26 December 2013

Who do you know who you can help this Christmas?

Harvey's sensory room after the fire on Christmas day

Harvey’s sensory room after the fire, Christmas day

I have a theory that deep down we are all caring people and I am going to prove it. In fact I think as a Nation, us Brits have the caring gene firmly sewn into our core.

The problem is society has changed so much, these days we don’t know everyone on our streets or even our next door neighbours. We head home after a long day at work and live our life in our homes with everything at our fingertips. TV and internet gives us all of what we need without leaving your armchair.

It’s a problem, because whilst you are sitting there in the comfort of your own home, there is always someone less fortunate than ourselves.

Is this something we ignore, or do we do something to help?

It’s Boxing Day, I am not a big fan of house work, but I’d insisted Gail had a lie in as she never stops. I took the 3 girls and decided to take charge!

I turned cleaning the downstairs in to a challenge as I knew it would put a smile on Gail’s face and so we set about getting the kitchen and lounge organised. Not easy when the youngest (nearly 2) undoes your work faster than you can put it right!

It’s great when you get in to the mood of helping someone, its infectious and you feel empowered that you are making a difference, however small.


Harvey’s Sensory Room new Floor Before the fire on Christmas Eve

Sitting down with a coffee afterwards looking forward to some quiet time, I noticed a friend Laura Wolfe was rallying support for a family who’d built a sensory room in their garden for their little boy. On Christmas Eve it was burned down before the little lad had a chance to see and experience his gift.

I heard this and immediately knew how we had to help and within an hour or so, I was pulling up outside Wesley’s house with 2 of my girls armed with a few  gifts for the family and little Harvey.

The card read, “Dear Wesley and family, sorry to hear about your calamity. Your luck is about to change!”

Now I love the films on at Christmas, Home Alone and all the feel good films, but really nothing beats the emotions that come from actually making a difference as opposed to observing one on TV. Imagine if the whole country dedicated those couple of hours helping someone on their street or in their family, imagine the strength of our community. We’d be invincible as a Nation.

What was really uplifting to see was that within minutes of my arrival, a number of people turned up offering their help and just asking to see if the family is OK.

Interesting though that this community feeling was stimulated via the internet. It was a wonderful feeling to watch as an internet pioneer I always worried we were creating a medium for people to hide away, one that almost discouraged face to face interaction, and yet the opposite is happening.

So why not sit back and let someone else help? I am sure they would have, however something burning deep down inside of me made me get up off my sofa and go and help, and I am so glad I did.

Meeting the family I learned that it ruined their Christmas day as you can imagine. The fire could have quite easily spread to the house so they were actually very lucky. I know they are not feeling that right now, but give me 48 hours and they will see what community spirit is all about. I intend on giving them an awesome surprise.

I have no intentions on replacing what was there. Instead we are going to do a full-on makeover swapping the burnt-out summer house for a larger grander one in every way. Harvey is a football fan and clearly has some disabilities, so it’s going to be really fun creating a space  that he will remember for the rest of his life.

My job on this project is to surprise and turn a negative situation into a positive one in every way. We are often described as the 4th emergency service at UKFast, here’s a chance for my team to prove themselves and show us what they are made of.

I dont know what makes us do the things we do, however getting a text from my wife that read, “You are my hero.” is all I need.

Who do you know who you can help this Christmas? It starts with a phone call, it starts with reaching out to someone who needs you more than you can imagine. You know who they are, go on make a difference. Give them a helping hand.

Thanks to
Laura Wolfe for making me aware of this and helping coordinate.

Jennie Johnson @Kidsallowed for kind donation of sensory toys

KEY 103
BBC Radio

I am sure this list will grow……

DAY 1….

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