Are you ready to run, walk, swim, cycle, row, hop or complete 5K by any other means of self propelled transportation? Then you are ready to join the Fairy 5K! Inspired and being led by one of out volunteers Donna this is a wonderful opportunity to get involved with a sponsored event without complicated forms or fundraising minimums, we feel engagement it is more important than pressure.
To take part just follow the Fairy 5K Entry. It is a minimum entry fee of £5/person and you can also set up an individual Fund Raising page on the site here so that your friends and family can sponsor you to. The additional sponsorship page isn’t a requirement, your friends can just donate through the same page, it just helps you to keep track of your individual total. If you don’t want to try and get any additional sponsorship then that’s fine to, remember we want this to be about having fun!
There will be some prizes and we are still working on categories for those but think things like fastest time, best fancy dress, biggest team etc. Those won’t be decided until August when the challenge finishes but we want to see you pictures all the way through so we can upload them to the dedicated Facebook page here. Everyone taking part will also receive one of our amazing 2016 medals and a specially printed LEGO brick.
The main hub of all the action for the challenge will be the Facebook page but we appreciate that not everyone uses it so also feel free to email us firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have. The very best of luck to everyone taking part, we can’t wait to see your pictures and stories appearing. Our volunteers always inspire us to work harder and we are sure this event will be no different.
Last year we were contacted by Tracey Martin, a Play Specialist from Leeds General Infirmary. We were in the middle of putting together a a delivery of sets when Tracey started telling us about a sticker scheme she had been running for children with procedure anxiety, especially needles. The hope was that when children with serious anxiety problems were given a sticker it would be an immediate highlight to staff that an extremely sensitive approach was required. A sticker obviously isn’t going to resolve any issues a child might have overnight but awareness was always the intention.
It was time to start bouncing ideas around, how could this scheme be taken further, could something be used that children can really relate to? It didn’t take long considering what we do usually to come up with using LEGO minifigures, but not just any minifigure. It had to relate to the project and needed to be something that wouldn’t be lost immediately. When we need minifigure advice then the first place we turn is Minifigs.me. Nick used the existing design that Tracey had for her sticker and softened it just a little. The key chain was added so they could be attached to things like bags. Suddenly the P.A.L. was born (Procedure Anxiety LEGO)
We are delighted to say that the initial feedback has been fantastic. We don’t have clinical knowledge so can’t be the judges on if the scheme is a success but so far everything we are hearing from Tracey and her colleagues is positive. Again, much like the sticker the PALS won’t instantly stop a child be anxious but it something they can relate to, enables them to inform staff themselves they they have concerns, rather like an ID bracelet and is another way in which a traumatic and difficult situation can be made more comfortable.
Not surprisingly we have had requests for more PALS from other hospitals. At the moment we are waiting for feedback to be finalised from Tracey and her team and then after that and funding dependant we hope be able to offer them to other hospitals.
Back in October we were approached by Chris Madej, the Head Of The Health & Social Care Department at Huddersfield New College about the possibility of launching a LEGO building club. We were only to happy to help, especially when Chris explained the impact this would have not only with the children attending the club but his students. It was always the intention that it would be driven by students and not only would it allow them to gain experience of working with children but it would also contribute to their qualifications to allow further study in such fields as nursing and social work.
The club has been a resounding success, regularly attracting over twenty children and today we received a statement from one of the students involved, Rishona on what a difference it has made to her. To say we were inspired by it would be an understatement and felt that it had to be shared.
As a student going into paediatric nursing the Lego brick club has been an ideal opportunity for me. It has provided me with regular experience, vital skills and essential qualities which I can carry with me into my career.
When looking back to the start of the club I can see how far I’ve come and the impact that the regular sessions have had on me as a person. As one of the leaders of the club I introduce the sessions each week to the children, informing them on the chosen theme. When first doing this I wasn’t sure on the reaction the children may have to me, what I was going to say or how I was going to say it in order for them to understand. From going to the Lego club on a weekly basis I have grown to be more confident and comfortable when delivering and working with the children, to the extent where I find myself not even thinking about these factors as I did in the beginning.
My ability to communicate with the children has had the most significant improvement with me learning how to adapt my communication and vocabulary to suit the children’s needs and age ranges. This has allowed me to gain an insight into appropriate conversations to have with each child based on individual requirements. As well as communicating with the children I have had to communicate with parents and carers which has also been very useful to me as paediatric nursing is orientated around family centred care and working in partnership with the parents. The Lego Brick club has given me a platform to be able to practice and demonstrate my communication skills and work in partnership with a variety of parents and carers from different backgrounds.
Although I have had experience working with children on placement and with my voluntary work I haven’t ever been able to take the lead and use my initiative to the extent that I do with the club. This has been very beneficial as it has allowed me to advance my leadership skills and my ability of working as part of team. It has also been very useful for me when going to university interviews where these qualities and skills are important to demonstrate.
Being a part of the Lego brick club has enabled me to extend my knowledge and involvement with a range of disabled children and has helped me to make my skills more advance, as I now understand the importance and value of correct communication techniques in order to gain a positive relationship with all children in spite of any disabilities. Some children have anxiety about engaging in social situations, being able to see this and act upon it has heightened my understanding of how children need to feel secure and safe in a new environment. Treating everyone equally, sensitively, providing comfort and trust was priority for ensuring all the children felt involved in the club.
My involvement of the club has provided me with the opportunity to engage in the local community, with us donating to a local children’s hospice. This was something I had never experienced before and for me, being able to do this is a reward in itself. Knowing that my participation of the club has partly been responsible for us being able to donate to such a worthy cause is so satisfying and fulfilling to be a part of.
One of the most rewarding aspects though has definitely got to be watching the children grow and develop and see how far they have come every week. They never fail to surprise me with their abilities and amazing creations.
Although I have had extensive work practice throughout my health and social care course, the Lego brick club has solely been the most beneficial to me and so I am very grateful for having the chance to take part in such a successful and worthwhile experience. Even though this contributes to my placement hours I would be taking part regardless because of how much I have enjoyed being part of the club. It’s unquestionable that other students would find the experience just as useful and valuable as I have.
So a huge thanks to Chris for first approaching us and to Rishona and her fellow students for making the club such a success!
We have just updated our donations page and it now stands at 35 for the year so far. That’s an increase of 5 from last year with hopefully several more donations to come prior to Christmas. Combined with work from previous years we have made 80 donations now. We don’t set targets on how many donations we want to make, we just keep working hard and hopefully progression comes.
So what does 80 donations actually represent? Well first up it has a monetary value of £64,000 or if you measure it on an average set value of £20 its 3200 sets. Given the nature of LEGO and how the hospitals use the sets we work on a figure that each set is played with at least ten times which is a very conservative estimate. So that’s 32,000 children who either have benefited or will benefit from one of our donations.
We have mentioned “our donations” Of course as much as they are ours they are also yours. Everyone who has donated money and sets. Everyone who has volunteered at events or actually visited a hospital. This is your work we are talking about and you should quite rightly be extremely proud.
So into 2016 we should hit our century which is a nice milestone but will also just be another day with the bricks and getting them into the hands of children so they can start making a benefit.
Writer and LEGO Builder Rod Gillies has generously decided to donate the royalties from his latest book Empire Of Steam for November and December to us! If you’re interested in seeing Rod’s models then he will be exhibiting at Brick 2015 in December so be sure to pop along and say hello.
So head on over to Amazon, get yourself a great read and help us in the process. Thanks Rod for your generosity. This is what readers are saying so far..
“Classic adventure set-up followed by a hectic, exciting chase that doesn’t let up”
“Real boys own adventure, left you wanting more”
“Non stop action from start to finish… a military thriller set in a steampunk world”
“Great twists, suspense, and lots of action”
“Fast-paced, action-packed fiction. The story moves really quickly, the characters are likeable and realistic and the writing is excellent”
What happens when an International Investment Bank contacts a tiny charity and asks about working together on a community day? Well first of all the said charity tries to get over the shock of the request and then gets down to trying to make it work!
The end result however can be summed up in one word, Magical. On Friday we joined forces with 20 volunteers from Goldman Sachs as part of their 2015 Community Team Work Scheme and visited the Evelina London Children’s Hospital which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Armed with over £2000 of sets and assisted by three Fairies, Ed, Gary and Tim, the day was spent building sets and one off models with children.
Special credit needs to go first to Jason from GS for having the vision initially to contact us. As a small charity it is often difficult to gain corporate support but thanks to Jason and his drive to make this a success it most certainly was. Secondly to Julie at the Evelina. Another under resourced Play Specialist who welcomed us with open arms and did everything possible to make sure the day went off without a problem. Hopefully this won’t be our last connection with either organisation!
We are delighted to announce Bricktastic a new LEGO event to be hosted right in the heart of Manchester. The event will take place at the iconic Manchester Central (formally the GMEX) on the weekend of 15-16 August 2015 and will celebrate all things LEGO – the plastic brick loved by millions of children and adults alike.
Bricktastic will showcase models constructed by some of the best LEGO builders in UK. From cars, to animals to historic buildings, there will be something to inspire the budding LEGO builder regardless of age.
Professional LEGO designers will also be on hand throughout the weekend, come and find out what it takes to go from concept, creation to the high street stores. After being inspired by the Master Builders, visitors will have numerous opportunities to get ‘hands-on’ at Bricktastic from creating their own LEGO masterpiece in the brick pits, or helping build a giant 120,000 piece LEGO brick mosaic construction that has never been built before!. Each day three lucky mosaic builders will also win a prize for guessing what the mosaic picture will be.
The show will be packed with information, hints and tips for the budding LEGO builder.
- Models created by the UK’s only LEGO Certified Professional Company, Bright Bricks
- Displays created by members of the Brickish Association, Northern Brickworks and Brickshire.
- An exclusive first look at the 2015 model being created by the Brick To The Past
- A chance to meet LEGO designers Carl Greatrix and Tom Poulson.
- Interactive sessions with Master Builders to learn just how they create such stunning work or see how LEGO can be used in science and engineering.
- Brick Pits and play tables to create LEGO master pieces.
- Demonstrations by Awesome Engineers of their interactive LEGO Workshops.
- A variety of shopping opportunities including lots of personalised items.
Advance tickets are now on sale priced at £11.50 for adults and £8.50 for children. Infants under 3 go free. To book tickets, or for further information, please visit www.bricktastic.org
As well as supporting Fairy Bricks, every advance child and adult ticket purchased will be entered into a free prize draw for either the Saturday or Sunday with great LEGO prizes available to be won.
After several months of planning we are delighted to announce a new partnership with Goldman Sachs. As part of their Community Teamwork’s initiative, on June 19th we will be joined by twenty GS volunteers in visiting the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. The day will be spent building new LEGO sets with both in and out patients. Also joining us will be Master Builders Tim Johnson, the Editor of Bricks Culture magazine and Gary Davis, the Vice Chair of the Brickish Association to help the children, hospital staff and volunteers see beyond the instructions and get creative with the bricks.
Jason Granet, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs said, “The team here is so excited to work with Fairy Bricks on this unique event. Kev and Fairy Bricks have a great organization and we are pleased to partner with them on what promises to be a fabulous day with all the children at Evelina Children’s Hospital.”
We can only echo Jason’s comments. From the moment this project was first conceived, Jason and his team have been a pleasure to work with and we can’t wait for June 19th to come now so some boxes can be ripped open to start building! It won’t just be about the one day though, there will be lots of LEGO left behind to be used by the Play Specialists in the future months.
Fairy Friday Is Back!
Remember last year when our first external fundraiser was a cakes at work day? Well it’s back and hopefully even more people will take part. Right now everyone is working off the Christmas excess so by the 27th of February will be ready to, and as importantly deserve to eat some cake!
You can hold one at work, school or even at home. If the 27th doesn’t work for you then its no problem, just pick another date and let us know so we can tell everyone how great you are for getting involved. We don’t want anyone to be concerned with being worried about how much they raise, just please take part and have some fun. If you’re a secret LEGO fan this is a great way to introduce it to your colleagues! A poster is available to download by clicking the link below.
The day after Sunderland we visited the Leeds General Infirmary. Leeds was nominated by one of our volunteers KT who you can see pictured. She is a key member of the team who is always happy to give up time for fund raising efforts and is wonderful at spotting discounted sets when out and about! Also pictured is Matthew one of the LGI patients. Matthew is a huge LEGO fan who already had some small sets in his room from home. After we had left it is fair to say he had plenty of new ones to choose from!