Virtual Balloon Race proves a huge success and raises vital funds for Beams
West Kent Freemason’s recent Virtual Balloon Race proves that with a bit of adaption and inspiration, fundraising can still be a success even during these difficult times.
This was a fun socially distanced event for all the family and provided a perfect distraction during lockdown.
Over 2300 balloons were sold and each racegoer was able to have fun creating and personalising their own unique design.
Thanks to modern technology the race could be followed via google maps across the world from the starting point at Father Christmas’ grotto, with the winning balloon travelling over 1000 miles.
The total proceeds after costs were £4,679 and these were split in the following ways, £2,379 was sent to the 2026 West Kent Festival and £1,150 to each of the local Children Charities, We Are Beams and It’s My Life Trust
Roland Stokes from West Kent Freemasons explained why they chose to support We Are Beams
“We Are Beams are a very proactive local charity, West Kent Freemasons have supported them in the past and they have always used the funds wisely. We as a province like working with local communities who move forward with the times”
We Are Beams were delighted with the donation which will be used to provide important support for disabled children and their families. This year has been particularly difficult for many of the families as they have been shielding since the pandemic began in March.
We are celebrating our 25th anniversary this year so is looking forward to some new fundraising events and fun activities when it is safe to do so.
3rd January 2021
Local Organisations come together at Christmas to bring a smile to vulnerable children
This year has been a difficult one for small charities such as We Are Beams and even more so for the disabled children and the families that receive their support.
Many Families have been shielding since the start of Lockdown and have not been able to access the usual support including respite care and the short break services.
Despite these uncertain times, this Christmas We Are Beams were overwhelmed at the amazing response from both the public and local organisations such as the Giving Tree at Bluewater and Dartford Deeds Not Words Toy Appeal.
Every year these two local organisations help collect toys and distribute them to children. With many of the usual drop off points unable to open this year, it was felt even more important to provide help to bring joy to the children.
Thanks to these donations We Are Beams were able to deliver over 160 presents via a small army of volunteers throughout North Kent and this really was a lovely surprise and appreciated by all involved.
Caroline Brinkman Head of Income Generation at We Are Beams commented, “We have been so overwhelmed at the generosity from the public and local organisations such as Blue Water Giving Tree and Dartford Deeds Not Words. It has been a very difficult year and these acts of kindness really do make a difference to so many children”
Despite a very uncertain start to Lockdown, the whole team at We Are Beams quickly adapted to the new challenges, became COVID Secure and since April have continued to offer their services including over 500 overnight stays at Dragon’s Retreat Respite Centre and 800 families supported by the Family Advice Team.
Although traditional fundraising stopped overnight, Beams were able to offer other services in the community including working with Kent County Council to deliver PPE to 1100 families and administering the huge KCC Toy Appeal to 800 families.
Looking forward to a brighter future and one in which all services can resume, We Are Beams continue to raise £1.5 Million in order to provide care services to over 450 families in Kent.
Beams will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year and if you would like to donate to support us please just click on the DONATE button at the top of the page.
14 July 2020
Mason shaves his hair to support Beams
The 19-year-old missed his “before you go to university” haircut and having returned home to Greenhithe in May, the lockdown meant a quick trim was out of the question.
By July, his bouffant bonce had got a little out of control. So when the hair cutting ban was lifted, he decided to take the opportunity to both cut his curls and help raise funds for charity.
With the help of family friend and hairdresser Sam Geear, and a social media sponsorship campaign, Mason had his mass of curls removed and raised more than £1,000 for children’s charity We Are Beams.
Currently breaking in his new look, which now also includes wearing hats, Mason said:”I decided the time had come to have my hair cut and I really wanted to take the opportunity to help raise funds for a local charity.
“My family has links with We Are Beams so the choice was easy. I had hoped to raise £150, so breaking the £1,000 barrier was amazing.”
You can read the story in Kent online HERE
You can watch the video Here
We Are Beams wins £1,000 Movement for Good award
Beams has won a £1,000 Movement for Good award thanks to nominations from the public.
We Are Beams is one of 500 winners in specialist insurer Ecclesiastical’s Movement for Good awards, which is giving £1million to charities this summer.
This money will be used to help us offer care and respite to disabled children during the COVID-19 period. Our Dragon’s retreat Respite centre in Hextable is open and we have cared for 35 young people offering 136 overnight stays even with the added health and safety restrictions.
Members of the public were invited to nominate causes close to their hearts, with 500 gifts of £1,000 available for donation. An amazing 253,879 members of the public nominated 13,695 charities.
Caroline Brinkman, Income Generation and Development Lead for Beams said, “We are delighted with this donation and thank you to our friends and supporters for voting for Beams to be awarded this donation. It will be used to support our work with disabled children and families in the local area. Going forward we are also applying for the £50,000 award.”
Mark Hews, group chief executive at Ecclesiastical, said: “We would like to thank every single person who took the time to nominate a good cause as part of our Movement for Good awards. Ecclesiastical is a unique financial services group. We are owned by a charity, which means all available profits can be given to the good causes that are so important to our customers. As a company whose purpose is to contribute to the greater good of society, charitable giving is at the heart of our business. We know that £1,000 can make a huge difference to the incredible work that charities do and we’re looking forward to seeing how this financial boost will change lives for the better.”
- Owned by a registered charity, Allchurches Trust, Ecclesiastical is a specialist insurer of the faith, heritage, fine art, charities, education and private client sectors
- Ecclesiastical is one of the UK’s top five company givers to charity according to the 2017-18 UK Guide to Company Giving. After donating £50m to charity in three years, Ecclesiastical launched a bold vision in 2016 to raise £100m for good causes by the end of 2020. In March 2020, the Group announced it had already raised £96million towards its target. Find out more at ecclesiastical.com/ourstory
About the Movement for Good awards
- Ecclesiastical’s £1million giving programme, the Movement for Good awards, will help charities change lives for the better. Phase one will see 500 charities receive £1,000 while the other £500,000 will be given away later this summer
14th April 2020
A loan for Beams
Kent Community Foundation has announced it will be offering KCF Coronavirus Emergency Loans to charities, who are struggling during this unprecedented time
The new KCF Coronavirus Emergency Loans from Kent Community Foundation offer unsecured emergency bridging finance of up to £60,000 which is available within days. The Foundation team is on hand to help charities apply and the first repayment will not be scheduled for six months.
One of the first charities to apply for this support is We Are Beams based in Hextable, who provide comprehensive support services to families of children and young people with any form of physical, learning or sensory impairment living in the Dartford, Gravesham, Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas.
The Coronavirus restrictions has meant We Are Beams has had to stop all face to face work, including the closure of their Short Breaks Unit but the Family Advice team, the Direct Payment team and the Payroll Service team are available by telephone, email and Skype for parents and carers.
Katrina Adams, Head Of Charity, We Are Beams, said, “The Kent Community Foundation team has provided great support to We Are Beams and their advice during this time has been invaluable. The biggest issue for me is that we only have 3 months operating reserves and without the income from services we will be in trouble. We are continuing to receive our established Grants and our contracted income; however these are project based and provide minimal contribution to the core Charity operating costs. We Are Beams has never held a great deal in reserves and are minimal in comparison to some charities. My current focus is to ensure We Are Beams survives whilst continuing to offer what support we can. We have applied for the KCF Coronavirus Emergency Loan which offers us a lifeline, but I will need to look for more support too.”
Caroline Brinkman, Income Generation and Development Lead, We Are Beams, added, “The impact on the We Are Beams income streams will be felt for at least the next 12 months if we even survive this pandemic. Fundraiser’s work and plan in advance to achieve income targets, and to capture people’s commitments of time. Many events have been postponed, but the longer this goes on they will have to be cancelled as there is little chance of running mass participation events in the winter months. We are trying to be as creative as is possible with our Fundraising, while leaving space for the public to offer support to the NHS appeals during this current crisis.”
Katrina Adams, Head of Charity, continued, “My personal feeling is that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how much the statutory sector is reliant on the services offered by the Charity and Voluntary sector. Much has been made by Government and the media about charities coming forward and supporting the country and I am very pleased that the Government has now announced support. However, I am still concerned that the criteria needs to support those Charities with less than 6 months reserves as a priority.
Many charities will simply not survive the financial strain this pandemic is causing and with no end in sight many will not be here in the future. Charitable fundraising will be difficult for many years while the world recovers.
I do think that the Charity Commission should consider looking at those Charities with significant reserves. It is not uncommon for some larger charities to hold more than a year’s full operating costs (or more) in reserve. Perhaps now is the time for these charities to be spending their reserves rather than continuing to fundraise allowing smaller charities to benefit from money they can raise from fundraising.”
16 March 2020
Statement Covid 19
We are Beams have been carefully following the events around the current situation and all available advice.
We have been vigilant in following the hygiene guidelines from Public Health England. At this point in time, we have no reported cases in any service users or staff at We are Beams.
However, we do need to put the health and wellbeing of our families and staff first and support efforts to manage the spread of the virus.
With effect from Tuesday 17th March We are Beams will be suspending the following activities until after 20th April 2020:
- Support Groups
- Family Advice Clinics
- Direct Payment Home Visits
- Family Advice Meetings both at Beams and offsite
- After School Clubs
- Fundraising and Community Events
We are Beams staff will still be available by telephone and email to provide support and advice when needed. Direct Payment case workers will contact families to hold virtual meetings and conduct reviews as a desktop exercise.
At the moment, both the Dragons Retreat and the Family Support service will continue to operate as normal. However, we do need to make you aware that we may have to suspend Short Break services at some point and at short notice. This could affect planned Easter holiday activities.
We appreciate this may be disappointing but hope that you will all understand and support any steps we take to protect our families .
If you have any questions please contact us on
01322 668501 or email@example.com
DoubleTree By Hilton and DM Thomas Foundation Support Beams
Staff at the Hotel have been fundraising over the past 12 months and have chosen Beams to receive the £4820 donation. Alongside the DM Thomas Foundation they have chosen to support We are Beams after a visit from the Hotel Manager based in Dartford. Karthick Srinivasan, Hotel Manager said, “We are thrilled to support this great local charity. We visited the site in Hextable, could see how Beams helps local families with disabled children, and are pleased to be supporting them. Caroline Brinkman, Income Manager said, “This donation will pay for external lighting around Beams so that our children and young people can access the garden and especially the sensory cabin day and night. It will really help our children, and calm them before bedtime to be able to access sensory activity. We are really grateful to the staff and management of the Hotel for this wonderful gift”
We Are Beams will also be celebrating their 25th Anniversary of giving care to disabled children and families in Kent in 2021 and have booked DoubleTree by Hilton, Dartford as the venue for the event. This is a great way of joining local businesses and the charity to celebrate a big milestone. For more information on the event, go to our fundraising events page.
The photo shows Karthick presenting the donation with Ashton Woodley to Caroline Brinkman and Maria Austen at Beams.
About DM Thomas Foundation for Young People
DM Thomas Foundation for Young People is dedicated to transforming the lives of sick, disabled and disadvantaged young people. The Foundation believes that with the right support, all young people can fulfil their potential. Through its ABLE grant framework, the Foundation provides important equipment, care, training and support to help young people in the UK and Europe to Achieve their goals, Beat or ameliorate health conditions, Live independent and fulfilled lives and Experience the best that life can offer. Funded through the generous efforts and contributions of corporate partners and their team members, the Foundation has awarded over £19million to a wide range of projects improving the education, health and wellbeing of young people.
Little Buddies is supported by Ann Allen MBE
The Dartford Little Buddies Club, which is a parent’s support group for children with severe and complex disabilities, has received a lovely donation from Ann Allen MBE and Chairman of Kent County Council, to purchase little teddy bears to give out to children or new parents of a child with a disability at Darenth Valley Hospital. In addition, a new leaflet gives contact details of the support group that meets monthly in Dartford to help and support the parents come to terms with their child’s disability. For more information on this group contact Rosie Neale on 07930 461347 E: Rosieneale1@gmail.com or see the page on the website www.wearebeams.org.uk/littlebuddies .
11th November 2019
We Are Beams is the Winner of the 2019 Southern Enterprise Awards
SME News Magazine have announced the winners of the 2019 Southern Enterprise Awards and We Are Beams, a local charity based in Hextable and also the past winner for the Kent’s Best Children’s Charity has won the great accolade of “Best Disabled Children’s Support Charity 2019”.
The competition for these awards are extremely high and with the number of businesses per person being higher in Southern England than anywhere else in the UK there is a wealth of award-worthy candidates. Beams was chosen because it was noted that we have committed staff, who are constantly building stronger relationships, showing true dedication and great customer care for our children and families.
The UK Southern Business Awards shines a light on the very best small and medium enterprises, without overlooking the hard-working individuals who drive them and the businesses, which provide the necessary support to see their success come to fruition from across a diverse range of sectors.
The awards co-ordinator said, “SME News prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. The awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition”.
Katrina Adams, Head of charity at We Are Beams said, “I thought that when we won the Kent Award that we had done so well, but now winning the South East Awards has exceeded all of our expectations. I would like to thank my dedicated staff and volunteers that made us the unique and caring charity that we are today”
Pearson Whiffin Recruitment lead the way on Charitable Giving
Kent-based Recruitment Agency Pearson Whiffin Recruitment Ltd raises a record amount for local charities. They host an annual football tournament made up of local companies to compete for the coveted Pearson Whiffin Champions Cup and have managed to raise just over £50,000 for local charities since hosting their first tournament in 2009.
The 2019 tournament, held in June at KSports Cobdown in Aylesford, was a huge success with 48 teams taking part. Their partner charities for 2019 are We Are Beams and Taylor–Made Dreams and each charity received £4127 from the proceeds of the tournament. Caroline Brinkman, Income Generation Lead for Beams said “I can see how much effort Rob, Gaynor and Paul put into making this tournament a success. They commit a lot of their own time and convince everyone they know to take part. It’s their passion and enthusiasm that make this happen. We are delighted with this donation and will make it go far for our disabled children”. Rob Pearson said “I am proud that our hard work pays off and will benefit others much less fortunate than ourselves”.
About Pearson Whiffin Recruitment Ltd
The company has offices in Kings Hill and Sittingbourne and specialises in Business Support, Finance, IT, Education and Construction recruitment. For more information, contact 01732 523515 or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
A notice for parents is below for a Parent’s participation meeting
Local Charity awarded 3-year grant for services to disabled children
We are Beams, has been awarded a grant of £343,617K from the Big Lottery Fund to support our work with the families of disadvantaged and disabled children in Kent.
The family Advice Team offer telephone advice, parent support groups, father’s club, home visits, crisis support, 1-1 at educational meetings, parenting programmes and help with the statutory assessment process called EHCP. Since the closure of another local charity in the Sevenoaks area, there was a desperate need to expand the service offered to the families in that area to support them through difficult times.
Tracey Sams, Family Advice Manager said “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded a 3-year grant from the National Lottery to fund our Family Advice Service. This service is very much needed and valued locally and following requests from families in the wider areas of Sevenoaks District, needing to expand. This grant will enable us to deliver a consistent holistic approach to families in need across Dartford, Gravesham and the wider Sevenoaks District, providing them with highly specialised advice and support. The work will help to reduce feelings of isolation, support the emotional wellbeing of the whole family and improve educational outcomes for disabled children”.
Caroline Brinkman, Income Generation and Development Lead at the charity said “Thank you to all who support the Big Lottery Fund by buying a weekly ticket. This is an example of where the money goes to on a local level. We support at least 350 families at any one time with a disabled child, and this money will enable us to plan for the future in supporting them in the best way possible”
Local Business leading the way on Charitable Giving
Teaching Support a Maidstone based company wanted to support a charity as a part of their business strategy but were looking for something that would engage their staff and add value to the service that they offer their clients. They chose to work alongside We Are Beams, a local charity working with disabled children and their families in Kent.
Beams were planning to offer a new service to Medway based disabled young people but were unable to find the right sessional staff to work during the school holidays. Teaching Support hosted a recruitment day, encouraged staff to attend and the Medway scheme is now up and running. This project was significant for the charity as it was in partnership with Demelza Hospice who had offered their facilities for the playscheme days. It was an offer that was new to Medway parents who were desperate for such a service in the local area and the whole project was funded by BBC Children in Need. There was a lot riding on the success of the various people working together. Sophie Timms ,Managing Director, is delighted with the partnership and said “We found a local charity that has great synergy with our work and the new skills learnt by our teaching staff will expand their experience and the service that we offer to local special needs schools”
Teaching support has also just donated £1500 towards supporting families during the summer school holidays. The money will pay for additional play schemes and days out for disabled children so that they have something to look forward to and the parents will get a break. Families have told Beams that the long Summer break is the worst time of the year for them.
Caroline Brinkman, Income Generation and Development Lead for Beams said “Teaching Support has been so supportive of our work. They have also helped us to recruit for our play schemes in North Kent as well as Medway as there was a real skills shortage in the area. Without their help, we would have had many families disappointed and without a break during the summer and the poor children with nothing fun to look forward to. The donation was an added bonus and will make a huge difference to families that are in desperate need of our help”
If you are a business looking to support a charity in their work please give Beams a call on 01322 668501 x5.
New Family Advice Service in Sevenoaks
We are Beams, a local charity based in Hextable, has expanded its long-established Family Advice Service into the wider areas of Sevenoaks District. The service will offer free impartial and independent advice to the parents of a disabled child or young person on matters relating to Health, Education, Social Care, Transport, Finance and Emotional Support.
Since the closure of SPACE, another local charity offering this support previously, Beams has noticed an increase in the numbers of desperate parents calling in and requesting help, especially with regards to their child’s education and EHCP.
Tracey Sams Family Advice Manager at We Are Beams said” Our experience shows us there are many families who feel isolated and unsure about how to secure the best opportunities for their children. Additionally, being able to access practical advice and support from someone who understands and has personal experience of the daily challenges they face, can make a positive difference to family life”
Drop in clinics have been arranged in Edenbridge at the Eden Centre, Otford Library, and Wellfield Community hall in Hartley.
If you would like further information T: 01322 668501 x1 E;email@example.com
Brigade Electronics supports We Are Beams
Brigade Electronics staff voted for We Are Beams to receive the huge donation of £10,000 that was awarded from their chairman last week. Chris Hanson-Abbott OBE and Chairman of the company said “As a local business we felt it was important for us to support local charities. We are delighted to give this donation to Beams who were chosen by the staff. It is heartening for us all at Brigade to know that our donation will support the wonderful work at Beams. It is a privilege for us to be able to make this contribution to those youngsters less fortunate than ourselves and help bring some light into their lives”. Caroline Brinkman, Income Generation Lead at the charity who received the cheque said “We can’t thank the company enough. It was great to hear that the staff voted for us and this money will pay towards respite for the disabled children and young people in our care over the summer holidays. This will ensure they have something to look forward to, have some fun, and give their family a break from the constant cycle of caring for a disabled child which can be 24/7″
6th June 2018
We are extending our Family Advice Service into Sevenoaks
We are expanding our long-established Family Advice Service into the wider areas of Sevenoaks District. The service will provide advice and support to parent and carers of disabled children and young people.
The service will be launched on 14th June at the Bridges Centre in Edenbridge and on 18th June at the Eden Centre, Edenbridge. These Drop-In Advice Sessions are free to attend.
Free independent advice will be offered on matters relating to Health, Education, Social Care, Transport, Finance and Emotional Support.
Tracey Sams Family Advice Manager at Beams said ”Our experience and research shows us there are many families in this area who feel isolated and unsure about how to secure the best opportunities for their children. Additionally being able to access practical advice and support from someone who understands and has personal experience of the daily challenges they face, can make a positive difference to family life”
If you would like further information T: 01322 668501 x1
25th April 2018
A reminder to Opt-in and stay informed
The forthcoming changes in EU data protection regulations (GDPR) on 25th May are now fast approaching. We will be unable to contact you unless you give us your consent. It’s important to be kept up to date on all services, activities and fundraising opportunities. You can do this by completing our short online form before 25th May.
Please note you can also withdraw your consent at any time by calling 01322 668501×4
20th March 2018
We are Beams scoops Top Award
We are Beams was voted “Best children’s Charity” at the recent Kent Charity Awards hosted at the Priestfield Stadium in Gillingham.
The competition was high for many other very worthy charities but the judges said they were bowled over with the passion, enthusiasm and commitment our staff showed when caring for disabled children and families in Kent.
Katrina Adams, Operations Director said” I am so very proud that we have been given this award. It is a fantastic achievement for the entire staff team who are the people that make it all possible. We are fortunate to have staff that is so committed to their work and care passionately about Disabled children and their families. Feeling proud is an understatement”
The comes at the end of a very eventful financial year where the original charity established for over 20 years ago by parents of disabled children, changed the name to We are Beams to help lift the profile of the charity to help secure future finances, and to reach out to more families than ever before.