Army of volunteers helps threatened Derbyshire charity

Helens Trust chief executive Heidi Hawkins. Picture by Jason Chadwick.
Helens Trust chief executive Heidi Hawkins. Picture by Jason Chadwick.
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A vital charity which feared closure now faces a brighter future – thanks to big-hearted fundraisers.

In January, Bakewell-based Helen’s Trust said it was likely to shut by June unless it got more financial support from the public.

Since then, generous residents have pulled out all the stops to support the charity, which has helped more than 1,000 people with a number of different terminal illnesses to remain at home in the last six months of their lives.

Heidi Hawkins, chief executive of Helen’s Trust, said: “Our small team of staff and trustees have been touched, encouraged and energised by the way in which you, our local community, have responded to our urgent appeal.

“So far nearly 100 people have signed up to donate to us on a regular basis.

“As well as your regular donations, many of you have responded to our appeal by fundraising for us.

“On behalf of everyone at Helen’s Trust and of the people we support, thank you to each of you. You have all done something amazing.

“However, for the sake of our future beneficiaries, we will continue to work really hard to raise funds. We have a robust fundraising strategy which we are poised to implement and the additional support that you have given us in the past three months and your ongoing support will enable us to work on implementing our plans to increase our income.”

During 2015, Helen’s Trust saw demand for its services increase by more than 60 per cent compared with the previous year.

Founded in 2001 in memory of Derbyshire woman Helen Lyon who died of cancer, the charity needs to raise £230,000 every year to provide a number of important services – including a night-sitting scheme which enables the main carer to get some sleep knowing that their loved one is safe and not alone.

Enid Ellis was supported by Helen’s Trust when she was caring for her husband John at home after he was diagnosed with corticobasal degeneration, a rare condition which causes gradually worsening problems with movement, speech, memory and swallowing.

With the help provided by the charity, John passed away at home which was his wish.

Ms Ellis said: “Helen’s Trust gives the carer a break which is so needed when you’re caring for someone with a terminal illness. I really don’t know how people who don’t have the help of Helen’s Trust cope.

“For years before we used Helen’s Trust we used to attend their fundraising events, never thinking we would need their help. There will be so many other people out there attending these events probably thinking the same as we did - but one day they may need the help of Helen’s Trust and it needs to be there for their support as it was there for our support.”

You can donate to the charity at www.helenstrust.org.uk or by calling 01629 812759.