CEO Blog – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

2 December 2022

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, a big donation, and an incredible quilt …

It might only be 2nd December, but our sweet little home in 24 West Street is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, much to the delight of the many visitors who keep coming through our doors.

It smells a lot like Christmas too, particularly in my room, because that’s where the mulled wine was served on Wednesday evening, when we opened our doors to the local community for Christmas Drinks, to nibble on the odd mince pie and hear more about our work.

The great and the good of Farnham and the surrounding area were here in force, including the Mayor of Farnham, who presented us with a cheque from Farnham Town Council, to provide specialist help to people with dyslexia from lower-income backgrounds.

Two other groups deserve special mention. The one is Castle Quilters, because they had clubbed together to make an amazing quilt in memory of dear departed Jan, who was not only a keen fellow-quilter, but also knew our charity well, having received much support from us over the years. Their donated quilt took pride of place in the raffle, (alongside Helen’s homemade cake), and spurred people on to buy loads more raffle tickets than usual. It was great that the winner, Lorna, was someone who has themselves done so much for the cause of Helen Arkell, having raised over £2,600 in sponsorship when running the Royal Parks Half Marathon for us earlier this year, along with her friend Susie.

The other special group are the family of our founder, the late Helen Arkell MBE. Peter, one of Helen’s children, attended Christmas Drinks on the family’s behalf, and announced a special donation of £40,000 from the family to the Charity, as a lasting legacy to Helen’s memory. How amazing is that?!!

Everything we do has the aim of furthering the work that Helen started back in 1971, with a special interest in providing 1:1 support to children and adults, regardless of ability to pay, and training teachers so their expertise can reach many more children with dyslexia in their classrooms, throughout their careers.

I hope Helen looks down on us and is proud of what we are doing in her name. This year, we have supported more people than ever:
• 1,387 children and adults have received 1:1 support from us for their dyslexia, or suspected dyslexia.
• Another 1,380 people have received training from us in how to support people with dyslexia at home, at school, and in the workplace.
• People have come from 27 counties of the UK, and from 12 different countries.
• 271 individuals have benefitted from bursary-funded support this year, at a total cost of over £120,000.

We can only increase the numbers of people we support, and the various ways in which we help them, thanks to a whole team effort. So, if you’re already a Friend of Helen Arkell, thank you for being part of a growing gang. And if you’re not (yet), then why not join us, and be part of a very special organisation that touches the lives of over 2,500 people a year?

By joining us as a Friend of Helen Arkell, you’ll be giving us the best Christmas present we could possibly have. And in return, you’ll hear our behind-the-scenes news, attend our events, and if you’re lucky you might even meet Teddy Edward Arkell Bear (!).

Thank you!