Jessica Hope rounds up some of the Bath-based charities who work hard 365 days a year to provide help and care for local causes.
While many of us will be enjoying the festivities with our families and friends this Christmas, some will not be so fortunate. Here we reveal just a handful of the charities from around the city working throughout the year to provide help for people in the local community and abroad, as well as some of our furry friends, and we discover why they were first set up and how we can help donate and volunteer our time.
Bath City Farm
Located on 37 acres of farmland between Twerton and Whiteway, Bath City Farm is an important asset for the local community, being a place of engagement and learning, providing support and education to vulnerable adults and children from areas of Bath that are often overlooked.
Set up by the local community in the 1990s, Bath City Farm is the second largest city farm in the UK.
The farm encourages enjoyment and education in horticulture, farming and nature, as well as helping people to develop new skills and boost their health and well-being. It depends on its 75 volunteers, many of whom have or are overcoming illnesses.
The farm is holding a winter fair on Saturday 2 December, 12 – 3pm. There will be food, drinks, children’s crafts, music, carol singing, Christmas biscuit decorating and animals, with all money raised going towards the farm.
Thinking of a different kind of gift for someone this Christmas? You can adopt an animal for £10 – £20, and the donor will get a certificate and be invited to two ‘meet your animals’ events throughout the year.
The Woodworks Project
The Woodworks Project runs carpentry and upholstery workshops for people with mental and physical health conditions, and those who are recovering from addiction or trauma. After the furniture has been restored, the items are sold in the charity’s shop on Southgate Street, with all the profit going towards future workshop projects.
Set up in 2015 by Stephen Budd and Byll Pulman, the project previously ran for 10 years under the umbrella of another charity. Since opening more than two years ago, the charity helps some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the local community with structure and new skills.
Bath’s oldest joinery firm, Hawker Joinery, recently donated more than £2,000 worth of high quality timber to the project, allowing the team to transform its workshop space.
Due to a generous donation, the charity has been able to secure new premises and expects to move its workshop in 2018, where it hopes to be able to expand and help more local people.
VOICES supports victims and survivors of domestic abuse with recovery programmes and advice. The charity was established in 2014 by a group of women with experience of domestic abuse who saw that there was a gap in services in Bath for victims. It aims to provide longer term, holistic support and recovery as well as peer support, and works in partnership with other local services, including those providing safe housing, high risk and specialist trauma support.
A charity spokesperson said: “Christmas is a difficult time of year for adults and children recovering from domestic abuse, often facing insecurity and financial need.”
VOICES will be at the Christmas Community Fair on Saturday 9 December, 2 – 4.30pm at Hedley Hall in Oldfield Park, Bath, where you can make donations, or visit: localgiving.org/charity/voices.
If you would like to volunteer with fundraising, communications or admin work, or work as a mentor, find out more online.
Bath Cats and Dogs Home
Bath Cats and Dogs Home rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes more than 1,400 unwanted, mistreated and neglected pets every year. Each animal is cared for, which sometimes involves life-saving operations, before new happy homes are found.
Set up in the 1930s, the Bath Cats and Dogs Home was established to provide shelter and safety for unwanted and stray animals. The vet team now carry out nearly 7,000 procedures each year, and the charity cares for around 700 dogs, 700 cats and 120 small pets.
A great gift for animal loving children this Christmas is membership to the Paws & Claws Club, where you can be an animal carer for the day and receive lots of free goodies throughout the year.
The charity has more than 200 volunteers in a range of roles including working directly with animals, helping fundraise or working in local charity shops.
Bath Cats and Dogs Home has launched its winter appeal to raise money for animals who will need urgent care over the cold months. Visit: bcdh.org.uk/safe to find out more and to donate.
The Charitable Foundation for the Education of Nepalese Children
CFENC was established by couple Lisa Whitehouse-Foskett and Peter Foskett more than 10 years ago following a trip to Nepal. Lisa saw how many of the children wanted to attend school and broaden their education, but were held back by the lack of facilities or supplies. CFENC provides stationery, building resources, relief, uniforms and books, as well as giving grants to students and helping to pay for tuition and other fees to enable young people to attend school, college or university.
Following the earthquakes that hit Nepal in 2015, CFENC launched an appeal and raised in excess of £25,000 in four weeks and funded the supply of tents, blankets, mattresses, medicine, drinking water, food etcto more than 20 mountain villages.
CFENC has recently finished building a school which will have a lasting legacy for the community, and according to the local education office of Soulkhumbu District and a government minister this will be used as a model for all future schools in that district.
Every year the charity holds an event in Bath called HIMAL, where beautiful cashmere, silk and woollen goods from Nepal are sold. You can also purchase items via the CFENC Facebook page.
Lisa and Peter would love to hear from individuals, schools and businesses who would like to get involved and help continue this important educational work in Nepal.
Dorothy House Hospice Care
Dorothy House Hospice Care is an independent, local charity providing palliative and end of life care for people with a life-limiting illness.
Set up in 1976 by Prue Dufour, who played a significant role in the British hospice movement, Dorothy House has cared for more than 45,000 patients. The hospice supports 900 people per day both in the community through its Hospice at Home service, as well as its main hospice in Winsley and two Outreach Centres in Trowbridge and Peasedown St John.
The hospice was awarded an Outstanding rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in January, placing it in the top 6% of adult social care providers nationally. DHHC has a wide variety of volunteer roles including working in its 28 retail shops, reception desk work, companions, complementary therapists and drivers, just to name a few. Go online or call: 01225 722 988 to find out more.
The charity’s next fundraising event is the Santa & Elf Run on Sunday 3 December which is a 2.5k or 5k fun run open to all the family. Be quick as entries close at 5pm on 30 November, visit: santaandelfrun.org.uk.
The hospice also has a variety of charity Christmas cards, calendars and 2018 diaries on sale on its online Christmas Shop: shop.dorothyhouse.org.uk and in the charity’s retail shops around the city.
FoodCycle Bath collects surplus food from local supermarkets and prepares a three course community meal, organised by volunteers, on a weekly basis.
FoodCycle was first launched in London in 2008, and the Bath branch was set up five years ago by those who wanted to reduce food waste and tackle food poverty in the city. Across the country, 15% of guests to FoodCycle branches are homeless or living in temporary accommodation, with 42% having used or are using food banks.
In 2016 the charity saved more than 5.5 tons of perfectly edible food in Bath and cooked more than 1,000 meals with 1,900 volunteer hours.
Volunteers collect food, cook and serve nutritious meals every Wednesday evening at St Mary’s Catholic Church on Julian Road. There is no requirement to volunteer every week or for a set amount of time, you simply sign up to whichever sessions you are able to attend using an online rota system.
FoodCycle Bath will be working hard to find extra supplies for the charity’s big Christmas meal. If you would like to help donate, then go online or email: email@example.com to find out more.
Genesis Trust Bath supports homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable people around Bath. The charity provides food and clothing, as well as offering advice, training and work placements, with the aim of helping people move forward with their lives.
Genesis began in 1990 when local hairdresser Gail Hodges discovered teenagers rummaging in a bin for food. Realising that they were sleeping rough, she began to provide them with soup each night. The Bath Soup Run was born as a co-ordinated effort involving many of the churches in Bath and it still runs today, providing hot food for people living on the streets.
One of the trust’s projects, Lifeline, started in 2003 and provides a safe and warm space for homeless and rough sleepers to access a hot drink, food and clothing, and where they can use computers and seek advice on issues related to housing, debt and addiction. Last year Lifeline hosted more than 8,000 visits, gave out 1,500 items of clothing and footwear and 640 emergency food parcels.
Genesis Trust has been chosen to take part in the UK’s biggest match funding campaign, the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2017. Donations made via: theBigGive.org.uk will be doubled during the campaign which runs from 28 November to 5 December, and will help the charity to open its Lifeline Centre on Saturdays.
You can also donate online, or give furniture for the charity’s Furniture Project and warm clothing to the Lifeline Centre.
The Bath Foodbank, which is run entirely by volunteers, provides food parcels to individuals and families in crisis around the city. Last year the organisation fed more than 3,000 people, and this year it has seen an enormous increase in demand by local people for a variety of reasons, such as illness, unemployment and redundancy, with the most common reason being benefit delays or changes.
Foodbank clients are given a voucher by one of more than 100 agencies throughout the city and can present it at one of the three distribution centres at Manvers Street Baptist Church, on the High Street in Twerton, and at St Barnabas Church in Southdown.
The Foodbank is grateful to supermarkets, schools, churches, businesses and individuals for their generous support in donating food. If your business might be interested in sponsoring the Foodbank’s running costs, then go online and get in touch.