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!

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!

A day in the life of…a Honeypot volunteer

CVS volunteers at Honeypot HouseLeah 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.

Taking a break from the hard work!
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

The CVS volunteers at Honeypot HouseLast 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.

Quick stop at the beach on the way homeIt 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!”