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Causes That Matter 2023

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Susan and Jayne were delighted to attend the Causes that Matter event hosted by The High Sheriff of Kent Nadra Ahmed CBE DL in partnership with Kent Community Foundation on Tuesday 7th November at Eastwell Manor Hotel & Health Spa, Ashford.

 

They were able to meet the Grants Team, discuss funding opportunities and hear from The High Sheriff of Kent, all while enjoying tea, coffee and cake! One Big Family appreciate the support from The Kent Community Foundation in gaining grant funding opportunities.

Soup to Soup 2023

At 9pm on Saturday 14th October a group of around 30 people set off from London Victoria to walk 60km throughout the night to Chatham high street, the site of One Big Family’s weekly soup kitchen. For some members of the group this was their first walk, blindly taking on this challenge with naive optimism, while for others this was a repeat performance, where any sense or desire not to inflict the pain or blisters of previous years had been squashed by the remembered pride in completing the walk. What united us all though was the goal to raise essential funds for One Big Family’s important work with homeless and vulnerably housed people in Medway. 


We began our journey with a scenic stroll past London’s landmarks as the group buzzed with chatter about their motivations, expected challenges, and the need for toilets. Already? Yes, Darren, already. Luckily the staff at the closing Deptford McDonald’s were more receptive to our wee pleas and very kindly opened up their toilets. Bladders relieved, and encouraged ‘gently’ by Darren’s motivation techniques, the group surged on towards Greenwich. At the Cutty Sark we were met by our wonderful support crew - two vans full of enough tea and food supplies to sustain us for two walks, driven by the fantastic volunteers that are the core of One Big Family. 


The group found its rhythm in the passing hours as we plodded on through Lewisham, Lee, and finally Shooters Hill before arriving at our next stop in Welling. But our bodies were starting to question what we were asking of them at 3 o’clock in the morning as the leg aches set in, the feet were pulsing, and the blisters were arriving. Nevertheless, we continued to pound the pavements in the dark of early morning, eating up the miles from Welling to Bexleyheath, through Crayford (where our bathroom needs were once again relieved by more lovely McDonalds staff who allowed us into the loos before opening), and on through Dartford. For some this time was used for a speaker party of Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, and Abba, while for others headphones were stuck in to let playlists and podcasts wile away the steps. Finally, our well-earned rest stop at Greenhithe was heralded in by the golden glow of yet another McDonald’s logo. Somewhat rejuvenated by more tea, toilets, and encouragement from our support crew, we ascended up the hill towards Ebbsfleet and the rising sun, bringing much needed warmth to all of our exhausted bodies. 


Our next stop, Gravesend high street, marked for those seasoned OBF walkers among us the beginning of the hardest section, which as a first-time walker was great to hear after already completing over 40kms. But the end was coming into sight, so we hauled our bruised feet and aching muscles along towards our next and final stop in Higham, pausing just for a minute along the way to re-group. Hey Darren, how long do we have left? Oh, about 11kms to Chatham. But that can’t be right, the tracker says we’ve already done 53kms, and 53 + 11 doesn’t equal 60 Darren... After considering our options, it was decided that simply stopping in protest at 60km would spoil the effect of the welcome party that was gathering in Chatham high street, so we continued with the final stetch of our 65km walk through Higham, onto Strood, and over the bridge into Rochester to be greeted by refreshments and sweets kindly offered up by the Raj of India.

 

Buoyed by the support of wonderful OBF volunteers, friends, and family who came out to guide us in we dragged ourselves along to Chatham and the Bloco Fogo band whose powerful drumming accompanied the final steps and completion of our walk. Hugs were shared, tears were shed, and Mr Maker handed out medals and congratulations. Just a few hours later, at our weekly Sunday night soup kitchen, hot meals, refreshments, and groceries were given out to over 100 people, showing the critical need for the work done by One Big Family and the fundraising that enables it.  


Now, as much as this story may have seemed somewhat critical of our leader, and others in our group may not be so quick to forget his under-measurement of the distance, this walk and the fundraising efforts surrounding it would not have been possible without Darren, who never let anyone believe they couldn’t make it. It would also have been impossible without the organisation and support of all the amazing people at OBF who supported the walk and its walkers. So, thank you to every person who made this happen, and to all the people who have sponsored this bizarre adventure. If you’d like to support this huge accomplishment, then there’s still time to donate! A very generous benefactor has offered to match the total amount fundraised from the walk so any contribution would be greatly appreciated! And if you’ve made it to the end of this story and you’re thinking it doesn’t sound too bad, or you think it sounds awful but worth it for the pride of fundraising for an amazing charity, then why not join us next year? 

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Homestart AGM

One Big Family were delighted to be invited the Homestart AGM on 10th October 2023 and Jess and Jayne were given a warm welcome. We have been helping them to support families and have donated toys, clothes, nappies and baby milk to give to families. We will continue to support them to help families in Medway and look forward to our future collaborative working.

Homestarter packs from Kent Community Foundation Trust

Grant-maker Kent Community Foundation has been finding, funding, and supporting some of the smallest voluntary organisations in the county for twenty years.

 

In this time, it has distributed over £50 million to support thousands of small charities and deserving causes where a modest sum of money can make a significant impact.


They are part of a UK wide accredited network of forty-seven Community Foundations who are committed to improving the lives of local people and communities, particularly the most vulnerable, isolated, and disadvantaged by matching those who want to help, with those who need the help.


Responsible for more than eighty philanthropic funds, Kent Community Foundation is unrivalled in its knowledge of local causes and assists individuals, families, and businesses, who want to help, to establish and administer their own charitable funds.


www.kentcf.org.uk


Thank you for the generous support enabling us to buy items for homestarter packs from The Lawson Trust for Kent, administered by Kent Community Foundation. 
 

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East Kent Freemasons and Dukes House

Charity has been a long standing part of Freemasonry, and it is still relevant today. Raising money for local charities, supporting local communities is major part of a freemasons journey.

We were so grateful that East Kent Freemasons answered a plea from One Big Family for volunteers to paint the kitchen at Dukes House.  With paint generously donated by Lucas UK Group Ltd, the group gave their time to redecorate 2 rooms and the lobby area at Dukes House.

Thank you East Kent Freemasons for your hard work and time, and to Lucas UK Group for the paint.

Take a read through their post about the experience.

Awards

In October 2022 we were honoured to win The "Excellent Community Project " award at the annual Kent Housing Group Extraordinary Awards.

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