Many of you have heard so much about us, but not how we began…….
Our Gemma (aka moi!) Used to teach reiki at Cynthia Spencer until the funding ceased. After teaching lots of the nurses at the hospice and at Hospice at Home I could see the benefits to the patients. I then nursed a lady, who God love her has now passed away, but she said to me “my dying wish is to set a charity up helping people the way you’ve helped me.” So a few months later over a bottle of wine and meal I told my friends “I have this idea that I’m going to do” and their reply was “yes you will as well” So on with the hard work!
I started with trying to find a name, so a few came up but as a lot of my ideas had gone with the charity commission I finally loved The Lighthouse Centre, which abbreviated is TLC, which is absolutely perfect for us as it encompasses what we do. I then had to write our constitution, choose my trustee’s very wisely. We then had the task of raising £5,000 to be a registered charity, which we did. Along with all of this I was working full time, see’ing our patients, raising our profile, networking, organising events, doing my hypnotherapy course and trying to have a life. Something had to give, so I became part time at work, which was a huge benefit and meant I could concentrate more time on TLC. So I also began networking, and thanks to Val Adaway inviting me to lots of networking events I did spread our name.
Then the opportunity for the National Lottery People’s millions came up, so we decided we would apply for £50,000. OMG was it heard work but OMG was it sooooo worth it! Initially I had to write a 79 page business plan, which I submitted and then came the wait. Then came an amazing letter saying we had made through and had been shortlisted as one of the 6 finalists! BUT we had to keep it TOP SECRET until October when we had to tell the world and his wife to ring up and vote for us. So we started a huge Vote for us campaign with a 6ft Panda and a 4 stone monkey. I was working from 6am until midnight every day for a month, and our big day on the news came on 27th November, but the best news came the following day when WE WON, and was awarded the £50,000.
Not only did the people’s millions get us an amazing amount of money which has made such a huge difference but it also got us an exceptional amount of exposure, something which is priceless. So I got about spending the money, we all got to undertake courses relevant to our area, whether it was fundraising, marketing or an added skill. We got equipment I could only dream of normally (and yes that included iMac’s!!)
However this money only lasted a year, and we had to continue our fundraising in order to pay for our insurances, mileage and expenses to keep running. We have now (thanks to our awesome trustee’s and accountant) got into our very nice shiny office which is absolutely fantastic and we are so so happy in there it’s just perfect. We don’t receive any funding from anywhere so anything anyone can do, coffee morning or event, anything anyone can donate or gift bro us is always very much appreciated and helps elevate my stress levels!
We have some fantastic patients, both on our books, discharged and some who have inevitably died, but the most important thing is that we know we always make a difference in people’s lives and that makes working long hours, the blood, sweat and tears all worth it!