FUNDRAISING AND AWARENESS
We get no regular funding and most of the money we need we have to raise ourselves. We have developed our own special ‘Smiley Face’ tombolas with special happy sad faces which we run as a way of raising money, while also having lots of fun. We engage with our customers and make sure our prizes are good, while offering consolation prizes where appropriate. In a typical year we would usually run these tombolas at around twenty events and are quite well known now at some of the regular annual ones.
But as well as raising money, these events also help us to raise awareness of baby loss and to create a ‘safe’ environment where people can talk to us about their own baby loss. Over the years we have chatted to hundreds of bereaved parents, many of whom have rarely or never talked about their babies, but were able to start chatting after coming over to buy tombola tickets. One mum told us at an event that she had not spoken to anyone about her baby for over forty years – seeing us at a fair and coming over to by some tickets made it easier for her to talk about her special baby, Jennifer. These activities really are important on both levels.
We also give talks and presentations to lots of groups and organisations including Women’s Institutes, Homestart volunteers, Children Centre staff, Samaritans volunteers, retirement and social groups, Scout and Guide volunteers, as well as 500 young people through the National Citizens Service. Again, these events create safe environments where people can feel comfortable telling us about their own experiences, as well as learning about the figures, and the support available now days. One talk to 15 people at a WI meeting resulted in several sharing with their group their own stories of baby loss – finding they were not as alone as they thought.
If you are involved in any group in East Kent and would like us to come along, please let us know. We can offer anything from a five-minute slot to a couple of hours. We never charge and are available weekdays and weekends, daytime and evening. Do, please, also let us know of any fates and fairs etc. anywhere in East Kent that we could attend with our Smiley Face tombolas!
Our plans for 2020 have been devastated due to Coronavirus, but the following list gives an indication of the sorts of events we had hoped to attend this year. Hopefully 2021 will be a bit better!
If you would like to get involved in some of our events, perhaps helping at a tombola, or helping with publicity, please get in touch with us for a chat. We are quite friendly!
We have always been proud of the fact that we have been able to raise enough money through fundraising and donations to cover our costs and any other year would have expected to raise around £5k during the summer. But because of Coronavirus, that has not been possible and we have just a token amount in the bank. Our main costs are the annual maintenance contract for the Garden, insurance, storage of equipment, events and modest ‘admin’ costs, and we also need to build up a reserve for future years to make sure the Garden is there for ever. At the same time, we don’t want to increase the name tiles costs beyond the current £40.
We have applied for some grants, but ideally, we would like to raise money to make sure our finances are safe for the coming years. We have never appealed for money in the past, but we are in some very strange times and if you feel you could make a donation – however small – that would be much appreciated.
Donations can be made direct to our bank (account name ‘East Kent Baby Memorial Gardens Group’, sort code 23-05-80, account number 38580124), via
or by post to 13 Goldings Court, Ashford TN24 9JR.
Our plans for 2021 are still affected by Coronavirus, taking away many of our major fundraising events. Now that the restrictions are easing, we are able to start planning a few activities. We will update the calendar as we know more:
Sunday 30 May at Whitstable Castle Craft Fair
Saturday 12 June in Ashford Town Centre, by the Bandstand
Sun 4 Teddy Bears Picnic, Ashford Baby Memorial Garden
Saturday 17 July Sittingbourne 1920's Town Centre event
Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 August Folkestone Music Festival, on The Leas
Monday 30 August at Whitstable Castle Summer Fair
Saturday 4 September Kennington Fair (subject to confirmation), Ashford
Saturday 11 September in Ashford Town Centre, by the Bandstand
Sun 10 Remembering Our Babies Service, Ashford Details to follow
Sun 5 Rembering Our Babies at Christmas Details to follow