We're born, there's a space and then we die. What happens in that space will make an impact, and the best part is, we get to decide what it will be.
It was Earth Day recently. That means something different to everyone, be it about people, our planet or animals, each of us draw conclusions based on what moves us emotionally about our planet. For me it is all three. Campaigns such as Earth Day encourage us to stop and look around us and take action. They make us re-asses our impact on the world around us and remind us of the power we posses to drive change in our community.
Whenever a big disaster occurs in the news, or we lose a loved one, we remark on how important it is to make the most of each day, embrace the people around us as one of us may not be around tomorrow. So why not make every day Earth Day? Why not make use of each day by doing something for someone else, or animals, or our planet?
What could you change with your spare change? Well if you put aside a little of the change in your purse each week, quite a lot could be achieved in the course of a year. Imagine what a local charity could do with that money. £5 can go far for a local homeless shelter or animal sanctuary. The charities involved in my Vegantine's Day campaign back in February use every penny you donate to change lives.
With the campaign live for only one day, I wanted to catch up with our charity organisers and share the work they have been doing since the 14th February and raise further awareness, and hopefully support the work that benefits so many people around the world.
VegFund empowers vegan advocates worldwide through grant funding and supporting effective outreach that inspires people to choose and maintain a vegan lifestyle.
The organisation has been through big changes in recent months. They've revamped all of their systems (website, grant application program, etc, expanded their grant program, started an online discussion group, and so much more!
Visit the VegFund website to stay up to date with their important work within the vegan community and to apply for grants for your own projects!
Included in a long list of updates from this inspirational organisation, the team joined a group of students from Wellington College at WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Woking. For the last year SEEd has been working closely with Wellington College, one of our partner organisations, to help the school develop and embed a Whole School Approach to sustainability.
Additionally, they have created this survey, designed to help you explore and question your own feelings, learning, thinking, knowledge, and assumptions around sustainability. Finally and just as important you can now donate to SEEd as you spend at a variety of online retailers by signing up to EasyFundraising.
"A massive thank you to Pelican Parcels for my beautiful bedding set with duvet and pillow, which my social worker just dropped off for me, I'm overwhelmed, thank you x"
‘'We had a young vulnerable parent in emergency accommodation who gave birth prematurely and had nothing for the baby. We rang Pelican Parcels and were able to get everything. When Mum came home she had a cot, she had nappies, clothes… it was just amazing.'’
Pelican receive referrals like this on a daily basis. And its why we need to reach our crowdfunding target, to keep operating and continue to help families in Brighton & Hove.
They take pre-loved and new item donations for babies and children up to age 10, and redistribute them to families facing financial hardship via various existing family services in Brighton & Hove.In the most recent Child Poverty Index it was estimated that 19.6% of Brighton & Hove’s dependent children are living in poverty. Brighton & Hove as a city has high rates of children in need, in care and with child protection plans and/or who have been referred to children’s social care services.
They're currently fundraising through a Crowdfunder to help set them up in a financially secure position please visit the Pelican Parcels fundraiser site to support this vital local service which currently supports so many destitute parents but with limited resource. Click here to find out more!
Pelican Parcels directly impact the lives of local parents in the Brighton & Hove area. Take a look at a few highlights from their Facebook page of the last couple of months:
As a new charity any financial help you can offer would be very gratefully received. We are hoping to cover our core costs such as the building rent and utility bills from grants, but any support towards these costs or the other items we need to buy will be a huge help.
Here’s what your donation could buy:
£5 a set of new bottle teats
£6 large tub of Sudocrem for sore bottoms
£10 10 x new bags for sending out clothing packs
£12 new microwave steriliser
£13.50 one tub of newborn forumula
£15 new mum pack with maternity essentials such as breast pads
£40 nappies for 1 month
£50 newborn formula for 1 month
£80 new mattress for cot or bed
£200 washing machine to ensure we send out beautifully clean items to families
£250 utility bills for 1 month
£500 a month of part-time volunteer coordinator
£1000 our office rent for 1 month
My Bright Kite
Our youth projects to support the inclusion and wellbeing of newly arrived refugees have been running weekly. In our weekly art project ‘Picture My World’ which uses art as a tool for relaxation and self expression, we have been exploring with water colours and getting ready for our exhibition that will launch in World Refugee Week in Leeds Museum in June.
Eleven young people really enjoyed a day trip out to York, where we were shown the historic sites by local secondary school students.
Young people in our ‘Freedom of Voices’ project took part in two skills based workshops recently, one about digital story telling with former child refugee, visual anthropologist and ethnographic film maker, Vanja Čelebičić. The second workshop was around speaking skills for films. Through this project, young participants are building key skills in readiness for the refugee awareness raising films they will make next month.
Children in our ‘Hearts and Hopes’ child-led social action project have been busy coordinating friendship bracelets and notes of hope for 400 children living in Vial Refugee Camp in Greece. We were so happy to receive some pictures of children in the camp receiving their gifts and you can watch more about this project here:
At My Bright Kite, raising awareness about child refugees so that schools can be welcoming and safe places for new arrivals is just as important as our direct provision of support to young refugees.
Children across two Leeds based primary schools have been taking part in a weekly project learning all about the experiences of refugees living locally and globally. They will be sharing what they have learnt in a film, which will be used in our awareness raising work in schools nationally.
Gulwali and Nola, co-founders of My Bright Kite, continue to deliver awareness raising talks and workshops to schools nationally
They are delighted to have three young people lived experience seeking refugee, join their education team. Nola is mentoring them around developing and sharing their personal stories of seeking safety and key skills for public speaking, which is a valuable volunteering opportunity enabling them to gain key skills and experience to transition into paid employment.
Gulwali recently launched a revised edition of his book ‘The Lightless Sky’ which documents his personal experiences as a child refugee and his 18 month journey to safety. The launch coincided with World Book Day which was a lovely coincidence! You can get your signed copy of the previous edition here
And finally, we were overjoyed to be reunited with a young family we first met in squalid conditions in a refugee camp in Europe two years ago. They have recently arrived to our region with very little. We have been able to visit and support the family to access some key services as well as providing some key essentials such as clothes, food, toys and household items to help them settle in.
We couldn’t do this work without the generous support of our donors. Thank you for joining us as a beacon of light for young refugees. Click here to see the current GoFundMe campaign!
On behalf of all of the charities, I would like to say 'Thank you' to those who donated money. Every penny raised will be used to benefit someone in need and is so greatly appreciated. If you were unable to donate at the time of the campaign, the charities are listed here and are still in need of your support throughout the year - you can also volunteer time in many cases, if you are unable input financially.
Keep up to date with the charities here on my blog or by following the individual charities in their respective social platforms. Links are available in the charity profiles here