and offer so much help and support, or even just offer an understanding and sympathetic ear.
“Caring can be incredibly lonely, like a long tunnel with no end in sight, but with the support of Suffolk Family Carers, family carers can have their lives transformed.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to have helped to raise money for this wonderful cause, and I am so proud to see the carers bus now in action around Suffolk.
“Among other things I have stripped naked, and walked over hot coals. Maybe that is too much information, but it was all done in the best possible taste, for a great cause.
“Linda and I look forward to continuing our lovely relationship with this marvellous organisation, and the many friends we have made along the way.”
West End star Ruthie Henshall, Suffolk Family Carers patron, gave a personal message for all those who supported the charity’s appeal, saying: “I would like to say a huge thank you for all the donations you have so kindly given. You are helping to change the lives of family carers in Suffolk.”
The charity’s director of organisational development, Leena Ghoshal, has been thrilled by the support the charity has received, adding: “This has been a phenomenal year of fundraising.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support people have showed us and this achievement would not have been possible without them.
“From personal donations to individual challenges and community events, so many people have been so generous in donating their time and money to our cause.
“Huge thanks to Radio Suffolk and the EADT in supporting our cause and enabling this to happen, and of course to each and every person who has contributed towards the appeal. With your help, we did it!”
The charity has worked in partnership with BBC Radio Suffolk since the start of the appeal back in October 2013.
Charlotte Spackman, Radio Suffolk assistant editor, said: “We’ve done it! A big Radio Suffolk thank you to all our listeners and EADT readers for being so supportive of our appeal with Suffolk Family Carers.
“Together we have helped raise more than £250,000 and the ‘carers bus’ is on the road, already making a difference.
“However you contributed, whether you hosted an event, put money in a collecting bucket, baked cakes, knitted a tea cosy, wore a crazy Christmas jumper or walked on hot coals – thank you!
“A special thank-you too to the many family carers, of all ages, who have shared their stories with us and let us into their lives – we couldn’t have done this without you.”
Terry Hunt, EADT editor, said: “As always, the people of Suffolk have shown themselves to be hugely generous supporters of a good cause.
“The mobile family carer centre will make a big difference to so many people’s lives.”
Alison Nightingale, fundraiser for Suffolk Family Carers said: “We are so grateful to everyone at BBC Radio Suffolk and the EADT but also to all those members of the public, and to groups such as the Rotarians, Women’s Institutes, Lions clubs, community church groups and those from Round Table groups across the county for all their support throughout the appeal.
“We have really enjoyed this last year and hope that more fundraising continues so we can run the carers bus for the next two years and beyond and support family carers in Suffolk.”
Despite the end of the appeal, there are still events for people to get involved in to support it.
Part of the “8 days a week” appeal partnership was to run the carers bus for two years so all of the fundraising which will continue beyond this point will go towards the up-keep and running costs of the vehicle.
There is a Fashion show and dinner run by Anna Boutique in Woodbridge on November 19 and an exclusive Christmas Fair on November 23.
For more information on the events, visit www.suffolkfamilycarers.org