Thursday, 16 December 2010

Help for the Elderly

In a recent blog you will have seen that we are setting up a program to care for some of the elderly residents in the Colony area. Adina and the volunteers have met, the planning has been done and the program has now started.
Several of the beneficiaries came to the centre to receive clothes that had been donated. They will be invited to the centre for some Christmas activities when they will also receive a shoe box gift sent out by Link Romania UK.

A big Thank you to all our supporters who answered our Christmas appeal. We have the funds we needed and the 20 elderly people on our program will now receive a much needed food parcel of essential items this Christmas.

Due to all the support and the efforts of the staff and volunteers in Romania these poor people will have a much happier Christmas than they could have expected.

Visit to The Social Centre of Lonea

The Children at the Colony Community Centre have visited the elderly people who go to the Social Centre in Lonea. This is the third year of visiting and their 5th visit. The children take gifts of home made cards and fruit and entertain the elderly people with songs and poems.
This little project has meant a lot to the elderly people and the children have said how much they enjoy it too. It is a real community building event.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Elderly Community Care

A new project starting in November is called Elderly Community Care and pictured left is the Manager, centre, surrounded by the volunteers. We have been supporting elderly people in the Colony Community for several years but we wanted to take a more planned approach as well as involving dedicated local volunteers. 20 elderly people were selected by Social Work volunteers and the manager, Adina as needing our help. Each person has an Individual Action Plan and we will be finding ways of helping and involving them at every step.
This Christmas we will be providing a food parcel, funded by our Christmas Appeal in the UK and at the moment we have enough to purchase 12 parcels. If you would like to donate £10 to provide one food parcel for an elderly person please donate on line through our website or post a cheque to the Charity office in Hassocks.
We have contacted Link Romania a UK Charity and they will be sending Shoe Boxes, so we will give a Christmas gift to each of our elderly people along with an item of warm clothing.
This is an ongoing project and we really hope that we can get a good group of volunteers involved to take this forward as a community building initiative.

Recent Events

Boxes full of specialist toys for our " Toy for Every Child" project have arrived in Romania, the photo on the left shows them loaded in my car ready to be taken to the truck depo. The project we are supporting is written by the St Andrews Association and is made up of teachers and parents of children with special needs based at the school in Vulcan.
Together, we decided that a toy library would really benefit the children and parents who could use them during home time and holidays.
Specialist toys are expensive in Romania so we decided to buy them in the UK and ship them to Petrosani, the photo on the right shows Larisa with the school Director collecting the boxes from our centre in Petrosani. The shipping costs were off set by the support of Wilkinsons Store who gave a gift voucher to spend on new toys and by the donation of good quality second hand toys by supporters. All the toys were sent packed in special plastic toy boxes and any spare space was filled with goodies for the school to use.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

I have recently returned from a trip to Romania. I am pleased to say that I found every thing in order and the staff and volunteers have been working very hard. They painted the centre in the summer, pictured left, cleared the store room of rubbish and rats, ordered all the wood in readiness for winter as well as running the activities.

The centre had the Optometrists visit again to undertake eye testing and follow up on the testing that is done by our volunteers, and the team is shown on the right. The screening program is running well with our own testing taking place every month. 81 people were looked at and tested.

Whilst I was at the centre I talked over a project for helping the elderly which we hope to start in November. We will have an individual action plan for each of the 20 local elderly people and hope to give them a constructive package of assistance. Adina also started planning for the shoe boxes that will arrive for Christmas and they will be distributed through several local associations and churches. I had time to take a staff training session that went very well.

I visited The St Andrews Association in Vulcan that is made up of parents and teachers of special needs children, shown on the left. Together we are putting together a project for a toy library that is called, " A Toy for Every Child". I have some funding and have started to pack the boxes that will be sent out in November. We do not usually sent items out to Romania but good quality educational and construction toys are very expensive so it was the best way. I look forward to hearing how this project helps the children.

We accomplished a great deal during the week and I am confident that the centre is becoming very established in the area doing good work and helping a great many people.


Friday, 17 September 2010

20th Celebration Late Night Shopping

We had a really successful late night shopping event last night in celebration of the charity's 20th Birthday! There was a fantastic turnout of regular customers and volunteers, who all enjoyed a glass of fizz with their shopping, and snapped up bargains from our specially selected range of autumn clothing. The raffle was a great success, making over £75.

We also had a fun and informal fashion show, with brave volunteers acting as models. We made over £300 on the night, which will help to fund our projects in Romania.

Thanks to everyone who came along and helped to make the night so memorable. Thanks also to the volunteers who worked so hard to make the night so successful.


Friday, 27 August 2010

Donating Vegetables

Did you know that you can also donate vegetables?

As part of our plant sales initiative we have decided to trial the donation and selling of local vegetables and fruit.

The idea is that any local producer who has a glut of produce can donate them to us, we display the items and, for a donation, people can obtain locally produced fruit and vegetables. This not only provides a small income for the charity, prevents waste but enables local people to obtain resonably priced produce.

At the moment it is working very well and we have received peas, beans, cucumbers, marrows, tomatoes and apples. Please come and see what we have on a Friday the items are displayed outside near the plants.

We have teamed up with Hassocks Transition Group and they have been very supportive of our initiative.
Don't forget that during the Autumn weeks, while you are working in your garden, to pot up any self seeded seedlings and clumps you are splitting and donate them to us. It is very helpful if they can be nicely potted and clearly labelled. I am quite good at identifying plants but sometimes I am stumped by a green mass handed in in a plastic bag!
Happy gardening.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Volunteers' Tea Party

On 16th July, Humanity at Heart's volunteers had a lovely tea party at a local garden centre in Ditchling. It was a great way of thanking all of our volunteers, who do a brilliant job keeping the shop running, and helping us to raise the income which ensures our projects in Romania can continue to develop and help the very poorest communities.
We have a large team of over 25 volunteers who work in our Hassocks shop. They help with all aspects of the shop, including window design and displays, customer service, sorting and pricing clothes, books and bric-a-brac. We even have our own invaluable handyman.

Thanks to everyone who came.

Friday, 9 July 2010

"Recycle and Remake" promotion in our shop

On August 6th, we will be having a special promotion in the shop, to show what can be done with a little ingenuity to make something fantastic out of someone else's rubbish.
We have a number of very talented volunteers who have all worked hard to produce a selection of lovely things for us to sell in our shop, including cake stands, bunting, door stops, customised clothes, jewellry, painted horsehoes, bags, cushions and quilts.

The promotion is designed to highlight our commitment to recycling, to actively encourage people to bring us their donations, and to add interest to the shop. Hopefully, people will see that we are glad to accept donations of anything - as even if clothes or textiles are unsaleable, we can use them in some other way.

We also get an income from selling "rag" and we are trying to publicise this, so that people never have to throw away any textiles,shoes or bags.So,please come into the shop on Friday 6th August and have a look at all the lovely things we have for sale. We hope that we can run the promotion for a couple of weeks.

A lovely little skirt made from Denim jeans and floral fabric.

A necklace, that has a matching bracelet made from buttons, threaded on elastic.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Plant Volunteer

Although I am very pleased that Julie has now got a job it does mean that I have lost my plant volunteer! The plants sales are proving very effective at raising extra funds at our shop in Hassocks and I have a lovely selling venue for them. Unfortunately it can be quite a lot of ( pleasant) work and I really do not have the time. If anyone who loves gardening can offer a few hours please get in touch. The time commitment is very flexible.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Achievements in Romania

We have had a lovely email from Romania telling us about the successes achieved by some of the students who come to the Homework Club. The local junior school, No 2 issues certificates to the pupils who have done well over the year. Several of our children have received these certificates showing what they can achieve with a little extra help and encouragement .
Pictured right is Alex proudly showing his certificate.
Another recent activity is the celebration of Children Day. All the children took part in the fun and games put on by the staff and volunteers, at the end of the day they were able to take home armfuls of gifts donated by the Liberal Students Club. Pictured left, Bobo with his toys.
Pictured right is everyone with their gifts.

Adina, the Centre Manager along with the staff from the Joshua Centre, is working hard with us in the UK to put together new projects that will help and support families and the elderly in the community. It is great to see the achievements of the children and we fully intend to become more involved with other members of the colony.

The coffee mornings have started again, and we are using this forum to meet and get to know local people in a friendly and informal setting.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

April Trip to Romania

I have just come back from Romania and am eager to tell you all that has been happening. I spent most of my time in Petrosani where our main project The Joshua Community Centre is situated and, amongst other things, I spent 3 days with the new manager Adina putting into place new structures and projects. She is very eager to learn and we hope she stays with us.
Pictured: Joshua Centre staff and volunteers, together with our friends Ken and Katy from Vis De Copil, plus HAH Trustee Dave Bennett, and Michelle.

I spent all Friday volunteer training, this included lunch so it was a great day. The morning was with our own staff, which went very well and the afternoon was with a variety of volunteers, this was more complex due to it all having to be translated. As volunteering is so new in Romania this type of training is very valuable. Vis de Copil who we support in Arad has indicated they would also like this type of training.
I ran a sewing workshop in the evenings to which some of the staff, volunteers and two local ladies came. It went extremely well, the atmosphere was relaxed and everyone enjoyed it very much. The photo, left, shows the group. We even had one of our homework club boys attend! I ran this workshop for Vis de Copil for the ladies from poor families and it was a great success there as well. On returning to England I have sent out work sheets and further information with a hope that the sewing clubs will keep going.

I spent time with Julien and Gabi who run Provedina Devina in Petrilla, we have given them funds to pay for food parcels for the elderly, and as well as some training with them I was able to visit two of the ladies. What a shock to see Sanzania, pictured right, in a block of flats that really should be demolished. She has bad legs and spends most of her time in bed watching the TV. A volunteer George, from the same block visits her and takes the food parcel and she is particularly grateful for the sugar! I also visited Maria who lives on her own in a nearby village and although she is able to dig her garden she really needs extra help and support.

While I was in Petrosani I was approached by two different groups asking for help and advice on how to set up and run a support group for parents of children with special needs. I was really happy to be able to show them the first steps and look forward to working further with them; in this respect we will be linking with the Clinical Science & Education Foundation which is doing similar work in Cluj. I feel that my time is well spent in Romania, not only training and information gathering at the Joshua Centre but helping and supporting other indigenous groups. Now that people have a better understanding of what they can achieve in their communities, training and support have an even greater value.


Friday, 26 March 2010

Late Night Shopping

On Thursday 25th March we had our late night shopping event, which was a great success.
Thanks to all our regulars who turned up, and enjoyed their shopping and glasses of wine.
Thanks also to our volunteer Beryl who made an array of yummy cakes.
Our next late night shop will be in the Autumn.

We will be open in the afternoon of Saturday 24th April, until 3pm, to coincide with Hassocks Farmers Market. We will be offering coffee and cake to all our customers, so please join us.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Our Charity Shop

The main source of funding for our Romanian projects come from our charity shop in Hassocks. We rely on the generosity of local people to give us donations of all their unwanted clothes, books and bric-a-brac, as well as a large team of around 20 volunteers who work in the shop.

Our shop has been running for almost 20 years, and is a great success. If you are interested in supporting us, either by bringing in donations or by volunteering, please give me a ring to arrange a time to pop in. We are particularly looking for volunteers on Thursday mornings and Monday afternoons.

We try to hold interesting events over the year, to create interest and focus on the shop as an integral part of our village community.

Upcoming events:

Saturday March 20th
(Market day) Shop open until 3.00pm.
Free coffee & cakes.
Thursday March 25th
Late night shopping. 6.00pm – 8.30pm
Refreshments included.
Please bring friends.

Please come along to any of these events, or just pop in and grab a bargain!
( Shop & Charity Manager)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Christmas 2009

The Joshua Community Centre situated in The Colony, Petrosani, has a varied program and Christmas is one of the busiest times. The new manager, Adina, has taken to her new role very quickly and enabled the staff and volunteers to really make a difference to people who come to the centre.

On the 4th December a small group of children visited the Centre for Elderly People in Lonea. They sang songs, gave cards and small gifts of fruit to the residents. The children were very moved by the activity and by the gratitude of the elderly people.

On the 8th & 9th a social worker from Caritas and some German visitors distributed Christmas packages to the children at the centre.

On the 12th December staff and volunteers took part in "Christmas at the Castle" an NGO type fair which enabled them to promote the work of the Joshua Centre and sell small items in order to raise funds.

On the 11th, 14th and 15th the staff distributed Shoeboxes to organizations and churches in the Jiu Valley. The shoe boxes had been sent by Link Romania, Worthing, England and to whom we are very grateful. The homework club children and their families also received shoe boxes with lovely things inside.

On the 15th December clothes and shoes were given to 2 poor families sponsored by Roger Baker, a supporter who comes and runs a childrens holiday club in the summer.

On the 16th December there was a Christmas program in the Centre for parents and their guests. Also on the 16th there was a presentation at the Town Hall called "Giving You Gain”.

On the 17th was a Staff dinner.

On the 21st and the 22nd food packages were given to some of the poorest families we know in the colony and who are in someway associated with the centre.

So you can see it was a very busy time and all credit is due to the staff and volunteers who enable it to happen.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Welcome to Humanity at Heart's new blog.

We are a small charity, based in Hassocks, West Sussex, whose main focus of work is in Romania. We work alongside our Romanian partners to improve the lives of the very poorest members of society, in particular children and the elderly.

Despite its acceptance into the EU, there are many people in Romania who live in desperate need, and this is why we are committed to continuing our work there.

I will be updating this blog over the next few weeks, to give you more detailed information on what the charity is doing, as well as posting some up to date photos from our projects. So, please check back in a couple of days.