Archive for fundraising

Barnstondale bags top supermarket charity prize


Back in April, Barnstondale Activity Centre was included as one of the candidates in Tesco’s Bags of Help Grant Scheme. Three local charities or organisations were nominated for a regional competition, with voting in Tesco stores remaining open throughout May and June. Following a count of the votes, it was announced that the Barnstondale has secured the top prize of £4,000.

Tesco Bags of Help is an exciting new initiative that helps communities and good causes throughout the UK. It’s the supermarket’s local community grant scheme, with money raised by the sale of in-store carrier bags being used to fund thousands of local projects UK-wide. Barnstondale Activity Centres was included in the public poll and shoppers were able to vote for their favourite project every time they shopped in participating Tesco stores. The other local beneficiaries were Pensby Library and Friends of Hadlow Road Station, who each received £1000.

Heidi Hughes, Business Development Director at Barnstondale, commented: “We were pleased to be included in the scheme, as we knew that simply by being on Tesco’s list of candidates we would receive something. But to have come out on top and attained the highest award is fantastic. To keep a centre like ours going takes a great deal of effort and funding. The grant money will go towards a new minibus, making a significant difference to the centre and to the many local children who visit each year.”

Lindsay Kennedy, Community Champion at Tesco Heswall, added: “I think the inaugural Bags of Help scheme is working well on two fronts. On the one hand, the scheme is a great way to raise awareness for local charities at ground level. Even if shoppers only see the competition is running, without taking part, they’d see the name Barnstondale and what the centre does. In addition to that, people who do take part know they are helping towards good causes within their own communities. Congratulations to everyone at Barnstondale!”

Going places, thanks to Lookers Vauxhall

Barnstondale visitors will be going places this year, thanks to Lookers Vauxhall

P1030391Visitors to Barnstondale are set for some exciting adventures this year, thanks to a fabulous Christmas present from Lookers Vauxhall Birkenhead. The company has presented the charity with the use of a 17 seater minibus free of charge throughout 2018. We’re hoping and planning to raise funds to buy the nearly new vehicle at the end of the year.

Barnstondale welcomes day visitors and residential guests to enjoy its many facilities and we’re an inclusive centre, which means we provides adventures and outdoor activities for all ages and abilities. Use of the Lookers minibus will enable us to take visitors further afield to take part in adventurous activities such as kayaking.

Martin Benbow, General Manager at Lookers Birkenhead, said, “We were first made aware of the fantastic work Barnstondale does through Network Q’s ongoing support for the charity. When we heard Barnstondale would find the use of a new vehicle useful we were keen to help. We are delighted to provide this minibus, which has just 200 miles on the clock, to support the charity’s adventures.”

Heidi Hughes, Business Development Director at Barnstondale, said, “We are so grateful to Lookers for providing us with this minibus. Not only do we get to use the minibus free-of-charge for 12 months, but we also get to buy it for a fraction of its list price of £34,000 at the end of the year. We will be starting fundraising to buy the vehicle straightaway, so anyone interested in helping us reach our target of £13,000 or finding out more about the work Barnstondale does, should give us a call on 0151 648 1412

Barnstondale benefits from Christmas Post

Barnstondale nominated to benefit from Scouts and Guides’ Christmas Mail Delivery

Christmas has come early for Barnstondale, as it has been nominated to benefit from this year’s The Wirral Scout & Guide Charity Post.

Wirral Scout Post operates with its own stamps, which cost 30 pence each, and can be purchased from a variety of outlets. It delivers Christmas cards across the region in the lead-up to the festive period. Donations made to the charity for this service are then divided among local organisations and this year Barnstondale has been chosen as one of the beneficiaries.

The Wirral Scout & Guide Charity Post was founded in 1982 to deliver Christmas cards across the Wirral. It is a co-operative venture between 46 Scout Groups, five Guide Districts and three Ranger Units, which sell stamps to raise money each year and then deliver cards along the peninsula. Stamps have been on sale since 18 November and the last day of posting will be midday on 13 December 2017.

This year, a distinctive Red Post box symbol will be displayed in the windows of participating shops. Wherever you see the red post box symbol, stamps will be on sale and the Scouts’ postal service will be in operation (though some outlets will still be displaying the older, original green bin logo too). The Wirral Scout Post is completely separate to Royal Mail, so mailers must ensure they post cards at participating shops. The service is run entirely by volunteers, who give up their time to make The Wirral Scout Post a success. For deliveries, the Wirral is subdivided into five areas, which are West Wirral, Wallasey, Bebington and Bromborough, Birkenhead and Neston. The delivery area doesn’t extend to Great Sutton or Ellesmere Port.

Heidi Hughes, Business Development Director at Barnstondale, thinks the project is a great idea: “We recognise the hard work put in by the young people involved in this project and are delighted to benefit from this initiative. As a charity ourselves, we know how rewarding it is helping others and
thank Wirral Scouts & Guides Charity Post for funding and carrying out this festive project.”

Cleaning up with donation from building society’s charitable foundation

Barstondale has been presented with a cheque for over £2000 from Skipton Building Society’s Charitable Foundation to help upgrade its shower facilities, which are used by visiting children.

Heidi Hughes, Business Development Manager at Barnstondale, said: “We are delighted to receive this generous donation from Skipton’s Charitable Foundation. We are in the process of improving our shower facilities at Barnstondale and these will be used by both able bodied and disabled children.

“More than 4,000 children visit each year and many of these are from disadvantaged areas of the country.”

Jo Clarke, Skipton’s Regional Manager, said: “Our Charitable Foundation donates around £150,000 to charities across the country and we are plesased to be able to help Barnstondale as its bids to improve facilities for its young visitors.”

SingMe Merseyside’s community spirit resonates

DSC_8334eSingMe Merseyside – a community group that offers musical, creative and performance activities – held its bimonthly SingMe Together fundraiser at Barnstondale on 11 June. The event raised £800 for the centre, from the tickets sales and raffle.

SingMe Merseyside’s activities range from evening singing club classes and afternoon tea sing-a-longs to workplace singing and activity sessions. The SingMe Together meetings are a chance for all members from different SingMe groups to come together and raise money for a local charity. This helps the group build relationships within the local community, with a different charity benefitting every time.

Around 100 people attended the choral, coffee and cake morning, where they enjoyed the choir’s performance in our recently upgraded conference room. The morning’s entertainment was made complete by a guest appearance from Barnie Owl, who was an absolute hoot!

Despite being a commercial enterprise, as a charity, we rely on fundraising and charitable donations to cover our capital investment costs. We are currently fundraising to pay for an improved MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) concourse and the amount donated will contribute significantly to the required total.

Commented Heidi Hughes, Business Director at Barnstondale: “The MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) is a core feature of our site, both in terms of its location and its purpose. It enables groups to play numerous games in a safe environment and it is used on a daily basis. Since it was first installed in 2009, wear and tear has caused colours to fade on the surface and the lines have become less prominent. The proceeds from this concert will contribute significantly to the fundraising for this project, which will help ensure visiting children continue to enjoy the safe play outdoors. It’s very exciting to be welcoming community fundraising to our schedule of activities and we’re very grateful to SingMe Merseyside for choosing to support Barnstondale.”

Binns Big Barnstondale Bike!

binns-big-bike-web2Simon Binns, one of our hard-working staff here at Barnstondale, is taking his job to another level to raise funds for the centre, by cycling from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. Simon and his three friends will be setting off on Saturday 30 May and hope to pedal up to 1,000 miles, across the length and breadth of the country, in just 14 days. While Simon will be fundraising for Barnstondale, the others will also be supporting their own local charities.

The John o’ Groats to Land’s End route runs the whole length of mainland UK. It is a popular challenge for many cyclists and is often used to raise money for charity. Starting at the tip of Scotland, the group will pass through some of Britain’s most iconic landmarks and scenic countryside, to reach the Pewith Peninsula in Cornwall. The Lake District, Inverness and the Severn Bridge will all be along the route, with local points of interest including Runcorn and Chester. In recent times the route has been used as a rite of passage by cyclists taking on the most iconic and toughest cycling challenge in Britain. Team GB rower and Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell and former England Rugby captain Lewis Moody have both completed this route for their chosen charities in the past.

Commented Simon Binns, employee at Barnstondale: “Completing this cycle challenge was always on my bucket list. Now in my 50th birthday year, I feel this is a good time to finally turn my dream into reality. Despite minimal experience and some uncharacteristic physiques not typically suited to cycling, my friends and I have been working hard over the last few months to train and get prepared for the ride. We’re in no doubt that this will be a gruelling task, but we’re excited to take to the roads and explore Britain in all of its glory.”

Also taking part in the challenge are Dr Ian Woods, a GP based at Long Lane Medical Centre in Aintree, Alastair Sunderland, a retired local architect, and self-employed painter and decorator Gary Tull or ‘Tully the Brush’. Dr Woods has also chosen to raise funds for a cause closely related to his career – Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, one of the largest, networked cancer centres in the country, operating from nine sites across Merseyside and Cheshire. Alastair is supporting a local church’s youth group on their annual trip, where they will be helping out at an African school.

Commented Heidi Hughes, Barnstondale’s Business Director, “As well as fundraising to pay for maintenance and improvement work, Barnstondale also earmarks some of its money to pay for children who visit with larger groups and whose parents are unable to afford the cost of their trip, so that they don’t miss out. As a charity focused on supporting the development of young people, especially those from socially deprived areas or challenging backgrounds, this is important to us. Simon’s fundraising will help enable this to happen. He is going above and beyond the call of duty and we’re very grateful for his support.”

To sponsor Simon, visit

Animals make tracks to Barnstondale

P1000982Work has now begun on the second phase of our sensory trail project. Large animal statues and hand-crafted seats have already been purchased and will complete the experiential element of the trail. The project is estimated to cost around £23,000 once complete and is on-schedule to be opened in April 2015. Whilst fortunate that visitor fees cover our overhead costs, we rely heavily on donations and fundraising to pay for new projects and improvement work. Wirral Lions, Santander, Camelia Trust and Wirral Fund for Children with Special Needs are amongst the grant funders that have helped finance this specific project.

Commented George Jones, Barnstondale centre manager: “Staying in-line with the demands and needs of present day visitors is important to us, so we are always thinking of new ways to evolve and develop our facility. In recent years we have made major improvements to the woodland access ways, purchased our third log cabin and introduced rifle shooting to our list of activities, to name just a few changes.

“Now we are working on our first ever sensory trail, with future plans to introduce elements of this throughout our whole site. Whilst work continues on the landscaping, we’ve been busy purchasing some of the finishing touches. Our hope is that the colourful drawings on the totem pole, giraffe and ostriches will act as a stimulus to heighten engagement and interaction. We’ve also bought seats carved like turtles, hands and sheep and are planning on including mirrors, bongos and rain wheels along the trail too.

“Barnstondale is located within a beautiful rural setting and we wanted to take full advantage of this. We’re creating a space that is designed for everyone to enjoy and is a great way for visitors to connect with the immediate and surrounding environment.”

This is our first ever sensory trail and is designed to be accessible for children of all abilities. The first phase was creating a garden area, which features a sheltered decking, stone path, water feature and huge planters filled with perennial foliage plants, chosen specifically for their aromas and textures. Local tradesmen are now installing the sensory trail, which will include textures, surfaces, musical instruments, balance ramps and much more. Once complete, the trail will provide a relaxing and stimulating outdoor space for everyone to enjoy. The project began in April last year and forms part of our objective to provide a facility that is accessible for all.

Barnie Owl Challenge 2014


Barnie Owl has got a challenge for you! Are you brave enough to accept it?

The Barnie Owl Challenge for 2014 will be a sponsored abseil on Saturday 15th November to raise money for young people to be able to come to Barnstondale.

Barnstondale is a charity that provides residential facilities and activities to groups of young people. We recognise that raising the funds to come can be difficult for schools and groups and so we’re launching this exciting challenge that could slice the cost of coming to stay for as many children as possible.

We know that a visit to Barnstondale can be a life changing event for young people and so we want to make it as easy as possible for them to be able to come here. A few moments on a rope on our imposing 35 foot high abseil tower is a real challenge, but its one that can make a real difference to the life of a child – and that has to be worth taking up the challenge for!

We need people like you to sign up to take part and raise money as part of this event. If as many people as possible sign up and raise sponsorship money then children could even have a completely free trip!

ALL sponsorship money raised goes directly towards the cost of children’s visits to Barnstondale. All we ask is a £5 registration fee is paid so that everything can be run as safely as possible.

Why not take up the challenge? After all, this is a charity challenge that doesn’t even need any ice! Better still, take part and challenge your friends to join you!

barnie-fly-failBarnie Owl will be there on the day and will be taking part in the abseil as well, so if a giant owl mascot is brave enough to do it then can you say you’re not? How often do you get to prove you’re braver than a giant owl? We’re absolutely certain that you’ll be able to do it better than he can….

We really hope that you’ll be able to join us for what promises to be a fun and exciting day, while raising funds to make a difference for as many young people as possible.

Wirral Lions pave the way

Wirral Lions pave the way for new sensory garden trail at Barnstondale

P1000345Wirral Lions’ president, Dave Forshaw, alongside two other members, presented a cheque for £3,500 to Barnstondale Centre on Wednesday 10 September. The donation will help secure the required funds needed to install the charity’s first ever sensory garden trail, which will be accessible for children of all abilities.

Thanks to financial and volunteer support from Wirral Lions, Barnstondale has already begun developing an area of its’ garden. The area features a sheltered decking, stone path, water feature and huge planters filled with perennial foliage plants, chosen specifically for their aromas and textures. The next stage is to develop a sensory trail which will include textures, surfaces, musical instruments, balance ramps and much more. Barnstondale is currently raising funds for this, and hopes to have it completed by early next year. The garden project forms part of the charity’s objective to provide a facility that is accessible for people of all abilities.

Commented George Jones, Centre Manager at Barnstondale: “We are delighted with the support from Wirral Lions. Barnstondale puts inclusivity, and the families we host, at the forefront of everything we do. We have made a concerted effort over recent years to ensure that all of our log cabins and outdoor activities can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter what their needs or requirements are. We are a visitor destination and a place for people to enjoy some respite. We’re hoping that the addition of the new sensory trail will further enhance that sense of relaxation, and I’m confident that it will be enjoyed by all.”

Commented Dave Forshaw, president of Wirral Lions: “Wirral Lions’ objective is to serve our local community. By working in partnership with Barnstondale on developing and installing the garden, we are able to offer something that will stand to serve and benefit the children of Wirral for many years to come. We are excited to see how the sensory path will take shape over the coming months and can’t wait to see the finished result.”

Wirral Lions provide financial and practical help to individuals and a range of local, national and international charities and is committed to support the local community. Any organisations interested in the work of Wirral Lions Club and its partnership with Barnstondale can contact them on 0151 334 3044 or e-mail

Barnstondale offers outdoor pursuits and overnight stays to schools, families, other charity organisations and community groups from across Merseyside and the wider area. It prides itself on being an inclusive facility that can be enjoyed by children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Abseil event a fun day for all

DSCF0777From the moment Barnie Owl appeared to jolly things along at our recent sponsored abseil event, everyone was guaranteed to enjoy themselves! With enough bacon butties available to give anyone the courage to tackle the tallest abseil tower in Wirral, the day was set fair.


DSCF0780The brave staff and friends of St Werburgh’s School were first to accept the challenge and with everyone fully instructed and kitted out they all had their first go and reached the bottom with smiles and sighs of relief. Once wasn’t enough for this plucky crew, however, as they all went round again for a second try and some even tackled the climbing wall too! Thank you to all from St Werburgh’s for taking part.


Barnie Owl kept his promise to fly and as each group finished their abseils he followed them down successfully, almost every time. Well, we say almost, there was one attempt where we think he may have been inspired by Errol, the wayward owl of Harry Potter fame…







DSCF0933In the afternoon we were joined by a delegation of abseilers from Mitchell Group who seemed a little less than certain that they’d make the trip down the wall intact! Thankfully, with the aid of Mike and Pam our intrepid instructors, they were soon geared up and making their way down the wall to appreciative applause and a rightful sense of achievement in having taken part and raised so much money to enable more children to benefit from a visit to Barnstondale.


DSCF0940Also in the afternoon we were joined by Dave Mitchell, the mayor of Wirral, who oversaw proceedings with a keen eye before having a full tour of the wonderful facilities at Barnstondale from Heidi Hughes, Business Director.

You can see more photos from the day in this Flickr photoset.

Thank you to everyone who took part and to all staff who made the day run so smoothly. We’re hoping to be able to run more sponsored events in 2014, but until then please allow us to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year. Hope to see you at Barnstondale in 2014!