This is a new regular feature for me – every Tuesday I’m going to highlight the work of one charity, often a small group working hard, but falling below the radar. Times are tight for everyone, but if we all do our bit and give a little money or time where we can, then we can make a difference.
This week’s organisation is the Honeypot Children’s Charity. Please read, share and help to bring a little bit of happiness into the lives of children like Wallis.
So, what’s the problem?
There are approximately 175,000 young carers in the UK, and many of them have nowhere to turn. This means that children as young as five years old have full caring responsibilities for a loved one; perhaps a parent or a sibling. For a young carer, life can be tough. These children face responsibilities that many adults would struggle to cope with. For example, many of the children we support juggle their education alongside cooking, cleaning, ironing and helping a loved one with personal care or taking their medication.
How does your organisation set out to solve it? What makes your approach unique?
Honeypot Children’s Charity provides respite and outreach support for young carers. The fact we do this from the age of 5, right up until a child’s 12th birthday, makes us unique in the UK.
Every Friday, we pick 12 Honeypot children up after school and bring them to Honeypot House in the New Forest. Here, they are able to escape the difficult situations they face at home. We have a swimming pool, seven acres of beautiful land and a lot of toys for them to enjoy! Over the weekend, children can make new friends and experience new things; making campfires, seeing a horse for the first time and riding bikes. For lots of the children that visit us, their respite break is the first time they’ve been on holiday.
We have a Play Bus too. This is a huge yellow mobile play centre with lots of games and arts and crafts that we drive to visit each Honeypot Child, three times a year. They get to come on board with the same 12 friends that they spent their weekend at Honeypot House with; we want to nurture lasting friendships to help build a network of emotional support.
Can you give us an example of how you’ve made a difference in an individual life?
Wallis is five, and he lives at home with his mum and dad. Wallis’ parents both struggle with an alcohol addiction. This means that Wallis, who once found his dad unconscious, wakes up several times during the night to check his parents are okay. He often falls asleep at school as result. Wallis makes his own breakfast and dinner and gets his own school uniform ready, as his parents often forget.
Wallis recently had his first respite break with us. When he arrived at Honeypot House, he told our staff that he didn’t think the beach was real because he’d only ever seen pictures in magazines and on TV. We took Wallis to the beach, and spent the afternoon making sandcastles. Wallis cried with happiness when he was playing in the waves; he said he’s never had so much fun! We hope that this memory, and the knowledge that Honeypot are here to support him, will help Wallis cope when things are tough at home.
What can people do, right now, to help?
Spread the word! We want to build a second Honeypot House to help children in the North of the county too; in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. If even one person who reads this tells a friend about Honeypot, and that helps us to help a child then that would be a fantastic achievement.
If you want to make a donation, you can text CHANCE to 70300 to give £3 a month to Honeypot. The terms for that donation can be found here.
If someone donated £20 today, what would that be able to pay for?
£20 will buy a Honeypot Child a Christmas present. For many of the children we support, their Honeypot present is the only one they receive. Our Christmas Road show starts in October, and we hand deliver as many presents as we can via our Play Bus.
Where can we find more information?
Website – www.honeypot.org.uk
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – 0207 602 2631
Twitter – @honeypotcharity
Facebook – /honeypotchildrenscharity