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. 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.
In 2017 we funded these five projects, covering a range of work with children and young people.
Trelya - "Realising Ambition" support project for disadvantaged children in West Cornwall. Trelya is a very experienced charity that works one to one in a mentoring capacity with children over many years, offering support with school, extra curricular activities and family support.
Soundabout - music workshops for children with sensory, physical and learning disabilities and their families. Soundabout workshops offer the chance for the whole family to experience something new together and enables children to engage with and create music who may not otherwise be able to do so.
Pump Aid - new clean water pump and sanitation project in Malawi. As well as each new water pump Pump Aid also implement a sanitation education project within communities that helps to create positive changes that greatly effect children's health and well-being.
The Pace Centre - new equipment for children with motor disorders, including new harnesses and swings to help improve the scope of work that therapists can achieve at the Centre.
War Child - Early Years curriculum funding for pre-school child refugees in Jordan. War Child have been working on the ground in Jordan since 2011 and run tailored education projects for refugee children of all ages so that they can continue their education and transition to formal schooling when they have the opportunity.
You can read more about these projects and all the projects we've funded on the projects pages
Mark and Emily (George's parents) recently 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!
It was also really great to have two expert riders taking on the huge 100 mile Ride London Challenge for George's Foundation. 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. 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 this year or would like to get involved in any of our fundraising we would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
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 great funds with the event. Including many of you very kindly supporting the raffle and making donations in advance. We really appreciate the support THANK 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 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 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 www.100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.com and you can also see our photos of it all here 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