Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Willow Wood’s 20/20 Challenge had its official launch on Friday 1 February, and with 22 teams already signed up, there’s certainly going to be some friendly rivalry as they all aim to raise the most in funds for the Hospice and win the coveted trophy.

The teams, made up of local businesses, schools, clubs and groups were handed their £40 starter fund by Elaine McConnell, organiser of the Challenge and are already sharing some amazing fundraising ideas.

Paul Carney, of Stalybridge Archery Club, revealed that they are planning a 24 hour sponsored arch-a-thon – a very different fundraiser!  Lisa Bradley from the Ashton under Lyne branch of Nationwide and her team are already organising a cake bake and hamper raffle, and the very first fundraising event for the 20/20 Challenge will be taking place on Saturday 16 February when Body Shop consultants Gemma and Joanne will be holding a pamper afternoon and afternoon tea at the Oasis Centre in Haughton Green.  St Damiens School are organising a Dragons’ Den Challenge

Full details of this, and all the other 20/20 Challenges as they are finalised, can be found by going to www.willowwood.info.

Elaine said: “I’m absolutely thrilled by the response.  And, of course, we’re hoping that more teams will take up the Challenge over the next three months – it’s going to be great fun!  If you’ve got some ideas already please sign up on the 20/20 page on our website, but please contact me if you want to talk anything through or need further information.  Just ring fundraising on 0161 330 7788, I’d really love to hear from you.”


THE MAYOR of Greater Manchester has welcomed official figures showing the total number of people sleeping rough has fallen substantially for the first time in eight years in the city-region.

Andy Burnham, who has pledged to end the need for rough sleeping by 2020, said: “Tackling rough sleeping in Greater Manchester remains a huge challenge – our approach can always improve but I am confident that for the first time in a long time real progress is being made. We are helping people turn their lives around and in many cases saving them.”

Official government figures published today (Thursday 31 January) show that on the night of the national rough sleeper count last November all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs’ figures combined showed 241 people sleeping outdoors, a reduction of 37 over the last 12 months. In eight of the boroughs numbers have either stabilised or fallen.

Since the start of November the Mayor’s A Bed Every Night campaign has helped 1,236 people into safe, warm and supported accommodation. It is the basis of a commitment to provide a bed for every rough sleeper in Greater Manchester who wants and needs one every night of this winter regardless of weather or temperatures.

Andy said: “These figures from Government demonstrate that in Greater Manchester the tide is turning. This winter, through A Bed Every Night, we are the only city-region in the UK working to provide beds across all our boroughs to meet demand for accommodation and support. We think that since the official count the number of people on our streets has dropped still further.

“The fact that more than 200 people are still sleeping rough in our city-region in this day and age is completely unacceptable and there is still much work to do. This is a humanitarian crisis, not of our own making, and there is no easy solution.

“A Bed Every Night is both morally and economically the right thing to do. Research by Crisis shows someone sleeping rough costs the taxpayer £20,000 over the course of a year – someone being helped by our programmes costs roughly half that.

“We are leading the way on this issue in Greater Manchester – in contrast to many other cities’ and city-regions’ figures our numbers have declined over the past 12 months, the first time that has happened here since 2010. I call on Government to recognise the success of our strategy and adopt it as the nationwide approach to tackling rough sleeping.”

The national rough sleeper count takes place every year on one night in November, with local authorities up and down the country submitting data to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Figures are independently verified and the MHCLG subsequently publishes nationwide data early the following year.

These figures give the best indication of the numbers of rough sleepers on our streets, but it is generally accepted that the actual number is likely to be higher. However, these figures provide solid evidence of a reduction, which is backed up by what we are seeing on the streets.

For example, the latest figures, relating to the early morning of Friday 16 November, demonstrate that the number of people sleeping rough in Salford decreased, with 26 individuals counted compared to 49 the previous year. On the same night, roughly 40 people were inside A Bed Every Night accommodation in the borough as the scheme, which launched at the start of November, started to make an impact on the streets.

City Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, also leads on Housing, Planning and Homelessness for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). He said: “We’ve been working hard to reduce rough sleeping in Salford but it would not be possible without the support provided through the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the numerous local charities, churches, volunteers, partner organisations and help from the people of Greater Manchester. You are seriously all invaluable.

“We’ve had approximately 40 people in A Bed Every Night accommodation and with other support this has reduced our annual rough sleeping figure from 49 to 26.

“Rough sleeping and homelessness is symptomatic of a failing system; shocking government cuts have decimated local authority services. Welfare reform, especially the roll-out of Universal Credit, the bedroom tax, benefits being frozen since 2015, sanctions and welfare conditionality have all contributed to the significant exacerbation of inequality and poverty across Greater Manchester.

“In addition to this the chronic under-supply of truly affordable housing (council housing) over the last two decades and lack of properties replaced that have been sold under Right to Buy has created a housing crisis, which has fuelled homelessness and rough sleeping across Britain.

“The latest national rough sleeper count figures for Greater Manchester show that we’re making some progress but there is still so much more to do to fix the broken system in 21st century Britain.”

In Manchester the number of people counted as sleeping rough in November increased to 123 individuals. Cllr Sue Murphy leads on homelessness for the City Council, and said: “There is a greater awareness and visibility of rough sleeping in Manchester so we are not surprised that the official figure has gone up since last year as this tallies with our own ongoing data which shows that more people are on the streets than ever before.

“The headcount figure is a snapshot on one night only. However, we know that the figure for rough sleeping rarely remains static and our own most recent figure in January tells us that 65 people were on the streets which shows that more people are taking up the offers of temporary accommodation and support available to them.

“This data provides us with regular, reliable and up-to-date information to enable us to plan and respond to that need accordingly.

“We know this is a challenging situation but are working tirelessly to address these complex issues which lead to people sleeping rough in the first place. We have outreach teams as well as those from partner organisations on the streets, offering accommodation, help and support, and we are striving to strengthen this support offer all the time to help people stay off the streets, rebuild their lives and reduce homelessness.”

A Bed Every Night, supported by local authorities and supplemented by generous donations from Greater Manchester’s businesses and members of the public, is the first step off the street for many of the city-region’s homeless and is currently funded to run to the end of March.

Operating alongside the scheme is the existing Social Impact Bond (SIB) which has thus far secured independent living spaces for 223 of the city-region’s previously most entrenched rough sleepers.

Next month Greater Manchester’s work to end rough sleeping will go even further with the launch of a ground-breaking Housing First pilot, backed by £7.6 million of Government funding. Its aim is to provide additional support to a further 400 people over the next three years by establishing accommodation for people facing multiple needs and exclusion, including homeless people.


Rough sleeping figures per borough, 2010-18:

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016


2017 2018 Change
Bolton 2 1 1 1 4 8 8 17 21 950%
Bury 3 9 3 10 0 9 3 10 3 0%
Manchester 7 15 27 24 43 70 78 94 123 1657%
Oldham 1 0 1 2 0 2 3 2 2 100%
Rochdale 5 5 8 6 17 2 12 8 3 -40%
Salford 4 11 10 7 14 16 26 49 26 550%
Stockport 1 0 4 3 7 9 10 10 7 500%
Tameside 9 7 0 2 7 14 19 43 36 300%
Trafford 3 1 2 2 2 1 2 5 3 0%
Wigan 6 11 15 13 7 3 28 30 17 183%
GM Total 41 60 71 70 101 134 189 268 241 487%

Touch Solicitors and staff from Dr Kershaw’s are skydiving to raise funds for patient care by skydiving from over 10,000ft on 16th February!

On Valentine’s Weekend, lead nurse for community services Lindsey Harper and digital marketing apprentice, Kate Noble will be ‘Falling for Kershaw’s’ as they skydive from over 10,000ft with Touch Solicitors to raise funds for patient care at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice in Oldham.

Taking the leap from Touch Solicitors is Basit Maqsood, 23, and mum-of-two, Trusha Hirani, 37. The pair decided to support the Oldham Hospice after Capital Appeals Fundraiser, Lisa Buckley visited them. Basit said: From there we kick started the idea of doing something absolutely insane for a good cause. So we decided it would be a good idea to jump out of a plane. Dr Kershaw’s does an amazing job at supporting so many families at a very difficult time. Even the thought of losing your loved ones can be very distressing.”

Self-confessed adrenaline junkie, Trusha is hoping to inspire her daughters Mahi, 8, and Vidhi, 6, saying: “I just want to show them that there is nothing in this world you can’t do”. Hoping to walk to the plane Top Gun-style, Basit is yet to tell his mum he’s doing the skydive: “and I’ve got a fear of heights! But when I’m in the situation I’ll love it, I will just crack on.”

Reaching new heights from Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, nurse Lindsey Harper, 44, is looking forward to “crossing something off the bucket list to raise vital funds for our wonderful hospice!” Leading the Nursing Times award nominated service, Dr Kershaw’s Hospice at Home, Lindsey said: “When I’ve seen anyone doing a skydive my first thought has always been “I would love to do that”, the experience looks absolutely amazing, although I do think I will feel quite nervous on the day.”

The Hospice at Home service provides patients and their families with the appropriate level of additional care required, to ensure the patient has the support they need to remain in their own home if this is their preferred place of care and to prevent any unnecessary admissions to the hospital.

Joining Lindsey from Dr Kershaw’s is digital marketing apprentice, Kate Noble, 21, who is looking forward to doing something completely out of her comfort zone and raising money for patient care as Dr Kershaw’s celebrates its 30th year.

To support the skydive, please go to links below:

Trusha Hirani & Basit Maqsood: https://business.facebook.com/donate/1088172598041108/

Lindsey Harper: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lindsey-harper2

Kate Noble: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kate-noble-drkershaws



Willow Wood takes the health and wellbeing of its staff very seriously, and has recently started holding bi-monthly days to address both physical and psychological wellbeing. 

As Karen Houlston, chief executive said: “We are a small and very close team and it is important, both on a personal and a professional level, that we are all happy and healthy.  Wellbeing Days like this are great for morale and motivation, and learning techniques for relaxation and mindfulness that benefits us all.”

Organised by a team taken from every department in Willow Wood, the days encompass a wide variety of strategies to promote good health. Lindsay Thomas, one of our medical secretaries and member of the Wellbeing team said: “We feel passionate about the wellbeing of staff, and want to pass on ideas and tips of different tools to be used to take care of our own wellbeing.” 

Short relaxation workshops, half hour taster sessions of complementary therapies such as Reiki and reflexology, healthy eating, exercise and more made this a fun, as well as an educational day.

Lindsay, along with another member of the team Nicola Drake, made some delicious paneer and vegetable kebabs, and produced recipe cards to go with them.  Fruit and herb infusions were also available, and a team from Be Well Tameside gave confidential twenty-minute long health checks, with follow up appointments should they be needed.

Members of the Wellbeing team (l-r) Lyndsay, Nicola and Pat, with a delicious and healthy kebab

Electric bikes were available for exercise and our hydrotherapy pool was open for staff to relax or do gentle exercise in the warm water.   A new session this time was ‘Singing for Wellbeing’.  If you sing regularly you will know that it has the feel-good factor.  But did you know that it does have positive physical health benefits as well?  It exercises muscle groups in the upper body, brings more oxygen into the body and can improve your posture. 

All in all, it was a very successful day with positive benefits for all staff who attended.







Four varied projects that aim to benefit the Mossley community are seeking support at the next Mossley SOUP event on Thursday 7 February.

Mossley SOUP aims to bring the community together to promote, fundraise and support local projects that benefit the people of Mossley. For a donation of £5, diners receive soup, bread, hear four project presentations and then vote for their favourite idea.

Each presenter will get four minutes to share their idea and an opportunity to answer four questions from the audience. The winning project idea receives all of the money raised on the night to carry out their project.

The seventh Mossley SOUP dinner, sponsored by Tameside Rotary, will take place on Thursday 7 February from 6.30pm at Longlands Mill on Queen Street, home to Emmaus Mossley.

Tameside Rotary members who attended the last Mossley SOUP community crowdfunding dinner in October 2018 were so impressed by what they saw that they offered to become the sponsor for the forthcoming event.

Dennis Hilton, member of Tameside Rotary, said: “It was fantastic to see so many Mossley folk enjoying a great night out whilst generating much needed funds that will benefit the local community and we feel privileged to be able to support this very worthwhile initiative.”

The event will also include guest speakers, live music and a raffle with prizes donated by Alan & Vivs English Fish & Chips, Alphin Cycles, Dinnerstones, Donkeystone Brewery and Body & Mind Therapy Centre.

Past Mossley SOUP dinners have raised between £545 and £1,216 for each of the winning projects. All of the projects that have been presented at Mossley SOUP have benefited in some way. This includes increased public awareness, new volunteers, donations of materials and other financial support.

Mossley SOUP is organised by local resident volunteers with support from Mossley Town Council, the Mayor of Mossley and Emmaus Mossley.

For more information and for details of future SOUP events head to http://bit.ly/MossleySOUP.



Tameside Rotary Club are pleased to announce that Santa has now collected and counted his money and very generously has given it to Tameside Rotary for distribution to worthy causes.

Tameside Rotary would like to take this opportunity to thank all who helped make this year’s collection so successful. We raised just under £5,500.00!

The Tameside Rotary Club provides can offer funding to support people in the Tameside area. They also donate funding for charity and community group projects.

If you are a charity or community group who are looking for urgent funding, then please go to our website to complete a simple application form for our consideration. Closing date 15th March.

If successful, the lucky recipients will be invited to our Presentation Evening on Tuesday 11th June at the Village Hotel in Ashton.

The website address for application forms is www.tamesiderotaryclub.com

Visitors to Willow Wood were surprised earlier this week when Santa popped round to make a late Christmas delivery.

During their annual Christmas collection, Tameside Rotary was given some foreign coins along with £5,500 in donations, which have been earmarked for local good causes. Members of Rotary decided to add their leftover holiday money to the pot and pass this across to Willow Wood.  As Santa himself said, “Willow Wood does such a great job helping people and I’m very pleased to make this special trip!”

Anthony Lord, head of income generation was very pleased to receive the donation from Santa and John Moon from the Rotary Club saying, “Most people have some leftover holiday currency taking up space in drawers or an old wallet.  Why not follow Rotary’s example and drop this off at Willow Wood.  We’d be very grateful to receive it, and it will go towards the £6,800 we need every day to care for our patients.”

If you’re involved with a local charity or organisation and would like to apply to Tameside Rotary for funding please go to their website, but applications for this year do need to be in before 15 March.  And if you’d like to find out more about Willow Wood go to www.willowwood.info.



As it comes into its 30th year of saving, adopting and caring for vulnerable animals of all shapes and sizes, Haywill Animal Rescue desperately needs donations.

Their appeal comes after the charity’s main sponsor was forced to stop donating £500 a month due to personal circumstances – an amount that was vital to the self-funded initiative and those it supports.

The shelter not only rescues vulnerable animals from homes and farms, but has also been providing “animal-assisted therapy” to those with special needs, mental health issues, disabilities and behavioural difficulties for eight years.

Their roster currently boasts cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, chickens, ponies, guinea-pigs and even turtles and terrapins who are looked after by the Haywill team, with some going on to be adopted by members of the public.

Over the Christmas period, Glossop’s Aldi Superstore generously donated their leftover vegetables that would have otherwise gone to bio-waste, but that supply has since run out.

Founder and Special-Needs Teacher Lynn Haydon-Williams, 58, said that the rescue is a lifeline for both people and animals, but is struggling under the financial strain.

Lynn, who also has degenerative disc disease added that the shelter is what keeps her going, admitting she’s a “soft-touch” when it comes to animals in need.

She said: “This place helps me, but it also keeps a lot of people who come here going too… it’s a real labour of love.

“We really need sponsors, general donations and even kind donations of things like fresh fruit and vegetables, bedding, horse feed and hay bales.

“Even if you can’t give money, we would love to have those who want to volunteer, there’s something for everyone here. If you can DIY, make a website or want to muck in, we care about what you can do – not what you can’t.”

If you would like to donate to Haywill Animal Rescue or find out more, you can visit their website at: https://www.haywillanimalrescue.co.uk/default.html or email: lynn@haywillanimalrescue.co.uk


Two friends from Ashton are running marathons, navigating freezing canals in a canoe and even climbing Mount Everest (albeit virtually) in a bid to raise £10,000 for disadvantaged children across Greater Manchester.

Ian French, 42, and Steve Reid, 39, have been balancing their busy lives by training tirelessly at the weekend, currently clocking 40 miles by canoe through Ashton canal in preparation for their challenge.

From the 27th of January they will be paddling day and night to cover the 167-mile route from Leeds to Manchester, hoping to cut through Liverpool starting on the 27th January.

Armed with an arctic tent and support vehicle, Ian and Steve have given themselves plenty of options to get to their destination on the 2nd of February – just in case the canals freeze over.

Ian, who last year also ran the Stockport and Manchester Half Marathons with his mate, said the charity is incredibly close to their hearts, being fathers themselves.

He said: “I have a little girl and Steve has sons, we’re both family men and luckily our children have all the support and finances to help them.

“Unfortunately some of these children in Manchester have no families or come from struggling backgrounds, so we wanted to do our little bit to help local kids.

The money stays in this area and will be to donated to children in our community who are dealing with issues such as poverty, abuse, neglect and short life expectancy, aiming to give them great experiences in life.”

The duo are also set to take on an 11 hour virtual climb of Mount Everest in March which will be followed by two full marathons in Manchester and Milton Keynes in April and May.

They already have had some support from businesses, such as Senior Aerospace in Poynton, who’ve paid the entry fee for all marathons, and from branded gear from Totally T Shirts in Stockport – but are appealing for further sponsorship to help them achieve their goal.

Ian added: “Whether you’re a big business who would like to sponsor us or simply a Joe Bloggs on the street who could spare £5, every little bit helps our cause.”

So far the pair have raised £2,081, but are still seeking donations.

If you’d like to help, you can give directly at: https://tinyurl.com/y6umeo3u or give Ian a call on: 07872418548


If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to get fit, Willow Wood’s Back to the Fitness on Sunday 3 February is a great way to kick start your new regime.

Held at Astley Sports Village, so you’ll have no problems in parking, Back to the Fitness is two challenges in one day.  First up is the 80s themed Zumbathon, so dig out those leg warmers.  Fluorescent head and wrist bands are included in the price ensuring you’ll all look the part as you show off your best moves.  It’s a great aerobic workout and burns up to 600 calories per hour, so the routine will really help you shape up for Spring.

Continuing through the decades there’s a 90s Clubberthon challenge in the afternoon with all your favourites club classics.  Glow sticks are included and it’ll be a real high energy workout.

If you really want to look the part, you can order a limited edition T shirt like our lovely fundraising assistant Charlotte is wearing.  You’ll have to be quick though, we’ve only got 250 of them.

Both the challenges are two hours long with a fee of £6 each.  If you’re fit enough to handle two, they’re discounted to just £10 for both the 80s Zumbathon and the 90s Clubberthon.

These fun and fantastic events are fundraisers for Willow Wood; the entry fee just covers the cost of the day and we’re relying on your support to help us continue our loving care for the people of Tameside and Glossop.

If you don’t feel you could raise much in sponsorship, why not take one of our fundraising cards?  They’re a really easy way to raise funds for us and with a cash prize to the winner, friends and colleagues can easily be persuaded to hand over £2 each.  As a special thank you for taking part, we’re offering a refund of the entry fee to everyone who raises £100 or more.

It’s really easy to sign up.  Just go to our website, www.willowwood.info to find out more, and to register online, quickly, easily and securely.