Welcome to The George Oliver Foundation.
The George Oliver Foundation raises funds to support projects that help improve the lives of disadvantaged children in the UK and abroad.
We set up The George Oliver Foundation in 2010 after our 14 month old son George died suddenly of a rare illness. We hope to bring something positive from our sadness and channel support to children who do not always have the chance for the help, love and support that George had.
Each year we fund a range of projects supporting children and young people in areas covering health and education in the UK and abroad. Current projects include Soundabout Music Workshops for disabled children, Home Play support with Haven House Children's Hospice and an education support project for Syrian children in a refugee camp in Jordan with War Child. You can read more about all of the projects we fund here.
Birmingham Velo - 100 Mile Challenge
In September Mark and Emily took part in the first ever Birmingham 100 mile closed road cycle event. What we didn't realise was that it was far from flat with some extremely tough climbing along the route - a long hill 85 miles in was a particularly hard challenge! The midlands countryside was beautiful, however, and the support on the roads was fantastic. Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our efforts! The fundraising page is on Just Giving here www.justgiving.com/fundraising/100forgeorge
Family Fun Run 2017
A huge thank you to everyone who supported our first ever Fun Run! The route was a choice of 5km or 10km walk / run / cycle on the Phoenix Trail in Thame. We were very lucky to have a perfect sunny day for it and everyone did a great job zooming / scooting / riding along the trail, and spotting the rainbow butterflies along the way. We are very pleased to have raised over £2000 with the event. Including many of you very kindly supporting the raffle and making donations in advance. We really appreciate the support THANK YOU!
Ride London 2017 - we were very lucky to have two expert riders taking on the huge 100 mile Ride London Challenge this year, Mike McKenna and Nick Hall reported a great day and finished in good time. They have also achieved excellent fundraising, big thank you to everyone who has supported them!
Massive thank you to the lovely people at Sandy Lane Farm (Thame, Oxfordshire) for supporting us with their Lambing Weekend. There were new born lambs to meet and delicious cakes, BBQ and farm produce. Their organic farm shop is open Thursdays and Saturdays and they also do organic fruit & veg boxes delivered to your door www.tenmilemenu.co.uk
Big thank you also goes to the brilliant Thame Pop Choir who have very kindly supported The George Oliver Foundation with their charity fundraising this year! If you have a chance to see them performing do go.
Also huge thank you to the Year 8 students at Lord Williams school in Thame who have voted to support us with their fundraising activity this term, we really appreciate the support!
The following projects are currently being funded by The George Oliver Foundation.
Haven House Children's Hospice "Butterfly Project"
Haven House is a children's hospice in Waltham Forest offering respite, end of life and palliative care. The George Oliver Foundation is supporting their new Butterfly Project working to offer more choice of hospice services at home. The new project works to give families real choice in their place of care, of death and of emotional and bereavement support. One of the main elements of the project is for trained support workers to offer at home play sessions as part of respite care for life limited children. This new service can also benefit the whole family and those involved in the child’s care. Haven House work hard to give the best possible quality of life and care for every baby, child or young person with a life-limited condition and their family, we are very glad to be supporting their work. You can read more here
Fledglings Helpline - supporting families and carers of disabled children
Fledglings is a charity that assists families caring for children who are sick and disabled. They offer a telephone and email helpline run by trained experts who can give practical support in relation to individual children's special needs. They assist in sourcing products that can improve quality of life, including bespoke products when required. As well as providing an understanding and supportive contact for families who can be overwhelmed by the many challenges they are facing.
By supporting, educating and enabling parents & carers, Fledglings helps many families to improve their child's wellbeing, development and fulfill their potential. They are a small charity and our £5,000 donation will go towards funding a member of helpline staff. Demand for this service is growing by 17% a year and feedback is consistently that Fledglings makes a huge difference to people's lives. You can read more here
Arts for All - Arts Therapy and support for disadvantaged children
Arts For All is small, highly creative charity that has been serving the disadvantaged communities of Tower Hamlets and Hackney for 14 years. The George Oliver Foundation has contributed £5,130 to fund a sessional worker at the "Kaleidoscope" club which supports disadvantaged and disaffected children and young people aged 5 to 16. Around 60 children a week access the free project which is run by staff and volunteers using art therapy techniques to help its members. 95% of these will reconnect with school and proceed to further education and/or employment. A partnership with the National Autistic Society also ensures that children on the autism spectrum can access and join the club. You can read more here
War Child - Child refugee education project
War Child's mission is to support and improve the care of children and young people in some of the worst conflict affected places. In 2016 we have extended our support of an education programme for 100 Syrian refugee children in Districts 7 and 10 of the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. The project focusses on numeracy and literacy but also provides a safe and supportive space for these children. It is estimated the project will also reach a further 40 parents/caregivers directly and 400 family members/people indirectly. The ability of these children to access education will hopefully help them and their families to look towards a more positive future. War Child also work hard to create Education Engagement Groups and raise awareness on child protection issues. We are very glad to be continuing the partnership that we have with War Child, in this area of great need. You can read more here
Thank you all for your support - you are making all of this possible!
Events in 2016
We were very lucky to have five amazing cyclists supporting George's Foundation in the 2016 Ride London 100 Mile challenge. The route begins at the Olympic Park and travels all the way out to the Surrey Hills and back to finish in front of Buckingham Palace on the mall. It has to be completed within 8 hours including any breaks.
Callum and Amy were warming up for their wedding (just 2 weeks later!) by very kindly riding for us and asking for donations instead of wedding gifts. Our lovely friend Ellie Owen, who usually rides a horse not a bike, also completed the challenge in great shape. Last but by no means least one of our trustees Charlie Anderson and his brilliant Dad Eamonn both suceeded in getting through the 100 with time to spare. We also rode the route on our much loved tandem and we are very grateful for everyone's support.
Charlie and Eamonn also supported us with one of the most iconic cycling challenges there is - Mont Ventoux. They successfully reached the summit after over 2 hours of riding, 23km up hill! This was just a week before the Tour De France route had to be cut off 6km from the top due to predicted winds of up to 200 mph.
A huge thank you goes to everyone who has supported these riders and of course the amazing riders themselves for this fantastic achievement, with all the hard work that goes into getting to the finish line! THANK YOU!
Happy Little Yogi
Another big thank you also goes to the brilliant people at Happy Little Yogi. They have created a fantastic new yoga DVD for children and The George Oliver Foundation is privileged to be chosen as a charity they are supporting with the proceeds. You can see more about it in this clip here. Jane Oppegaard and Happy LIttle Yogi have also recently supported us with a fantastic night of "Kundalini Grooves & Bhangra Moves". Thank you all!
A big thank you also goes to the fantastic people at CMS Cameron McKenna for supporting us with their LAW ROCKS night at the 100 Club in London. The night is a battle of the finest bands from the London legal profession rocking out and raising money for many diverse charities at the same time. Thank you to everyone who supported.
Congratulations & Thank you!
Huge congratulations to Emma Jones and Catherine Job who sucessfully completed the infamous 24 hour Three Peaks Challenge! The challenge involves tackling Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon all in 24 hours including all the driving time in between - meaning very little sleep and a lot of speedy scrambling up and down very steep paths. A big thank you goes to everyone who has supported them and big congratulations to Emma and Catherine for completing it!
Many congratulations also go to Matt Harris who completed the London Marathon 2016 for George's Foundation. He said it didn't hurt that much but we don't believe him! A massive thank you goes to all of you who have supported him and to Matt for his brilliant fundraising.
Blue Elephant Theatre - The Blue Elephant "Speak Out" project has just completed its third year of funding and we are very pleased to report that the work has recieved excellent feedback from the many young people, teachers and youth workers involved. The project instigates discussion about mental health among young people and possible strategies for dealing with issues that arise in this area. Many teachers particularly have cited the need for this support in the communities in SE London where they work.
SeeSaw childhood bereavement support - SeeSaw have recently sent a report about their work with bereaved children and their families. Their 12 volunteer support workers made over 220 home visits in the last year and the demand for the service continues to grow. One event they organise is a meet up for families coping with bereavement and one father reported that "It was so good to meet other Dads raising children alone and meeting others who really "get it"."
Pump Aid - the two new water pumps in Malawi that we funded with Pump Aid have been implemented and will be supporting a large community in the Kasungu District. An important part of Pump Aid's work is also a hygeine and sanitation improvement education project which has been shown to have excellent results in effecting behaviourial change that will impact the health and life chances of many generations to come.
Alder Hey Children's Hospital - we provided funding for three parent beds enabling families to stay in the room with their child recieving treatment, often over long periods of time and in some cases in the first few weeks of life. One family whose child has been in the hospital for 18 months reported that the new facilities were a huge improvement saying "it's more homely and doesn't look like a hospital, it's fantastic".
Wellchild - we were very glad to support the Wellchild Helping Hands Programme which transforms spaces at home for children living with life-limitting illness and disability. They are able to change gardens and outside spaces into safe and secure places for individual children's needs, often where it has previously not been safe for that child to play outside at all. This helps to boost confidence, health and self-esteem, one Mum explained "it's a little bit of normality for her to be able to do what other kids do and now her friends can come round more easily too".
Thank you for your support! You are making all this possible. You can read about current projects here
"Cafe Oliver" Fundraising Night
A massive thank you to everyone who came and supported the Cafe Oliver fundraising night at Conway Hall. Also huge thanks to everyone who bought and sold raffle tickets and all the amazing helpers on the night. We couldn't have done it without you! We were honoured on the night to have the amazing Anna-Jane Casey performing for us, as well as incredible magic from John Bulleid and piano solos from James Hodgson. We are extremely delighted to say we raised well over £7500 which has far exceeded any expectations. Thank you everyone for the fantastic support! You can see all the photos here (photos by Jenny Chaichian)
Big House Theatre "Politrix"
The Big House development project an ongoing initiative supporting young care leavers making the transition to independent adult life. The Big House specifically supports this marginalised group of young people, who have spent much or all of their childhood in a looked-after environment. We went to see an incredible performance of their piece "Politrix" at Hackney Downs Studios. The piece was based on the real stories of the performers themselves and their life experiences, while also linked to their relationships with politics, politicians and the state. It was incredible to see such powerful performances from young people working in this way for the very first time in their lives. The performance was one element of the 12 week project that we part-funded. The full project looks at many different areas for supporting young people making the transition to adult life outside the care system including nutrition, conflict resolution and employment.
One To One Children's Fund, South Africa
We are really pleased to have these pictures of the "light delivery vehicle" that we provided funding for to support the crucial work of the community health workers in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Ms Liziwe Mbalo (pictured) is the nurse using the vehicle daily to access the communities in great need of her help. Many children here are living with HIV and without proper treatment and access to medical supplies they will not be able to live a full and healthy life. The health workers' roles also include assessment of social situation and facilitating access to education through the broader work of the charity in that area.
Sick Children's Trust new "Home from Home" completed
In 2014 Sick Children's Trust completed their latest development providing vital accomodation to parents of seriously ill children. The existing SCT "home from home" facility supporting Sheffield Children's Hospital was regularly unable to meet demand and was oversubscribed by more than ten families in need each night. The mayor of Sheffield opened the new "Magnolia House" facility and each year it will benefit over 350 families, enabling them to stay near their child at a crucial time. The George Oliver Foundation contributed funding for one bedroom in the new facility (pictures below), we are really pleased to have been able to support this important development.
Mark's Fundraising Challenge - 12 bikes in 12 months...
Mark (George's Dad) is known to enjoy cycling and in 2013/14 he took on a challenge for George's Foundation to ride from London to Brighton every month for a year, but on a different bike each time. The bikes included a BMX, a Brompton, a recumbant and a "Boris bike". He created the highest number of yells from car windows with the lovely blue and yellow BMX, while getting to the top of Ditchling Beacon on a weighty Boris bike with just 3 gears raised a lot of cheers! Undoubtedly the most challenging (and most painful!) was the recumbant ride requiring an entirely different set of riding skills and mucle power, it's no exageration to say Mark struggled to walk for 24 hours after! The final ride to bring the total to 12 was a tandem ride with Emily. The pictures below are of the 12 bikes and the 12 times Mark got to Brighton Pier.
A massive thank you goes to everyone who rode with Mark and everyone who supported him along the way. You can read all about the adventure and see more pictures in Mark's blog here
100 Greatest Cycling Climbs / "100 Hills for George"
In 2012 Mark Oliver became the first person ever to complete Simon Warren's "100 Greatest Cycling Climbs". It was a year long challenge to cylcle up all 100 hills in the book from the Scottish Mountains to the South Downs. It was as much of a logistical challenge as it was a test of stamina, with Emily, dog Hobbs and later on George's sister Mila, along for the ride.
Simon Warren's second book "Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs" is now available....! According to the author (pictured with Mark below) Mark was officially the first person to complete the book within a year.
We celebrated the end of the challenge with a group ride up Swain's Lane in Highgate where Simon Warren kindly joined us.
You can read Mark’s blog about the big adventure here www.100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.com
You can also see our photos of it all here
A massive thank you to everyone who supported Mark's efforts!
George changed our lives forever and we hope that together we can all help change other people’s lives in his name. Thank you for your support.
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Registered Charity No. 1135701