In 2016, the foundation entered into a three year partnership with the Rob George Foundation – an Essex charity which provides support for young people diagnosed with a life-threatening conditions, or those who demonstrate exceptional commitment or ability in the worlds of sport or the performing arts, but who may be held back by their financial situation from pursuing their goals.
This is the first time that the foundation has given on-going financial support to a local charity and, as part of the new partnership, Care UK colleagues based in the Colchester area are also being encouraged to volunteer to do a bit more to help support this local good cause.
Rob George was a talented young sportsman. He excelled at golf, hockey and cricket. At the time of his last illness he had just broken into the Colchester & East Essex 1st XI and had been elected a full playing member of the MCC.
Sadly, his sporting achievements – and his life – were cruelly cut short by acute myeloid leukaemia. Diagnosed in June 2011 and treated at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, Rob achieved full remission. But two years after his initial diagnosis the leukaemia returned.
Further chemotherapy followed and a stem cell transplant was planned but Rob sadly passed away in December 2013.
At a local Care UK Christmas party held last year, Matt Croger who works in the Residential Care Services team, invited fellow party goers to help ‘re-style’ his hair in return for a donation.
Everyone’s generosity resulted in £560 being raised for the Rob George Foundation. This is was match-funded through Care UK’s Working With The Community scheme, resulting in over£1,120 going the Rob George Foundation.
This generous act on Matt’s part prompted a chain of discussions which resulted in Care UK agreeing to give £1,500 every year for three years to the Rob George Foundation through its own Wellbeing Foundation. The funds will be used to help support young people follow their passion in the arts which provides the link back to the theme of wellbeing in the community that is such a big part of this Care UK initiative.
Already, Essex-based Care UK colleagues have been invited to help the Rob George Foundation by collecting donations at the Maldon Mud Races in May and to support local young people by training as mentors for students at a local school.
Other charities the foundation has partnered with
In 2014 we partnered with two charities whose work supported our theme of promoting wellbeing through the arts. We worked with these charities on a number of initiatives throughout the year.
Nordoff Robins is a national music charity dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable people across the UK. As well as providing music therapy to help a range of people, the charity offers training for music therapists and they also undertake research into the effects of music therapy.
With our donation, Nordoff Robins was able to fund more than 1,500 music therapy sessions across the country. Dr Marcus Stephan, Chief Executive at the charity, said: “This generous donation will enable us to provide life-transforming music therapy sessions for people struggling with a range of challenges. Thanks to the Care UK wellbeing foundation, we’ll be able to reach many more people through music.”
We all know how hearing a particular song can instantly transport us back to a certain time in our lives and recent research points to how effective arts therapies – in particular music therapy – can be on the wellbeing of older people, people with learning or physical difficulties, as well as a host of other disadvantaged people in the community. Studies have shown that it increases confidence, improves quality of life, stimulates long-term memory and enhances relationships with others.
We were keen to know more about the positive impact music therapy could have on the people we support, and in particular those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. So we partnered with one of the UK’s leading chamber orchestras, Manchester Camerata, to run a pilot scheme called ‘Music in Mind’ with residents and colleagues at Station House, our care home in Crewe, Cheshire.
Musicians and a music therapist worked with a small group of residents living with dementia. They also used group music therapy techniques to help residents develop communication and interaction through musical improvisation and expression. The scheme also involved training care and activities colleagues on how to use music-led approaches. We then worked with Manchester Camerata and their academic partners, including a team from the University of Manchester, to evaluate the scheme’s findings.
There were also two nominated charities which we supported with grants to help fund their work.
Jessie’s Fund is a music therapy charity which was started by the musician parents of a little girl called Jessie who died at the age of nine from an inoperable brain tumour. Lesley and Alan, her parents, wanted to create a charity dedicated to helping seriously ill and disabled children through the creative and therapeutic use of music.
Creativity Works is an organisation that works with community groups, healthcare professionals and people from all parts of the community and uses creative activities to promote personal and social change. Activities are wide ranging and include writing and storytelling, music, arts and crafts and pottery.