People become volunteers for many different reasons. Some find a cause they believe in, some want to ‘put something back’ into the community, others want to ‘discover themselves,’ develop hidden talents or learn new skills. The latest winner of the Lyn Evans Fundraising Award 2013/14 seems to embody all three!
Claire Felton is a volunteer, well known to the Promise Dreams team; and a regular at most of our fundraising events.
Here’s a little more about Claire …
Claire hails from Willenhall near Wolverhampton and is happily married to Westley and mother to three children, Connor, Becky and Freya. She has had more than her fair share of health issues, is a diabetic and has a heart condition. Although she is unable to work, she does have boundless energy and a deep desire to contribute to the well-being of the community.
Her involvement with Promise Dreams began few years ago when she successfully applied for a grant to buy a Wendy house for daughter Freya. ‘She has hereditary pancreatitis and it does prevent her from leading what many other children would know as a normal life. She is such a courageous little girl and doesn’t make demands or want for very much at all. In fact, her dream was her own Wendy house. Promise Dreams granted her wish and she still treasures that Wendy house with all her heart. It gets, cleaned, painted and furnished on a regular basis – in fact, it looks brand new even now!’
With Freya’s dream fulfilled, Claire could be forgiven for walking away and immersing herself in the role of proud Mum looking after the needs of a lovely, busy family. Not a bit of it. As Claire explains, ‘I can’t work full time but I wanted to put something back into the community, into the charity that has helped my family so much. I want to keep active, involved and feel that I am contributing.’
To that end, Claire has stood at supermarket counters packing bags for customers, making tea for volunteers, stuffed letters and leaflets into envelopes, wrapped gifts for Christmas retailers, blown up balloons for major events, laid tables at parties, undertaken door-to-door collections, played in charity football matches and even organised 43 people to take part in the recent sponsored ‘Walk for Dreams’ charity event in Wolverhampton. And all the money she has raised goes to the children and families supported by Promise Dreams.
Volunteering is clearly in the blood of both family and friends as her team, ‘Freya’s Walkers,’ consisted of a 64 year old granddad and a 6 month old baby in a pushchair – all dressed as superheroes!
All in all, ‘Freya’s Walkers’ raised £2,700 on the walk for their favourite charity – Promise Dreams.
‘I felt really proud. It was overwhelming, such a proud moment. It was so emotional. Promise Dreams have supported my family and now all my friends are involved and helping the charity I love. It’s amazing how Promise Dreams and all my friends are really now my family.’
Claire became a well deserved winner of the Lyn Evans Fundraising Award for 2013/14 at the recent gala dinner, ‘Putting on the Ritz.’ She has given selflessly of her time, her energy and her desire to help others. She has also learned many skills along the way and feels she is better person for being a volunteer. ‘It has helped me in a deeper way. It has shown me that people really care and if we all help each other then the world is a better place to be. I have learned not to judge people. Freya has a Wendy house. It is her hideaway where she can be herself and she knows no-one passes judgement on her. It gives her safety, security and peace of mind. We all want that don’t we? Watching her play in peace has given me the confidence and space to do my own thing – volunteer for Promise Dreams.’
Claire is just one of dozens of volunteers who make the effort to help others; and the Promise Dreams doors are always open to those who are willing to give as Charity Manager Bev Bird explains, ‘Some people can give a few hours every week, others are only available for a day during the Summer. It doesn’t matter how much time you give. What matters is that you give for the right reasons. We are so very, very fortunate that we have people who answer the call for help on a regular basis but … we do need even more people to get involved. We organise fundraising events throughout the year but that doesn’t stop people doing their own thing. They can raise money in many different ways and we will help them start the ball rolling if they just get in touch. It is easy, lots of fun and very worthwhile.’
We know that Claire has a packed year ahead of her. She is will be doing the usual bag packing, leaflet drops and getting her team together for the 2015 ‘Walk for Dreams’ but she is also organising a tribute band event in a pub near her home to raise funds for Promise Dreams.
She is a great ambassador for the charity. She raises money with a smile on her face and fully understands that without the effort of volunteers the world would be far worse off. ‘You never know what challenges life will throw at you. You have to rise up to them and overcome them. That’s what Freya has done and it’s what I aim to do.’
Claire has made a big commitment to Promise Dreams. She has made a bigger commitment to herself – to help others less fortunate. ‘The glamour events are great but so are the smaller things Promise Dreams does. Every penny helps.’
Her acceptance speech at the gala dinner struck a chord with everyone in the room. It was from the heart. It touched everyone who understands the challenge that children and families must rise to – and why people need to volunteer.
We wish Claire and her family a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. We also congratulate her on gaining the Lyn Evans Fundraising Award for 2013/14.
It will soon be time to make resolutions for the year ahead and we hope that you will consider helping Promise Dreams in some way. Being a volunteer is a wonderful gift to the community and needn’t be hard work or time consuming. Give us a call … we’ll be there for you when you are ready.
Find out how you can help by being a volunteer with Promise Dreams by contacting us in any of the following ways;
Telephone: 01902 212451
Boundary Industrial Estate