For Jellybean’s 12 Days of Giving I had a great opportunity to offer my time to a very special charity called the HOPE Charity Project which is based in the beautiful Sussex landscape.

The HOPE Charity Project has been set up to help families who are worried or struggling to support their children who are suffering from mental health or emotional health issues. They provide advice, support, a listening ear and many different and effective therapies that aid healing, promote positivity and inspire emotional calmness.

They also aim to bring people together, remove the stigma of mental health issues, promote change and overcome each day together. Additionally, they help connect and support families going through similar experiences and aim to build natural support networks. All the people that work with or for the charity have had a very personal experience of how a child’s failing mental health can affect everyone’s lives.

Claire Sparrow, Founder of the Hope Charity Project says:
“We are at the beginning of this journey to help young people & their families struggling to deal with their day to day life. We know that early intervention is absolutely key to prevent a young person developing serious additional symptoms. However, the problem is escalating. The NHS (CAMHS) system is currently in crisis not able to give the help & support that’s needed for so many at the time they are reaching out for help. You can help us to make a difference & prevent these young people getting to such desperate states due to not being acknowledged and heard. Help us to help our next generation & their families now.”

I started my day meeting with Claire, Paul and Jess at the home of the HOPE Charity Project. Claire introduced me to the charity and gave me the heart-breaking background about why they started and why they feel it is so important going forward. I have to say, listening to the story brought tears to my eyes and my heart ached for them.

Claire then shared with me the vision she had for HOPE and showed me around the building and grounds where I also got the opportunity to meet their horse, goats and various other pets (I soon made friends with Rudy their resident dog who was very keen to play ball).

We then visited a large piece of land next to their HQ which they are planning to develop into a beautiful and inspirational therapy garden with a sunken Firepit/BBQ and seating area, all designed to inspire positivity and emotional calmness. This garden will also have areas where the families and children can get involved and feel a part of the whole project.

The rest of my time at HOPE was spent with Claire and Paul, helping them start the mammoth project of getting the field cleared for the therapy garden and prepared for planting, paths, features, etc. This was an absolutely great thing to help with and I got to know so much more about them whilst doing this.

By the end of the day I realised that HOPE was the right place for me to help – the welcome and friendliness of everyone there made me feel like I was really part of the team.

I would love to say a big thank you to Claire, Paul and Jess for letting me spend my time with them and I am looking forward to going back in my own time to work on the therapy garden and give them all the support I can.

If you would like to know more about the HOPE Charity Project, please click here or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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