A Day in the Life of this Fundraiser

#onemillionsteps Take 2

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Two special fundraisers recently have  had great fundraising ideas.  Stevie Mac challenged himself to walk #onemillionsteps in August.  And he did it!   (raised over £2k at same time).  Angela P took on the challenge to raise £1k to fund a week’s stay at Ripple Retreat for one family. I loved both ideas so much I decided to combine them.  And add my own twist – I love Christmas so I have decided to fundraise for the Christmas week.  I have increased the amount to £1500 as want to make the week extra special for the family staying.

I can’t manage Stevie’s efforts – post cancer treatment has long term side effects.  However I do believe I can do #onemillionsteps by my December birthday.  I have a watch that counts steps so will note my daily tally.

I’d love your donation, be it a pound, ten pounds or a thousand pounds!

Here is my online donation page.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Today, my first day – I did 6782 steps.  A good start.

Thanks for reading and keep on supporting.  I remember every single day how fortunate I am to have your support – there are a great many wonderful charities out there you could support and you have chosen to support us.

Much love to you for doing that.  Maybe you would like to join me on this challenge – feel free to do so – any amount you raise is most appreciated! (I think we have one more #onemillionsteps recruit in Carol – I’ll let you know when she starts her challenge).


End of a superb week

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Today has been spent inside – weather was dreich and so I put the fire on in my office and while it warmed up I did some cooking for my parents and recently widowed sister in law.  The only problem with doing that is I get so hungry!!  And yes, I did try a blueberry muffin before the rest went away to their recipients.

Meantime Ian was dealing with the finances of Ripple Retreat – we got a new detailed list of costs and that certainly gets the fundraising brain in gear ready for the year ahead. I had just finished writing up our Fundraising Plan for the next two years with a goal to raised £250k in each year.  It means a lot of hard work and building relationships with businesses who might fund raise for us and with us and of course continuing to organise special events.

The first big event of the year for us to be involved with is the Scottish Property Awards – an amazing night organised by teh team at KDMedia.  My goodness this team know how to put on an event.  710 guests.  My team were brilliant on the night – looking super smart in our white Polo shirts.  We got close to £15k in donations and that is just terrific.  In addition I was able to speak with several contacts during the evening including the lovely guy who donated the 15000 daffodil bulbs. I was able to show him a photo of the daffodils already blooming.  (I wish they weren’t blooming quite yet – it would be so nice if they were out as we had our Open Days at the Retreat but hey, you can’t argue with nature).

The day after an event is always busy – banking the money, taking the volunteers tops to the cleaners, thanking the prize donors, the organisers, sorting the envelopes, writing notes on lessons learnt and how to improve next time.   And today I started the prep for the next event at the end of this month.  Counting the pens, sorting the envelopes, checking we have enough prizes and they are good enough. (They most certainly are by the way).  I have ordered more letter openers and researched a Tombola drum.  We used a big box for the envelopes and it wasn’t pretty.

I have been doing some banking online today and checking statements – all these wee jobs take time.  The day to day running of a charity is quite a massive job and that is on top of the Ripple Retreat tasks – and they are becoming more and more intense as we get closer to completion.  Mostly I feel incredibly positive about all of the above but occasionally I feel overwhelmed by all we do.  It’s the variety that can take your breath away – so many questions on so many topics.  What is my coping mechanism?  Well sometimes I don’t have one.  I am not going to sugar coat it – sometimes I get plain grumpy.  Mostly though I appreciate my great fortune in being given the gift of this work – to work with others to create something so very beautiful and special, that will be a building we can all be proud of, a building that families staying in it can feel its peace, the love that was involved in its build.  Ian and I both feel very very lucky to be able to do this – and most especially after the harsh life lessons of the sudden death of Andrew (my stepson) five years ago and my own cancer treatment 2 years ago.  To have come out the other side and have something this special to work on – well my goodness me, that is just wonderful.

Tomorrow is a day for us getting some exercise (the late night event of Thursday meant I slept in today so no swim) and working on our Ripple Retreat Open Days.




Catching up

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Sorry peeps – just been either working or walking/swimming!  Honestly not been enough time to write blog posts.

Big task I have been working on was the Donor Recognition Windows – so many people to get in touch with and confirm details.  That’s been my night life for past four nights!  Almost finished.   Also been working on our Fundraising plan for 2017 and 18 – also almost finished. We had our 2nd Young Ambassadors’ Workshop of the year – mindfulness – I learnt lots and hope the YA’s did too.  (I have been ‘smelling the flowers’ and ‘blowing out the candle’ ever since in a bid for calm)

Wee refresh of our website also been demanding attention, proofs of printing needing checked, envelopes sorted and written in readiness for our first big event on Thursday, that also needs me to iron the volunteers’ polo shirts – nothing worse than seeing crushed t shirts or tops on our volunteer team!

Exciting times at Ripple Retreat too – the pier is coming on leaps and bounds – and I heard today that the kitchen installation has started – this is super exciting news to me.   So much so, I am going up tomorrow to see it!  (I know there won’t be much to see yet but I want to get some photos from the start).

So there you have it – wonderful busy days and more to come.

Friday heroes

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Everyone needs a hero sometimes and I have two Friday heroes in Steven at our printers, Callprint Edinburgh and Sue in Dunbar.  Let’s start with Steven – I had an invite that needed amending and it was very difficult to do to match fonts etc – doesn’t sound like much but it was the fact he really tried to help and I said not to worry about it and I would manage.  He came back to me 30mins later to say he had done it!   He and Colin at Callprint Edinburgh are a fantastic team and really help us with design and printing – be hard to do all we do without them.

Then Sue messaged me to say she had achieved a staggering amount of support for our Opening of Retreat and the following open days with biscuits and coffee.

They both really made my day with their kindness and going the extra mile to help me.   And with the sun shining too it is a fabulous Friday!  Busy too (there’s a surprise).

Ian and I have spent several hours working on our Donor Recognition Windows – contacting supporters, adding to the list, making sure names are right.  There is a long way to go but we have made a cracking start.

I have been selling again – my sales allow me to buy items for the office so today I am delivering a couple of things I have sold, before delivering collecting cans to a business who is doing a collection for us next week, and that is before I go out for lunch with some of my team. After that I am meeting three Young Ambassadors to get them started on a project for their main event this year – the Young Ambassadors Afternoon Tea (sounds like something you should have Ferrero Rocher chocolates at, doesn’t it?).  We are busy working on it already even though the event isn’t until November – I want the YA’s to understand just how much work goes into any event and especially our events.  Small groups of YA’s will work on different aspects of the event and this group are working with me and Ambassador Rosie on the general organisation of the event.  We shall soon be selling tickets = watch this space!

After dinner I plan a couple of hours of work on the computer to update the donor list then it is time to put feet up and read some magazines.

I have loved this week and am looking forward to a cracking weekend – got a Mindfulness workshop for our YA’s on Sunday and will be paying lots of attention myself!


Roll on Spring

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I shall be glad to see more spring like days appearing – today was so cold and bleak.  However I stayed home and hope I have managed to nip a budding cold in the bud and hopefully, it won’t come to anything.  I also did a Heinz 57 lot of wee tasks.

All sorts of things – paying bills, selling raffle tickets and filling out the details on the stubs for my lovely buyers, promoting them and events on social media, counting pens and envelopes for an event next week, checking the prizes for said event, getting a list printed, working out volunteer roles at two upcoming events, dealing with a fab supporter and her autumn event, and a request for collecting cans for an event next week (which I have also been invited to but not sure I can), considering book racks for the Retreat and stools, and arranging when on earth next week I can go collect a bit of furniture for the Retreat (from Stirling), arranging a photographer for events and also for some media photos for Ripple Retreat (different styles of photographers needed – thank goodness we now know lots).  I am also getting ready for a meeting tomorrow with some of my Young Ambassadors to move forward with their autumn event – we need to start selling tickets for that soon.  A pretty typical day for me but sometimes my head buzzes from all the different projects.  And yes, of course I could ask volunteers to count the pens and envelopes but it does boil down to putting out the request, getting them to come here to collect and then return and by the time that is done it is indeed quicker for me to just count them myself.  Well we did share the task – Ian did the envelopes and I did the pens!

I am off to do some more work on our donor windows list – it would be good to be able to have a couple of windows ready for the ‘Grand Opening!’

Volunteering, Fundraising, Helping others

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As I swim or walk I think about loads of things – often forgetting them especially if they are a task to be done (bit like walking into a room and wondering what on earth you have come there for, walk back to original room, remember and go back for it – sadly sometimes repeating that exercise!).

Anyway I also have been thinking about charities and helping others and I am so pleased to live in a country that does so much to help others.  I just looked at the OSCR (office of scottish charity regulator) website and it states that there are 24,063 charities registered with them –  Scotland’s charities, including community groups, religious charities, schools, universities, grant-giving charities, and major care providers.

How fantastic.  On top of that there are people using Justgiving’s crowdfunding pages to secure funding to help friends/family/colleagues in need.

Think how many hundreds of thousands of people there are out there doing something, anything to help a charity or person (or animal or tree).  I just love that thought. I am so happy to be part of that community and to have the support of so many people in the community helping us with our fundraising and volunteering opportunities.

Thanks to all those who do help us and to all of you who run other charities, help other charities, or just help your neighbours with a wee task.

I plan to keep at my volunteering and fundraising for a long time to come and hope to encourage others to join me whoever or whatever charity you support – it’s worth it.


Preparing for a busy week ahead.

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I hope you have had a great weekend too – we sure have.

Lots of us-time and that made us more productive when it came to work-time. Plus we are loving more daylight hours.

It felt so spring like I started to do some spring cleaning – always good for our charity as I usually sell stuff.  I will work on that later this week.  However, we also did a fair bit baking and cooking – on Sundays for past few weeks I have made big batches of soups – for us and for my parents and recently widowed sister in law.  I also made some bread and lasagnes.  We are all set for a busy week.  However Ian cut his finger and went in search of a band-aid.  Easy to find in this house as we have two big first aid boxes – filled with a variety of things to cure all ailments.

When was the last time you checked your first aid box?   If, like us, it was more than a couple of years ago, it is worth doing.  We threw out bandages and plasters dated 1999 (yes, really), expired Savlon, allergy cream, Vicks vapour rub and have a wee bag ready to hand into our local pharmacy to dispose of old medicines.  I will replace some items tomorrow but realise we don’t need them all.  It also reminded me to replace the first aid box we have in the charity office – mostly it was fine but best to be safe.

No pics of me cooking but some of me working later and I also thought you might like to see this time lapse video (combined with some drone footage that the It’s Good 2 Give Ripple REtreat architect, Tony Kettle, took in December).  Starting from October 2015 right through to January 2017 you can watch the progress of our Retreat in under 2minutes!

Thanks to Broughton Removals

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we are very lucky to have two storage units at Broughton Removals in leith.

‘Today we took dozens of smaller storage boxes to add to the units. For one awful moment I thought we were going to need a third unit but fortunately the guys helping us were seriously impressive at packing.

Suddenly our garage looks empty!

‘It’s all progress though. We got several donations today and so I added thank you cards and letters to my to do list for today. Having also done a fair bit of gardening today I’m feeling tired. Good tired. But means I’m doing a short post today.

Enjoy photos from this morning.

working out

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Had a mainly personal day yesterday as had my annual check at the Western General Hospital so today has been a lovely day – variety is the spice of life, they say!

Banking, paying invoices, replying to emails, initiating requests and then there was the heavy stuff – we have hired a van to take a lot of boxes and furniture to our storage units in Leith tomorrow.  But that meant we had to move huge boxes which seemed awkward and heavy to us! I have new muscles tonight and may need to soak in a bath later with epsoms salts.  Quite a workout we got! We will be glad to get space back in our garage – just in time to fill it again no doubt. It is incredibly kind of Broughton `Removals to support us

I am also working on the plans for the volunteer teams we need to get the big storage boxes emptied – we have a very short window of opportunity end April and beginning of May. I bought lots pairs of Marigolds at the weekend for all of us to use.

It’s wonderful to have so many offers to help and I will work on a wee rota soon.

It’s Good 2 Give Ripple Retreat site visit 14 February 2017

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Me and my Valentine spent the day doing a site visit and visiting two local supporters.

What a great day it was.

We started off by having an early lunch (1115am!) at Blair Drummond Smiddy – then we went just along the road to Doune to meet for the first time a great supporter – Cheryl Sievewright who owns Woodlane of Doune – a fashion boutique. Cheryl held a fashion show raising £1000 for us which was tremendous.  It was so good to finally meet her and she loves the Ripple Retreat and will continue to support us.  I can see myself popping in to Woodlane from time to time. (I saw several items I would have liked to look at more ).

From there we drove along to Callander and stopped to say hello to another local supporter, Ishbel owns the Crown Hotel. It was super busy as we arrived at 1pm so we just said hello and had a very brief chat then agreed to pop back at a quieter time!  We had a bit of time before we needed to be at the Retreat so we took a wander up and down Callander High Street, finding a lovely wee lane to wander down – it took us to a bridge over the river and an ancient graveyard which mentions Burke and Hare.

It was such a lovely February wintery sunny day  and the light was lovely as we approached our Ripple Retreat.  Parking was difficult as the site was so busy with contractors!  (Which was wonderful) – so we parked at our neighbour’s house (with permission I might add).  We had a VIP supporter visiting with her 3 sons so I had bought 3 child size safety hats and hi viz vests for them.  Kirsten runs KDMedia who have supported us through the Scottish Property Awards, Scottish Legal Awards and Scottish Home Awards raising over £60,000 for us in past three years. In addition to the funds, we have met several other supporters through those awards dinners.  I was a wee bit nervous as wanted her to love our Ripple Retreat as much as I do!   It was unnecessary worry – she loved it as did the boys.  On site today was a digger doing work on the road to the new Pier and the boys loved watching it.

Before heading home we met up with our neigbour, another VIP supporter and friend, David and had a cuppa and chat discussing the garden and other landscaping plans.

To top off a cracking day – daylight stayed with us till almost 6pm – a wonderful sign of approaching spring.