A day in the life of…a Honeypot volunteer

[caption id="attachment_598" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="CVS volunteers at Honeypot House"][/caption]Leah Farncombe, one of our Customer Service Representatives, went along to volunteer at Honeypot House last week. Here’s what she had to say. I went along to Honeypot House with four colleagues last week to help around the house and grounds to get it ready for the arrival of 12 young carers. We thoroughly enjoyed the day from start to finish; including the detour we took on our way to the house, which resulted in a Honeypot employee coming to our rescue and escorting us to the house! Is really is in a remote location, perfect for a respite break!

It was great to see the charity in action. We were highly impressed by the hard work that has gone in to making Honeypot House a complete refuge for the children that visit. Richard Cooper helped us understand more about how Honeypot works as a charity and we’re all really keen to continue to be actively involved in charity days and events to raise money for them.

[caption id="attachment_599" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Taking a break from the hard work!"][/caption] The biggest surprise to me was the variety and quality of the facilities at the house; all the children that visit Honeypot House are very well catered for and as you can see from our photos we made the most of the facilities and really enjoyed the sand box and trampolines – in between all our hard work of course!

I’d like to thank Honeypot for giving us this fantastic opportunity. We had a brilliant time and look forward to joining the team again soon and continuing to support the charity’s brilliant work. Thanks also for helping us find our way there – had it not been for our escort we may still be driving around the New Forest!

A day in the life of...a Honeypot volunteer

[caption id="attachment_587" align="alignright" width="150" caption="The CVS volunteers at Honeypot House"][/caption]Last Friday a group of us from CVS went to Honeypot House to participate in a volunteer day. It is a long journey from Lichfield to the New Forest and was an excellent opportunity for us to talk and find out more about each other. We had a superb journey which went quickly due to the lively conversation and much laughter and after stopping for a cheeky McDonalds breakfast we arrived at Honeypot House. What a fantastic location! We met with some of the Honeypot team; their passion and enthusiasm for what they do is so infectious and it is no surprise that the children who visit Honeypot House have such a fantastic time.

[caption id="attachment_588" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Quick stop at the beach on the way home"][/caption]It was a real pleasure to be able to support them, and we soon got to work cleaning, dusting and sorting out the house ready for the arrival of the children. We worked together to make sure we achieved all the tasks on our list and still found time to see the guinea pigs and the horse! Following a recommendation from the Honeypot team, we paid a quick visit to the beach before setting home as well.

We all agreed it had been a fantastic and worthwhile day and one which we all want to repeat soon!

Richard Cooper, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Honeypot said: “Throughout July and August Honeypot host back to back respite breaks for children. This is the busiest period of the year for our children’s services team, therefore assistance from volunteers is crucial to help us maintain the house and grounds at Honeypot House. We were very happy to receive our first wave of volunteers from CVS as Julie-Ann, Lucy, Maxine, Shona and Elizabeth offered to come and help us on a spring cleaning day. After a quick tour of the grounds the volunteers were ready to get stuck in and completed a thorough spring clean of the kitchen, dining room and indoor play areas. Our children’s services manager, Claire Holloway was also really pleased with their fantastic efforts and we are now looking forward to receiving more volunteers in the near future!”

Family Fun at the Lichfield office!

It’s National Family Week this week and we celebrated – albeit a little early – with a Family Fun Day at the Lichfield office last Friday! The Honeypot Playbus came to visit and employees brought their children along to make the most of the break in the weather and activities on the bus.

The bus is packed full of games, toys, arts and crafts and spends its’ time travelling to see children who are in between stays at Honeypot House. The team – Ray, Leanne and Jackie – took time out of their busy schedule to come along to our afternoon event and help us find out more about Honeypot House as well as keep the children entertained!

Alongside activities on the bus we ran several fundraising events including name the teddy, a raffle, cake stall and tuck shop; we even auctioned off a day in a Ferrari! In total we managed to raise a fantastic £580 to support the great work Honeypot does.

Check out this video from the event:

And here’s a few pics of the fun:

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National Family Week runs until 5th June and is the biggest annual celebration of family life in the UK in which a whole host of family activities take place across the country. To find out how you can get involved, or for activities near you, check out their website.

Are you being “priced out of work”?

I was reading a story on BBC News this morning which caught my eye. A Tamworth company that provides office space to its customers is so keen to keep hold of valued staff and encourage them to return to work after maternity leave, it’s allowing them to bring their children in to work with them. The trial initiative has had mixed reviews with some parents finding it easier than others to work with their little ones on their laps.

This might seem like an unusual method of staff retention but it’s no surprise that smaller companies will try anything to keep hold of trustworthy and capable staff.

Childcare costs have been rising rapidly for the last 10 years and childcare in the UK is now amongst the most expensive in the world; we’re joined at the top by America and Switzerland.

Rising costs obviously have an effect on working families; our own research in 2010 showed 30 per cent of parents had considered staying at home, rather than returning to work, so they weren’t faced with lofty fees.

But what’s the real extent of the problem? Are rising costs pricing low-income families out of work and is the return to work the only dilemma faced, or are there other aspects of family life affected by the struggle to afford childcare?

Save the Children and Daycare Trust claim that parents are being “priced out of work” and have teamed up to produce a nationwide consultation that will assess the impact of rising costs on working families. The survey is part of a wider campaign to introduce affordable, quality childcare for all and will be sent to 70,000 working families in the UK. The charities are urging all families to take part.

Don’t forget that childcare vouchers can help working families save up to £1866* per year on registered childcare – visit our website for more information.

* maximum family savings if both working parents are Basic rate tax-payers and use childcare vouchers.

CVS to support children’s charity Honeypot

[caption id="attachment_432" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Julian Foster meets Bumble and Richard from Honeypot"][/caption]

I’m thrilled to be able to announce that we’ve recently launched a charitable partnership with Honeypot, a charity that offers a lifeline to young carers and some of the country’s most vulnerable children.

Honeypot is a fantastic charity that provides respite holidays and on-going outreach support to young carers and children at risk. The charity supports around 1000 children every year, all aged between 5 – 12 years.

The programme of long-term support that Honeypot provides gives young people a break from the demanding conditions at home – where some of them are carers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – and provides a nurturing environment in which they can make new friends, develop their full potential and just be children for a few days.

The team here at CVS will be taking part in a number of activities over the coming year to support the charity, including fundraising, events and volunteering projects that’ll see us getting our hands dirty to help maintain the charity’s premises and gardens!

We’re also sponsoring a group of young carers when they go on their first respite break at Honeypot House – the charity’s residential holiday home in the New Forest – during the Easter holidays.

This partnership is a natural fit for us. Whilst we support families in facilitating childcare, Honeypot work at the other end of the scale; helping young people who are caring for family members.

Myself and the team are looking forward to the year ahead and the opportunity to support the invaluable work Honeypot do for young carers, some of whom have been carers since they were 5 years old.

Keep an eye out for our series of blogs ‘A day in the life of a Honeypot carer’ for an insight into what the team get up to at Honeypot House.

Visit the website to find out more about Honeypot.