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Lottery funding helps Pembrokeshire mental health network start ‘Greener Healing’ project



Grŵp Resilience in Pembrokeshire has received a grant of £7,880 from The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales to fund the Greener Healing project.

The project supports people with mental health needs to take part in green social activity and evaluate how this affects them.

Vicky Moller, Chairman of Grŵp Resilience, which is a network of businesses, communities and organisations committed to working inclusively in the long-term interests of nature and people, explains: “We found that many people with urgent social and mental wellbeing needs are happiest when they feel useful and doing practical things with others. This project will enrol those in need of greater wellbeing as volunteer researchers to help practically in community gardens and similar social ventures. They will research the effectiveness of the activity over time.

“We are working with people who have experienced damaging life experiences. They include people who have escaped war, mothers who have lost children, victims of long-standing abuse and young people damaged by life and substance abuse. They do not want to live as victims. They want to be valued, to be healers and to heal themselves.

“We are building greener healing from the grass roots. The National Lottery money will also provide practical help to social ventures and community gardens and support a coordinator to take care of the volunteers.”

The funding enabled one of the volunteers, Leoni Jenkins, to take a horse called Monk to the reopening of Monkton Community Centre in Pembrokeshire. The centre recently reopened under new management, Dezza’s Cabin, a self-help social needs charity providing peer to peer support. In Vicky Moller’s words, “Dezza’s is turning tragedy into empowerment, with a sprinkle of help from Grŵp Resilience. “

Leoni Jenkins, who is a volunteer at Dezza’s and Grŵp Resilience, said:  “I have had troubles nobody should, I have experienced emotional pain that is worse than physical torture through the loss of my children. However, I refuse to be defined by this pain. Working with Monk has honestly kept me alive at times. It has taught me simplicity, patience and compassion. 


“The horse-human relationship is unique; horses mirror human emotions. This sensitivity offers feedback to a person because of the horse’s powerful stature. They allow people to overcome fear.”   

Leoni told us about one experience her and Monk had that will stay with her forever: “A Dad approached us with his very shy, non-verbal daughter. She was interested in Monk but froze by fear of the other humans around. Her dad leaned down, picked her up and put her on Monk. Wow! An instant smile. We did a 20-metre circle and on our route back, out of the blue the little girl responded to a question I had asked ten minutes earlier. She said HER NAME! Her Dad could not believe she had spoken and I know it’s down to the magic in Monk, and in any horse.   

“There are parents who have also expressed a concern to me that local drug dealers are using their children to run drugs. These children are aged between 12 and 16. At least two of them came and met Monk at Monkton Fete. For those few moments, I watched them come alive and just be children.  

“Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if other people who struggle with anything could find comfort in the same way I have. It would give children the chance to learn life skills that have kept me alive and sober! Unfortunately, this all comes at a cost and so for the most vulnerable and poorest of our communities, these skills are completely out of reach.

“My wish would be that we can help people learn the life skills that have very often kept me alive at my most troubling times.”


Ruth Bates, Head of Communications at The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales, said: “This project is an excellent example of how community groups and volunteers support the people who rely on them. National Lottery players raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.

“Last year we funded over 8,000 projects across the UK to bring communities together, over 7,500 supporting health and wellbeing. I hope this grant will enable Grŵp Resilience and the other projects receiving funding this month to continue offering support to the people and communities who really need it, and continue to change lives.”   

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Kidney charity continues team expansion with three new appointments




Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales, continues to see further expansion of its team with three new appointments, following a steep increase in demand for its support services.

Among the two new roles are children and youth support coordinator, and support service coordinator, as well as an internal move.

New children and youth support coordinator, Nikkila Thomas, will be responsible for providing support to children and young people suffering with kidney disease and their families. Part of the role is to engage with key stakeholders in order to develop transition programs, an educational program relating to younger service users moving into adult services.

Additionally, the children and youth support role focuses on developing current services, that will inevitably improve the quality of life of the charity’s beneficiaries. Thomas will be responsible for coordinating activity competitions and fundraisers and regularly producing a KIDS Newsletter, which offers children and families updates and activities.

Kidney support is close to Thomas’ heart because a family member was diagnosed with kidney disease. She found the Paul Popham Fund website when researching kidney disease, trying to find out more about the condition.

Speaking on her new role, children and youth support coordinator, Nikkila Thomas, said: “I am thrilled to start my post at the Paul Popham Fund. Being involved in promoting the charity’s vision in raising awareness and supporting the community is extremely rewarding, and I’m looking forward to developing and aiding the Children and Youth Services further.”


The second new appointment is Corrine Bell, the new support service coordinator. Bell has had previous experience in the sector with the St. Johns Ambulance service as a divisional officer.

In her new role, Bell will be responsible for providing support and information to those suffering from kidney disease and their families, which is as important as ever as the charity sees increased demand for its services. Bell’s partner is a current transplant patient and has been on dialysis, so she is well aware of the effect the charity has.

Speaking on her new role, Corrine Bell, said: “I am eager to get started with Paul Popham Fund. I know about all the great things they do for the community as my partner is a volunteer, so I’m glad to be a part of such a great cause.”

Joanne Popham, CEO, said: “The organisation is extremely glad to welcome another two new team members. Our continued expansion shows a very promising future for the charity meaning we can help more and more people who are affected by kidney disease.”

The charity has also made an internal move: Anna Powell has moved from Children and Youth Engagement Officer to Volunteer Coordinator. In her new role, Powell is now heavily involved with management and recruitment of volunteers for the charity, while also training existing volunteers.


With a background in recruitment, this role is perfectly suited to Powell, who will also be responsible for raising awareness in schools.

Anna Powell, Volunteer Coordinator at the Paul Popham Fund, said: “I am very eager to start my new role as Volunteer Coordinator, and get the chance to go to local schools and raise awareness of our ‘Believe in Yourself’ campaign, which has been at the forefront of the charity’s vision.

“Believe in Yourself originates from Paul Popham, who aimed to strive and succeed despite his diagnosis with kidney disease. Its use in school aims to resonate with students whether affected by kidney disease or not, to reinforce the notion of believing that you can do anything, even in the face of adversity.”

Additionally, Powell will also be involved in recruitment for the charity’s Kidney Cafe, fundraisers, ambassadors and peer mentoring service.

(Lead image (left to right): support service coordinator, Corrine Bell, children and youth support coordinator, Nikkila Thomas, and volunteer coordinator, Anna Powell.)


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Tesco shoppers in Swansea help to provide £1million boost to health




People in Swansea have been thanked for contributing towards the £1million raised for
three life-saving charities as part of Tesco’s ‘Helping you to live healthier’ initiative.

Tesco customers reached the landmark total for Cancer Research UK, the British Heart
Foundation and Diabetes UK from 13-26 September by rounding up their shop in store to
the nearest £1.

The funds raised will now help the three charities continue their vital work to save and
improve lives.

In addition to the £1million donated, the campaign raised awareness in Swansea about
the importance of people making sustainable lifestyle changes that can help lower their
risk of cancer, heart and circulatory diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

This was done with the help of trusted health information and advice, which was shared
to empower Tesco customers to take small steps to help improve their health.

Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Health Campaigns at Tesco, thanked Tesco shoppers in
Swansea for their generosity, which will make a significant difference to many people’s


She added: “It has been inspiring to see our customers really engage with the work we
are doing together, and we hope that we have played a part in raising awareness for
these conditions, as well as life-saving funds.”

The campaign was part of the Health Charity Partnership between Tesco, Cancer
Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK, which aims to inspire and
support Tesco colleagues, customers and their families to make healthier food choices
and live healthier lives.

On behalf of the charity partners , Claire Sadler, Executive Director of Marketing,
Fundraising and Engagement at the British Heart Foundation, said
: “We have been amazed by the incredible generosity of Tesco customers and colleagues
and would like to thank everyone who donated during September.

“Your donations will help to empower millions of people to make healthier choices that
lower their risk of heart and circulatory diseases, cancer, and diabetes. It will also help
our charities provide vital support to millions of people at a time it’s never been more
needed, and it will fund research with the potential to save lives.”

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London Marathon brings Paul Popham Fund £4k closer to children’s kidney centre dream




On Sunday (4 October), a team of runners from Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales, took part in the 40th London Marathon, raising a grand total of £3987.70.

This brings the charity a step closer to its target of £132,000 to help refurbish the Children’s Kidney Centre at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales.

The marathon was completed by four Paul Popham team members, who had to endure 16 weeks of marathon training in preparation for the race. Among those who participated were Anna Powell, Amber Brundle, Sarah Davies, David Bivens and Geraint John.

Geraint John, peer mentor and ambassador of Paul Popham Fund who participated in the virtual version of the race, said:

“I would like to thank Colin Beynon, Helen Jones, Keith John and Nigel Butler, for walking stages of the Marathon with me, it certainly made the journey easier.

“Starting at 7am, with a change of walking boots three quarters of the way through, what a great experience! Just knowing you were one of tens of thousands taking part in such a special event, all whilst raising funds for a charity close to your heart.”


The runners enjoyed the run that much that they have also submitted to next year’s ballot.

Paul Popham Fund team runner, Sarah Davies, said: “What an amazing day. I’ve never experienced crowds and support like Sunday, with everybody shouting your name and willing you on, it really was wonderful. I’m so proud to have run for such a wonderful charity and thinking of my brave nephew Harry when I was running made me push on.  Harry was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease when he was 3 years old, and in March 2019, Harry and his dad were part of a living kidney-sharing transplant scheme that thankfully all went well.

“My family and I hugely appreciate how the Paul Popham Fund help patients like Harry achieve a better quality of life. People have been so generous and supportive to donate to this wonderful charity, and I was proud to be able to raise funds for them.”

The race was also run by members of the Paul Popham Running Club, who all raised funds towards the goal of £132,000 for the Children’s Kidney Centre.

The project aims to provide a welcoming, calming environment, with updated private consultation rooms and a children’s play/games area. Currently, there is very little natural light in the department, making it a dark environment. Through refurbishment, natural light will be maximised to create a more welcoming, warm and comfortable place for children to undergo treatment.

Paul Popham Fund is still fundraising and accepting donations for the event. Donations can be made by following the below links:



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