Wednesday, 03 March 2021

£12,400 charity gift by club members

£12,400 charity gift by club members

TWO charities have each received £6,200 thanks to members of Phyllis Court Club in Henley.

The charity action group at the private members’ club has been restricted in its fundraising efforts over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But it still raised £12,400, which has been divided between the Chiltern Centre, a Henley charity offering respite care for disabled young adults, and Helen & Douglas House, a children’s hospice in Oxford.

Only a couple of events could be held before the first national lockdown was enforced, including a dinner and dance for Burns Night.

Members held pop-up sales before the restrictions came into force and then a number of virtual events, including a silent auction and an online quiz.

A virtual cheque presentation was held via Zoom on Friday, which was attended by Emma Lerche-Thomsen, a fundraising consultant for the Chiltern Centre, and Alison Stone, community fundraising manager for Helen and Douglas House.

Also present were members of the action group and Henley Mayor Ken Arlett.

Diana Pearman, who chairs the group, said: “It has been a very difficult year for our fundraising as the virus has prevented us from holding what might have been about 12 events, roughly one every month.”

Mrs Lerche-Thomsen, who is a member of the club, said the donation was hugely appreciated by the Chiltern Centre, which costs £200,000 a year to run

She said: “Funds like this quite literally keep the doors of the Chiltern Centre open. Perhaps most importantly, they help us to pay our carers who are the heart and soul of the centre.

“Our carers bring joy, laughter, love and new experiences to the young people we support.

“They have adapted to the new normal — PPE, bubbles and everything that the pandemic has thrown at them — while keeping things as ‘normal’ as possible for our young people at a time when the world has felt scary and overwhelming.”

The money will go towards running costs and the centre’s latest project to create a sensory garden.

Mrs Stone said: “Thank you so much to the charity action group and all the members of Phyllis Court Club.

“We have had to work in a different way over the past year with the children.

“The hospice did stay open for mainly end-of-life care and we worked in a different way by going out to the patients. Most of them were shielding but they still needed that specialist care.

“It was very hard for the families and the patients because they weren’t getting any of the other care services. After a couple of months they were basically on their knees, so we opened back up again for respite. They were struggling so much with having to be carers 24/7.”

Stan Ainsley, chairman of Phyllis Court Club, said: “The determination of Diana and her team has really come through.

“The team have been incredibly innovative and they must have spent many hours trying to work out ways of being able to raise funds in an almost impossible environment. Their tenacity is to be admired.”

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