Lifestory sponsors the Dorset Children’s Foundation at the Christchurch Living Advent Calendar event
17 December 2021
Lifestory were delighted to be a part of Christchurch's Living Advent Calendar, organised by the Christchurch Rotary Club. During the month of advent, there are secret live performances at venues across the town every evening until the 24th December, to raise money for 24 chosen charities.
We were very pleased to sponsor £500 to the Dorset Children’s Foundation and provide the venue of our Renaissance Fleur-de-Lis community in Christchurch for the evening’s entertainment.
We sat down with Adrienne, Head of Marketing for the Dorset Children’s Foundation, to talk about the amazing work the charity does and how the money raised from the event will help them.
Could you tell us a bit about the Dorset Children’s Foundation and the work the charity does?
The charity was founded in 2013. The main purpose of the charity is to be accessible for all. We realise that there aren't enough provisions for disabled children to do what able-bodied children can do in terms of sporting events and activities, so that’s what we do. We’ve got an FA affiliated football team and we organise regular events that parents can go to with their children. But It’s not only for the children, it’s an opportunity for the parents to meet. They’re in a similar situation and they’ve made friends and can just support each other. It’s absolutely brilliant.
We have three successful charity shops and our sales cover all our modest overheads meaning that 100% of all donations go to support local disabled children. One of the three shops is a children's shop and it’s also a sensory space. It’s been decorated like an enchanted forest and it’s called The Treehouse where the chairs are mushrooms and the bookcases are huge pages of a book. It’s just beautiful. Children with disabilities will come in and they get all the sensory experience there. We use it for storytelling, drama and also as a retail space so it’s an absolutely fabulous shop.
What is your role within the charity?
I’ve been part of the charity for four years now. I’m head of marketing but because we are a tiny charity I'll do anything at all, we all just muck in and do everything it takes. I take the lead with talking to partners. I’m actually a stand up comic in my other job so I always get the gig to do the speeches for the charity as I really don’t mind public speaking. It’s so rewarding, I love both of my jobs so much.
How did you become part of the Christchurch Living Advent Calendar?
Christchurch Rotary approached us and said that we could be part of the event. I was actually going to then look for a sponsor but Lifestory seemed to land in our lap, so I didn’t need too. We were so lucky there so thank you so much Lifestory.
How was the event?
The event was lovely. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind but people were in such high spirits it really didn’t matter. We hired the Lovely Bubble Man and he did this amazing bubble show and lots of people turned out and donated to the charity. I couldn’t get over the generosity of the people of Christchurch. We had a raffle but lots of people were happy to donate without a ticket, they just wanted to give. It was a really lovely, heartwarming event. We raised over £750. We were so grateful and surprised.
How will the money raised help the charity?
The money raised from that evening will go towards Accessible For All. We make the money go a long way, for example £50 will pay for 60 children to play football. The money donated from Lifestory and the money raised from the Christchurch Living Advent Calendar enables us to do that bit more of a special event for the children.
The charity is growing too. This year we’re putting on children’s Christmas parties and they don’t have to pay towards anything at all. Every child will go home with a gift and some of the children who can’t come will get them delivered. During lockdown we delivered 300 bags of happiness a week to all the children as they were isolated and couldn’t go out. It’s an absolutely fantastic charity and it really does mean a lot to lots of people.
What feedback do you get from parents?
We get such lovely feedback from the parents. Having a disabled child can be very isolating. I remember when my children were young, it can be such a big thing to go out sometimes because you’ve got all this equipment. When you’ve got a disabled child that goes on, and the child gets bigger and bigger and it can be very difficult. When we put these events on, the people who are coming are parents and families who know that when they get here, they’re going to be welcomed and they’re not going to be stared at. They can just come along and enjoy it. It’s brilliant. From some of the quotes we’ve received from families, you can see it just means everything to them. It’s brought so many smiles to so many faces it really is incredible.
How can people support the charity?
There’s so many ways! We always need volunteers for the shops or to help at events. We are currently selling our calendar which a local photographer has taken these beautiful pictures for. They’re £10 each and all the money raised comes to the charity! We also always want donations for the shops. Even just raising awareness for the charity is amazing.
You can find out more about the charity and the work they do on their website.