Now it is July, the countdown to Christmas has started here at Sebastian's Action Trust
Sadly for many of the families supported by us, Christmas is a time of sadness rather than joy. Their beloved child has passed away or is too sick to enjoy the festivities and so this magical time becomes tinged with heartbreak and sorrow. Therefore, we like to bring a bit of Christmas magic and sparkle to them earlier than normal. For many, waiting until December to celebrate Christmas is just that little bit too long- therefore we celebrate it in July allowing those with little time left to enjoy the magic before it is too late.
Christmas in July allows families to have fun and spend precious time together, making memories to last a lifetime.
The inspiration for Christmas in July came from our founder Sebastian Gates who sadly lost his battle against childhood cancer on Christmas Eve 2003. His mummy, and our Chief Executive, Jane Gates said “Christmas is a time of celebration and without Sebastian it will never be the same again. Sebastian loved Christmas and we know he would have loved the idea of celebrating Christmas in July so we now want to give other families the opportunity to join us and make memories to last a life-time even if that life is cut cruelly short”
This year, our beach-themed Christmas in July party is being held at The Bluebells onSunday 29th July for our families, but we want everyone to take part in our Christmas in July celebration and spread a bit of festive cheer throughout the whole month.
We are asking ourt supporters to sponsor a child - just £25 would pay for a seriously-ill child, or their sibling, to attend the party. They can enjoy a range of activities, enjoy food and drink, and receive a special gift from Santa.
Alternatively, could you organise your own Christmas themed activity during July? You coud raise funds by:
- Charging your friends or collleagues for an early Christmas dinner or festive BBQ
- Organising a raffle with Christmas themed prizes
- Charging for a dress down day at work – shorts, flip flops and a Santa hat!
- Organising a Christmas bake sale and perfect your Christmas cake recipe
- Hosting a Christmas themed sporting event
In return we can
- Support you with fundraising and help with ideas etc.
- Provide collection tins
- Provide publicity on our website and social media channels
To support us in any of the ways mentioned above, please email email@example.com or call us on 01344 622500
Earlier in June, our valued supporters, Bewley Homes, put on their annual Golf Fundraiser, and are once again supporting the Trust with a share of the money raised.
37 teams of gofers gathered at Sandford Springs Hotel & Golf Club near Kingslclere to play 18 holes, and 190 guests attended the evening dinner The charity auction included some coveted items such as a meal for two at the Michelin starred Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Mercedes F1 merchandise signed by Lewis Hamilton and tickets to the England v India test match, to name just a few.
The event raised in excess of £27,000, which is being shared between two charities - ourselves and Breakthrough Learning.
We are so grateful for the support - this generous contribution will go a long way to helping us walk alongside families of seriously-ill children. We would like to say a big thank you to the team at Bewley Homes and everyone who sponsored and supported the event.
Following months of hard work and planning, we are pleased to announce that we are very close to completing phase one of our five year programme to refurbish our new premises, The Woodlands, in Crowthorne.
As of next week, our Bagshot office will be closed and our administrative staff will be based from The Woodlands. Jane Gates, our Chief Executive, has blogged about it here.
Classic FM presenter John Suchet surprised our Chief Executive, Jane Gates, with a cheque for £90,000 raised by Global’s Make Some Noise.
We were hoping for a grant of £25,000 but thanks to the generosity of listeners across Global’s radio brands, Global’s Make Some Noise more than tripled its donation.
The money raised by Classic FM and Global’s Make Some Noise will fund the cost of a new youth worker and two years of therapy at ‘The Bluebells’. The grant will also fund a brand new service for two years, which will allow the Trust to deliver music therapy to families in their homes and in hospitals. The £90,000 grant from Global’s Make Some Noise will help the Trust support almost 1900 children and young people over the next two years.
Global’s Make Some Noise is the official charity of Global, the Media & Entertainment group, and home to Capital, Heart, LBC, Classic FM, Smooth, Radio X, Capital XTRA and Gold.
Global’s Make Some Noise helps small charities and projects dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged youngsters living with illness, disablity or lack of opportunity. Global’s Make Some Noise gives charities such as Sebastian’s Action Trust a platform to reach an audience of more than 25 million weekly listeners through Global’s radio brands.
Every year, grants are awarded to small projects across the country to help fund the vital services they offer. Since its launch in 2014, Global’s Make Some Noise has raised more than £11 million and helped 192 incredible charities and projects.
Classic FM presenter John Suchet said: “Global’s Make Some Noise plays such an important role in raising awareness of amazing small charities like Sebastian’s Action Trust. The kindness of our listeners means Global’s Make Some Noise can more than triple its donation, which will help Sebastian’s Action Trust offer specialist support to thousands of children and young people who need it most.”
The families of seriously-ill children we support are often living through the most difficult and challenging of times. They may be struggling to cope emotionally with their child’s diagnosis or finding it hard to manage the day-to-day practicalities of life, which most of us take for granted. We would therfore like to say a very big ‘thankyou’ to the team at Global’s Make Some Noise and to everyone who fundraised to enable us to make their lives a little easier.
On Sunday April 8th, we welcomed families, complete with wellies and raincoats, to The Bluebells to enjoy our annual Easter Egg hunt.
Staff and volunteers loved seeing lots of happy children enjoying the bouncy castle, petting the animals from Millers Ark, having their faces painted, getting creative with the Easter themed arts and crafts and searching the garden for brightly coloured eggs.
Of course, no Easter Egg hunt is complete without lots of chocolate! We would like to say a big thank you to the local organisations who collected and donated eggs to the Trust. Their generosity really helped us put big smiles on the faces of our families.
Special thanks go to The Gym in Bracknell, Adidas, Shorts, Merrist Wood Golf Club, GE, Micron Europe and Record Currency Management.
The Woodlands – the Trust’s new facility in Crowthorne – is due to open its doors to families of seriously-ill children this summer.
We are inviting you, our supporters, to help us make the Woodlands as warm, welcoming and accessible as our respite home, The Bluebells.
We have carefully selected a range of items which will literally help us furnish our new home with love, with options to suit most budgets.
For more details on how you can help bring some comfort to families of seriously-ill children, visit our Furnish It With Love campaign page.
If you would like to select an item to help us furnish The Woodlands with love, please call us on 01344 622500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please tell us if you are gifting this to loved ones as a thoughtful present which continues to give to our families and we will send you a specially designed thank you card to help you announce your gift.
We are lookong forward to our first golf day of 2018 on 17th May at Camberley Heath Golf Club. This is a perfect opportunity to get together with employees or clients and enjoy a day of golf while helping raise funds for a local charity.
Individual entrance for the day includes bacon rolls to start, 18 holes on a beautifully designed course, followed by dinner.
A corporate package is also available. At £420 this includes entrance for a team of four, your logo on the programme, your logo on a hole and entrance to all the extra games on the day.
As a charity without a single penny of government funding, we rely on our own fundraising efforts to support families of seriously-ill children. Therefore, events like these help us continue to walk alongside families of life-limited and life-threatened children who often have nowhere else to turn.
All our fundraising events are memorable occasions and you are guaranteed to have fun while helping make a real difference to families locally. You can read the story of one of our families, the Hunts, here.
To join us on our golf day please call 01344 622500.
Our monthly prize draw gives our supporters a chance to win a cash prize, while helping us raise funds for families of seriously-ill children.
Since the launch of the 50:50 Club in 2009 we have paid out over £35,000 in prizes, and ploughed the same amount into supporting families of seriously-ill children with respite breaks and outreach care.
The aim of the club is to generate funds for Sebastian’s Action Trust whilst giving you a chance to win a share of the prize fund. You can purchase a single number for entry into the monthly draw for a donation of just £5 a month and you can pay for as many numbers as you like. As we celebrate our 15th year supporting families, we are encouraging our supporters to purchase £15 worth of numbers - that's three chances to win a share of the prize fund each month
Each month half of the proceeds are allocated to our prize pool, while half goes to support the work of Sebastian’s Action Trust. Four numbers are drawn at random every month.
The prize fund is dictated by how many numbers are entered into the draw each month. For example, if we have 2000 single numbers in the club it would give a monthly prize fund of £5,000 - with the other £5,000 going to the Trust. This would make four winning prize amounts of:
1st prize £2500
2nd prize £1250
3rd prize £750
4th prize £500
While we won’t announce the names of our four monthly winners, from April 2018 we will be announcing the four winning numbers each month on our Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/sebastiansactiontrust.
To be in with a chance, and to help us continue our work supporting families of seriously-ill children, our 50:50 leaflet can be downloaded here.
Our new facility, The Woodlands’ officially became ours last November, enabling us to begin a five year programme of renovation and expansion in order to turn a tired Victorian villa and its surrounding buildings into facilities fit for the many purposes our beneficiaries require.
The building in Crowthorne, will house a brand new family hub in which we will continue to provide a wide range of outreach services including well-being treatments, activity days, coffee mornings and much more. This will also become our new administrative centre, meaning we will bid farewell to our Bagshot office as we move into our new permanent home.
We are looking forward to welcoming families to The Woodlands later this year.
As we reach the end of 2017 we once again ask our supporters to make a #PledgeForSeb – a new year’s resolution with a difference. We are now heading into our 15th year, with so much to look back on and be proud of, and plenty to look forward to too.
Could your #PledgeForSeb be based around our 15th year? Here are some suggestions to start you off:
- Volunteering – could you spare 15 days in 2018 to help out? There are so many ways our volunteers can support us and we would gratefully put your skills to good use.
- Weight loss: Aim to lose 15lb and make a donation to the Trust, sharing your progress on social media
- Collection tins: Can you persuade 15 venues to carry our collection tins? Let us know and we can do the rest
Of course, your #PledgeForSeb doesn’t have to be based on the theme of 15 – as a charity which doesn’t receive a single penny of government funding, we are grateful for all support in whatever form it takes.
From signing up to a fundraising challenge, hosting a supper club and charging your guests, holding a Bake it With Love fundraiser, volunteering your time and skills, we would love to hear your #PledgeForSeb.
Please get in touch via email, Facebook or Twitter to let us know about your #Pledge. If you are local we can arrange for you to have your photo taken with our #PledgeForSeb selfie frames!
On December 11th we celebrated the unveiling of our wonderful new state-of-the-art cinema room at our family respite home, The Bluebells. This was made possible by a collaboration between Together For Cinema - a charity specialising in bringing cinema to respite facilities and hospices – and Kinektd, who managed the design and construction.
The launch was attended by Ian Morrish, founder of Together For Cinema, Shaun Wilson , Director of Knektd, and many of the suppliers who so generously donated equipment and services to help make this fantastic new facility possible. Jane Gates, our Chief Executive, commented; ‘The launch was a lovely opportunity to meet many of those who played a part in creating this fabulous new cinema room which will give joy and precious memories to so many of our beneficiaries, adding life to days in spite of an uncertain future.’
We are very much looking forward to welcoming our families to enjoy time together in the new cinema room. We are planning to organise some special film screenings to make the most of this fantastic facility.
We would like to say a very big ‘thankyou’ to everyone involved in making this possible and for bringing some of the magic of Hollywood to The Bluebells.
A timelapse video of the cinema room's construction can be viewed here.
The Trust's Christmas party is one of the highlights of our calendar of events for our beneficiaries.
The Macdonald Berystede Hotel was the setting for this year's party on Sunday 3rd December where our families enjoyed precious time together having plenty of festive fun. A team of volunteers and staff were on hand to make the party extra special.
Mark Courage, Chair of Trustees, presided over Santa's grotto making sure every child received a special present. Families also enjoyed a sensory winter wonderland, Christmas afternoon tea, reindeer petting, face painting, Scalectrix, a disco and festive arts and crafts.
The Trust is thrilled to be able to share the wonderful news that they have just taken ownership of a property in Crowthorne.
The ex-NHS site is to be transformed into a new, permanent, family hub which will be known as The Woodlands. In time, The Woodlands will offer similar facilities to those available at The Bluebells.
As the Trust heads into its 15th year, this is a great milestone. The charity's founder, Sebastian, would be so proud of how the Trust has supported so many families, and will continue to do so with the development of this new facility.
For some of the Trust's beneficiaries living in Berkshire and the surrounding area, Basingstoke is often too far to travel so being able to provide a facility slightly closer to home, where the needs of the entire family can be catered for, is wonderful news for the Trust.
It is hope that doors to The Woodlands will open in the summer of 2018 with activities and therapies including sensory play, art and music therapy and well-being on offer. In the longer term, much more is planned including hydrotherapy and fully equipped self-catering lodges within the beautiful grounds.
Progress will be shared on the Trust's Facebook pag
Earlier this month the Trust held a fundraising Crystal Ball in the beautiful surroundings of Great Fosters in Egham.
A champagne reception was followed by a delicious meal and entertainment included live music, contact juggling and a casino.
Some wonderful lots were snapped up in the silent auction by our very generous bidders including a holiday for six in Barbados, a round of golf and lunch with Glen Hoddle, and a 1966 England World Cup shirt signed by some of the winning team!
With so much to be proud of as our charity shortly moves into its 15th year, the event was a fitting celebration, raising in excess of £50,000, once all pledges are in. We are so grateful to all the individuals and organisations who volunteered their time, or offered sponsorship, services or prizes to help us raise such a fantastic amount. We would also like to offer our heartfelt thanks to all our supporters who joined us at the Crystal Ball, for helping to make it such a memorable, and successful, evening.
All funds raised will enable us to continue to support families of seriously-ill children, providing respite breaks and offering emotional, social and practical care, tailored to each family's needs.
Earlier this year we nominated one of our beneficiaries, Ben Morris, for Best Magazine's Hero Awards and were delighted to learn that he was one of the worthy winners! In October Ben, and his wife Marie, attended the star-studded awards ceremony in London with meals and an overnight stay thrown in.
Ben is step-dad to JJ who is 8 years old and Mia, 13, and also has three daughters of his own – Sophie who is 16 years old, Phoebe 14 and Isabel, 10.
“I was a single father bringing up my 3 girls on my own. In this time I met Marie, Mia and JJ and we used to take our two youngest to a sure-start club together, where I watched JJ run around and talk my ears off, she was a very happy and healthy little girl. However, sadly, in January 2011 JJ (aged 2), became unwell and went into Status epilepticus and was put in an induced coma in intensive care. Once they woke her, she was a forever changed little girl and could no longer walk and talk like she used to. The prolonged seizure had left her severely brain damaged and disabled, needing 24/7 care. In this time Marie's previous marriage broke down and further along the line we ended up together and recently got married and our families joined together as one. So, I am now a proud father to not only my three girls, but also my twostep-daughters.
Recently, I have stopped working and became JJ's full time carer, so Marie could follow her dream and work for the Ambulance service but I also have my dream - having quality time with the children. However, it is a struggle sometimes, as JJ does have restless nights due to her condition and regular medication that she needs. We also have the everyday struggles - we can no longer take her out on bike rides as we do not have a suitable seating system for her and her ever growing needs means new equipment and this isn't cheap! Going out can be a bind as we have to be mindful of stairs and public facilities. Holidays are also such a headache for us, as JJ suffers from hyperacusis, so it has to be somewhere quiet but still have all the equipment we have at home to be able to bathe and help her in her every day needs, so it really is a welcome support that the Trust gives us, and continues to do so."
We are so proud of Ben and we are delighted that Best Magazine selected him as one of their #BestHeroes.
Our Chief Executive, Jane Gates was delighted to once again attend the Royal Mail Worldwide Distribution Centre in Langley to accept a cheque following the team's staggering fundraising efforts.
Mike Sibley, International Head of Processing, and took on a mammoth 24 hour cyclathon to raise funds for the Trust for the second year running, along with his colleagues Dan Tovey and John Lawrence. Over 140 staff members took turns to ride for at least one hour on spinning bikes and cross trainers to help raise funds for families of seriously-ill children.
Mike and his colleague Peter Vincent also took part in the Ride 100 to raise even more funds for the Trust. So far, the team have raised over £15,000 through a range of activities - a wonderful amount which will make a significant difference to our ability to offer emotional, social and practical support, ensuring our care is tailored to the individual needs of each family member as well as the whole family unit.
This week is 'Remember a Charity in your Will Week 2017'. We are therefore asking our supporters to consider leaving a legacy to the Trust. After providing for family and friends, remembering Sebastian’s Action Trust in your Will could make the world of difference to the families of seriously-ill children we support.
Our Chair of Trustees, Mark Courage, comments;
“I am very fortunate to be Chair of this wonderful charity which does so much to support families of seriously-ill children. As a director and financial adviser of my own business, I know how time consuming work and social life can be, and how it impacts on financial planning. My motto is simple - "why put off tomorrow what you can do today”. We work hard to get out of life what we put in and therefore protecting what we have can be so important. Writing a Will means less financial headache for those you leave behind. Also, as well as some tax advantages, leaving a gift to your favourite charity can have a lasting impact. For a charity like Sebastian's Action Trust which does not receive a penny of Governement funding, leaving a gift in your Will can make a real difference to families facing the most difficult of challenges.'
Learn more about legacy giving by visiting http://www.sebastiansactiontrust.org/support-us/legacy-giving. We always recommend speaking to speaking to a solicitor about your intentions.
Back home from holiday with a pocketful of foreign coins which you can’t change back into sterling?
Don’t just chuck them in a drawer. Seemingly worthless, those little coins can go a long way towards helping us support families of seriously-ill children.
Simply drop your donation into our office in Bagshot, Bas Books in Bracknell or at The Bluebells in North Waltham and we will do the rest. We also have a special 'Coinathon' box available to collect your loose coins in.
And this year, you don’t need to limit yourself to foreign coins. Don’t forget that come October, the original pound coins will no longer be legal tender. We would gratefully accept any you still have. Just £10 would cover the cost of a family swim session at The Bluebells. With so many families needing our help, a little really can go a long way.
For more information or to request a 'Coinathon' box, please call us on 01344 622500 or email email@example.com
Last month Bewley Homes held their annual fundraising golf day at Sandford Springs Hotel & Golf Club near Tadley. Thirty two teams of golfers played 18 holes of golf which was followed by an evening dinner attended by 180 guests. This was followed by a raffle and charity auction. Amongst the many prizes being auctioned were tickets to the England v West Indies ODI at The Ageus Bowl; a kitchen table experience at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill; and holiday accommodation for a week in a selection of glittering locations from Salcombe to Spain.
The event raised an extraordinary £28,810 to be shared between Sebastian's Action Trust and The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
Simon Taphouse, Commercial Director at Bewley Homes, said: “Giving back to the communities in which we live and work is central to our ethos at Bewley Homes.
“The money raised from the 2017 Bewley Golf Day has funded the Sebastian Action Trust’s Christmas in July party which brings the sparkle and shine of Christmas early to seriously ill children. It has also been used to sponsor a new guide dog puppy, now that Bewley’s previously sponsored dog has successfully completed his two year training.
“We have chosen to support these particular causes, not only because they are incredibly worthwhile but also because we know the money raised will help at a local level.”
Hannah Lambart, Fundraising Manager at Sebastian's Action Trust commented: 'We are so grateful to the team at Bewley Homes for sponsoring our annual Christmas in July party. It is one of the most important dates in our calendar of family events, bringing smiles to the faces of seriously-ill children, making magical memories to last a lifetime."
Children who were unable to attend the Christmas in July party will receive gift bags over the coming weeks, which were funded in memory of Charlotte Emily Riches.
Bracknell Town Football Club has offered the Trust a golden opportunity to promote and sell advertising hoardings around their football ground. 50% of the revenue will be donated back to us to help us continue our work supporting families of seriously-ill children.
The Football Club has recently undergone a major redevelopment and now boasts a state of the art 3G pitch. The average attendance for home games is over 350, peaking at 1000 at the end of last season. In addition, the club hosts junior teams, attracting both ‘home and away’ parents to the ground and matches for corporate companies. Training sessions for local Sunday league teams are also held at the ground.
Jim Porter, community fundraiser for the Trust, commented, ‘We are so grateful to Bracknell Town FC for giving us this unique opportunity to seek sponsors for the Club. Local organisations can promote themselves to hundreds of people from all walks of life every day of the week, while helping us raise funds to carry out our vital work supporting families of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions’.
To find out more about advertising please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01344 622500.
Here at Sebastian's Action Trust we like to keep our supporters and families updated with the latest news.
This includes the occasional email with news about current campaigns and upcoming events. We also produce a newsletter twice a year which goes out by post or email, according to preference.
If you haven't already signed up for news about how we support families of seriously-ill children, and would like to do so, please complete this short survey.
Remember, we will only contact you if you have told us you are happy for us to do so, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The Trust is delighted to be holding a fundraising lunch at the stunning Coworth Park Hotel and welcoming Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent as guest speaker. The lunch will be hosted by Councillor Samantha Rayner, a great supporter of the Trust. With a champagne reception, a three course meal and a glass of wine, this is set to be a wonderful afternnon.
Make a date for Wednesday 11th October from midday. Tickets are £50 a person and can be booked by calling 01344 622500.
We are delighted to announce that Sebastian’s Action Trust have been selected as one of this year’s beneficiaries of Global’s Make Some Noise – just one of over 30 charities they will be supporting across the UK.
Global’s Make Some Noise is the official charity of Global, the media and entertainment group. The charity unites some of the UK’s best-loved radio stations - Heart, Capital, LBC, Classic FM, Smooth, Radio X, Capital XTRA and Gold – to raise money and give a voice to small projects across the UK, supporting youngsters and their families living with illness, disability or lack of opportunity. They also run some master classes covering marketing, media and digital skills to help with building sustainability.
Emma Bradley, director of Global’s Make Some Noise, said: “Global’s Make Some Noise is all about shining the spotlight on small charities across the UK. They can often get overlooked, but we’re in the fantastic position to be able to raise money and awareness about their brilliant work through Global’s much-loved brands. We’re thrilled to be able to support Sebastian’s Action Trust and look forward to making lots of noise for them this year.”
A very exciting time for all at the Trust and looking forward to working with Global’s Make Some Noise over the next year.
To see our profile on their website and for more information on the company, please click here: http://www.makesomenoise.com/category/who-we-help/ukwide/
We have been selected to take part in the Co-op local community fund. If you shop at a local Co-op within 15 miles of the Bagshot branch, please consider becoming a member and selecting Sebastian's Action Trust as your nominated good cause. By doing so 1% of everything you spend on own branded goods at the Co-op will benefit families of seriously-ill children.
To register with the Co-op, please visit https://www.coop.co.uk/membership. It costs £1 to join, which you will be refunded when you spend £20. Once you are a member you can then choose a charity to support – if you don’t see Sebastian's Action Trust then please drop down to ‘Find other causes’ and search.
Funds raised through this initiative will help pay for our annual Christmas in July party. Sadly not all the children we support will be here to enjoy Christmas, so every year we bring it forward allowing families to create magical memories to last a lifetime.
This spring could you show your love for families of seriously-ill children and take part in our Bake it with Love campaign?
We are simply asking you to Bake it with Love, where your efforts will help bring a smile to the faces of seriously-ill children and their families. We are encouraging as many people as possible to raise money through bake sales and bake-offs, by holding these in your workplace, at home, in a school or with friends. This is a great way for groups and individuals to get involved and do something worthwhile in their community
Our campaign been backed by the Great British Bake Off star, Martha Collison.
To help you organise your very own Bake it with Love event, please download our fundraising pack here. Do also remember to share your event images via our Facebook page and tweet us or post on Instagram using the hashtag #bakeitwithlove.
Sebastian’s Action Trust is to receive a £362,356 grant from The Big Lottery Fund, enabling the charity to continue its outreach work for a further 3 years, to provide social, practical and emotional support for its beneficiaries.
The grant will enable further expansion of the outreach service the Trust has developed since 2013 from an initial Big Lottery application. The funding will additionally cover the inclusion of befriending and counselling, adding further scope to the Trust’s range of services.
Jane Gates OBE, CEO of Sebastian’s Action Trust, says “We as a charity are extremely happy and excited to have the continuation of this much needed fund. The relief is immense to know we have this opportunity for growth and that support for our beneficiaries will continue to thrive under our careful stewardship.”
The Trust’s outreach service supports over 450 families covering the five counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey. Within its holistic model of care the service provides direct support to individuals within the family and as a whole unit, including parents, siblings, grandparents and other significant carers to help aid their journey through their child’s illness from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.
One such family is the family of Frankie Lockart, who is 13 years old and has Cystic Fibrosis and Type 1 Diabetes. Upon diagnosis, a whole new world of hospital appointments, schedules and regimens were thrust upon the family, making a new normal for them individually and collectively.
“Coming to terms with the diagnosis was probably the hardest part” says Mum Michelle. “As well as having to understand what the diagnosis meant, I had to quickly learn about the administration and side effects of life long medication. Frankie was relying on me, but I was having to also deal with my own emotions.”
The family were put in touch with Sebastian’s Action Trust at the point of Frankie’s diabetes diagnosis. They were allocated an Outreach Worker, who worked closely with the family to walk alongside the family as they came to terms with the diagnosis and the new routines.
“Our Outreach Worker is a fantastic listener; she comes with me to hospital appointments and then after the appointment she takes the time to chat through what was discussed. She helps to keep me grounded and look at the whole picture and not go off on a tangent. When I have new forms to fill in, Sue is on hand to help make it easier and clearer for me. I don’t have to over explain to Sue. She makes me feel like I am not alone.”
Frankie’s younger sister Elisse, who is 10 years old, has also struggled with the impact of the diagnosis. As the family focus has inevitably been on her sister, Elisse’s behaviour has shown tendencies towards anger and aggression. Outreach Worker Sue has been instrumental in providing one to one support to Elisse, giving her time and ensuring she feels listened too whilst helping to ease the burden on Mum Michelle.
Funding of the outreach project by the Big Lottery enables the Trust to continue to meet the ever evolving needs of seriously-ill and life-limited children together with their families, through every day challenges and their darkest times when they need help and support the most.
Could you get on your bike and help bring a smile to a child’s face? Join us at Bagshot’s Big Bike Ride on Sunday 28th May and help us raise funds to provide vital support for life-limited and life-threatened children and their families.The bike ride, organised in partnership with Spokes of Bagshot, has the choice of three routes – 15, 50 or 75 miles making it perfect for cyclists of all levels. This is also a great training opportunity for anyone preparing for Ride 100.
We set off from Hall Grove School GU19 5HZ, at 8.30am. The entrance fee is from £15 to £25 depending on the route chosen.
To sign up. please Register at www.sebastiansactiontrust.org/bigbikeride2017
On Friday 10th February, Tony Virgo, the Mayor of Bracknell Forest, hosted a Burns Supper in aid of the Trust.
The Stirrups Inn was the venue for the event, which included a traditional piping in of the haggis, an address to the haggis and, of course a delicious three-course Scottish dinner. No Burns Supper would be complete without a ceilidgh to end the evening – it was great to see so many guests getting into the spirit of the event and dancing the night away, We would like to thank all who attended for helping make the event such a big success.
We are honoured to be the Mayor’s chosen charity for his year in office, and would like to thank him for all his support. The Burns Supper is just one of a programme of events the Mayor has kindly hosted to help the Trust raise funds to support families of seriously-ill children.
Piping in the haggis
The Mayor of Bracknell Scottish dancing
We are bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.
Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the monthly funding scheme, which sees grants of £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local outdoor community projects.
Three groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and, during February, shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.
Sebastian's Action Trust is delighted to be one of the groups on the shortlist, aiming to raise funds to develop horticulture therapy for our supported families at The Bluebells
Voting is open in the following stores from 1 February to 25 February.
Basingstoke RG24 8BE
Basingstoke (Metro) RG21 7LG
Lychpit (Express) RG24 8TF
Baughurst (Express) RG26 5LZ
Hook RG27 9JE
Kempshott (Express) RG22 5NZ
Popley ( Express) RG24 9DR
Oakridge Road (Express) RG21 5SG
Four Marks (Express) GU34 5HG
Anstey GU34 2NF
Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop, so please do remember to take part every time you shop.
Could you make a Pledge for Seb for us and help the families of seriously-ill children we support every day? A Pledge for Seb is a new year’s resolution with a difference. We are asking our supporters to pledge to do something to help the Trust and to share it on social media
Whether it be volunteering a few hours as a one-off to help with an event for our families or taking on a fundraising initiative, the only limit is your imagination!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Hold a Bake it with Love sale at work, home or your child’s school to raise funds for the Trust
- Undertake a personal challenge – e.g. sponsored bike ride, skydive, weight loss programme
- Attend one of our fundraising events – with everything from dinners to quizzes and golf days to bike rides there is something for everyone.
- Become a befriender. Whether you can spend a few hours once a week or once a month, you could make a big difference to one of the families we support.
- Take part in one of our bucket collections – with a range of dates and locations to choose from there will be one to suit you.
The options are endless.
We look forward to hearing your pledges. Please remember, whatever your ‘Pledge for Seb’, it will go a long way to helping us support families of children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions.
Back in the summer, Mike Sibley and John Lawrence of Royal Mails’ Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre in Langley recently rode spinning bikes non-stop for 24 hours, raising almost £10, 000 for the Trust. The team at Royal Mail have put this video together about the challenge and why they chose to fundraise for the Trust. We would like to say a big thank you to them for all their support. Everything they have raised has helped us with our vital work supporting families of seriously-ill children.
Last weekend, Northcote House in Sunningdale became Hogwarts for the day, all for our annual children’s Christmas party!
Our families were all invited to attend an unforgettable Harry Potter themed Christmas party. All the Trust Staff got into the spirit and were dressed as characters from the Harry Potter films.
With lots of magical activities to take part in, including potion making, Harry Potter themed fun and games, face-painting and musical entertainment, there were smiles on everyone’s faces!
Families could also have fun featuring in their over Harry Potter photo, courtesy of the magic of a green screen and a bit of wizardry on the computer!
The party was topped off with a delicious high tea in the Hogwart’s Dining Room and Dumbledore was there and presented a Christmas present to every child.
Katie Cowie, the Trust’s Head of Family Services, said ‘Many of the families we support find it hard to take part in mainstream social activities as very few places have the facilities required by a seriously-ill child who may be wheelchair-bound and using specialist equipment to help manage their condition. We ensured the Christmas party was as accessible to as many of our families as possible. We are delighted so many children and their families enjoyed the Harry Potter inspired party and are proud to have helped create special memories to last a lifetime’.
Findings released this week show that statutory funding for children’s hospices and palliative care charities in England is well below the level needed. With 40,000 children in England with life limiting or life threatening conditions, Government spending needs to reflect this, but in fact funding is being reduced. Children’s palliative care charities’ costs are increasing and are almost 10% more than last year. However, year on year, the state has reduced its spending and last year saw a 22% decrease. Shockingly, if you were to look at state funding for palliative care in terms of how far it would go over a year, it would run out on 21st March next year.
As a charity supporting over 400 families of seriously-ill children, we can see first-hand the impact this lack of funding has.
Our findings show that many of the families we support feel that when it comes to accessing services such as respite care, they are facing a brick wall with local authorities who just don’t have the funding to provide it to families in need.
Many families struggle due to the financial strain that caring for a seriously-ill child can put them under. Due to budget cuts they are unable to access practical help, advice and guidance regarding the grants and benefits available. At Sebastian’s Action Trust we aim to bridge that gap with our dedicated outreach provision and financial support and welfare service.
External agencies, including the local community nursing team state, that without the Trust’s outreach programme many families would struggle to cope and there would be a significant strain on existing services which are already stretched.
We do not receive a single penny of government funding. Covering Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire,. Sebastian’s Action Trust is here to walk alongside families of seriously-ill children. We will continue to do so , but we call for Government spending in this area to be increased, so throughout the country, the needs of every child, and their families, can be met. #fundnotfail
The full report, issued by Together for Short Lives, can be viewed here:
Get into the festive spirit by joining our annual Santa Fun Run, where runners of all ages and abilities can choose to run, dance or prance around the picturesque 7km route at Virginia Water in Berkshire. This is always a fun family event and seeing crowds of Santas running round the lake is a sight not to be missed!
The event takes place on Sunday 11th December and starts at 10.30am.
Entrance for the event is priced at £15 for adults, £10 for children and under 5s are free. All entrants receive a Santa Suit and a medal.
To register please click here or call the fundraising team on 01344 622500.
We are delighted to be participating once again in The Big Give Christmas Challenge. Donations made through The Big Give can be doubled, allowing your money to go twice as far this Christmas.
Candis are once again charity partner for the Trust, matching donations on a first-come, first-served basis until the match-pot runs out.
Match-funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis so please make your donation as soon as possible after midday on Tuesday 29th November, #GivingTuesday. The Big Give Christmas Challenge lasts for 72 hours, ending at midday on Friday 2nd December 2016.
To donate please visit http://bit.ly/satbiggive at midday on 29th November. Please remember to save the date in your diary to ensure your donation can be doubled.
All money raised from the Big Give will be used for our family respite home, The Bluebells.
Please help put a great big smile on a child’s face this Christmas.
We support families of seriously-ill children from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.
Our annual Christmas bash has become a ‘not to be missed party’ and is a chance for the whole family to put their cares aside for a couple of hours of fun packed entertainment
Just £50 could pay for a child to attend this year’s party on November 27th.
Every child attending can join in and become part of the fantastic Harry Potter themed activities we have planned, enjoy a delicious, magical Hogwart’s afternoon tea and be amazed by the wizadry. Finally a chance for an early visit from Santa to round off a memorable afternoon.
Please donate generously and help a family create some magical Harry Potter memories that will last far beyond Christmas.
To donate please click here or call 01344 622500.
This year, to mark ‘Remember a charity in your Will week‘ we are asking our supporters to ‘pass on something legendary’. After providing for family and friends, remembering Sebastian’s Action Trust in your Will could make the world of difference to the families of seriously-ill children we support.
In addition to remembering charities in your Will, some private pension schemes enable you to opt for the pension pot to benefit a charity in the event of your death. A financial adviser could give you more guidance about this.
Visit http://www.sebastiansactiontrust.org/support-us/legacy-giving to find out more about remembering Sebastian's Action Trust in your Will. We recommend speaking to speaking to a solicitor about your intentions.
An hour-long spinning class is enough to tire most of us out for the rest of the day, but Mike Sibley and John Lawrence of Royal Mails’ Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre in Langley recently rode spinning bikes non-stop for 24 hours.
Mike and John undertook this feat of endurance back in June to raise money for the Trust. Throughout the physically demanding challenge, Mike and John kept smiling through, spurred on by colleagues and supporters who kept them going, night and day, with encouragement moral support and refreshments.
Mike Sibley recently presented our Chief Executive, Jane Gates, with a cheque for £9275.45.
Jane commented, ‘All of us at the Trust would like to extend our gratitude to Mike and John for their inspiring achievement. The training and preparation involved in cycling for 24 hours, along with the after-effects should not be under-estimated and we appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into making this astounding fund-raising challenge a success. Every penny raised will make a real difference to the families we support so we would like to say a very big thank you to Mike and John, their families, supporters and also to all at Royal Mail WDC who made this possible.’
A little bit goes a long way.......
For many who are lucky to jet off somewhere foreign for holidays this summer, returning with a pocket full of loose foreign coins is a common problem. Unfortunately, many money exchange outlets do not change foreign coins back into sterling, leaving holiday goers with unwanted foreign coins in their drawers at home.
Sebastian's Action Trust now has a solution for those pesky foreign coins.............donate them to the Trust and we can turn them into funds to help our families of life-limited and seriously-ill children. For you, they may seem like pence, but for us they can be turned into pounds and vital funds to help continue our work supporting our families.
Simply drop your donation into our office in Bagshot, The Hub in Slough, Bas Books in Bracknell or at The Bluebells in North Waltham and we will put it towards the work we do.
We also have a special 'Coinathon' box available to collect your loose coins in.
For more information or to request a 'Coinathon' box, please email: email@example.com or call 01344 622500
Andron Handling, corporate supporters of the charity, are sponsoring a family fun day at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit on Sunday 21st August, with all proceeds directly benefiting families of seriously-ill children.
With the fun starting at 1pm, there will be plenty to keep the whole family entertained. Activities will include:
- Sponsored cycle event (one circuit is just under 1 mile)
- BBQ and refreshments
- Fun family games
- Face painting
- Bouncy castle
- Wet sponge stocks
- Penalty shoot out
With all that and much more to enjoy, make a date in your diary and join in the fun.
Details about the venue can be found at www.hillingdoncyclecircuit.org.uk
On Sunday, we saw some very special children celebrate Christmas in July, along with their family and friends at The Bluebells.
The Pirate themed party started at 1pm and saw over 200 guests enjoy lots of fun activities. They could walk the plank, dig for gold, watch the Pirate magic show and listen to the Pirate band ‘Captains Beard’.
We were very lucky to also have The Honeypot Children’s Charity playbus there for the party too. Guests could decorate their own Pirate gingerbread man biscuit, colour and do other arts and crafts in the playbus that was parked outside The Bluebells.
Lots of bouncing fun was had on the bouncy castle, before guests tucked into a delicious Hog Roast, and as the sun came out to play for the afternoon the ice creams and strawberries were a welcome dessert.
Father Christmas was also there in his grotto, and got into the spirit of the day as he was also a Pirate! Children could visit him, have their photo taken with him and were also given a Christmas present.
Christmas in July is an opportunity for families to leave their troubles and pressure behind for the day and create fun memories as a family. The smiles on everyone’s faces, especially the children’s, said it all! Children of all ages played well together and the adults were all relaxed too. There was a real family atmosphere to the day.
The Trust staff and the volunteers got into the spirit by dressing as Pirates, and many of the guests also followed the theme with some fantastic costumes not just from the children but the adults too!
After lots of swash buckling fun, guests headed home with balloon swords, presents from Father Christmas, smiles on their faces and lots of wonderful memories.
Thank you to all our wonderful staff, volunteers and everyone who helped and donated items and their time to make the party so very memorable!
40 ladies recently enjoyed a scrumptious lunch at the Italian restaurant 'Caldesi in Campagna' in Bray to celebrate the publication of 'Around The World In Salads', the latest creation of celebrity chefs Giancarlo and Kate Caldesi.
Guests were treated to a four-course feast featuring fresh, healthy and delicious salads from across the globe, which were explained in detail by Giancarlo himself who generously hosted the lunch in aid of the Trust.
A raffle, table game and generous donation from the Caldesi family helped to raise more than £1400 for a cause which is particularly close to Giancarlo's heart. Our thanks as always go to Heather Kent and Helen Isaacson for organising the lunch, as well as our wonderful benefactor Giancarlo Caldesi and the impeccable staff at Caldesi in Campagna for giving our guests a memorable afternoon. We would also like to thank Chris Towler, the official photographer.
Volunteers’ Week runs from 1st to 10th June, giving the Trust a perfect opportunity to say a big thank you to all the wonderful people who freely give their time to support us.
Without our team of volunteers we would not be able to fulfil our mission of walking alongside families of seriously-ill children, from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.
Volunteers can, and do, get involved in every aspect of the Trust’s work. This ranges from helping in our bookshop, driving families to medical appointments, helping us prepare for family events such as our Christmas in July party, helping out at a bucket collection or offering an extra pair of hands at one of our fundraising events.
We will shortly be looking to recruit volunteer ‘befrienders’ to work alongside our family outreach team who can spare time to be a friendly face for our supported families. As a befriender, the support you might offer could range from a chat over a cup of tea or helping out with shopping to accompanying families to Trust events.
Could you spare some time to support the Trust? Whether it be a couple of times a year or once a month, through to a few hours each week, it all makes a big difference to the work we do supporting families of seriously-ill children.
To express your interest, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Trust has been fortunate enough to be selected to take part in the Jewson 'Building Better Communities' scheme. This scheme will see organisations with the highest proportion of the public vote winning a share of £100,000.
With your vote, a share of this money would help us build two Butterfly Lodges in the grounds of The Bluebells. These lodges would provide a peaceful retreat for bereaved families, enabling them to spend time mourning their loss and celebrating their child's life. A place to take solace, share memories and take time to heal.
Please help Sebastian's Action Trust support bereaved families by voting for us by clicking on this link, and sharing this as widely as you can with family, friends and on social media.
Voting closes on 19th June. Please double check that you have voted and not just 'liked' and 'shared' on Facebook.
From all of us at the Trust, thankyou in anticipation of your support.
Thank you to everyone who came along and helped make The Bluebells Fete such a success last weekend. Visitors, volunteers and stall-holders helped to create a fun-filled event for the whole family. The sun shone and visitors enjoyed an array of attractions including face painting. glitter tattoos, sand art, fun with LEGO and entertainment from the Carnival Chorus. The money raised will help us continue to support families of seriously-ill children.
Pictured are some of the team from LEGO, which proved to be popular with children of all ages!
The sun shone on our supporters and beneficiaries at the official opening of the Daisy Wing, the newly extended section of The Bluebells. The ceremony was conducted by Mr Nigel Atkinson Esq, HM Lord Leiutenant of Hampshire, and John Inverdale, Honorary President of Surrey Wooden Spoon. We were also joined by the Mayor of Basingstoke, Cllr Anne Court.
Following the official opening, guests, who included many of the Trust’s supporters, volunteers and beneficiaries enjoyed afternoon tea in the sunshine. The beautiful grounds of The Bluebells, our family respite home in North Waltham provided the perfect setting.
Laura Powell, from Tongham near Farnham, sadly lost her son Ethan, aged 15, who suffered from a chromosome disorder, at the end of last year. Laura is grateful for the support she received from the Trust and the time their family spent at The Bluebells. ‘Being able to have a "normal holiday" where we could all relax and have fun made such a difference to us. Having fun in the pool together gave us an opportunity to make awesome memories with Ethan before he died. I am forever grateful for that time and the photos we have of us all together in the pool.’
A generous donation from Surrey Wooden Spoon helped make the extension to The Bluebells possible. New additions to the respite home include the Daisy Suite, a welcoming communal area which has already been used for a range of activities including a party for the families who appeared in the BBC Children in Need film about the Trust last November, coffee mornings, yoga sessions, the annual remembrance service and a fundraising quiz. There is also a new wellbeing and therapy room for parents and carers to enjoy some therapeutic relief, as well as a well-stocked advice and guidance library containing a wealth of useful information for families on a range of subjects including financial entitlements, funding options, a directory of other non-statutory services and books to help children understand what is happening to them and their siblings.
With a sensory room, arts and crafts area, swimming pool and beautiful gardens, The Bluebells is a place where families affected by life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses can create special memories to last a lifetime.
If you can give Miss Marple a run for her money, or love settling down to a classic episode of Poirot, we have the perfect evening lined up just for you. We are holding a Murder Mystery Evening on Friday 24th June at Lychpit Village Hall in Basingstoke. For £35 you can enjoy a Prosecco reception, two course dinner with wine while putting your sleuthing skills to the test as the murder mystery unfolds throughout the evening. The fun starts at 7pm. If you would like to join us, and help solve the mystery, tickets can be booked by calling 01344 379380.
On Saturday 16th April, Sebastian’s Action Trust were fortunate enough to receive a generous donation of £1,500 from Windsor Rugby Club.
Last year, they held a Rugby World Cup Event called ‘The Windsor Festival of Rugby’. As part of this event, they decided that money they received from the sale of their RWC brochure should go to a Charity and we are very honoured that Sebastian’s Action Trust was their Charity of choice.
The brochure was the creative idea of David McKinlay, who sadly passed away in March. He oversaw the full creation of the 48 page brochure, and it is thanks to his creativity and hardwork that we have received such a generous donation.
Our CEO Jane Gates OBE went along to the Windsor RFC match versus Leighton Buzzard RFC to receive the cheque, along with David’s Wife Hilary McKinlay and Ian Potter (pictured below).
A huge thank you to all at Windsor Rugby Club for their generous donation to Sebastian’s Action Trust.
More information can be found on the Windsor Rugby Club website also: http://www.windsorrugby.co.uk/wrfc/index.cfm/news/club-donates-1500-to-sebastians-action-trust/
As a recipient of Children in Need funding the Trust was delighted to feature on the BBC Appeal show last Friday evening (13th November). The film, broadcast on BBC South just after 9pm featured the moving stories of two of the families supported by the Trust.
Some of the filming shown on Friday was taken at our ‘Christmas in July’ event this year at Marwell Zoo, for over 80 families of seriously-ill children. Children aged from two months to 18 years-old enjoyed a festive fun-filled day full of surprises with their families. They arrived at the enchanting Marwell Hall and were greeted by a seasonally colourful 12ft Christmas tree which symbolised the Trust’s Christmas in Summer campaign.
Some of the families featured in the film attended a party on Friday evening at The Bluebells, the Trust’s respite home, followed by a screening of the video.
Mark Courage, the Chair of Trustees, is grateful for the support from Children in Need; “We are thankful for the grant provided by Children in Need which enables us to continue the work we do, walking alongside families with seriously-ill children. Without this we would not be able to expand the support we can offer our families. Without the assistance of Children in Need, achieving our goals and aspirations for families would be hard to fulfil and for this alone we are most grateful.’
To view our video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fyIEc-AGzI
The Trust has been very fortunate to receive funding from Children in Need, which has enabled us to increase the number of Support Workers we have and therefore the number of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions we can support.
On Friday 13th November a short film about the Trust will be featured on this year’s Appeal Show. The film will be broadcast on BBC South at around 9pm and will feature the moving stories of two of our families.
Chief Executive of the Trust, Jane Gates OBE, commented ‘The grant from Children in Need has enabled us to fund an outreach worker who provides an important service to families who are facing the death of a child, or who will live with the grief that comes with such a loss. This grant will help us continue to walk alongside such families, so we are very grateful to Children in Need for their valuable support. We are delighted that the Trust is featuring in the Appeal Show on BBC South this coming Friday.’
It is hoped that by featuring on the Appeal Show more people locally can find out about the work of the Trust and support our fundraising efforts, and help us continue to provide a valuable service to the families of seriously-ill children.
If you would like to make a donation and help support families of seriously-ill children, please go to our Donate page or text HERE10 and amount (e.g. £5) to 70070
The French Horn in Sonning-on-Thames was the picturesque setting for a fundraising lunch that raised over £1500 for children’s charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust on Tuesday 10th November.
Organisers, Heather Kent, Helen Isacson and Sarah Crosbie, were joined by friends and fellow supporters of the Trust, for a champagne reception, two course lunch and a fashion show from designer specialist, Cognito of Windsor.
Michael Emmanuel, Managing Director of The French Horn, said “It was an honour to be able to host the Sebastian’s Action Trust lunch with a wonderful group of people who are all here to support such an amazing charity”.
Jane Gates OBE, CEO for Sebastian’s Action Trust said, "We are incredibly fortunate to have the continued commitment of a hardworking group of supporters who work tirelessly to organise events in support of our cause. Today we once again enjoyed a fabulous lunch and fashion show which showcased the season's latest trends from leading designers featured at Cognito in Windsor, with accessories from the delightful Kent and Kerr. More than £1500 was raised; a fantastic achievement for which we must thank our generous guests, hosts The French Horn, event organisers Heather Kent, Helen Isacson and Sarah Crosbie and our fashion guru compere, Alvin Green.
As always, we aim to walk alongside families of seriously- ill children from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. The sum raised today will help us continue to provide many forms of emotional, social and practical support within the holistic model of care we offer to families who face enormous challenges on a daily basis."
Trustees are the people in charge of a charity, and hold ultimate responsibility for directing the business of the charity. They are often the unsung heroes, playing a vital role, volunteering their time, working together to make the decisions that really matter about the charity's finances, activities and plans for the future.
People often become trustees to 'give something back', but joining a Charity also enables them to develop new skills and meet new people that may open up new opportunities for them. All this whilst benefiting the charity with their skills and experience.
Trustees’ Week, organised by the Charity Commission, is now in its sixth year and aims to highlight the great work that trustees do, whilst also drawing attention to the opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved as a Trustee and make a real difference.
Here at Sebastian’s Action Trust, we have eight Trustees on our Board, all of whom provide their time and effort to support and guide us in our quest to provide the best support we can to the families of seriously-ill children.
This week we would like to take the opportunity to celebrate our team of trustees and thank them for all their hard work and dedication.
If you are interested in finding out about how you can become a trustee, please get in touch.
In 2011 The Bluebells in Basingstoke first opened its doors to families of seriously ill children and has provided much needed respite to over 400 families in the last two years.
An application to build a further family respite centre along with an outreach hub has been submitted to Bracknell Forest Council as part of a larger housing development. This facility would enable Sebastian’s Action Trust to support many more families in the Bracknell area.
Jane Gates, chief executive of the Trust, and mum to Sebastian who died in 2003, is keen to see the centre become a reality; “Sebastian wanted somewhere families could be together, and to open a centre in Bracknell, his home community, would be a dream come true. Many families travel for miles to visit The Bluebells in Hampshire so to have a facility here in Bracknell would make it much easier for those from the Berkshire area”. Antler Homes, who are proposing the housing development, have offered to build the centre on behalf of the Trust.
The Trust supports over 110 families living within ten miles of the proposed site at The Hideout in Bracknell, and more than 450 families spread across the region who would be able to access the support services provided by the Trust.
Christmas came early to 80 families of seriously-ill children, when Santa made a special appearance at Sebastian’s Action Trust’s annual Christmas in Summer party.
The Queen’s Award winning charity hosted its Summer Party this year at Marwell Zoo, where children aged from 2 months to 18 years old and adults enjoyed a festive fun-filled day full of surprises.
Families arrived at the enchanting Marwell Hall and were greeted by a seasonally colourful 12ft Christmas tree which symbolised the Trust’s Christmas in Summer campaign. Christmas music rang throughout the hall, where families were treated to a visit to Santa’s Grotto, themed arts and crafts activities and a trip to the Secret Garden where an array of outdoor attractions provided family fun for all to enjoy. Guests were also able to enjoy see all of the 235 different species of animal at the Zoo.
The Trust’s Christmas in Summer campaign is extremely poignant as sadly for some very poorly children, waiting to celebrate Christmas in December may be that little bit too far away.
The MacGowan family from Basingstoke attended the party and said, “We had a wonderful time as did our four children. We are always excited in the build up to events run by the Trust because it's so nice to catch up with other families and see everyone smiling and enjoying special family time. Each Trust event surpasses the last – they have a real knack for organisation.
Being at the zoo was great fun in itself due to the animals, but then to be greeted so warmly on our arrival with our goody bag, packed with water and a map to keep us going on a hot day! We then visited the secret garden, where our children got to have fun in a fete like atmosphere was such good fun.
We had fun on the bouncy castles and Ollie even managed to throw a ball into the tilted bucket to great cheers from the guys running the games. I love how the Trust builds a community amongst its families; wandering around the zoo we bumped into other families who all said hello and greeted us like long friends even though we had never met in person.
As always my family and I are eternally grateful for the Trusts continued support and wonderful hard work that goes into their events”.
Jane Gates OBE, CEO for Sebastian’s Action Trust said, “Snow Leopards, Lions, Giraffes and Santa’s elves joined in to make a truly memorable day for many of the families the Trust supports. From start to end, children and parents alike did not stop smiling and having fun, whilst celebrating at our Christmas in Summer party.
This was the first year that we have ever held our party outside of July and our respite holiday home, The Bluebells, but due to the building works creating our new extension we had no option but to redeploy the even and hence the Christmas in Summer party!
A seasonally festive Santa and his elves worked wanders to ensure that every child received a present. Our campaign brings the joy of Christmas early as unfortunately for some of the families we support Christmas may not be a time of celebration.
I would like to extend my appreciation to Marwell Zoo for allowing the Trust to host our amazing party in their grounds and for helping to make it a memorable day”.
Sebastian’s Action Trust would also like to thank; Sporting Footprints, Aurora World, Bandia, Character Group, Golden Bear Toys, Mattel, Orchard Toys, Spinmaster, Rainbow Designs and The Green Boardgame Company, for generously donating toys for children’s stockings.
The Trust would also like to extend its thanks to Pepsico for supplying food and drink as refreshments for the families.
Last year over 350 runners took part in Sebastian’s Action Trust’s biggest run ever, seeing participants choose between a demanding 5km and 10km route around Bracknell’s Swinley Forest.
The event this year takes place on Sunday 13th September, starting at The Lookout Centre. Hannah Lambart, Events co-ordinator for the Queen’s Award winning charity said; “We were delighted to see so many runners at our first Swinley Forest Run last year. The atmosphere from the participants and the spectators was amazing and really set the tone for the event. We are encouraging people who took part last time to not only come back and beat their times, but to also bring more friends and family along with them too.
We had great support from Canicross running groups and would welcome them to join us again. This year we are also very grateful to our sponsors Avnet and Knight Frank who are generously supporting the event”.
Chip timing is available on the day, as well as viewing points for friends and family along the route. Registration is now open and to sign-up please click here.
On Thursday 9th July, County Council Chairman Sally Marks and the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Councillor Joanne Potter joined members of the local community at the opening of Sebastian’s Action Trust’s Family Outreach Hub in Bagshot.
The sun was shining as representatives from local schools, businesses, hospitals, volunteers and families the Trust supports arrived at the opening of the charity’s Surrey Heath Family Outreach Hub.
Jane Gates OBE, Chief Executive for the Trust was delighted to welcome everyone to the opening, “We are thrilled to invite members of our community to the opening of our Surrey Heath Family Outreach Hub. Our fantastic facility would not have been made possible without the support of Surrey County Council, in particular Councillor Mike Goodman.
Our charity is ever evolving, seeking to address the unmet needs of the families we support. We were fortunate enough to recently open our first Family Outreach Hub in Slough and wanted to replicate with a smaller scale model, making our services even more accessible to families of seriously-ill children in Surrey and its surrounding areas.
Our new facility will enable families of children with complex health needs the opportunity to receive well-being therapy, emotional, social and practical support, and access to advice and guidance in a place that is warm, welcoming, non-clinical and safe. Being able to give families the support they need whilst at home, in hospital and now at our Outreach Hubs is central to our ethos of walking alongside families of seriously-ill children from diagnosis through treatment and beyond".
Sebastian's Action Trust gives its full support to Sister Frances Dominica and is proud that she remains a valued Patron of our award winning charity.
Since our inception in 2004 we have walked alongside families of seriously-ill and life-limited children from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Sister Frances was our charity's first Patron and has remained a loyal support of the Trust for over a decade.
For full details, please read a copy of our statement written by our Chair of Trustees, Mark Courage.
Two brave SAT supporters and staff members from Winnersh-based company AIT, took part in a sponsored skydive, raising money for our cause.
The skydive took place in Sailsbury on Sunday 21st June, where Sonia Lawlor and her husband Terry jumped from the sky to raise over a staggering £3,600 to support families of seriously-ill and life-limited children.
Sonia, who is close friends with our CEO Jane said, "I am so proud to have been associate with the charity since its conception and hope to raise much needed funds to help them keep supporting families. Howeverm the thought of throwing myself out of a plane was terrifying!".
Sonia's story was picked up by Get Reading, to read the news article please continue here.
On Thursday 4th June, we will be holding awareness stands in Bracknell’s Princess Square shopping centre and at Basingstoke's Festival Place so that people can learn more about volunteering opportunities in their local area.
In 2014, Sebastian’s Action Trust volunteers were recognised with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, being honoured specifically for its volunteering services in Surrey. The accolade is the highest honour for volunteers as it acknowledges those who regularly devote their time to helping others and improving quality of life and opportunity for those they help.
Jim Fyfe, Regional Development Officer said, “We are very fortunate to have a variety of volunteering opportunities at our charity. From marshalling at events, to doing bag-packs and bucket collections, to running stalls at fetes and fares or even volunteering at our charity book shop Bas Books, we truly do have something for everyone.
Volunteers are at the heart of our charity, ensuring that we walk beside families from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. We hope that lots of people come and meet our teams in both locations on the 4th”.
Sebastian’s Action Trust is celebrating national Volunteers’ Week and will be featuring a handful of volunteers on their Facebook page, where you can read more about how they have become involved. The team will be at Bracknell’s Princess Square on Thursday 4th June from 11.00am – 2.00pm and at Basingstoke's Festival Place.
On Tuesday 19th May, Sebastian’s Action Trusts’ Chief Executive Officer Jane Gates was presented with an OBE by HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, for her services to seriously-ill children and their families.
Jane made the short journey to Windsor Castle, alongside her husband Mike and daughter Rebecca to collect the prestigious accolade.
Jane Gates, OBE said, “I am so humbled by this achievement. It is such an honour that is accepted in the name of my beloved son Sebastian who set out the challenge for us to provide a special place where sick children could visit and create precious family moments. It is a true reflection of what ‘we’ who are the team that is Sebastian’s Action Trust has achieved”.
Caroline Holton, Chief Development Officer at Sebastian’s Action Trust added, “The award is hugely deserved. Jane is extremely passionate about the charity, going above and beyond for families we support, our volunteers and its supporters. Jane’s commitment and admiration has ensured that we achieve key milestones as a Trust, but more importantly continue to walk alongside families of life-limited and seriously-ill children from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.
Sebastian’s Action Trust celebrated its 10th year anniversary last year, where it opened its Family Outreach Hub in Slough, providing another essential service to families of seriously-ill children in the Berkshire area. The Trust has also started work on expanding its respite holiday home, The Bluebells to include a much needed counselling and well-being suite.
Representatives from Worting Community Trust recently visited Sebastian's Action Trust to learn more about the charity’s work and to see The Bluebells, the Trust's respite holiday home which was built exclusively for life-limited children and their families.
Trustees of the Worting Community Trust recently approved a generous grant for £19,000 towards the costs of a two-storey Counselling and Therapies Suite which when completed will enable families with life-limited children to access one-to-one and group support, as well as a resource library. The suite will also provide an accessible space for the families who use the house to meet and share experiences. In addition to helping fund the Suite, the Trust has committed £9,000 to help transform the hydrotherapy pool's changing room into a wet room, which will enable many more families whose children have complex and often multiple disabilities to use the facility which is contained within The Bluebells.
Jane Gates OBE and CEO for Sebastian’s Action Trust said "We are absolutely delighted that the Worting Community Trust has chosen to so generously support our work. It was my pleasure to show everyone around The Bluebells and to enable members to see our work in action. We welcome the Worting Community Trust into our 'family of families' and look forward to a long relationship with them".
Be a part of our Sun Run this June and help us to bring the joy of Christmas to seriously-ill children this summer. The Trust is encouraging people to register before Sunday 7th June to be in with the chance of winning a tablet.
The Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust is holding its 5km Sun Run on Sunday 14th June at Down Grange Sports Complex in Basingstoke. The annual event marks the beginning of the Trust’s Christmas in July campaign, where participants can run, walk or jog the 5km route.
The Murray family from Chineham, Basingstoke have been supported by the Trust for 4 years and are taking part in the fun run as a way of giving something back to the charity. Mother and supporter Susan Murray said, “Sebastian’s Action Trust has been a lifeline for Molly and our family. Molly has an undiagnosed severe neurological disorder, which causes her to have in excess of 200 seizures per day. The severity of this means that Molly requires constant care and observation which can leave a strain on the family unit as caring for Molly is extremely difficult.
Having been introduced to the Trust I have attended many Mums’ Pamper days and my husband has become involved by taking part in Dads’ days too. Molly’s sister Tabitha has also attended many sibling events, all of these activities have given our family support in so many different ways as we have all been able to be around people experiencing similar issues and not being afraid to talk about it. Molly loves visiting the Trust’s respite holiday home, The Bluebells and by taking part in the Sun Run we know that all money raised will go towards supporting families like ours”.
The Trust is also excited to announce that guest appearances by Elsa and Anna from the Disney hit film Frozen, will be greeting runners and spectators on the day.
Community Fundraiser Gemma Simpkins said, “We are delighted to have the support from our corporate supporters Unum, as this means that we can once again host our Sun Run at Down Grange. Although this day will be a great event, it also has a much deeper meaning. Sadly for many of our families a lot of children we support may not be able to celebrate Christmas in December. That’s why we are encouraging as many people as possible to help us raise vital funds which will help the incredible children we support”.
Entry costs £10 for adults, £5 for children and spectators are free. For those the register for the run before Friday 5th June will be entered into a prize draw to win a tablet. The Trust is proud to have the support from Basingstoke Rugby Club, who have kindly let us use their facilities as well as putting on a BBQ, providing a bouncy castle and a Rugby coconut shy, which we are sure will not disappoint. Supporters will be able to buy refreshments and gifts from a variety of stalls and stands on the day.
To register, please click here or call 01344 622500 to book your place today.
Back by popular demand, the Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust, is holding its fifth annual Crown and Tiara walk this May.
Fundraisers can get a taste of royalty, opting for either a 4 or 8 mile walk in the picturesque grounds of the Crown Estate and take in the stunning sights of the Windsor Great Park.
New for this year, the 4 mile route will feature a treasure hunt, which will make for a fun-filled family activity.
Caroline Holton, Chief Development Officer for the Trust said, “We are encouraging as many people as possible to get involved in the Trust’s fifth annual Crown and Tiara walk. We have since reviewed the course and have introduced two route options; a 4 mile route which is perfect for younger families and will include a treasure hunt and an 8 mile option which is suited towards more experienced walkers or those who want to complete a personal challenge.
Our walk is a great opportunity for a group of friends, work colleagues or individuals to come together, but also a chance for families to come together as a whole. All funds raised from the event will continue to support families of seriously-ill children”.
Buckinghamshire supporter, 19 year old Amy Webb is backing the event as she has received support from the charity since 2013 after battling Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. “I've seen at first-hand how donations from events like this one can benefit those that truly need a bit of respite or just some information and advice. My family took part in the walk last year and was a very enjoyable event which the whole family could get involved with and will be participating again this year!”
The event will take place on Sunday 31st May from 10am-3pm, with entry priced at £15 for adults and £5 for children, participants can either enter as individuals, families or groups. To register please click here or for further information call 01344 622500.
On Sunday 29th March, families of seriously-ill children supported by Sebastian’s Action Trust were invited to join the Trust’s mascot, Bluebell Bear at its annual Easter Egg Hunt.
The event, hosted at Millers Ark in Hook, saw 160 families and friends come together and enjoy an action-packed afternoon consisting of a traditional Easter Egg Hunt, decorating eggs, face painting and petting and feeding farmyard animals.
Jane Gates OBE, CEO for the Trust said, “We were delighted to hold our annual Easter Egg Hunt, this year at Miller’s Ark. The Trust’s respite holiday home, The Bluebells usually plays host to this exciting event, however building work is due to commence on its extension which will enhance the services we can deliver to families of seriously-ill children.
“Our charity is committed to creating precious and memorable moments for children with complex health care needs and their families.
“We would like to also say a big thank you to BJP, GE and Priority Appointments for generously donating Easter Eggs for our event; in total we had well over 300 chocolate eggs! We were also grateful to receive toy bunnies from LEGO for those children who cannot eat chocolate. It’s the support from our families, volunteers and local companies that enables us to fulfil our aim of providing meaningful support and to be here for the families of seriously-ill children. Always”.
On Monday 9th March 2015, pop star Ella Henderson visited our Family Outreach Hub in Slough to see the work of our Comic Relief funded Financial Inclusion project.
The project helps families who are suffering financial hardship due to the pressures of caring for a seriously-ill or life-limited child.
The project, which is managed by Financial Inclusion Workers Jacquie Burnett and Fehmida Azma, offers information, advice and support to families who are struggling to cope financially and provides a vital life-line to many of the families we support.
We loved welcoming Ella to Sebastian's Action Trust. Ella said she was inspired by the work that we do and spent a long time chatting with families and taking part in the many activities we run at the Hub.
Ella said, "I met a family at the Trust who were too overwhelmed to cope with their money worries. Ten-year-old Reece needs a bone marrow transplant to cure a blood disorder called severe aplastic anaemia. His older sister Danielle is the same age as me. She quit sixth form and started work in a coffee shop when her brother got ill to help with the family's cash flow. But their mum Cathy got behind on rent and council tax, which added a massive amount of stress to an already very difficult situation. When the Trust helped Cathy to get her finances sorted, the relief was immense".
To read more about Ella's time at the Trust, please click here.
On Wednesday 25th February, 240 ladies attended a charity screening of this year’s ‘must-see’ film Fifty Shades of Grey.
The film fundraiser took place at Maidenhead’s ODEON cinema, raising money in memory of local 8 year old Grace Duggan, who sadly passed away in December 2014 after losing a battle against a medulloblastoma brain tumour.
The event was a huge success, seeing local businesses such as Waitrose and Tesco Local donate sweets and popcorn, Virgin Holidays donated Eye Masks and to tie in with the theme of the film, Homebase also gave away cable ties. The Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust made a generous donation which ensured the event had as many refreshments as possible to raise money for Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust.
Organiser of the successful event Julie Owen said, “Sebastian’s Action Trust have been a tremendous support to Grace throughout her illness and are now continuing to support her family. Being a close friend of the family, I wanted to organise an event where all the profits would go directly to the charity, to raise as much money as possible in Grace’s memory. I have to say a massive thank you to NBCUniversal and ODEON for allowing this event to go ahead and their help with the organisation and all the local business who supported us. It was a fun night and of course I need to thank all the ladies who attended, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the evening for a great cause!”.
Jane Gates OBE and CEO for Sebastian’s Action Trust represented the event and said, “We were overwhelmed by the support given and the generosity of those who attended. We are so grateful to be recipients of Julie’s fundraising efforts and it is a wonderful testament to Grace’s legacy. We hope she shares in the sense of pride we feel in making life a little better for children like Grace, who face enormous challenges as a result of their illness or condition”.
Challenge yourself and take part in the “I’m in the mood for dancing’s” charity dance-a-thon!
Local Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust has linked up with Bracknell & Wokingham College to host its second charity dance-a-thon. The 3 hour event is aimed at people aged 12 and over and people of all dancing abilities. Event goers will enjoy a mixture of dance styles including Jazz, Disco, Salsa, Rock n Roll, Modern, Street and much more!
Jim Fyfe, Regional Development Officer from the Trust said, “We are excited about holding our second dance-a-thon and this time we hope for it to be bigger and better! Last year we had a great turn out and raised lots of money through sponsorship, we are very hopeful to do the same again in March.
“The event itself is fun-filled and light hearted, appealing to people of all dance abilities. We are very grateful for the support from Bracknell & Wokingham College and we would love to see as many people as possible on the 4th dancing to support families of seriously-ill children in the local community”.
The cause is particularly close to the hearts of members of staff at Bracknell & Wokingham College as staff member Louise Oxenham’s daughter Hollie sadly passed away last May after receiving support from Sebastian’s Action Trust.
Jane Chapman, Marketing Manager for Bracknell & Wokingham College said, “We are so pleased to be able to support this charity which means so much to a number of our staff – we know what a great support Sebastian’s Action Trust was and is to Louise and her family. The college was happy to host the dance-a-thon and I hope that lots of people get in the groove and have fun dancing the night away for a seriously good cause. “Having got a number of college staff, Louise and John Oxenham and their family and friends together as ‘Team Hollie’ to raise money for the Trust at their 10K race last year, it’s great to see our students now getting on board too and choosing this fantastic charity as one of the recipients of our forthcoming charity fundraising Rag Week.
“We look forward to welcoming lots of enthusiastic dancers into our Sports Hall on Wednesday 4 March for the dance-a-thon.”
The dance-a-thon takes place on Wednesday 4th March at Bracknell & Wokingham College Sports Hall, from 6.00-9.00pm. Please call 01344 622500 to book your ticket. Tickets cost £10.00 per person.
For further information please visit www.iminthemoodfordancing.co.uk. All funds raised will help Sebastian’s Action Trust continue to walk alongside families of seriously-ill children from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.
Show your love throughout February and March for families of seriously-ill children by taking part in our ‘Bake it with Love’ campaign!
Over the months of February and March, the Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust is asking you to simply ‘Bake It with Love’, where your efforts will help bring a smile to the faces of seriously-ill children and their families.
The Trust is encouraging everybody to raise money through bake sales and bake-offs, by holding these in your workplace, at home, in a school or with friends. Martha Collison, from the BBC’s Great British Bake Off recently baked with children the charity supports to launch the campaign. Martha said, “It was such a pleasure to visit the charity's outreach Hub in Slough to bake with children and families they support. The hub was such a welcoming, fun environment and is clearly doing wonderful things for the children they support. The campaign is something I truly support and I would encourage as many people as possible to bake for their loved ones and raise money for a fantastic cause”.
The charity’s campaign has also had local support from Bagshot based cake shop, Sweet As Sugar. The cake shop has kindly donated a spectacular Frozen cake, worth £400 for the person/ group that raised the most amount of money for the Trust.
The Trust’s Chief Development Officer, Caroline Holton said, “This is an exciting campaign and one which we hope the community will get right behind. I encourage you to hold your very own Bake it with Love event with your friends and family and help us raise much needed funds for seriously-ill and life-limited children in our community”.
To help you organise your very own Bake it with Love event, please download a fundraising pack including top tips for holding a bake sale and invites to advertise your very own event. Please do share your event images via the charity’s Facebook page and pictures of your creations by tweeting us @SebsActionTrust using the #bakeitwithlove.
All funds raised will help Sebastian’s Action Trust continue to walk alongside families of seriously-ill children from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.
On Wednesday 28th January 2015, Sebastian's Action Trust welcomed HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO to The Bluebells.
Visiting for the first time, the Countess met a number of the children and families supported by the Trust. She attended an afternoon tea with Mums and took part in a music therapy session while undertaking a tour of the facilities with Chief Executive and founder of the Trust Mrs Jane Gates OBE.
The Countess unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit and all of the attendees sang Happy Birthday to the Countess with a personalised cake that was designed by local cake shop 'Sweet As Sugar' in Bagshot. She was then presented with a posy by 11 year old Trust service-user Glynnis Mashiri before leaving.
Speaking after the visit, Mrs Gates commented:
“It was a lovely family orientated occasion and it was hugely exciting for everybody to meet the Countess, who showed so much interest in the families and what Sebastian’s Action Trust is able to do to support families in need. “The Countess was very natural and engaging and she was very keen to find out as much as possible during her visit. It was an honour for the Trust to welcome her here and I am sure it is a day we will all remember for a long time.”
On Friday 23rd January 2015, Dr Phillip Lee MP for Bracknell showed his support for local children’s charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust, by officially opening their bookshop Bas Books.
The Queen’s Award winning charity celebrated the re-launch of its popular Bas Books store in December 2014, after closing its doors in May 2013 to make way for the town centre regeneration.
Bas Books continually brought in more than £20,000 a year which was used to support local families of seriously-ill and life-limited children.
Jane Gates OBE, Chief Executive Officer for Sebastian’s Action Trust said, “We are delighted that Bas Books has re-opened after originally opening its doors in April 2007. We have been inundated with people generously donating books and we are extremely grateful to have the support from our local community.
We were delighted to show Dr Phillip Lee around Bas Books as he played an instrumental part in our campaign to bring back the bookshop. After giving Dr Phillip Lee an update about our charity, I was also thrilled to present him with our 10th anniversary book, which he said was inspirational”.
Dr Phillip Lee MP said, “I am very pleased that BAS Books has been able to reopen in Bracknell town centre and that I have had the privilege of cutting the ribbon. Sebastian’s Action Trust helps so many families in the area and that is why I supported the campaign to bring the bookshop back to the centre of Bracknell. It is excellent news that Bracknell will continue to benefit from the positive impact BAS Books has while Bracknell undergoes regeneration works”.
Dr Phillip Lee cut a ribbon to officially mark the opening of Bas Books. Jane Gates OBE gave him a tour of the bookshop and told him more about how the funds were going to benefit local families of seriously-ill children. Dr Phillip Lee met with a Bracknell family who are supported by the Trust.
Helen Barnett, Head of Communications and Marketing for Bracknell Regeneration Partnership added, “BRP is delighted to have helped Bas Books to re-open in Bracknell town centre. Sebastian’s Action Trust does a fantastic job for supporting local families and the income from the bookshop enables this work to continue”.
Bas Books is open Monday-Saturday from 10.00am until 4.00pm and is located on the second floor of the Princess Square shopping centre. All funds raised will help Sebastian’s Action Trust continue to walk alongside families of seriously-ill children from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.
Local Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian Action Trust today welcomed Kit Malthouse, to the Bluebells its family respite holiday home.
Mr Malthouse who is currently the Deputy Mayor of London has been selected by his party to run for the North West Hampshire consistency seat, currently held by Sir George Young MP who is due to step down at the next election.
Mr Malthouse was interested to come to visit The Bluebells as it is located within his prospective consistency. He was very impressed with the charity and met with Founder, Jane Gates who was recently awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list along with House Manager, Lauren Harris and Head of Family Services, Lesley Macdonald.
Mr Malthouse was able to tour The Bluebells to learn more about how the charity supports families with seriously-ill and life-limited children both through its respite breaks at the house and through its comprehensive programme of outreach targeted at those living in Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire.
Mr Malthouse was keen to show his support for the charity and has committed to attend events run by the charity where possible. He was also interested to learn about the funding that the charity receives and Jane was able to explain that the charity is heavily reliant on the support of the local community and does not currently receive financial support from the local authority.
Jane Gates OBE said “We were delighted to welcome Kit Malthouse to visit the Bluebells. It was a pleasure to be able to show him our work in action. We are thrilled that he was impressed with our work and impact and we look forward to his continued support”.
Longstanding supporters of Sebastian’s Action Trust, Dawn and Diana Padwick have organised a concert to raise money to support children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.
Dawn and Diana have called upon the help from The Band of The Hampshire Constabulary to put on a concert on Saturday 24th January at the Alton Assembly Rooms, Alton.
Dawn said, “Both Diana and I have supported Sebastian’s Action Trust from the beginning. We try to raise as much money as possible for the charity by selling homemade cakes at garden parties in the summer and at farmers markets in the Hampshire area. In 2014 we were thrilled to present Sebastian’s Action Trust with a cheque for just over £6,000 and we are determined to raise even more for 2015”.
Diana added, “We are delighted to have the support from the Band of The Hampshire Constabulary and we hope to see lots of people there on the 24th.
The Band of The Hampshire Constabulary offers something for everyone, covering many genres of music from stage, show and pop songs. Tickets are priced at £10.00 per person and guests will be able to buy hand make cakes and refreshments on the night, as well as take part in a raffle.
To purchase a ticket please speak to a member of the fundraising team on 01344 622500.
Chief Executive Officer for Sebastian's Action Trust, Jane Gates has received an OBE for services to seriously-ill children and their families in the Queen's New Year's honours list for 2015.
Chair of Trustees Peter Boon said, "It is a fitting acknowledgement of the tireless work Jane has undertaken during the ten years since Sebastian’s Action Trust was formed. I’m sure all of you will want to join me in saying a massive ‘Well Done’ to Jane for what has been a fantastic personal achievement".
Jane Gates added, "To say I am thrilled is an understatement; it is an honour that is accepted in the name of my beloved Sebastian who set us on this course and as a reflection of what 'we' who are the team that is Sebastian's Action Trust have achieved".
Overall, 1,164 people have been recommended to The Queen for an award in the New Year list.
The Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust, held its first Evensong event at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle and the Guildhall on Thursday 4th December. The event, which was attended by 76 guests, included The Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Trust Patron and MP Adam Afriye and Councillors Colin and Samantha Rayner.
Attendees were treated to a public Evensong service at the prestigious location of St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle and were greeted by Piper, George Prentis, for a Sparkling Wine reception at the Guildhall.
Chief Executive Officer for the Trust, Jane Gates thanked guests in saying, “It is an honour for us to be able to hold such an event in a sought after location. We are delighted to be joined this evening by distinguished guests, The Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Councillors Colin and Samantha Rayner.
I would also like to personally thank our Patron and MP Adam Afriye, for his ongoing involvement and commitment to our charity. He has been a friend of ours since we first started and has celebrated our 10 year anniversary with us this year. We hope to have his support over the next 10 years too”.
A festive arrangement of songs was also performed by Pop Goes The Choir, whilst guests enjoyed a superb three course dinner.
Councillor Samantha Rayner added, “It was a fabulous evening starting with Evensong in the beautiful St. George's Chapel at which the Dean mentioned Sebastians Action Trust in the prayers. Adam Afyirie MP for Windsor gave a very moving speech. There was a wonderful atmosphere in the room too, a very enjoyable event”.
The evening was rounded off with an auction, which included a bottle of whiskey signed by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, kindly donated by Adam Afriye. A raffle was also drawn at the end of the evening, with prizes donated by Ascot Racecourse, Stoke Park Country Club and The Macdonald Hotel. The event was extremely successful and raised just over £5,000.
The fog lifted just in time to make way for a sea of Santa’s to run, walk or jog the 7km route around the lake at Virginia Water for Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust.
Santa’s of all ages marked the start of the festive season by donning their Santa suits, beards and hats, whilst raising money to support families with seriously-ill or life-limited children.
Events Coordinator, Hannah Lambart said, “It was great to see so many families, colleagues and friends coming together for our Santa Fun Run. This really was a great way to kick-start the festive season. It was fantastic to see people of all ages take part and make their way around the lake. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who got into the spirit and made it a fun-filled morning for a great cause”.
Bagshot mother, Jane de Vries added, "My 10 year old son Edward and I participated in the Santa run. This was our second go at it after last year and there was no doubt this year that we would join in after the fun of last Christmas' event. The sight of 150 plus Santa's puffing around Virginia Water would have been too good to miss! The Christmas atmosphere was lovely, and Edward was particularly happy to be the second young Santa to finish. With a hint of blue sky it was all in all a cheering way to spend a Sunday morning and all in a good cause".
Seriously-ill children and their brothers and sisters from across the local area were given a well-deserved Christmas treat at the weekend.
Sebastian's Action Trust held their annual Christmas event, at Northcote House in Sunningdale. Over 300 children were invited to the Disney themed party, which proved to be a real success. Seriously-ill children and their families were able to enjoy a day of fun-filled activities, thanks to people who had kindly donated through CrowdPatch and the Trust's fundraising efforts throughout the year.
Lesley Macdonald, Family Services Lead for the Trust said: “Once again it was fantastic to see so many of the families we support having such a wonderful time. As well as being a very special day out and a well-deserved treat, the Christmas event gives families of seriously-ill children the chance to meet others in similar situations. The Christmas event creates memorable moments to last a lifetime".
Basingstoke mother, Sarah O'Driscoll attended the event and said, "I would like to say a big thank you to the team at Sebastian’s Action Trust, who hosted a truly amazing Christmas party. It was a very magical experience, not just for Jack, but for Hayden and Caitlin as well, even at their ages! It was a very special afternoon, that really made us feel very lucky to be a part of the Bluebells family. Your hard work and efforts really showed, thank you once again for a perfect day".
The Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust is celebrating the re-launch of its popular Bas Books store in Bracknell, after closing its doors in May 2013 to make way for the town centre regeneration. Bas Books, which is set to open in time for Christmas shoppers on Monday 1st December, continually brought in more than £20,000 a year which was used to support local families of seriously-ill and life-limited children.
Jane Gates, Chief Executive Officer for Sebastian’s Action Trust said, “We are absolutely delighted with the news that the bookshop will be re-opening. Bas Books originally opened its doors in April 2007 and became an active community hub. Since the closing of the store in May 2013, we have been inundated with requests for its return, so we are really proud and excited to announce that Bas Books will be returning in December”.
Dedicated Bas Books volunteer, Ted Rayment added, “After volunteering in Bas Books from 2009-2013, I can speak for the rest of the local community and say how happy we are that it’s coming back. Since the bookshop closed, I’ve had people recognise me in Bracknell and stop and ask when it’s coming back. Bas Books was very popular and what made it different was the fact that people are completely supportive of the charity and it felt like very much a part of the community. I can’t wait to return as a volunteer and look forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces”.
Helen Barnett, head of communications and marketing at the Bracknell regeneration Partnership comments; "We are incredibly pleased to welcome Bas Books to Princess Square. The work that Sebastian's Action Trust does to support local families is fantastic and the income from Bas Books makes this work possible. "We are delighted that we have been able to find a new home for the store and will continue to work with other local groups to help improve the community."
The successful charity bookshop was originally located in Crossway, but can now be found on the first floor of the Princess Square Shopping Centre and will be open from 10.00am – 4.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with additional opening hours over the Christmas period.
If any supporters have any old books in good condition that they would like to donate, please drop them to our Book Shop. The Trust would also like to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer in Bas Books. Should this be of interest, please call the fundraising team on 01344 622500.
Zaynab Raza, is not like any normal 8 year old little girl. Last year she was in a fatal condition and her family did not think that she would make it to her 8th birthday this year, but with the help of receiving very strong intensification chemotherapy from the children’s oncology clinic at Wexham Hospital, Zaynab has remained strong and celebrated her 8th birthday last month.
The Raza family from Slough, became involved with Sebastian’s Action Trust after receiving an invitation to the charity’s Christmas party last year. The family heard about the Pride of Britain Award winning Trust through Wexham Hospital, but unfortunately Zaynab’s chemotherapy treatment was delayed meaning that she was too weak to attend.
A year on and now the Raza family receive lots of support from the charity. Our outreach workers, Claire and Katie have visited the family at the oncology clinic, have helped to fill in various forms, provided lots of useful advice and more recently organised a birthday party at our new Family Outreach Hub in Slough in celebration of Zaynab’s 8th birthday.
Our Youth Support Worker Katie said, “When I first met Zaynab she wouldn’t talk to me as she does not like talking to anyone in hospital, her mother Asma explained to me that it’s her way of pretending she’s not there. Once I visited her at home, it was great to see Zaynab as it was clear she was more comfortable in her own surroundings and was chatting away all morning to me, she hasn’t stopped being a chatter box since!”
Zaynab’s mother Asma said, “We have received so much support from Sebastian’s Action Trust and Claire and Katie have made such a difference in providing lots of advice and support for the whole family. Being able to hold Zaynab’s 8th birthday party at the Hub was a dream come true. We were unsure whether she would be well enough but thankfully she has responded to her treatment well. In total we had 29 people at the party including grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles. She was so excited to see the Hub for the first time and was overwhelmed by the amount of activities to do there. It was so nice to see her enjoying the air hockey table and having a go at Pool, we also made a treasure hunt, a lucky dip and had lots of party food, cake and presents too. Thank you so much to the charity for making this happen”.
Samantha Cameron welcomes Sebastian’s Action Trust to Downing Street to celebrate 10 years of success
On Tuesday 21st October, over 100 supporters, service-users and volunteers of Sebastian’s Action Trust were welcomed to a reception hosted by the wife of the Prime Minister, Mrs Samantha Cameron, at 10 Downing Street.
The reception was a chance for the Queen’s Award winning charity to celebrate the successes of their first 10 years working with seriously-ill and life-limited children and their families, whilst also sharing ambitious plans for the next 10 years. It was also an opportunity for the Trust to unveil its launch of the third stage of its campaign for a much needed counselling and therapies suite at its award winning family respite holiday home, ‘The Bluebells’.
The Trust was delighted for Mrs Samantha Cameron to host a reception in Downing Street and used the exclusive opportunity to thank guests for their continued support and generosity, as well as introducing its exciting plans for the next decade and beyond including the development of the Wellbeing and Therapies Suite at its purpose-built respite holiday home, The Bluebells.
It was particularly exciting for a number of the Trust’s young service-users to attend and tell Mrs Cameron about their involvement in the development of a new Sebastian’s Action Trust Youth Council. The Council will provide them with an opportunity to put forward their views and aspirations both to the Trust and to the wider health community.
Jane Gates, CEO for the Trust said, “It seems entirely fitting that this celebration should bring us to Downing Street as it was here that Sebastian enjoyed his last day out before his death nine days later. A decade on from the launch of Sebastian's wish, The Bluebells currently remains the only facility of its kind in the UK- a place where love, laughter, joy and living can be savoured by families who need specialist amenities to address their child's complex health needs, at a time when for some, opportunities to spend time together as a family may be running out.
Planning permission has been sought and approved, building regulations passed and now the small matter of securing the final £85,000 of the £223,000 construction costs is all that stands in our way. We are confident that through individual, corporate and community support this sum will be achieved and we hope that Mrs. Cameron might even come to visit The Bluebells once our project has been completed.”
The event also coincided with the launch of the Trust’s 10th year anniversary book, ‘From one little boy’s dream...’ The book gives readers a chance to hear personal accounts from families that have been supported by the Trust over the past 10 years, as well as happy and reflective memories from trust supporters, patrons and trustees.
Get into the festive spirit by joining the Queen’s Award winning charity’s fifth Santa Fun Run, where runners of all ages will receive a Santa Suit to run around the picturesque 7km route at Virginia Water in Berkshire.
The event, which will take place on Sunday 30th November, will commence at 10.30am. Events Co-ordinator, Hannah Lambart said, “Last year we saw over 200 runners of all ages take part in our Santa Fun Run. It was a great atmosphere and there’s nothing quite like watching a stream of Santa’s making their way around the Virginia Water Lake.
This is a great way our supporters can mark the start of the festive season by running, walking or jogging the route as a family and raising awareness for the Trust. Participants can choose to run individually or as a team. We’re also asking runners to sign up as many sponsors as possible to help us raise a significant amount of money to support children with life-threatening illnesses and their families”.
Entrance for the event is priced at £20.00 for adults; £10.00 for children and under 5’s going for free. Entry charges will include a Santa Suit and a medal. To register please click here or call the fundraising team on 01344 622500.
Lochailort Investments Limited and Campbell Buchanan charity shoot day
On Wednesday 10th September, the stunning West Wycombe based shooting ground, E J Churchill, hosted the second Lochailort Investments Limited and Campbell Buchanan Charity Shoot day.>
The annual event, in aid of the Queen’s Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust saw over 70 property development associates endure a competitive morning of shooting, followed by a fabulous three course lunch.
Joint sponsors Hugo Haig from Lochailort Investments Ltd and Toby Markham of Campbell Buchanan, both donated money can’t buy items to the customary after dinner auction. Popular lots from the auction saw guests bidding on a chance to play golf at Wentworth, tickets to next year’s Grand Prix, a day of rough shooting and a weekend cottage stay. Through people’s generosity on the day from both donations and pledges, a staggering £35,000 was raised for the Trust, making the event more successful than last year’s.
Jane Gates, CEO for Sebastian’s Action Trust said, “We are overwhelmed by the amazing amount of money raised and would like to say a big thank you to all our very generous guests. Without their generosity, we would not be able to continue to provide ongoing practical and emotional support for seriously-ill children and their families”.
The Trust would like to thank Lochailort Investments Ltd and Campbell Buchanan’s once again for hosting the second annual shoot day for the Trust and already look forward to next year’s event.
Over 350 runners joined Olympic bronze judo medallist Karina Bryant at Sebastian’s Action Trust’s first ever Swinley Forest Run.
On Sunday 14th September, over 350 runners joined Olympic bronze judo medallist Karina Bryant at Sebastian’s Action Trust’s first ever Swinley Forest Run. >
Bracknell’s Swinley Forest played host to the Queen’s Award winning charity’s first 5 and 10k run. The run, which was jointly-sponsored by Ascot based company Knight Frank and Unum, in Basingstoke saw over 350 runners take part in the challenging and demanding course.
The Olympic athlete got the race underway, setting off a group of canicrosser’s first, followed by the 5 and 10k runners. Karina welcomed and thanked participants saying “Thanks for all coming today to take part in Sebastian’s Action Trust’s first Swinley Forest Run.
The charity has come a long way in its first ten years, from one little boy’s dream of having a place where children with life-limiting illnesses and their families can go, the charity now runs the UK’s only family respite holiday home, The Bluebells. The charity provides emotional and practical support to families and has even launched a Family Services Outreach Hub in Slough where families can access much needed advice, information and support.
Having visited The Bluebells last month, I have seen at first-hand how your money will support and benefit local families with seriously ill children.
Finally, good luck today and we hope that you will join us again next year for our second annual run!”
Amongst the 350 runners were a group of 31 staff members from Bracknell and Wokingham College forming ‘Team Hollie’, raising money for the Trust in memory of Hollie Oxenham, who sadly passed away in April. Hollie’s mother, Louise Oxenham said, "Wow, what a fantastic day! Everyone was amazing and there was such a great atmosphere, I want to do it all again. Thank you so much to team Hollie, I love you all for doing this in our beautiful little girl's memory and for raising a massive amount for a charity that couldn't deserve it more". So far the team have raised just under £3,500 with donations still coming through".
A group of Canircoss runners also took part in Sunday’s event and expressed their enjoyment saying, "On behalf of all of the Canicross runners that attended the Swinley Run on Sunday. I would like to say a huge thank you for not just allowing us Canicrossers to take part in the event but for truly accommodating us. We appreciate that this was not a planned canicross event and Sebastian's Action Trust made us feel truly welcome. Both human and canine runners all had a fantastic time and we hope to be invited back next year!"
Hannah Lambart, Events Co-ordinator for Sebastian’s Action Trust stated, “We were delighted to see so many runners at our first Swinley Forest Run. The atmosphere from the participants and the spectators was amazing and really set the tone for the event. We would like to say a massive thank you to Karina for taking the time to not only start the runners off but also hand out a few medals at the end too. We are also very grateful to our sponsors Knight Frank and Unum”.
So far the event has made a fantastic amount of £8,000, seeing donations still coming in.
Over 120 guests enjoyed a Great Gatsby themed ball organised by loyal supporters of Sebastian's Action Trust
On Thursday 18th September, Hedsor House’s glamorous, Georgian estate played host to a Great Gatsby themed ball to celebrate 10 years of Pride of Britain Award winning charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust.
The glitzy black tie event saw over 120 guests enjoy an evening of fantastic food and high class dancing and entertainment. The Trust’s Patron, David Wilkie MBE thanked guests saying, “I am so proud to have been associated with the Trust since its inception in 2003. It was an extraordinary wish of a very ill little boy that The Bluebells, a ‘home away from home’ for very sick children now exists and continues to help so many families. This is a truly amazing charity and to me reflects what a charity is all about, people helping people who are ill or less fortunate than themselves”.
Guests were treated to entertainment from musicians Bebe and Luna and jazz music from the Sally Knight Band, whilst also having the chance to enter the exquisite pearl raffle, sponsored by Kent and Kerr Accessories; seeing the lucky winner receive a stunning 100 inches of hand knotted fresh water pearls.
The event was hosted by long-term supporters of the Trust Heather Kent and Helen Wilkie and Trust ambassador Meirion Shaw. Meirion said, “Having been involved with Sebastian’s Action Trust from its early days, I felt it would be a great honour to host a ball for them in its tenth year. It was a fantastic evening that everyone enjoyed tremendously and raised an incredible amount of money which will do so much for the Trust. We would also like to thank all our sponsors who helped to make this event a success”.
Sebastian’s Action Trust CEO and mother to Sebastian Jane Gates, was also in attendance at the event and said, “We are thrilled that the ball has raised more than an incredible £15,000. I would like to thank our organisers Heather Kent, Helen Wilkie and Meirion Shaw for organising the event in celebration of our 10th anniversary; without all their hard work and motivation none of it would have been possible.
The money raised will make a huge difference to the work we do and will help continue to provide much needed support to seriously-ill children and their families”.
The charity has recently launched their 10 year anniversary book which gives readers and in-depth insight into those families that the Trust has supported and continue to support and personal accounts from its volunteers and trustees. To purchase, please call the fundraising team on 01344 622500.
Other quotes from the night included:
Trust Patron, Joanna Chin said, “Meirion, Heather and Helen did an amazing job of organising the Great Gatsby House Party. Hedsor House was the perfect venue and the event offered a fantastic opportunity to introduce Sebastian's Action Trust to new friends and supporters. One of our guests successfully bid for three Manchester United tickets, making her husband and two teenage sons very happy whilst helping the Trust at the same time. That's what I call a win-win situation! I'd love to see more events like this in the future".
Councillor, Samantha Rayner said, “It was an amazing evening. A glamorous, magical night in a stunning location. Everyone had such a great time all in remembrance of 10 years of Sebastian's Action Trust”.
Local children’s charity, Sebastian’s Action Trust was awarded with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Sebastians action trst officially received the honour on Thursday 10th July by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey Heath, Dame Sarah Goad.Announced last month, the Trust has been recognised specifically for its outstanding contribution to volunteering services in Surrey, acknowledging those who regularly devote their time to helping others and improving the quality of life and opportunity for those they help. The accolade is the highest honour for volunteers and is regarded by the Third Sector as an MBE for volunteer groups.
Sebastian’s Action Trust’s Chief Executive, Jane Gates said, “On behalf of all at Sebastian’s Action Trust, I am honoured to accept this prestigious award which recognises the passion, energy and continued commitment of our wonderful volunteers. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and span more than eight decades; they give their time and services in many different guises and are very much the life blood of our charity. I know that our volunteers are proud to be a part of the ‘Family of Families’ that Sebastian’s Action Trust has become and that each and every one of them gives so much in order that our mission to walk along side families of seriously-ill children from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond can be sustained. I am delighted to see their achievements acknowledged at the highest level and feel enormously privileged to be at the helm of an organisation that, in our tenth year, has been awarded the charity MBE for our endeavours”.
The charity held a reception to celebrate last Thursday afternoon at Hall Grove School, in Bagshot, Surrey. The Mayor of Surrey Heath, Councillor Bob Paton joined in the celebrations with patrons, trustees, volunteers, staff members and some of the families the Trust supports.