The Women's Refuge have asked me to say "A Huge Thank You " to you all.

When I got back from my lovely holiday, I saw a post from my dear friend Mandie who was asking for a variety fo things for the women's refuge in Newark.  They had 10 families in, their funding had been cut and they were in desperate need as Christmas was fast approaching.

So, with very little time I decided to send an email to you all asking for help and the response was truly beautiful. Our studio was filled with so many of the gifts that they needed, Asda vouchers for the teenagers and also some cash was donated - I was so blown away by everyone's generosity. 

I delivered all the goodies to Mandie's house (as you can appreciate you cannot just turn up at the refuge and they try and keep their  whereabouts quiet),  Mandie had also been collecting and she went round the week before Christmas to drop off all the goodies at the refuge.

Well, the lovely lady that runs the refuge burst into tears, tears of joy.  She knew just how much each and every donation would help to make these families lives a little more bearable. She was overwhelmed by the the kindness of everybody and everything has been thoroughly appreciated.

I must admit, that this experience had a profound effect on me. Over the years I've always raised money for various charities, whether its been through trekking to Everest, cycling from London to Paris or running events and coffee mornings at Balance, but this felt different and I'm not totally sure why.  It really brought it home to me that the joy of Christmas is about Kindness, it's about us not just looking out for ourselves and our families but having genuine care and concern for others who are not as fortunate as we are.  The 'pleasure' I got from being able to do something was enormous, I feel a lot of us sometimes feel at a loss, we feel disempowered, we feel we can't make a difference, we feel things can't change.  I know an awful lot of people who have felt like this with Brexit and elections and all that have been going on......yet here was something we could do to help and we did - we took action and we changed people's lives...... and that matters.

No matter how big or small, kindness matters but what really made the difference is that we took action and made it happen.  So once again, thank you all you lovely people for taking that action.

I know that so many of us are caught up in New Year resolutions, and I think most of you know my thoughts on that, but I do set intentions and one of my intentions this year is to give more back.

I will be finding ways to help more people, to do more for others, to care more and of course to take more action so that it actually happens.

So on that note I've heard from the refuge.  All their funding has been cut, though they are in talks with the council to see if they can get any sort of funding.  They need household cleaning materials, more toiletries, single sheets and money (though they hate asking for money as they feel mean!)

My idea is to have a Women's refuge week January 20th - January 24th where again Balance will collect anything from the above list that you can give, I would also like to invite anyone that week to consider donating the cost of their Pilates class £10 (collection tin will be at Balance) and whatever amount we collect Balance will match it. 

Let's start 2020 doing something wonderful for someone else and make a real change to someones life.