Supporting the 25th Anniversary of Autism Concern; the charity that creates a ‘voice and choice for individuals on the spectrum in Northamptonshire’

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A ‘voice and choice’ for children, parents and families affected by autism. The work of Autism Concern has advocated and upheld the views, needs and concerns for people affected by autism in Northamptonshire for 25 years.

From engaging the wider community to participate in their fundraising activities, hosting life-skills workshops, play-worker assisted activities, and running Autism Awareness campaigns, are among some of the many things that Autism Concern has done over the years. This has helped this incredible charity gain a presence within Northamptonshire, supports hundreds of families, and, in recent years, has expanded its networks with the University of Northampton’s Special Educational Needs Department, and the student run group; Auto-Circle Spectrum Society (https://www.facebook.com/groups/267101520081256/).

The incoming President of the society, Rob Ambidge, is in fact, doing a leap of faith and is going over the edge of the lift tower (a 400ft) tower, to help raise funds for this cause!

You can support him here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Rob-looks-down?utm_id=121

Autism Concern have done so much for the people of Northampton why not spare a few moments to donate to  this important charity?

Text ACIS25 £10 to 70070 – be part of something incredible; support the 25th Anniversary of Autism Concern, and help them reach their target of £25,000!

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International Women’s Day!

8th March marks International Women’s Day!  A day where we celebrate the achievements of women and the struggle for equality over the centuries. 11th March was also Mothers’ Day (2018), and this blog post is a combination that celebrates some incredible women, as well as my own mother!

Here are some of my favourite and most inspirational women!

 

Rigoberta Menchu Tum

Born in 1959 to a peasant family, Rigoberta got involved in Women’s Rights Movements when she was in her teens, and later, dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of Indians from the Guatemalan regime.

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1992/tum-bio.html

 

Saint Mother Teresa

Mother Theresa lived a pious life where she helped the starving people of Calcutta. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, and set up orphanages and hospices to help the sick and dying.

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1979/teresa-facts.html

 

Malala

Since the age of 11, Malala has been fighting for the rights of children’s education. She survived being assassinated by the Taliban for fighting for children’s education, and won a Nobel Peace Prize for her constant activism and strive for children’s education.

 

Nadia Murad

Nadia Murad is a human rights activist and was a former captive of ISIS. After she escaped, she got to a refugee camp in Dohuk, Iraq, and from there, began advocating and fighting for the rights of the Yazidis. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2016.

 

My own mother!                                                                                                                                    The most important woman in my life; the woman who carried and raised me, and taught me that no matter what, as long as I have faith, be kind always, and strive to do good wherever I go, everything will be fine!

Mum, I love you!

You taught me to love, have faith and show compassion; you are my rock!

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Time to Talk: What you can do to help someone with depression.

  • Spend time with them.

Giving your time for others is a wonderful way of expressing your care and love for them. Time is precious, and the time spent being with that person, helping them to distract their minds from the chaos and stormy torment that depression can make a world of difference.

  • Listen to them

Listening is an amazing skill that allows people to offload all their thoughts and feelings, which, in turn, provides healing. Do not make assumptions or ignore what is said (based on personal experience), as you will cause more harm than good. Listen to them.

 

  • Remind them that they are loved

Words cannot state how important this is! Depression is a downward spiral where negative thoughts, the constant burden of feeling guilty and worthless plague your life, and feeling like a toxic person 24/7. Reminding someone that they are loved can be a ray of hope. Be there for them, and support them. They are, after all, fighting a never-ending battle.

·         Recovery is possible!

This is what everyone with depression needs to hear! Recovery is possible, and with the right help and support they can overcome depression. From my own experience of depression, I thought it would never end, and that I was trapped in a downward spiral where I was beyond the reach of anyone’s help. However, when I got the right help, support and love from those around me, it created a sense of security providing a foundation for me to find my feet, and overcame depression.

 

 

Fighter

Stay strong you mighty fighters!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give the Gift of Joy this Christmas

 

“A little bit of consideration, and thought for others, can really make all the difference…”

The Acocks Green Food Bank Team are embarking on a Christmas Campaign; a Reverse Advent Calendar, where everyday from December 1st-January 1st 2018, volunteers will be  accumulating food donations each day of the week, before bringing them in on Tuesdays and Fridays when the Food Bank is open.

Over the past few months, we have sadly seen an increase in people using the services we provide, especially young families and single parents.

As Christmas is approaching, please dig deep and donate to the Acocks Green Food Bank; you are sharing love and hope ❤

Alternatively, if you want to challenge yourself and participate in  the Reverse Advent Calendar, please see the flyer and details below of what we are in need of, the times and where you can donate.

 

Here is how you can do your own Reverse Advent Calendar:

  1. Pick a charity, organisation or food bank you would like to donate to
  2. Contact the organisation to find out what items they are most in need of and when you should drop them off
  3. Put aside a box and – depending how creative you are – decorate it or add numbers
  4. Get collecting and let the countdown begin!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42069381

 

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Donations sought:

  • Christmas pudding
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Toiletries
  • Tinned food
  • Pasta, Pasta sauces
  • Sugar
  • UHT Milk
  • Tea/Coffee
  • – We also accept financial donations-

 

Give a little, and keep someone warm

As temperatures drop, and the nights come early, the members of the Community Soup Kitchen will be busy as always ensuring that the homeless communities in Birmingham are fed and have warm clothes.

Every Tuesday, hundreds of people come to the Ikea on the corner by Albert Street (in Birmingham City Centre) to get some hot food and new clothes distributed by the generosity of donors and the volunteers who help.

At present, there is a need for:

Socks

Gloves

Hats

Toiletries

Jumpers

Scarves

Please give a little, and keep someone warm this winter.

You can find more information on the Community Soup Kitchen here at: https://www.facebook.com/CommunityStreetKitchen/

Please give generously  ❤

 

 

 

Be the difference

“My wife left me, my daughter has gone, my mum has disowned me. I’ve been ill for a long time, and the way they (job agency) spoke to me was awful. How am I supposed to work when I’m ill?”

“When I got home my now ex-wife was there with her new boyfriend, both with hammers. I was later sent to hospital with a fractured spine and a head injury; – and that was the end of my marriage”

“I’m looking after all of my families’ kids. I never had any of my own, but I was left to pick  up the pieces of what my family had left”

 

What has been quoted above, are examples of what I have been faced with when supporting members of the local community  who have come for help from the Acocks Green Food Bank. Over the last 2 months we have seen an increase in people coming for help due to complex and multi-faceted life circumstances and crisis.

Everything from family and relationship breakdown, ill physical and mental health, financial issues, being made to jump through hoops for support from the benefit system, to issues of bullying and discrimination; we, the volunteers at the Acocks Green Food Bank have met and supported people from all walks of life who are in need of help.

We operate every Tuesday and Friday from 10am-12pm, where we offer tea, coffee, and some toast, a listening ear and great company. In addition to this, we have an internal referral service where we signpost those who come for help to the relevant services to aid them in getting to the bottom of their crisis.

If you want to come on down and meet the team, we’d love to see you!  We’re at the rear of 100 Westley Road, B27 7RU: https://www.elim-acocksgreen.org/foodbank

If you want to volunteer for us, come and we’ll equip you with the skills you need to help others. We currently need volunteers to:

  • Promote the Food Bank and encourage donations from the wider public
  • Utilise the social media sites (Facebook and Twitter) and provide updates on what is happening
  • Drivers who can spend a few hours a week collecting food from designated collection points; – very important
  • Dedicate a few hours at external community events, i.e. Acocks Green Carnival (annual) to promote what we do and how we can help people.
  • Help do a stock rotation and to date the food that is donated before it is stored in the warehouse.

We are always in need of donations, whether food or financial; it goes a long way, and can be the positive difference that someone needs.

Join our Facebook Group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1951659965120706/

Follow us on Twitter:@AGFoodBank

 

 

Hushed Voices: Stories of Courage and Resilience

On multiple occasions, I have met many refugees through my volunteering with Northampton Town of Sanctuary, various  community events, and awareness campaigns. Every encounter I have had with a refugee has pulled heartstrings, and the stories that they tell detailing their journeys and experiences will stick with me for a long time.

The harrowing expression in their faces; the never-ending wait from the immigration office about their status; the never-ending wait to hear from their family members; and the looming uncertainty of what will happen next. These are some of the personal accounts that I have heard from refugees;

 

“Me and my family were attacked in Libya after we fled Iraq to escape the conflict. Because we were foreigners, we we were attacked regularly in the street. We later had to move back to Iraq, where we were attacked even more by soldiers” (Refugee talking at a Local Event)

 

“My family sent me here for my safety. I do not know where they are, or if they are alive” (read the following link for more detail on my encounter with this young man: Responding to Prejudice; The main comments that I hear about the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and my responses to them. )

 

“They (soldiers) took my mother and father, and my father was tortured by them. I do not know where my mother is” (Northampton Town of Sanctuary)

 

“I used to work as a doctor in Libya, until me and my family were forced to leave after we were threatened. My uncle and cousin were killed, and, whilst I was resuscitating a soldier in a Benghazi hospital, people burst into the room, pointed the gun at me and told me to stop resuscitating him. They then killed the soldier, with a bullet to the head” (Local Event: details here; https://www.northampton.ac.uk/news/moving-tales-of-war-refugees-and-political-divisions-shed-light-on-syrian-conflict/)

 

“We (the people of Syria) want peace and we want to go back home” (Local Event; see above link)

 

These are all stories of extraordinary courage and resilience in the face of so much conflict, hate and division. Whilst these are only a handful of personal accounts; they accentuate the trauma and pain that millions of people globally are affected by.

For those that want to help and be part of something bigger, here are the links to Northampton and Birmingham City of Sanctuary:

Northampton: http://northamptontownofsanctuary.uk/

Birmingham: https://birmingham.cityofsanctuary.org/

What Others Have Taught me about Living with Depression