Be a puppy parent

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Petersfield based charity Hounds for Heroes needs your support. Could you be a full-time volunteer and look after puppies in training?

Volunteering to be a puppy parent is a rewarding opportunity to become part of the Hounds for Heroes team and provide puppies with the training and care crucial for their development to become a life enhancing assistance dog.

Don’t want to read the full article? Jump to our FAQs here or enter this month’s competitions FOR FREE!

Prior experience or qualifications aren’t required, but a willingness to learn and meet certain criteria is necessary. The ongoing support and training provided by Hounds for Heroes ensures that volunteers are equipped to care for the puppies effectively.

The commitment involved, from opening up your home to a puppy for over a year to attending training sessions and classes, highlights the dedication required for this role. However, knowing that you’re contributing to the journey of these assistance dogs makes it a worthwhile endeavour.

Hounds for Heroes covers the costs of food, training equipment, and veterinary bills for the puppies.

Volunteering with Hounds for Heroes is not only beneficial for the assistance dogs but also for the individuals who will eventually benefit from their support.

Hounds for Heroes works to provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled personnel of both HM Armed Forces and emergency services. We aim to provide help and practical support leading to an enhanced quality of life.

Hounds for Heroes assistance dogs can help overcome some of the physical barriers and obstacles caused by a disability; promoting an increased sense of freedom, providing a loyal comrade and just maybe the beginning of a new lease of life.

Hounds for Heroes believe that everyone who fits out criteria, and requires the services of one of our dogs, should be able to experience the positive and life enhancing impact they will bring. The cost of the assistance dog’s food, equipment, insurance and veterinary costs are all met by Hounds for Heroes’ therefore you can safely apply knowing that in having one of our dogs, there will not be a negative impact on your existing income.

As of 2021, there are over 900,000 injured servicemen and women in the country and that number continues to grow on a daily basis. The unique mental attitude of service personnel means that only a handful so far have chosen to have an assistance dog provided by the civilian offerings, many will battle on in silence.

Find out more about their work and to register your interest in becoming a Puppy Parent visit Homepage | Hounds for Heroes

FAQs

1. How do I get in touch with Hounds for Heroes?
– You can email [email protected] or call 01730 823118  Mon – Fri 8.30am – 4pm

2. How do I apply for a dog?
– For enquires regarding applying for one a dog please contact: [email protected]

3. How do I volunteer?
– If you are interested in becoming a Puppy Parent or Foster Puppy Parent please contact: [email protected]m or if you are interested in general volunteering opportunities please contact: [email protected]

4. How do I find Hounds for Heroes?
– Hounds for Heroes, Unit 2B Rookery Farm Buildings, Ramsdean, Petersfield, Hampshire GU32 1RU

Support Thames Valley Air Ambulance

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Thames Valley Air Ambulance celebrates 25 years and you’re invited to join the party and help their life saving work

In 1999, Thames Valley Air Ambulance first took to the skies to treat patients in critical need. Now, a quarter of a century and nearly 35,000 call outs later they are celebrating this milestone with a fun-filled family day for the whole community on June 22nd at Penn Estate.

Amanda McLean, Chief Executive Officer at Thames Valley Air Ambulance said: “Both the care we deliver at the scene and the support we offer long afterwards are funded solely by our community. It’s your generous donations that have allowed us to be there for these 35,000 people in their time of need.”

Their ‘Big Birthday Bash’ will include a variety of fun activities for both kids and adults to enjoy, from circus shows and workshops to special demonstrations from their crew plus plenty of delicious food and drinks from local vendors.

Tickets start from £4 and all proceeds go to help Thames Valley Air Ambulance continue to be there for those in most need across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. More at Big Birthday Bash – Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Did you know:
• Last year, we were called out 3,293 times to help people in need of urgent critical care.
• We are called out on average 9 times a day.
• The flight time between our base at RAF Benson and anywhere in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, or Oxfordshire is just 15 minutes.
• To find out more about the work of Thames Valley Air Ambulance and donate visit Thames Valley Air Ambulance

Can you support Nai’s House?

Round & About

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Oxford charity provides mental health support for young adults

Last year 65 people in Oxon took their own life – most of them young adults with suicide now the biggest cause of death for people under 35. Each death is heart-breaking – a tragedy, a terrible loss and a dreadful waste of potential. A death that changes the family they leave behind forever. 

There is a fantastic charity Nai’s House.  Set up in 2019 by Nai’s Mum – Gem after Nai sadly took her own life in 2017 aged just 22 , Nai’s House is a place of sanctuary, safety and support. It is a place that gives young people in crisis the safe space of a ‘home from home, a place where they can get the specialist help, they need, an environment that can help them hopefully turn a corner and move through crisis to more stability. 

Since 2019 they have helped over 600 young people, but they are at a crossroads. The truth is they can’t meet the demand they are now facing. More and more young people are getting in touch asking for help with over 200 young people on their waiting list, many of them who can’t get the support they need through the NHS given the pressures there. 

It’s an emergency for sure but it is an emergency we can help address and help tackle together. If Nai’s House can grow and expand its services it can offer help to the 200 plus people on the waiting lists. 

Your support could make a massive difference and offer a genuine lifeline. Just £20 could help give a young person in need a fighting chance. It costs £800 a year to help one young person with professional therapy to. £520 over 13 weeks to train a volunteer. But the reality is that every penny counts. 

Nai’s House didn’t exist when Nai needed it.  Please help us make sure it can be there for other young people who do now so, together, we can help prevent this tragic loss of young life. 

Please watch this video to see how you can help….

https://youtu.be/0OhMwKwxSFw?si=-5Zk6-DwSvLGjciw

Surrey Hills business award winners

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Local businesses named as 2023 recipients of the Gold Trade Mark Award by Surrey Hills Enterprises

Two local businesses, Vineyards of the Surrey Hills and Chimney Fire Coffee, were named as the 2023 recipients of the Gold Trade Mark Award by Surrey Hills Enterprises for their environmental sustainability and local support.

Vineyards of the Surrey Hills are a cluster of five vineyards, priding themselves on the quality of their wine. They welcome people to visit and taste their wines, accompanied by tours of their beautiful vineyards.

Chimney Fire Coffee focus on their sustainability, using 100% compostable materials for their coffee bags and work directly with their farmers and exporters to ensure ethical sourcing.

Surrey Hills Enterprises focus on aiding local businesses to help the rural economy and support independent Surrey Hills businesses. On 18th July, they held their annual celebration, where they announced the winners of the Gold Trade Mark Award.

Chairman of Surrey Hills Enterprises, Simon Whalley, was pleased to congratulate the two winners, saying how the award “recognises local quality, environmental excellence and support for the Surrey Hills and other local businesses”. The two winners were both credited for these merits.

Vineyards of the Surrey Hills were additionally congratulated for their exemplary collaboration between their five vineyards, and their range of experiences offered to the public. Chimney Fire Coffee was congratulated similarly, and their achievement of a certified B corporation accreditation was also acknowledged. Being a B corporation means they work within a network, working to transform the local economy.

Overall, a great achievement for these local businesses!

To learn more about these two businesses, visit:
Surrey Hills Vineyards
Chimney Fire Coffee

For more information about membership and the work of Surrey Hills Enterprises, visit Surrey Hills Enterprises.

Author: Daisy Harwood

Helping mums make the right choices

Ellie Cox

Support

K White Coaching helps mums connect and explore what they want next from life

As a stay-at-home mum or a working mum, balancing the demands of life is a constant challenge. Understanding what’s most important to you through self-discovery exercises and coaching can help you make choices around your life and career that are right for you. 

K White Coaching has been helping local mums to explore their current situation and what they want from their next chapter of life, on an interactive ‘Self-Discovery Workshop for Mums’ hosted by Kathryn, certified coach and mum of two small children.

The event was held at the Good Life Hub Co-Working Space in Hampstead Norreys. An inspiring place to work, connect and collaborate with others. 

The workshop was a great place for the participants to meet and connect with other mums, share their stories and aspirations, and feel supported in their self-discovery. After a session which helped participants understand and reflect on their personal values, the workshop included a life and career audit, group exercises around strengths and skills, and tools and exercises to help participants set goals and start acting towards these.

Jennie R, has already started taking action and is feeling excited about her future following the workshop: “Kathryn’s self-discovery workshop was absolutely fantastic! It gave a safe and welcoming space to really focus on what’s important to me. And how my values have changed since becoming a mum. She guided us all through a process that was actually much more personal and profound than I was expecting. The environment Kathryn created was warm, supportive and productive. She has extensive knowledge of techniques and strategies that helped each of us find clarity. I found her to be empathetic, wise and exceptionally good at helping me reach the next step in terms of moving forward. After the workshop I finally took action and have just begun studying for a higher national diploma, working towards a career that makes me feel genuinely excited about the future.”

The group enjoyed the workshop so much that they’ve decided to meet regularly to check-in and to help keep each other accountable on their next steps. 

Interested in joining the next workshop?

Head to kwhitecoaching.com to find out more and to join the waitlist.

Energy saving tips for your home

Ellie Cox

Support

Plant the equivalent of 136 trees and save up to £1,000 a year, with these essential energy saving tips from Worcester Bosch.

At this worrying time, when utility bills are set to hit many of us hardest, Worcester Bosch has shared its handy tips to help you save money and the planet.

Making changes to your heating set-up can help save you up to £1,000 throughout the year.

The carbon emission saving is the equivalent to planting 136 trees or driving a car 1,606 miles. The distance which is nearly a full trip from John O’Groats to Land’s End and back!

Making the planet a greener place to live for the next generation is at the heart of Worcester Bosch. By following these tips, you could play your part in reducing carbon emissions

There are several ways for homeowners to cut costs. Helping them save energy and to live more sustainably, several of which require minimal to zero cost or hassle.

Tip 1: Take control of your heating

– Annual saving = £105.
– Equivalent to planting up to 11 trees, or driving 129 miles

By turning down the room thermostat just one degree, you will net up to a £105 saving per year. The 200kg CO2 of emissions saved is equivalent to a 129mile trip, or a further 11 trees planted. Aim for 17°C when you’re out and about, and a cosy 18-21°C when you’re at home.

Martyn Bridges, director of technical services at Worcester Bosch, says: “You cannot underestimate how important it is to take control of your home heating. These simple but effective changes, such as turning your radiator down by a single degree, could have a significant impact on the planet and your savings too.”

Tip 2: Shower Time

– Annual saving = up to £70.
– Equivalent to planting up to 7 trees, or driving 86 miles

Nothing beats having a hot shower to ease the stresses of the day. But by following these simple tips, you can reduce your energy usage while still enjoying a relaxing early morning or late-night shower.

The biggest change you can make is cutting your shower time down, ideally to around four-minutes. A household could see up to £70 a year saved on their energy bill just from a speedy shower as well as significantly reducing the amount of water used.

Martyn gives the guidance: “We all love having a hot shower, but a significant amount of hot water is used, contributing to energy usage and your bills. Taking the steps to use showers instead of baths and using a timer to measure how long you are taking could be a simple step to lower your energy usage.”

Tip 3: Trap your heat

– Annual saving = up to £190.
– Equivalent to planting up to 19 trees, or driving 234 miles

Making sure you keep the heat trapped inside of your home is an easy, yet effective tip that you could put into place this World Earth Day. One super simple tip is to draft proof your windows and doors. You would be surprised about how much heat escapes through those tiny gaps which are found around your window, in your keyhole, and in your letterbox. Covering those tiny gaps could save you around £45 and saves the same amount of energy as planting four trees.

To take this one step further, you could add an insulated jacket to an uninsulated hot water cylinder. Insulating your hot water cylinder will reduce the heat loss resulting in the water remaining hotter for longer. This tip is a huge energy saver, which is the equivalent of planting 15 trees! Insulating your hot water cylinder properly could save you up to £145 which could make a huge difference as energy prices increase.

Martyn explains: “Trapping the heat in your home should be a priority. These small gaps needlessly bring the cold air in. Reversing all the changes you have made to keep your home warm. From little tasks like closing those gaps to slightly bigger tasks such as getting an insulated jacket, you’re not only protecting the planet, but helping lower your energy bills too.”

Tip 4: Small changes, big results

– Annual saving = up to £30.
– Equivalent to planting up to three trees, or driving 37 miles

Sometimes it is the smallest changes that have the biggest impact. Technology is a core part of our life but remember to put your devices on standby when not using them. Net an extra £30 saving by being savvy with your device shuts down.

“Although they may seem like unimportant changes, they could make huge changes to your home, the planet, and your bills.”

Martyn explains: “Switching off appliances once you use them is a small way to ensure that you reduce your energy usage. Although they may seem like unimportant changes, they could make huge changes to your home, the planet, and your bills.”

Tip 5: Upgrade your boiler

– Annual saving = depending on technology – up to £910.
– Equivalent to planting up to 96 trees, or driving 1,120 miles

A boiler replacement from an inefficient to a modern, more efficient model can be a major and immediate cost and environment saver. The EST figures show that making the switch could end up saving you almost four figures every year.

By upgrading from a G-rated boiler to a more sustainable A-rated model (including TRV’s and a smart controller) – working at 90% more efficiency and saving up to 1,630kg CO2 every year. You’re not only managing your energy usage more efficiently in the longer term, but also saving the equivalent carbon off-set as planting 61 trees would do. This upgrade could save you £580.

Heat pumps are a newer, efficient technology in the domestic heating industry. In simple terms they work by taking energy from outside and transferring it into heat for use in a heating and hot water system.  The product and subsequent installation are more expensive than a boiler upgrade. But once you paid out the initial cost – a change from a G rated boiler to a heat pump can save you even more – up to £910, with a carbon saving equal to planting 96 trees.

Martyn adds: “Upgrading a G-rated boiler to one which is A-rated can make a significant in your home. The A-rated boilers are an efficient choice which could ultimately help you save money on your bills. Not to mention help us to protect the future.”

To find out more about Worcester Bosch award-winning home heating and hot water products, visit worcester-bosch.co.uk/ or head to the YouTube channel.

Feel more energised

Liz Nicholls

Support

Feel more energised with these tips from Nature’s Corner in Newbury

Need more energy? Happily, there’s plenty you can do to increase your energy levels naturally.

Drink more water!

It may seem obvious but one of the main causes of fatigue is dehydration. Difficulty concentrating, headaches and fatigue, even feeling hungry are all signs you’re not drinking enough water. Aim for at least two litres of water daily.

Get sufficient sleep

Poor sleep on an ongoing basis will soon zap your energy. If you’re having trouble nodding off because your bedroom is too stuffy, try changing your bedding – choose natural fibres over synthetic, and sheets over duvets to help increase airflow and circulation. A natural sleep remedy can also help. Dormeasan® Sleep with Valerian and Hops can help restore better sleep patterns, which means more quality time in restorative sleep stages. Take 30 drops in a little water half an hour before bedtime.

Slay your stress!

Feeling stressed can take its toll on energy levels. It causes the digestive system to slow, meaning we don’t get as many nutrients, and therefore less fuel from food. It also means we can become deficient in the vitamins and minerals we need to keep our bodies working, and our energy levels up. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes each day to do whatever helps you to relax, whether that’s a walk by yourself, a long soak or a dip into a good book.

Ditch the quick-release carbs found in white bread, pastries and sweets. They might give you a quick sugar fix, but after a couple of hours that sudden spike of energy will drop, making you feel tired and sleepy. Low GI, energy-rich foods, such as wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and foods rich in protein, will keep you full for longer.

Still feeling tired?

Bring your minerals into balance. Minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, are essential for turning the food we eat into energy. A.Vogel’s Balance Mineral Drink contains magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin D, to help release energy and maintain vitality. Simply add to water and stir.

For further advice, visit Anita and her team at Nature’s Corner, 73 Northbrook St, Newbury.

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The Divorce Revolution

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New business launched to help separating and divorcing couples save money and stay out of court

Divorce rates are increasing and relationship experts warn the pandemic-induced break-up curve may not have peaked yet. Some law firms are seeing over a 100% increase in enquiries based on the same period last year and courts are struggling to keep up with the new demand.

Claire Colbert and Rachael Oakes have set up their own business called “Family Mediation and Mentoring” because they want to work with individuals and couples in a way that law firms cannot.

Most people know someone, a friend or family member, who talks about the nightmare of their divorce, the conflict, stress and what seemed like never-ending legal fees.  Well, separation and divorce no longer need to be like this anymore.

At Family Mediation and Mentoring LLP the focus is to keep people out of court, save them money and facilitate the resolution of any issue involving family breakdown, separation, divorce and its financial consequences, arrangements for children and any other kind of family dispute.

We will be supporting couples to achieve an amicable divorce using the skills we have as accredited mediators and drawing on all the knowledge and experience we have each built up working as specialist family lawyers for more than 20 years. We are leaving the world of litigation behind to focus on supporting individuals and couples in a way that will reduce acrimony, legal fees and stress.

Our aim is to become the go-to business for people who find themselves considering separation and divorce and want to know what all their options are and gather as much information as possible about the process before going to lawyers. If the couple wish, we can then mediate to discuss and sort out all the issues that need to be resolved, meaning that they may only need a lawyer at the very end of the process to receive legal advice and draw up a legally binding agreement.

Lawyers cannot meet with a couple together. They are prevented from doing so because it is regarded as a conflict of interest by the rules that govern how lawyers’ practice.

One of the unique services Family Mediation and Mentoring LLP will be providing is a fixed price Family Law Information Meeting.

Whilst working as family lawyers we were conscious that many couples wanted to meet with us together to obtain an understanding of the steps and options involved in divorce situations. Law firms cannot offer this service, they are unable to meet with couples together, but we can.

This is a great first step for any individual or couple wanting to receive as much information as possible about how the divorce process works and enables couples to make joint decisions about next steps. This service can reduce the risk of conflict, help keep legal costs down and assist people who are already representing yourself in the family court.

We can use these meetings to answer all the questions people have that they often think they must go to lawyers to get the answers to. In our experience, once lawyers are involved, many cases are then on the litigation pathway and options to consider and resolve issues amicably have been lost.

In speaking with us people may decide that Mediation is the process that they want to use to reach an amicable agreement about their family dispute. If they do, then we will then provide that extra support and put in place the necessary meetings to take things forward. If mediation isn’t right for any reason, then we can provide recommendations about other professionals who can help.

We are the only local business who are able to provide all of the following services to help and support people resolve their family dispute;

• Traditional Family Mediation where a couple meet with a mediator to facilitate resolution of the practical and financial consequences of separation and divorce.

• The new Hybrid Mediation model where both lawyers representing the couple are involved in meetings so that they became part of finding the solution and stop litigating. Having the lawyers at meetings means that they can provide legal advice to their client as and when it is needed, when discussing proposals for reaching an agreement, and then a binding legal agreement can be drawn up on the day. This significantly reduces the time it can take to reach an agreement with lawyers involved, hand in hand with the costs.

• Meeting with children to ascertain their views about future arrangements so that they have a voice in the process and so they feel they have been consulted about important decisions that are going to impact on their future.

• Mediating for couples to facilitate what might be included in a pre-marital agreement, post marital agreement or cohabitation agreement.

• Coaching people who are having to prepare for or go through the court process. This is a very stressful process and one we know inside out. We can offer real and practical tips that people can use to help them cope.

• Resolving other types of family disputes by mediation.

• Mentoring lawyers who work in the field of family law. This service is led by Rachael who also sits as a Deputy District Judge.

Our business came about after much reflection about the way we wanted to work moving forward and wanting to help couples find a better way to separate and divorce. As Alice Walker said – “Look closely at the future you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming”. We have dreamt the dream, now we are creating our future and a better future for those we will work with.

Our website contains lots of information about all the services we provide and explains all the above options in more detail so please do have a look –  www.familymediationandmentoring.co.uk

Here is a video we have put together to explain a little more about our new business. We very much hope that we can help people and their friends and family find a better way to separate and divorce.

If we can help you or anyone you know, call us on freephone 0800 206 2258 or email us at [email protected] or [email protected]

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Support vaccination with V-star badge

Liz Nicholls

Support

Lisa Hulyer and Sarah Lewis were so moved by the plight of our NHS heroes and angry about anti-vax scaremongering, that they decided to do something about it…

Over winter they launched their Vaccine Star (V-Star) badge for sale at £3 with all profits going to NHS charities, St John Ambulance and local causes, while sending a positive message to the world.

“We are two British mums who, like everyone else, have been significantly and profoundly affected by this dreadful virus,” explained Lisa and Sarah.
“Like most of you, we’ve been homeschooling our children, whilst struggling to maintain any vestige of normality as best we can.

As we are unable to work as normal, we have created this badge to promote the Covid19 vaccination programme to encourage every person in this country to take up this vital vaccine and to wear your V-Star badge to show your support.

It’s a handy way of being ‘seen’ to support the programme – and the feedback from healthcare workers has been so positive. It’s important everyone, from all communities, comes together to have the vaccine, to enable us to return to normal.”

The high quality 3cm blue enamelled star set in gold metal with a butterfly clasp is a British-made product. The project is helping to promote pop-up staff shops in hospitals for free food and essentials. As well as relaxing staff break areas for NHS workers and welfare packs of snacks, drinks, lip balm and hand creams.

To buy yours, please visit v-star.co.uk and follow
@vstar.uk on Instagram


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Mental Health Mates are offering support

Liz Nicholls

Support

Abby Lacey set up Mental Health Mates – Reading after needing help herself, the support group helps anyone suffering as well as their family and friends

Founded in 2016 by author and journalist, Bryony Gordon, Mental Health Mates is a network of peer support groups, run by people who experience their own mental health issues, meeting regularly to walk, connect and share without fear or judgement.

In early 2019, being a fan of her writing and podcast, as well as suffering from anxiety for most of my life, I decided to check out Mental Health Mates. The nearest to me were about 20 miles in either direction, so after about five minutes of procrastination, I contacted them and offered to start my own group.

I know from experience that mental illness magnifies through isolation. I also know that being outside in nature is great for your mental health, so to incorporate walking and talking to someone, sharing with them or simply walking beside them – just connecting – is the first step to recovery.

In May 2019 I set up Mental Health Mates – Reading, organising bi-monthly weekend walks for people suffering from mental illnesses, along with their family and friends, in and around Reading.

We were lucky enough to have almost a year of walking together before the pandemic hit, but we’ve carried on walking when we can, and when we can’t, we meet bi-weekly through Zoom. The Zoom calls are a great way to check in, in a really informal environment. There is no structure to our calls – we chat about everything from TV to politics, from fashion to medication – we cover it all! There is never an expectation to talk and if you don’t want the camera on, that’s fine too.

We have built a great community of like-minded people, and we have visitors on the calls from all over the country as I, along with other walk leaders, actively advertise that all are welcome.

When we are able to get together, our accessible walks are as gentle or as brisk as the group would like, so we cater for everyone, covering about two miles over an hour.

We are truly spoilt for choice for locations in the area from beautiful lakes such as Dinton Pastures and Whiteknights Lake at the University of Reading, to the River Thames at Caversham. We’re hoping to expand our offering to west Reading too in the early summer too, so we can reach even more people.

If you would like to join Mental Health Mates – Reading please visit facebook.com/mhm.reading
Or for more information on support, visit mentalhealthmates.co.uk/support/


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