Influence’s Charity of the Year update

Children’s Bereavement Centre, Newark

Throughout 2016 Influence have supported the Children’s Bereavement Centre charity, based in Newark.

The staff organised a charity Bake-Off and also a Strictly Come Dancing sweepstake within the office and have raised £200.00 for the Children’s Bereavement Centre.  Most recently Influence sponsored the Christmas Candlelight Service held at Newark Parish Church on 9 December 2016.

Influence were originally approached in a voluntary capacity by Newark Castle Rotary Club to help create a breakout space for a vital community resource in the centre of Newark, for use by the Bereavement Centre.  We produced an adaptable design concept and a costing schedule that met the Centre’s needs; sourcing products and materials, and offering support to the Centre and Rotary Club throughout the process.

A flexible and inspiring garden for those receiving support and guidance was created.   As well as being welcoming and cost effective, the garden had to be portable to accommodate future relocation.  We also had to safeguard the existing fabric of the rear courtyard car park where the temporary garden is now located.

The Children’s Bereavement Centre has managed, in the last year, to open up Outreach Centres in the Rushcliffe and Bassetlaw areas.  They recruited and trained 12 more clinical volunteers who give therapeutic support to both children and adults.  They increased the number of children, young people and adults they give support to taking their total to 586 2015/16.

The volunteers at the Children’s Bereavement Centre won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary organisation can receive.  They also won the Training and Development Award at the Newark Business Awards.

Influence would like to wish the Children’s Bereavement Centre every success with all their future endeavours.

Eton Avenue Growers Association

Influence’s charity for 2017 is Eton Avenue Growers Association based in Newark.

The Eton Avenue Growers Association run a local allotment site.  At the beginning of 2009 the site was an abandoned overgrown former allotment field that had not been used for over 20 years.  Newark Town Council strimmed it and sprayed it with weed killer and then handed it over.  The site was then dragged (you cannot get a tractor and plough up the alley to the site) and vegetables planted that had been started off in an old commercial greenhouse.

By the end of August quite a lot of vegetables were being produced and sold to people in Newark.

The Eton Avenue Growers Association was established and a grant was applied for from Notts County Council for security fencing, a rotovator and polytunnels.

Gradually the Association was known for helping people with mental health issues, long term unemployment and those on long term sickness benefits.

The Job Centre and Job Centre Agencies all use the allotment and these people are now the core clients.  Over the years they have had students from the Special Needs department from Magnus School, Newark, students from Education Youth Services in Newark, Nottingham, Mansfield and Lincoln and from Wycar Lees care home.

Some people go for a few weeks on work experience, some go for a few months and quite a lot stay and end up helping to run the place.

The Association now grow cut flowers (they belong to the nationwide Flower from the Farm organisation), vegetables and fruit.  They have ponds, a living willow dome and all sorts of different areas to look at.

They host the Newark in Bloom launch in April, run a Seed Swap in February and welcome visits from groups for guided walks and talks.

The Association could not exist without the generosity of all their local Councils and local businesses support.