The George Oliver Foundation

Welcome to The George Oliver Foundation.

The George Oliver Foundation raises funds to support projects that help improve the lives of children and young people in the UK and abroad. 

Each year we fund a range of projects supporting children and young people in areas covering health and education in the UK and abroad. Recent projects include Soundabout Music Workshops for disabled children, Home Play support with Haven House Children's Hospice and an education support project for children in a refugee camp in Jordan with War Child. You can read more about all of the projects we fund here. 

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 create something positive in George's name and bring something better from our sadness.

10 Challenges for George

3rd April 2018 would have been George's 10th Birthday and to mark this Mark and Emily have taken on a year of 10 different challenges, trying to raise £10,000 for George's Foundation. We have been accompanied by some very brilliant friends and family throughout the year, you can see the full list of challenges below.

We are fundraising via a page on My Donate
as they do not take fees from donations as other services do. Or you can support us direct in the ways listed on our site here . All support is very gratefully recieved ! There are photos and updates on where we have got to so far below. Thank you!

We set up George’s Foundation in 2010 and since then you have helped us to raise more than £300,000 to fund over forty projects supporting children and young people. The George Oliver Foundation is 100% voluntary and all funds raised go to the projects we support each year. We hope that from our sadness we can create something good. Thank you for your support!

The list of 10 Challenges is –

Chiltern 3 Peaks 18 mile walk – Emily, Ruth, Emma J, Sue, Jess, Laura & Gemma - completed

4 rounds of golf in a day (530am - 10pm, 26 miles total) – Mark & Steve – completed

Matagalls to Monserrat 84km walk in 24 hours – Mark, Jamie and Tim – completed

100 mile South Downs cycle challenge – Emily, Gemma, Emma & Ellie –  event cancelled and replaced with 76 mile Chiltern ride, completed

Cycle and walk the full Ridgeway (90 miles) in two days – Mark & Guy - completed

Ride the "Leith Hill Octopus", eight different hill climbs all finishing at the same highest point in Surrey (the top of Leith Hill) 58 miles and climbing 6000ft – Mark & James  - 2nd March 2019

To form a choir and put on a public performance – Emily, Tom, Siobhan & friends – March 2019

To achieve a yellow belt in Karate (starting from nothing) – Emily – ongoing

To replace the two challenges we had to withdraw from due to injury in September (Swim Oxford and Ealing Half Marathon) - we will be riding a joint challenge on our Tandem, back to our old house in London where we lived with George - March 2019


Events 2018

Big thank you to the brilliant Erwan Fournis, Rob Davies and Nick Prior who completed the Ride London 100 2018 in July. In the middle of the biggest heatwave since 1976 they somehow ended up riding in torential rain with an average temp of 12degrees so the effort was even more impressive ! Huge thank you to everyone who has supported them and well done guys !

A further thank you goes to everyone who supported the George Oliver Foundation Christmas cards, we sold more than ever and raised well over £1000 which will go into 2019 funding, being announced soon. Thank you to everyone far and wide who has been supporting and for all the lovely messages about the cards.

Also big thank you to Sophie Brigstocke's brilliant choir, singing carols for us at Waterloo East in December and hopefully bringing some lovely music to everyone on a Tuesday evening.

We are also sending much love to the friends and family of Deborah Rogers, a long term supporter of George's Foundation and a great and much loved friend of us personally. Very much missed and always an inspiration x

Family Fun Run 2018

Massive thank you to everyone who attended the Fun Run! It was incredibly hot but also great fun. Well done to everyone who took part, running / scooting / cycling along the Phoenix Trail. We had really impressive efforts from everyone including excellent run times from Tess Foreman and Alex Booker and really impressive cycling from Iris Foreman and Coco & Henry Dixon. It was especially lovely to see all the youngest children joining in on scooters and putting in so much effort to go the whole distance. Well done everyone!

Thank you also to everyone near and far who supported the raffle. We raised almost £2000 with the event which we just couldn't do without all your fantastic support, thank you! The funds raised will go to the projects we support, like the ones you can read about

10 Challenges for George

First Challenge done! On Saturday 12th May Emily, Emma, Gemma, Ruth, Laura, Sue and Jess walked 19 miles of the Chiltern Ridegway covering the three biggest hills on the route - Whiteleaf Hill, Coombe Hill and finishing at Iving Hoe Beacon. It was a tough day with a lot of rain but also a really beautiful route. Huge thank you to everyone who has supported it is so much appreciated!


Second Challenge done! On Friday 6th July Mark and Steve Hayes set off at 430am to tackle what is known as "The Open in a day" golf challenge. They successfully completed 4 round of golf back to back, with 14 hours on the golf course, walking an estimated 26 miles on one of the hottest days of the year. Well done guys! Huge thank you to everyone who has supported them.

Third Challenge done! On Saturday 15th September Mark set off with James Clement and Tim Buley on a challenge to walk the 84km distance between Matagalls and Monserrat in Spain. The challenge takes place every year and is (thankfully) incredibly well supported with food and first aid stops through the night. They walked for 21 hours in total finallly arriving in Monserrat at 1pm on Sunday. All of us very relieved they made it mostly in one piece apart from the most horrible blisters ever seen! Massive thank you to everyone who has supported.

Fourth Challenge done! 76 mile Chiltern cycle ride - Ellie Owen, Emma Cook, Gemma Foreman and Emily were due to take part in the Velo South event on 23rd Sept but it was cancelled due to storms and yellow weather warnings on the route. We were left wondering if it might have been a better option than Sat 6th Oct when we attempted a 100 mile route in the Chilterns instead! It rained from the moment we set off at 8am until we were finally beaten 8 hours later. The cold temperatures and dangerous road conditions made it an incredibly tough challenge and without the benefits of an organised event it was a very hard day. We decided we had to stop after 76 miles, but that's still 122km which sounds better! We were all very sad not to complete the full 100, but on the day we had it was just impossible. Thank you so much to everyone who has been so supportive and kind about this, we really appreciate it!

5th Challenge done! The weather has really not been on our side in any single one of these challenges! Mark and Guy put in an incredible effort cycling a massive 68 miles off road in a gale force storm on 13th October. It took 9 hours but they managaed to meet us for some hot food before they settled down to sleep the night in hammocks in the woods (!) Unfortunately the rain started hammering down at 4am so even with a tarpauline they were soaked from the start. By 10am they had to stop having completed 6 miles on foot. But an amazing effort by both considering the autumn storms in full effect once again. Massive well done guys!
Remaining Challenges update - Next up we have Mark and James taking on the formidable "Leith Hill Octopus" - 8 different climbs to the top of Leith Hill, the highest in Surrey. The choir is also in progress and we are excited to have the brilliant Tim Jackson on board to get us all into shape. Emily has been pressing on with karate training and I am very pleased to say I have now earnt the required 4 stripes in order to grade for my yellow belt at the end of March. The final challenges are the two replacements from Emily's Swim and Mark's half marathon, both withdrawn due to injury in September. We have decided to combine for the last challenge and will be riding our much-loved tandem on a 60 mile route back to our old house in London where we lived with George. More updates coming soon!   

You can still support all the challenges on My Donate Thank you!  


Project funding 2018

In 2018 we are funding these four projects, covering a range of work with children and young people.

Building four toilet blocks to create a cleaner and healthier learning environment for over 460 pupils in Malawi
Kunyanja Secondary School is a wonderful success story. Over 14 years Masambiro UK has helped create an outstanding school in an area largely deprived of secondary education. The school now includes a science laboratory, a library, an examination hall and a community garden. A bursary system is also well established and excellent exam results have ensured much greater access to university education. Several former pupils have now returned from university to teach at the school.

Supporting a disadvantaged child through the Cornish-based ‘Realising Ambition’ project
We are very glad to be supporting Trelya for a second year. Trelya provide one to one mentoring and support for specific children in need. The project gives these children a chance to make better choices – in health and lifestyle, in developing self-control, and learning to adjust to different situations. Above all giving the child consistent care and love from a trusted adult over a long term period. Their results speak for themselves and you can read all about their work here.  

Setting up Yummy Meals to Make Yummy Kids and provide freshly cooked nutritious meals to economically disadvantaged young people Hot Line Meals Service is a voluntary run organisation that provides daily, hot nutritious meals to people who are unable to shop or cook for themselves. Our funding will enable them to take referrals of a further 15 children in need of this invaluable support. The importance and huge benefits of a daily, hot and nutritious meal for children are well documented.

Providing funding for a new classroom and other equipment for pupils at Ntepes Pre and Primary School
Wamba Community Trust works to provide the essential infrastructure for children to benefit from a good education in a rural part of Kenya. These developed facilities result in better school attendance and an increase in opportunities for learning. Wamba have been working in this community for 15 years and have excellent systems in place to make sure all work is sustainable with benefits for the long term. 

You can read more detail about these projects and all the projects we've funded on the projects pages   You can help us support more projects like these! To find out more click here


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

Big thank you also goes to the brilliant Thame Pop Choir who have very kindly supported The George Oliver Foundation. If you have a chance to see them performing do go, they are singing at Thame Proms in the Park in May.

Also huge thank you to the Year 8 students at Lord Williams school in Thame who voted to support us with their fundraising activity including a cake sale and "soak the teacher"! 

A big thank you also goes to the fantastic people at CMS Cameron McKenna who have supported us many times 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.

If you are thinking of taking on a challenge or would like to get involved in any of our fundraising we would love to hear from you!


Below are examples of some of the projects we have funded. If you are interested in applying for funding the information about how to apply is here.
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 supported a new project working to offer more choice of hospice services at home. 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 service brings respite and benefit to 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. You can read more here

Fledglings Helpline - supporting families and carers of disabled children
Fledglings is a charity that assists families caring for children living with physical disability. They offer a telephone and email service 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 and carers, Fledglings helps many families to improve their child's wellbeing, development and fulfill their potential. Demand for this service is growing significantly each 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 communities of Tower Hamlets and Hackney for 14 years. Around 60 children a week access the free "Kalidoscope club" after school project which uses 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 a wide range of children can access and join the club. You can read more here

Blue Elephant Theatre -
We funded the Blue Elephant "Speak Out" project over the course of three years. Each year the team worked with young people to create a piece of forum theatre looking at issues around mental health relevant to their age group. The project then toured to local schools and youth groups, with supported discussion about mental health and looking at possible strategies for dealing with issues that arise in this area. The project consistently received excellent feedback from the many young people, teachers and youth workers involved. Many teachers particularly have cited the need for this support in the communities in SE London where they work. You can read more here

SeeSaw childhood bereavement support -
SeeSaw work to support bereaved children and young people with specialist counselling services that families are able to access in their own homes. They also hold events to bring together bereaved families and children. 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"."

Wellchild - 
Wellchild support children living with a range of specialist and complex conditions. We gave funding to their “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". 

Big House Theatre - "Politrix"
The Big House is a charity that work to support young care leavers making the transition to independent adult life. We funded part of their 12 week intensive course that covers a range of areas and life skills support. As part of this the young people have the chance to get involved in a devised piece of theatre. 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
One to One work in areas of rural South Africa providing vital support to the many children living with HIV. Without proper treatment and access to medical supplies many children 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. We gave funding to purchase a "light delivery vehicle" to support the crucial work of the community health worker Ms Liziwe Mbalo which enabled her to greatly improve the scope of her work in the area.


Sick Children's Trust "Home from Home" 
We have twice funded developments at accommodation run by Sick Children's Trust. SCT provide free accommodation for families of seriously ill children receiving care in Intensive Care units at several hospitals. 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, to which we contributed funding, in 2014. Each year it will benefit over 350 families, enabling them to stay near their child at a crucial time. 



Since we set up The George Oliver Foundation in 2010 we have done lots of different things to raise funds, you can read about two of the challenges Mark took on below. Thank you for helping us do something postitive in George's name!
12 bikes in 12 months...
In 2013/14 George's Dad Mark 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. We are very grateful 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


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 cycle 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. We celebrated the end of the challenge with a group ride up Swain's Lane in Highgate where Simon Warren kindly joined us. According to the author (pictured with Mark below) Mark was officially the first person to complete "100 Greatest Cycling Climbs" within a year.

You can read Mark’s blog about the big adventure here and you can also see our photos of it all here  Thank you to everyone who supported Mark's efforts!

Group ride Simon Warren and Mark Oliver 

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