This is long overdue so my apologies to Alison and Jolly Tots for the time delay!
Things are hotting up at Big Ball Central, ticket money is trickling in and our entertainment has been confirmed.
This wouldn't be possible without the aid of sponsors and here is a Big Thank You to another of our fabulous supporters.
Jolly Tots Soft Play is Penistone's only soft play centre and was originally opened on 9th February 2009 !!! It was the brainchild of two local mums who saw a gap in the market and has gone from strength to strength with Alison at the helm. It's a haven for mums with kids under 5 giving us the space to sit and have a coffee and a slice of far too tempting cake whilst the littlies play in the perfect sized play equipment.
Since opening Jolly's has been a regular supporter of FSID for which I owe them a debt of gratitude. Alison regular holds shopping evenings raising money and she can often be found selling our raffle tickets and rallying interest in Alexanders Charity Ball.
This year they have gone one step further and are sponsoring our Magician for the night Mark Waddington, once again the support of Alison is overwhelming not only for the ball, raffle and now sponsorship but as a friend.
Thank You Alison and Jolly Tots x
Jolly's has a Facebook Page so please go over and give them a like, Joseph and I have made some great friends through Jolly's and it has become a regular event in our weekly diary. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jolly-Tots/66613472254?fref=ts
This is a guest post from Helen at Photography for Little People about who she is and why she supports Alexander's Charity Ball
When I first heard about Alexander's Charity and the tragedy that had
struck Nicola and her family I felt a tremendous wave of sadness and
wondered how you could ever continue on lives path. I must admit I
came home that night, at the time my own son was 17months old and I held him so tight thinking if that had of been me!
Anyway as I recently started my own business I was looking to work
with a charity that would be part of me and Photography for Little
People Sheffield. I felt after all these years of dreaming of my own business that part of it was also to help raise awareness and monies for a worthwhile cause. I had looked at lots of charities but none
that struck a cord with me, until of course I met Nicola.
I spent many a night thinking and reading Nicola's story, which then prompted me to research FSID even more. I arranged a coffee with Nicola and I knew within minutes that Alexander's Charity was the
one for me. Something inside knew that I had to do all I could, however small to help raise awareness and do what I could to show that there are more families than we know who are suffering in the way Nicola and her family have and still do. And without the families such as Nicola and the charity, all of those other families in need would have no where to turn to. Realistically, this is Alex's charity and one Nicola has poured her heart and soul into. I wanted Nicola to know she could trust me in promoting the charity in a positive way, so I really was on tenderhooks until Nicola expressed her delights in having PLP be part of something so personal. However all in all my small contribution makes me feel part of something special and unique.
So what have I been doing? Well so far I have just had all my artwork re done to include Alexander's Charity logo and links to the charity on the Sheffield PCT trust. I am currently working on getting the link on my business page and on my next print run of leaflets and posters, the logo will be proudly part of my work. On
top of that I am actively seeking a celebrity to agree to have an impression of their hand, along with a signed photo to be auctioned on the night of the Ball! Both me and Nicola are hoping that if we
get the celebrity on board they may even attend.....so watch this space!!!!!
On a personal note and although I never met Alex, I am sure he would be so proud of his mummy who is a true inspiration. And because of Nicola I feel that I can spread the awareness of Alex but in a truly
positive way and as mummy it has made me more thankful for my very own piece of perfection!
Helen is the busiest person ever but has still taken the time out to include ACB as part of her work, we are still in the early stages of this collaboration so we are both working on ideas to make this work for us both. Please take a look at PLP's main website they have some lovely shots and impressions and do a great amount of work for charity _ Helen is also on Facebook so please go over and give her a like by clicking here
So it's done I have officially completed my training and signed up to be an FSID Befriender.
Travelling to York on Saturday I was still feeling apprehensive about whether it was the right thing to do and about I would meet. I haven't 'met' others who have suffered a loss the same as me face to face and although I've shared our story on the FSID website and in their 40 years book I was anxious about sharing it with a complete stranger.
I hate entering a room of strangers on my own, it's a huge insecurity of mine and whilst I appear confident and outgoing I am quite shy and uncertain in situations like this however, I had no need to worry. I suppose as a befriender you can't be too shy or reserved and so as we all arrived we got chatting about the journey, parking etc you know the mundane chatty things strangers talk about.
It turns out there was a mix of us in the group with a few being experienced befrienders there for catch up training and the rest of us there to work on the skills required to be a befriender. It was also nice to meet members of the FSID team as well, Hafsa and Jean who were guiding us on the day and Gill Ryder who is the Regional Development Officer for FSID in the Yorkshire (and more) region.
I don't want to go into the ins and outs of the day but we started the day in pairs each telling the other our story with the aim being that we would then introduce our partner to the group. I was honoured to hear Mary's story about her grandson Edward and I think all of us were surprised at how emotional we all got, we shared parts of our story that we wouldn't normally share with a stranger and we came to the conclusion that as they'd been through a similar tragedy, subconsciously, we weren't afraid of upsetting or shocking that person as they could empathise with our situation.
The whole aim of befriending is to get the caller to open up and talk about the things they feel they can't with anyone else, knowing that the befriender can hear the bad parts of the story without glossing over it or telling you to pull yourself together. No one else knows the pain of losing a child suddenly and unexpectedly like another. They ring the helpline because they want to talk and I have to give them the space to do that, letting them know I am willing to listen to everything they have to say without offering the usual platitudes. You know the usual 'It'll get easier over time' or 'It's normal to feel this way but time is great healer' the things you say when you don't want to hear the bad bits and unconsciously cut the other person off.
I came away on Saturday with a confidence that I could do this and whilst it's not easy to hear someone's very sad story they need to tell it to someone so why shouldn't it be me! I was privileged to meet all those brilliant and brave Mums, Grandma's, Aunties and Granddad's who have all felt as I did and understood this ache that I have on a daily basis. They shared their story with me and I with them and they got it every single one them and I thank them for that.
Befriending isn't a massive commitment so I may receive contact only a handful of times in a year but once that contact is made it could be a longer term commitment involving a phonecall every couple of weeks or so or maybe even an email. Also once a year attending one of the family fun days run by FSID (which are free anyway) and taking an hour or two out of my day to be available to chat if I'm needed. Considering Alexander's Ball are funding the Yorkshire regions fun day for 2013 we shall definitely be there!
Thank You to Jean and Hafsa who made the day as comfortable as possible, who answered questions and sat patiently whilst we shared our stories and often went off the track sometimes!
In September I applied to FSID to become a 'Befriender', I got to thinking that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have the support of family and friends. Over the five and half years since we lost Alexander I can honestly say that without them I might not be quite as sane as I like to think.
They are there for me at a moments notice allowing me to unload and cry if I need too, there is nothing like a friendly shoulder to cry on.
I want to be able to offer that to other families who reach out to FSID asking for help. I raise money and yes it's hard work but it's not the same as giving someone emotional support but I am a little apprehensive! What if I say the wrong thing, what if I'm not the right person for the job, What if I fail?
On Saturday I am taking a jaunt to York for FSID's befriender training where I will be given the tools to offer support to anyone that asks for it, be that on the telephone or Face to face. I'm not there to be a counsellor or answer any medical questions I am there to listen and encourage the caller to open up about how they are feeling, no one quite understands like someone who has been through it. They are asking for a few hours of my time a month which is nothing to me but everything to a newly bereaved parent.
So wish me luck I am nervous about it no doubt but I know that people listening to me (or reading my story) has been a huge help and I want to offer the same support to someone who needs it. I'll let you know how I get on next week.
http://fsid.org.uk/page.aspx?pid=1079 Here is a link to the befriender information on FSID's Website
Welcome to our blog I will try as regularly as I can to keep you up to date with The Ball, The Charity and any other news !