Our 2017 so far…

As 2017 is coming to a close, I wanted to take this opportunity to update all of our loyal supporters on our progress so far, in our run up to launch in February 2018.

Well, what an exciting few months it has been. I first launched the crowdfunding page back in September, and the response I have had since has been more than I could ever have imagined. It has been truly phenomenal and I can’t thank you all enough.

Our update on funding – 

As many of you know, we exceeded our crowdfunding target of £1000 in less than a week. I could cry even now just thinking about that. Donations were coming in from quite literally, all over the country. We even had donations come in from Australia, but admittedly these were from Family Brits abroad! Nonetheless, whether it was because it was something someone out there had always wanted to start, or it connected with them on a personal level, something struck a cord. Whatever our passions and interests are in life, I think we are all in agreement that nobody should have the television as their main source of company. Nobody should be alone.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank The Bishop’s Stortford Independent, RB Hair, The Laughing Bishop’s Comedy Club and The Logistics Organisation for your incredible support. Whether it be in the form of money or promotion, The Welbeloved Club owes a lot of it’s success so far to you. Additionally, a huge thank you to Paddy Lennox for dedicating his last comedy show of 2017 to promoting the club, and allowing me to collect on the door. We raised £80, which pays for our venue for a month and a few added extras.

I put in three applications forms for various grants, and we heard a few days ago that one has been successful so far. A grant of £250 from Bishop’s Stortford Town Council will go a very long way in keeping us going. Thank you! Updates on the other two grants to follow – fingers crossed.

Goodwill from local support –

As many of you have seen we have beautiful, engaging posters and flyers to hand out. This is all thanks to our very kind friend Nick Murr at Juice Creative who not only offered to design them for us free of charge, he also covered the printing costs. We are talking thousands of prints here! We know Nick from many dog walks over the years, but this generosity is more than we could ever have hoped for. Thank you Nick.

We also (as of yesterday) have stunning embroidered polo shirts to give out to all of our volunteers! I always had a vision of looking as professional as possible, especially if we are providing transport and helping people get in and out of their homes. Fosters Schoolwear in Bishop’s Stortford offered us a discount on this order, again as a gesture of goodwill. I can’t wait to see everyone wearing them and seeing the club come to life. Thank you Fosters!

The Leventhorpe School in Sawbridgeworth invited me to attend their Christmas lunch their Sixth Form put on for older people in the area. I went along to distribute some flyers and ‘drum up some business’, which was very successful! I was inundated with calls when I left and lots of positive feedback. We also had an offer from the school’s brass band to perform on our launch day! Bringing the community together like this is so incredibly important.

I would also like to express thanks and gratitude to the Jo Cox Loneliness campaign. We reached out to them a few months ago to tell them about The Welbeloved Club, and asked if they would support and promote this. They didn’t hesitate, and explained that Jo would be immensely proud of the initiative. Jo once said, “I will not live in a country where thousands of people are living lonely lives forgotten by the rest of us”.

We hope we can carry on Jo’s legacy and do our bit towards ending loneliness in our area.

Our way of giving back – 

We are currently in talks with Little Hallingbury’s annual Panto to provide them with sponsorship this year. We couldn’t be more excited about this, and feel very privileged to be in a position to do so. We will be covering the costs of their programmes and in return we will be able to advertise to nearly 600 people over the course of a week. Information on tickets and dates to follow shortly.

Final thoughts for 2017 –

With the year drawing to a close, I am feeling very optimistic about the future. My optimism has been tinged with sadness, as I am reminded that loneliness is a very real problem going on right now, with many forms I have had back leaving the ‘next of kin’ blank. I have collected a form from a lovely lady, who explained that I am in fact the only person she will speak to this weekend, as she has ‘not a soul’ to speak to. I am delighted we have been provided with the resources to pull this project off as it has been made painfully obvious there is a huge need for it.

This Christmas, can I ask that all of you keep in your thoughts all of those that will be facing the day alone, and any support you can offer to charities that support vulnerable people in this position is so vital. Organisations like The SilverLine will be providing support 24 hours a day over the Christmas period and rely heavily on donations. If you have a few quid left after your Christmas shopping, believe me it will go a long way.

Reach out to friends, family and even neighbours who might be alone this Christmas. I’m sure everyone has an extra chair around the table.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone, we look forward to seeing you in February 2018!!