Raising money for The Honeypot Charity

Last week, nine hundred CVS employees dusted off their football boots and took to the Astroturf to participate in The Honeypot Charity’s 5 a side football tournament, at Powerleague Wembley.

CVS joined 10 other teams in the shadow of Wembley stadium to compete for the Honeypot Trophy. Despite our team battling hard, we came away with three draws and two losses. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough to get through to the final, but the team were proud to have helped raise money for such a good cause.

Overall the day raised a fabulous £3,500 for Honeypot, and we are honoured to have played a part in it.

This money will go directly towards providing respite breaks to young carers and vulnerable children.  We are continually in awe of the work Honeypot do to try and improve the lives of the children they look after, and you can find out more about how they help by visiting their website.

How Honeypot can help… Loredana’s story

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.

At a recent Honeypot event an inspiring lady called Loredana read out her story in her own words:

‘My name is Loredana and I consider myself to be one of the luckiest children in the world.. No I never got the chance to go to Disneyland, no I didn't get a Barbie Dream House, or get tickets to see the Spice Girls in concert... I got to go to a house. Not just any house, a house with surrounded by fields, with a family  dining table covered with plaid cloth, a fireplace, a pool, a shed full of mountain bikes, a craft shed with all the glitter a girl could dream of, a living room with a video player and bean bags... And that was just the beginning...

Before I continue down the path of awesome Honeypot nostalgia, a bit about me. I'm the 3rd of 5 kids. I grew up in a refuge and a hostel respectively, escaping domestic violence. My mother who is disabled and couldn't work, struggled to give us what we as kids wanted toys, CDs, a pony those kinds of things. Me and my brother, who came to Honeypot with me, spent a lot of our time helping our mum with chores and shopping, as her disability hindered her from doing a lot of those things without our help.

In 1998 we joined a young carers club, to give us a break from things going on at home. We got to visit and do many things we couldn't do with our mum because of financial reasons - going to the farm, cinemas, pizza hut, the little things. It was late in 98 we were told we were going to Honeypot... I didn't know what it was but anything to get me out of the house I was excited for.

We'd never seen the country, it was like a dream. The hills, the tiny houses and the cows! Lots of them... We were told we were getting nearer... We drove over a cattle grill and up a winding path and in the distance a little house stood. I couldn't believe my eyes! Little old me from a one room hostel, going to a mansion! I couldn't believe it! We all pressed our noses against the window and was greeted by the lady all Honeypot kids know and remember as THE best - Claire.

Those few days were full of lots of things, many wonderful first experiences - seeing the ocean, baking a cake in the kitchen, sitting round the table eating spaghetti hoops,  watching George of the jungle and having hot chocolate. It's those things that children crave. The simple things.

Honeypot provides a "home" for children who may not find that in the real world. It provides respite to the kids who work 24hrs a day caring for a family member, most of all it provides a safe environment where kids can be just that.

As a child I struggled with the real world - no money, no luxuries, and so made up stories, sang and entertained myself, and thankfully there was always a Honeypot staff member who would listen to my singing, or answer my many random questions... To this day I still love trivia.

My point is that Honeypot has affected me in such a way that I'm always drawn back, I'm always retelling my stories from my time at Honeypot. I still have the cards and the presents they'd send on every birthday and Christmas. No matter what was going on in my life, where I moved, Honeypot never forgot about me. They never forget a child.

Personally I think that a lot of people fail to realise that children experience in their childhood is what makes them as an adult, everyone of you in audience are how you are because of a person who interacted with you, a friend, in my case - a charity who gave up their time to give me some normalcy in my childhood.

After revisiting Honeypot house back in 2006 I knew what I wanted to be  - I wanted to work with kids, and be someone that they would remember when they're all grown up. I've worked in the U.S for four years with children at a summer camp for the privileged and underprivileged alike. I applied to volunteer at the house this summer and I'm now studying to be a primary teacher and thank Honeypot for being the driving forces in making that decision.

Please support this charity because without them, I wouldn't be half as amazing as I am today. You have the power to help change a child's life!’

CVS are continuing to work in partnership with this fantastic charity. For more information on Honeypot, please visit the website to find out more.

These words and opinions are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Computershare Voucher Services

CVS staff raise over £800 for The Honeypot Children’s Charity

Last month, six members of staff set off for Mt. Snowdon in their bid to raise £750 for our charitable partner, The Honeypot Children's Charity. Michelle Lloyd tells us how they got on.

Our alarms were set for 5:00am on the Saturday morning so we were ready to leave Lichfield at 6:00am and start the long journey to Snowdon.

As the sun started to come up en-route the weather looked promising – clear blue skies, a few clouds and the sun was shining. Even when we hit Wales the weather held up and our spirits were high. However, as Snowdonia Park appeared on the horizon our spirits were soon dampened by the dark low clouds covering them and all we could do was hope that the sun would break through as the morning went on.

We got to the foot of Mt Snowdon at 8:45am and, within 10 minutes of being out of the car, were soaking wet and being battered by the wind. Unfortunately we had a little wait for one of our team members who got held up in traffic. When we finally set off at 10:00am, we looked like we’d walked up and down the mountain once already!

We set off at a quick pace to try and make up some time; persevering whilst the wind and rain tried to push us back. The walk was hard and after just over a mile, the blustery conditions started to aggravate my asthma. I was struggling to breathe and having to continuously take my inhaler. I tried to continue with Mandi and Keeshak helping me but it soon became clear to me and the rest of the team that I wasn’t going to be able to continue without putting myself at risk. I sadly took the decision to turn back and waved goodbye to the others as I headed back down.

However, Ellen, Mandi, Keeshak, Louise and David continued on their walk, braving the elements and determined to make it the top.

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The rain, wind and cloud cover made it really difficult for them to see where they were going and at one point they missed the path and went off route! This meant they were faced with an almost vertical climb to get themselves back on track. Determined not to be defeated they started to pull themselves up the mountain by scrambling back up to the path. The climb was tough and defeated two more of the team who had to turn back, dismayed at having got so close.

This left just Ellen, Mandi and Keeshak to complete the challenge, would they complete it? Could they continue to fight the elements which had only got worse the higher they got?

With great determination and team spirit, the three remaining team members made it to the top in just under three hours. They took a few photos at the top and warmed up with a well deserved hot drink in the café before heading back down.

By the time we met up again in the car park the weather had vastly improved – it’s always the way when walking in the hills! We congratulated the team on a job well done, said our goodbyes and headed home to a nice warm bath!

All in all, the climb was hard, harder than any of us anticipated and the weather was against us from the beginning but three of the team made it to the top and we managed to raise a fantastic £805 The Honeypot Children’s Charity.

Would we do it again? Yes of course! Some of us have refused to be beaten and would love to attempt the climb again next year in the summer months – maybe taking a different path and sticking to it this time!

Working Families winners announced in London

I was thrilled to attend and speak at the Top Employers for Working Families Benchmarking and Awards last week. The awards are a fantastic way to celebrate companies who strive to go the extra mile in providing positive working environments, supporting a true work/life balance and championing family-friendly work practices.

The companies who attended the event and walked away with the top accolades in their category have all recognised the need to adapt working practices to support employees with families. In the long run, this makes for a happier and more productive workforce; assisting them in attracting and retaining skilled and reliable employees.

I’d like to pass on our congratulations to all of the winners and shortlisted companies, who are setting the standard for companies across the UK.

You’ll find the full list of winners and shortlisted companies on the Working Families website and I’ve uploaded a few photos for you here.

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Working Families has dedicated more than 30 years to helping employers adopt family-friendly work practices and we are proud to support them through this partnership. We’re looking forward to working on other initiatives over the coming year.

Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families added: "Our Top Employers for Working Families all demonstrate how being family friendly translates into business success. This is really important in these hard economic times, and so I'd like to thank Computershare for their support in helping us get the message out".

CVS staff head to Snowdon to raise money for Honeypot!

On September 24th 2011, seven CVS relationship managers will be braving Mt. Snowdon to raise money for Honeypot. They’re aiming to reach the summit and raise £750 which will enable a child to visit Honeypot on a respite break, have an afternoon on the Playbus and enjoy Christmas and birthday presents from the charity. Here, Michelle Lloyd, one of the intrepid team, tells us why they decided to do the challenge and how the training is going.

We decided to set ourselves this challenge as we wanted to do something different for Honeypot. A few ideas were thrown around – a bungee jump, a sky dive, nothing too extreme! – before finally settled on walking up Snowdon.

We had to keep it secret for a few weeks whilst we did a bit of research, decided on the path we were going to climb (Miners Track), agreed on some training and set up our Just Giving Website. A few of our colleagues had worked out we were up to something and tried desperately to find out but I don’t think anyone expected us to do this!

Our colleagues were shocked that we’d decided on such a physical challenge – particularly having witnessed the amount of chocolate and cake we devour on a daily basis – but they have been extremely supportive, sponsoring us and offering messages of encouragement.

The team: Louise Hadley, Keeshak Downie, Jess Dutton, Michelle Lloyd, Ellen Crosby, Rebecca Lindsell, Mandi Farrer, Carol A Alker, Michael Smith

We started training shortly after we announced the challenge. A few members of the team (Ellen, Mandi, Keeshak and Becky) are already fitness fanatics, so had decided to complete a few extra miles on the treadmill, and Ellen had kindly taken myself and Lou under her wing to help us train.

Our first training session was at Cannock Chase, which is part of the Forestry Commission, and we had hoped to start off with a gentle stroll. Ellen had other ideas as she strapped weights round her ankles and pulled out additional weights for us to carry. Lou and I joked that Ellen missed her calling as an Army Sergeant as she power walked round.

Over the weeks our walks have become longer and harder. We do a 4 mile walk once a week with a few little ones in between; it’s still hard work but we’ve improved. However, we’re prepared for the fact that our training is nothing compared to the reality of Mt. Snowdon.

We’re now just 5 days away from our challenge and so far we have managed to raise £601! This is increasing daily thanks to our fantastic supporters and we’re extremely confident that we’ll hit our target before the big day.

If you’d like to know a bit more about the Honeypot Children’s Charity and read some of the messages of support left for us, check out our Just Giving page.

We’ll have another update for you soon!