The Big Give – Gwen’s Story

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Between December 1st and December 8th, every charity donation Brendoncare receives during The Big Give 2020 week will be doubled as part of the UK’s biggest match funding campaign, The Christmas Challenge.

Our clubs’ service has seen unprecedented change ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began back in March. Our volunteers have taking things digital to help keep our members connected and made regular essential journeys to deliver food to some of our most vulnerable older people.

The results from everyone have been nothing short of inspiring. Brendoncare clubs’ members have learned new skills, made new friends and grown in confidence while bravely adapting to a new way of living. 

We’re now at 11,000 contacts and counting. Together with your help, we can be there for as many people as possible who need us throughout the winter months and into 2021.

Explore our fundraising goals and our fundraising aims for The Big Give in 2020.

Gwen's story

Gwen's Story

Gwen is one of our members who has felt the benefit of our extra services. 


My name is Gwen. I’m aged 78 and, amongst other careers, I am a retired public speaker. I spoke to many Brendoncare clubs and always enjoyed the sense of friendship and fun I experienced there.

It was inevitable that once I had retired, I should join the West End group. A great welcome, good speakers, games of Rummikub and delicious tea and cakes.

After a year all the world changed. Along with a lot of our members, I found myself quarantined. Because I was deemed ‘vulnerable’- this meant 14 weeks of not leaving my one-bedroom flat.

At first, it was quite exciting. I was finding ways to manage my life in lockdown. I turned out, cleaned and refilled all the cupboards. I read books, caught up on videos and managed to get the spring cleaning sorted. I exercised every day, and generally, I was quite pleased with myself for managing it all so well.

After six weeks, my mood started to drop, and the only bright thing was phone calls from family and friends. I made sure I rang people too.

Then a letter from Brendoncare suggested Zoom meetings. “What is Zoom?” I asked myself. After a few teething problems I found it was easy and suddenly there were my Brendoncare friends! Now we meet weekly on a virtual call for quizzes, fascinating discussions about our lives and it’s great to see each other.

Getting connected made such a difference to my lockdown experience so thank you, Brendoncare. I am hoping that with some help from gifts this week, Brendoncare will be able to continue their fantastic work.

Thank you in advance for your donation,

Brendoncare club member

The Big Give runs from 12pm on December the 1st to 12pm on December the 8th 2020.

One donation. Twice the impact. Donate to Brendoncare now.

How does match funding work?

Brendoncare’s fundraising target for the Big Give this year is £16,000. Every penny will be matched by generous sponsors.

Your donation can go further than you think. For example:

  • £1,600 – Telephone costs for staff and volunteers to contact club members for 3 months, including Christmas
  • £14,400 – Specialist club staff who know members well and ensure the service is run safely and professionally

If we do not meet the target, the funds raised will still be spent on the outlined project, and we will approach trusts and foundations to help cover the remaining funds. Since the project is ongoing, any excess funds will be spent on the outlined project until COVID-19 and its aftermath no longer has an impact on older people’s mental health. 

If COVID’s impact disappears, the funds will be spent on continuing to provide virtual opportunities for older people who are housebound due to illness.

Our fundraising aims

  • Improved mental health for older people: depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s can be caused by loneliness. Receiving regular calls from a familiar volunteer and attending a virtual club can help connect isolated people to the outside world and reduce feelings of isolation, especially at Christmas.
  • Improved physical health for older people: club members are also invited to join virtual exercise classes, ranging from seated Tai-Chi to circuit training. Those who are extremely vulnerable will receive food packages to ensure they are well-nourished, and all health problems will be monitored.
  • Older people will learn digital skills: 1-1 training will connect older people to resources such as video chat, email, and online shopping to help them speak with family and feel more independent during lockdown. These skills will help older people feel less lonely in the future, beyond COVID-19.
  • Older people will find additional support: staff and volunteers have an approved handbook to appropriately signpost older people to external resources should they have a problem that we are not qualified to support them with. We can therefore offer solutions to a range of problems and concerns.

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About the author:

Brendoncare Fundraising Team