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StoryFest finishes in sparkly space and chocolate heaven!

The people we support have really enjoyed the final two weeks of StoryFest. There has been star spotting, chocolate tasting, Willy Wonka experiments and even a life-sized tardis across our houses and community hubs! Here are some of the highlights from the past two weeks. Find out what we did in the first two weeks of StoryFest here!

Style Acre secures £30,000 through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund

People with learning disabilities and autism are particularly vulnerable in this pandemic. The changes to routine are causing heightened anxiety, people are feeling isolated and are struggling to understand what they can safely do and when. 

Despite having restricted access to our community hub buildings due to Covid-19, our Day Opportunities team have had to find a way to creatively support over 220 people who normally attend the hubs on a regular basis. This funding is helping us to revamp our Day Opportunities and deliver a constantly changing service. It will help us to adapt our support as the environment around us continues to change and the pandemic develops. 

The community hub teams are currently supporting people who normally attend our hubs by: 

  • Assisting 1-2-1 with socially distanced activities so people can leave their home in a safe way.
  • Making 1-2-1 phone and video calls to people who are feeling anxious, upset or worried so they can access essential support at the most difficult and unpredictable of times – a lifeline for many.
  • Supporting 24 people who are particularly vulnerable due to complex needs, mental health issues and/or isolation. (Now taking place safely in our buildings as much as possible.)
  • Providing a timetable of online activities so people can keep in contact with their community hub friends and staff in a fun, safe and easily-accessed way – 50 people are taking part in online activities.
  • Offering 1-2-1 and small group outdoor activities, including walks and day trips so people can have some level of normality and enjoy activities outside of their homes with friends where safe to do so.
  • Helping people take part in engaging activities, including our Miles & Smiles challenge and StoryFest so they can keep up motivation levels – this is becoming even more important as the pandemic continues.
  • Assisting the wider supported living service with fun, motivational activities, online activities and Speech & Language Therapy / communication needs.
  • Offering small group and 1-2-1 activity sessions in our community hub buildings as much as possible.

As things progress, longer term consequences to people’s wellbeing are becoming apparent. The support of our Day Opportunities and our Ways to Wellness programme is becoming even more essential in helping people both physically and mentally. This money will help us invest to ensure we are continuing to support people with a high-quality service throughout the winter months.

At the same time, we have needed to purchase a large stock of PPE for our Day Opportunities, which we have never previously needed to do. The funding has also helped with the additional cost for this equipment.

Style Acre has received a £30,000 grant from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund. Thank you to the Government for making this possible.

Tea Room Crowdfunder & appeal raises £5890!

Like many venues, the Style Acre Tea Room is so reliant on outdoor space and good weather to help sustain income at the moment due to social distancing measures. The outdoor space is lovely in summer but on cold, wet days in autumn and winter, it is not so appealing. With limited space inside, our Tea Room team were worried about the upcoming challenges as the seasons change.

After chatting with Tea Room Manager Tracy, customers Jess and Caroline wanted to help secure enough funds to find a solution. We have to say a huge thank you to both Jess and Caroline for creating and championing the Crowdfunder for the Tea Room. The money raised will help to secure additional weatherproof outdoor seating space.

£3890 has been raised through the Crowdfunder itself. Thank you to everyone who donated. We also have to say a big thank you to an anonymous supporter who kindly donated £2,000 offline to enable us to push above the £5000 target!

The Style Acre Tea Room is one of our social enterprises; it enables people with learning disabilities and autism to gain valuable work experience, skills and confidence. It is often a first stepping stone into work for the people we support in our Work Programme.

StoryFest Week 1 and Week 2

Lots of the people we support have been enjoying everything Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows – including Mad Hatter’s tea parties, river scavenger hunts and picnics by the river, making tasty Queen of Hearts jam tarts and lots of fun craft activities. As well as reading the Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows stories (or watching the films). Here are some of our highlights! To join in or find out more, check out the StoryFest event page.

Dogs at a Distance Winners!

We have to say a big thank you and well done to everyone who has taken part! We think you were all fantastic. All the entry videos and Best in Show winner’s video can be found on our You Tube channel.

And also a huge thank you to the wonderful businesses who have donated prizes for our categories. These include: Happy Hounds Dog Grooming, Tails & Tweed Dog Grooming, Pause Photography, Happy Pets With Becs and Paws Bakery Thank you also to our judges for their help in choosing the winners: Lisa S, Daniel, Grace, Rachel, Lisa D, Katy-Ann, Christina, Nicole, Dom, Jenny, Henry, Nicky, John, Mark, Marianne, Dick, Andrew and Rachel.

We decided to run our virtual dog show as we couldn’t run the face-to-face event at the Tea Room this year. It is normally part of our Summer Fete. We hope to be back next year!

Anita will be in touch with the winners. Please contact us with any queries.

Style Acre Tea Room Crowdfunder

The Style Acre Tea Room is one of our social enterprises; it enables people with learning disabilities and autism to gain valuable work experience, skills and confidence.

After chatting with Tea Room Manager Tracy on a recent visit, one of our Tea Room customers – Jess Kellard – realised how hard the government guidance in relation to COVID-19 had made it for everyone involved in running the Tea Room – the small outside marquee has become a life line in wet weather for keeping things going and allowing customers to maintain social distancing. 

Like many venues, the Tea Room is so reliant on outdoor space and good weather to help sustain income at the moment and as we enter into Autumn this will make operating the Tea Room challenging.

This also comes at a time when we do not have spare funds as a charity to invest in solutions to help keep business at the Tea Room going strong through the Autumn and Winter months. 

Thank you to Jess for creating a Crowdfunder for the Tea Room. She wants to raise funds for an additional outdoor structure or structures, which offers additional outdoor space in weather and also achieves compliance standards onsite.

Visit the Tea Room Crowdfunder

Donations will help the Tea Room to keep running at maximum capacity and continue to offer people with learning disabilities and autism the opportunity to develop skills and confidence in the future.

Style Acre Art Auction raises £390

WELL DONE to all of our Style Acre artists. Their beautiful paintings helped raise a fantastic £390 for Style Acre! The art auction was set up to showcase the incredible artwork created by some of the people we support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. A big thank you and well done to Mark, Marianne, Dick, Andrew and Daryl for their lovely artwork.

The inspiration and force behind the art auction was Mark, who lives in one of our supported living households. His dream of becoming an artist and selling his paintings to help raise money for Style Acre is why we ran this auction.

Mark said “painting is relaxing and is keeping my mind away from this virus. My staff is my art teacher and she is explaining to me new techniques. I got the support from all my housemates and family which are very proud of me.”

Since the pandemic started, Mark has been limited in the amount of time he can get outside. Like all of us, he was inside a lot during the lockdown. And since then, he has very gradually been able to go out for walks and activities with his housemates and support team. He has just recently been able to see his family. It has been wonderful to see Mark’s artistic talent shining through and become a way for him to stay positive at this difficult time.

Mark’s mum Monica said: “We are so proud of Mark and his artwork and so grateful to Fili (staff member) for helping him discover his talent.”

Well done and thank you Mark! And a big thank you also to Mark’s support team (particularly Fil) who are helping him to achieve his dream.

People we support created artwork in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Green Acre team get back to work!

The gardening team is made up of people we support who have completed horticultural training with our Gardening Coordinator. There are 7 regular members of the team who have completed this training, and some our now able to secure paid work through this role. Other members are continuing to develop their skills and confidence through a voluntary work placement with the team.

Green Acre is one of Style Acre’s social enterprises. The team visit houses and offer services such as lawn mowing, hedge cutting and pruning. People we support are able to gain vital work-based skills and experience in our social enterprises. To find out more, read about our Work Programme.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge

We did it! We have reached our £2500 target for our Big Give pledge pot. Thank you to all of our pledgers who helped us get there.

As part of our application, we need our key supporters to make promises of funding, called ‘Pledges’, which will be used as match funds to double online donations made to our charity during the campaign. Your commitment of funding might also help us to secure additional match funds via a Champion (sourced by the Big Give).

We are aiming to raise a total of £2,500 in pledges to take part in the Christmas Challenge. Would you consider making a pledge to help us reach our target? Pledges are a minimum of £100.

If you would be willing to make a pledge to us, you can do so by completing this online form by the deadline of 5pm, Friday 28th August:

Style Acre – Big Give Pledge Form

What is the Christmas Challenge?
The Christmas Challenge (the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign) helps UK-registered charities to raise funds for their projects by doubling donations when the campaign goes live on 1st December. You can find full details of the Christmas Challenge, and how your pledge will enable us to be part of the UK’s largest Matched Funding Challenge, on the Big Give. Research shows that 84% of donors are more likely to give in a match funding campaign and that donations are on average 2.5 times bigger so we’re very excited about the opportunity to take part.

How does it work?
• The matching pots used to double donations for charities taking part in the Christmas Challenge are made up of a combination of funds. These are funds sourced by the charity (‘Pledges’) and funds sourced by the Big Give (‘Champions’) which are available if we are successfully selected by a Champion.
• The timeline for fulfilling the pledge (i.e. transferring the funds to us) is 9th December 2020 – 15th January 2021.
• Fulfilment of your pledge is conditional on us receiving the appropriate online donations during the campaign (1st December – 8th December). You will only be required to pay a pro-rata amount of your pledge if we don’t hit our online target – it’s our guarantee to you that we are committed to raising additional donations.
• Please note that if you pledge to Style Acre you will not be able to make an online donation to us in December because your pledge will be used to match these donations.

To become a pledger, don’t forget to complete the online form by the deadline of Friday 28th August at 5pm: Style Acre – Big Give Pledge Form

Thank you xx

Charles Road Went Wild!

They created a colourful calendar that revealed a new wild animal every day. People we support in the household learned new facts and communicated about their favourite animals. The rest of Style Acre sent in postcards and letters to brighten up the Go Wild board even further. There were chimps, giraffes and elephants galore! Well done to the Charles Road team and the people we support who live there on this fantastically colourful creation.