Tara and Aum were invited to The Health Lottery Tea Party at The Savoy last month, where they were thrilled to meet ‘X Factor’ judge Simon Cowell and fellow co-star, Ayda Field, at a celebrity star-studded event.
The party was held to celebrate over £100 million raised for local grass roots charities in Great Britain.
For the last two years the Peoples Health Lottery has kindly funded all of our volunteer support work including the role of the volunteer coordinator, our training opportunities and a bit of cake at the coffee mornings.
The investment comes as a result of funds raised through The Health Lottery and has enabled the group to set up as a charity and grow our organisation.
Our volunteer support project aims to reduce social isolation among our families and volunteers and make sure that our volunteers feel confident and empowered to lead the Big Red Bus Club. Like Aum who started volunteering with the Big Red Bus Club and was one of the first volunteers to be supported by the People Health’s Lottery. Aum who is now the volunteer coordinator spoke to a room with over 300 organisations about the work of the Big Red Bus Club.
Two novice cyclists joined Emma Mason and Susie Goss joined veteran Big Red Bike Club cyclists Steve Tull, Jay Masand and Annie and Matt Drewry to undertake our gruelling annual 100k bike ride in aid of the Big Red Bus Club.
Although the amount is still to be counted cyclists have raised at least £2000 this year, with the novice cyclist doing an amazing job of training throughout the year to get ready for the big day. Emma Mason said;
"This charity challenge has been great in terms of raising money for a great cause, building cycling distance, fitness and fun. I've laughed so much and enjoyed exploring picturesque parts of London while getting fitter. A win, win for the Big Red Bus Club and me".
Riders who set off nine hours earlier and had spent just over seven hours in the saddle were greeted by volunteers and their families who welcomed the cyclists home to handmade banners and a well deserved burger. A huge thanks to Sue Christensen the support car driver, Helen O'kelly for the endless supply of brownies and Aum, Cat and Carl who organised an amazing volunteer BBQ.
A great day had by all.
Catherine – back into work
I came along to an open day to recruit new volunteers. I had been a tad miserable not knowing what to do with myself due to disability and not working and being indoors 24/7. I have a new lease of life. I have a new purpose in life and a whole bunch of new friends. The Big Red Bus Club has helped me get me get real qualifications that has got me back into work.
It’s been life changing and I find during the school holidays I am waiting for it to reopen.
Majrola -I had a break from volunteering at the Big Red Bus Club to give birth to Eva, six weeks after my daughter was born I was back to volunteering every week. It’s so easy to plan my volunteering around my family – my daughter is now seven months old and the love and attention of all the volunteers has helped make to make Eva a happier more content baby.
I am happier with a reason to leave the house and with friends to work with.
Aum – My daughter loved coming here so much that I ended up coming three times a week, it seemed obvious to help out and become a volunteer. My daughter started school and I stayed because my family benefited from having somewhere to come and get out of our flat. Over the years I have gained new qualifications, organised events, and helped build our local community.
What I didn’t realise was that my English had improved until a family friend commented – although now with a London accent.
Tara – I had volunteered for years at the Big Red Bus Club running sessions and being the Treasurer when it was time for my sons to go to school I know I couldn’t go back to work up town and 9 -5. The support I received over the years from the Big Red Bus Club meant I was able to start my own business and give back to the Big Red Bus Club at the same time.
I now run a whole community wellbeing programme, working with the friends I have made at the Big Red Bus Club, the support has made me confident and opened my eyes to possibilities of a future which is built around my family.