December FOCUS…

Focus Newsletter
December 2023
  Welcome to the December edition of FOCUS, which includes a roundup of a very successful year, introduces our seven new Interns from KES and gives you some dates to put in your diary for our fundraising events for 2024. Our featured charity is Grow for Life, a social and therapeutic gardening charity, working throughout Bath and towns across Northeast Somerset, whom we started supporting this year.  
First of all, we are delighted to welcome our new Trustee Georgina Szanto, who has been a longstanding supporter of the Trust. Here’s more about her:
I started my adult life with a degree from Bath University in Biology and Geography, and then became a Primary School teacher. After working my way up to Assistant Head, and down again to class teacher over a 23-year time period it was time for a new challenge.
“I had always enjoyed being creative, so decided to concentrate on the art of Glass Fusing, a hobby I have been developing for 10 years. With the support of my family, the hard work is starting to pay off and I recently took up a role as Resident Artist at The Corsham Gallery, near my home in Wiltshire.
“I am a Scout Leader to 30 youngsters in a nearby village, and a longstanding member of their Exec Committee, making decisions about fundraising and the ongoing development of our Group. We go camping, hiking and laugh a lot! In the past I have been Chair of my daughter’s school PTA for four years, organising many lucrative and successful events.
“I am a Committee Member of a Community Shop, set up in my local village and I recently organised a successful Christmas Craft event to raise funds for the renovation of our new premises. We focus on giving the older members of our local community the opportunity to volunteer in the shop, allowing greater social interaction and building a network of support and friendship.
“I have two dogs which I enjoy walking. I look forward to being officially involved with the BHMT and finding out more about all the fabulous charities it is connected with.” 
    FOCUS on 2023: The Year in Numbers
  Well, we have had an amazing year! With your support and involvement we have: Organised the Welsh 3000, Three Peaks, five Triathlons, from Sprint to Ironman, a Marathon, an Art Exhibition and a Concert. Raised over £30,000 (our second-best year ever) Recruited seven new KES Interns and strengthened our Trust Team, with Georgie. Supported 13 charities with £18,655 plus an additional £625 Gift Aid and £2,500 match funds for Just Life.

FOCUS on 2023: KES Interns
  University of Warwick Lacrosse Annual Charity Ball and Club Tournament, February 24th President, Lucy Fothergill and Charity and Welfare Officer, Daisy Barrow announce their Annual Charity Ball and Lacrosse Tournament weekend
Ironman European Championships, Hamburg June 2nd
Nathan takes on his first Ironman on the continent!
113 Events Half Ironman Cotswold Waterpark, July 14th
Find out more about this event here.
North Yorkshire Long Course weekend September 6th – 8th
Find out more about this event here.
Full details plus the announcement of new, exciting events will be available in the next edition of FOCUS.   Donate     FOCUS on Charity: Grow for Life
“Grow For Life is very grateful for the £1500 received from The Beer Harris Memorial Trust on 16th July 2023, for the provision of social and therapeutic horticulture sessions,” reports Director, Alex Eldridge.
“The funds were used to part fund the provision of our Thursday sessions within our Walled Garden at Newton St Loe, between August and October 2023. These sessions were led by our Gardener Support Manager, Eleanor Carr and assisted by regular volunteers for the charity. Weekly, Wayne McMaster, the Projects Manager and Eleanor would assess the jobs to be done in the Walled Garden and create a session plan for the therapeutic group.

“The gardeners did a variety of activities, including preparing beds, potting on, planting out, weeding, pruning, harvesting and composting. The group enjoyed spending some time in the shade of our Orchard and were involved in the preparation for our Apple Pressing Day in October, which was attended by 200 people who enjoyed glorious sunshine and picking and pressing apples creating 80L of juice – which was pasteurised and we are all enjoying!

“There was a core group of eight gardeners who attended these sessions. All eight gardeners completed a Flourish review, which showed against our target outcome 80% of our gardeners’ experience improved mental health and self-confidence, however 96% of this cohort of gardeners achieved this.

Recent repeat Flourish questionnaires at the end of the session block revealed some very moving replies:

I started at such a bad place, I was just back at work but hating being there, but I’ve been able to re-evaluate it and rethink how quickly I can expect things to change . . . I’m starting to enjoy things again.”

I feel safe here, that’s for sure. . . . I discovered I haven’t lost my childlike excitement for learning new things and that’s really important.

It’s all the little chats, not even the garden talk – it’s all nice.

It’s definitely helping my mental health, I wouldn’t be without it!

“This progress is remarkable in a relatively short space of time and reflects the high quality of support and therapy that we are able to provide.

One of the gardeners is now transitioning into becoming a core volunteer with Grow for Life, taking on more responsibility for supporting new gardeners who have been referred to us in subsequent session blocks. We really value his input and can see the potential for his growth within our team in supporting new referrals to Grow for Life.

“In addition to the improvement in mental well-being, another of the gardeners has reported back that on a recent health check at his GP’s, his cholesterol levels were much lower, which he attributed to eating more vegetables – we strongly encourage our gardeners to take home the produce they have grown in the Walled Garden, and he has clearly been eating his! We are also joining up with a local charity, “Foodcycle” who provide meals to local families, and they are using our surplus vegetables to support others in need.

“We would like to take this opportunity once again to thank you for your grant funding our work. For more details, please visit our website ”     If you would like to make a donation to support our work, please click here:    Donate   If you are able, please consider making your donation a monthly one. Monthly support helps create long term stability for the Trust and our commitment to promote wellbeing to those who suffer from mental health illness.

Please visit our website to find out more about the organisations we support.

Once again thank you for your donations, involvement and interest in the Trust. Best wishes
Roy Harris (Chairman)






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