Spread the Word poster

It isn’t easy asking for help

Beneficiaries of After Umbrage are a community of strong, resilient unpaid carers. But that isn’t all. There is so much more to them than that. Ask them to get involved, help with ideas, be a think tank for our small team and they are enthusiastic and willing. They do all this when their days are scheduled for them by the needs of their loved ones. And they drop everything for their loved ones who can’t look after themselves. To say self-care is rare is an understatement.

Against this backdrop, we got a few beneficiaries together for an online coffee break. Everyone who joined us – they know who they are – was also a member of our private online group called Family Umbrage. It’s a group of unpaid carers, many of whom have visited Kingham Cottage for respite, some have yet to enjoy its magic, but will soon.

Informal digital coffee breaks

We have recently won funding to host digital get-togethers from The Local Connections Fund. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund are working together to help charities working to reduce loneliness and build community connections. We are proud to be one such charity and the project is growing and developing nicely.

A flavour of fundraising ideas

During our coffee break together, the group got creative. It isn’t easy asking for help. But our small team recognises we need help with fundraising ideas. And our beneficiaries came up trumps. Lots of different suggestions were made that we would never have come up with without them. Here’s a flavour.

Focus on Wellbeing

Based on the Macmillan Coffee Morning concept, one idea is a gathering of people interested in wellbeing. With wellbeing as the focus, a variety of skilled therapists in Reiki and similar energy healing treatments could host a taster morning. This will help raise awareness for both the volunteer therapists and After Umbrage in a relaxed and welcoming setting. Of course, we must wait until life resumes a modicum of normality before this can be organised but for now, we hope this inspires others to take the idea and make it their own. We thank Margaret Lockwood for this suggestion.

After Umbrage to Feature on You Tube

Do you remember reading about Denise Singh-Eyley and her six sons on our blog? We told the touching story of Theo as he was featured in Take a Break magazine. It turns out, another brother is a little bit famous too. Oliver Singh-Eyley is otherwise known as Big Bear Power and he has his own YouTube Channel. He has the reputation of being the sixth strongest man in the UK. Impressed? Well, he is generous too, and is going to feature After Umbrage on his channel to help us raise awareness. What a superstar!

Pub Quiz

What is not to like – and one that could be face to face after all these long months. Again, patience is required as we wait for this to be a safe way to enjoy each other’s company. Denise is behind this idea too.

Online shopping with After Umbrage in mind

Many supporters are already signed up for this easy fundraising approach, aptly named Easy Fundraising. They have an offer of a £5 donation each time we refer a friend. And that £5 goes a long way in our world. It will pay for five pints of milk for five guests at Kingham Cottage. Please could you consider signing up so that you can become supporter number 13. Together the 12 people signed up have effortlessly raised nearly £35 for us simply by going about their normal shopping linked to Easy Fundraising. Follow this link and join them. It will only take a minute. Your fundraising will help us reach the £100 mark which will pay for a week of cleaning bills when we re-open the cottage.


Another easy online route to fundraise is via Amazon Smile. To shop at Amazon Smile simply go to smile.amazon.co.uk or activate AmazonSmile on your Amazon Shopping app on your iOS or Android phone (found under ‘settings’ on your app). On your browser, you may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.co.uk to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile. When you’re using the app, always check for the “AmazonSmile” logo to ensure you’re activated for AmazonSmile. This fundraising route has raised us over £50 and that’s with only a handful of supporters signed up.

One last idea

Do you know anyone with experience of running at 200 club? We know Scouts and community groups have run these successfully. Could this be an idea you’d be happy to take on in your local community on our behalf? We have done a little research and discovered these tips to get you started.

Before we go

Have you signed up to our newsletter? Sharing our monthly updates really helps us raise awareness that is so difficult to achieve without a big marketing machine. Each person who shares our update, shares a social media post or simply tells a friend in any way they choose really helps. As we said at the beginning, it isn’t easy to ask for help. But ask we must. The fundraising world is a tough one, especially as so many of us are experiencing fundraising fatigue. For example, we are sorry to say our recent Valentine’s Day Campaign gained only modest engagement. We have learned greatly about how to manage a digital campaign and welcome the support next time we run one. Thank you in advance.

It isn’t easy asking for help

Stepping out of our comfort zone to ask for help isn’t easy. We would love to hear from anyone seeking to support us with fundraising as a volunteer. We know it’s a big ask but we feel we must try.