Axis Site Managers Nicola Moran and Billy Williams spent their Volunteering Day to help out at Demelza’s charity shop in Eltham just before Christmas.
Nicola said: “Billy and I both enjoyed the day volunteering in the shop. We helped sort through donations, worked on the till and put new stock out. Plus we helped put Christmas trees in the window.
“We have a new-found respect for everyone that works in the shop! It’s harder work than you realise and they were very busy. They made us feel very welcome. We will both volunteer in the shop again as it was good fun.”
Everyone who works at our parent company Axis gets a Volunteering Day. Our people often use theirs to support Demelza, our charity partner.
Axis’ Bright Sparks help out with Demelza’s Christmas lights
To brighten up Christmas at Demelza, volunteers from Axis’ Sittingbourne team – Joe Komorowski, Michael Kitts, George Ball, Stephen True and Jake Remon – along with our subcontractor, BJL Electrical, set up Demelza’s Christmas lights.
And our volunteers used their expertise to additionally ensure that external lights are a permanent fixture for future events.
“By gifting us with their time, the team have helped us to light up the grounds of the hospice, which will be enjoyed by all! A huge thank you again to the team” – Clare from Demelza
Plus they also funded £500 worth of gifts via an Amazon Wishlist, using Sittingbourne’s scrap money and BJL Electrical’s kind donation.
“Another great volunteering day today with our friends and colleagues at Axis for the lovely charity Demelza, installing power supplies ready for their Christmas light install” – BJ Electrical
Everyone who works at Axis gets a Volunteering Day, and our people often use theirs to support Demelza, our charity partner.
Bright sparks from Axis pit their wits for Demelza at annual Fundraiser Quiz Night
Tony Mantle, Operations Director, organises our Fundraiser Quiz Night every year, with the support of Marie Partner, Head of Business Development, and Vera O’Driscoll, Community Investment Coordinator. We hold our event at Sidcup Rugby Club in Kent. This year we raised an impressive £1,677 for our charity partner Demelza.
“The Axis Quizzers came out in force to support our annual Fundraiser Quiz Night for Demelza. Over a hundred people came, and the competition was fierce. I really enjoy seeing people enjoy the night and most importantly donate much-needed money to Demelza” – Tony Mantle
“We were so delighted with the fantastic turn out, seeing everyone enjoying themselves, creating a fun-filled atmosphere. We thank everyone for their generosity on the night, all given in the True Axis Spirit for such a worthy cause, Demelza” – Marie Partner
“We raised an amazing amount for Demelza. Our contributions will go a long way for the children and families that Demelza supports!” – Vera O’Driscoll
Everyone who works at Axis cherishes our Foundation and our charity partner Demelza
Indeed, there are literally no limits to what our people will do for the Axis Foundation and to ensure our charity partner, Demelza. continues to deliver extraordinary care to extraordinary children. Here are just a few examples:
Top Row – We raised £800 in Children’s Hospice Week * Collecting Demelza pots * Getting Demelza’s garden summer-ready
Second Row – Sorting donations at Demelza’s warehouse * Jake Thomas raised £2,386 * Miles in May raises £1,445
Third Row – Sarah Taylor raised £2,220 * Team Thames Path raised £2,255 * Team Tough Mudder raised £6,780
Our charity partner Demelza is celebrating 25 years of delivering care that doesn’t back down.
We talk to CEO Lavinia Jarrett – “Vin” to her colleagues and friends and family – as the birthday celebrations commence…
Hi Vin. How long have you been at Demelza now?
I have been at Demelza for 23 years – almost from the beginning. Time has flown by. Sometimes it seems like five years. I arrived at Demelza in 1999, just after the Kent hospice opened. I live locally to Demelza – so I watched it being built on what was muddy, clay-based 6.5-acre field. It was hard digging ! Since then, I have worked in practically every role in the organisation. Most recently, I was Deputy Chief Executive to Ryan Campbell. When Ryan moved on in 2021, I became Acting Chief Executive and was officially appointed as CEO in February 2022.
It is a real privilege working here, and it doesn’t feel like a job, a sentiment that is shared and echoed by so many of the staff and volunteers that have been with us for years too. We have a fantastic history and the important relationships with our partners, including Axis and the Axis Foundation, form part of this.
Where were you working before you came to Demelza?
I worked in primary care, developing local outreach services and commissioning services from NHS Trusts and providers. I have also worked in heavy manufacturing and estate agency.
What changes have you seen since you arrived at Demelza?
Demelza has metamorphosised over the years. The greatest changes I have seen are in the complexity of needs, and in the numbers of babies, children, young people and their families needing our support.
Life expectancy has grown. Not that long ago, the life expectancy of someone with, for example, Duchenne muscular dystrophy was 14 to 15 years. Now someone with Duchenne can live to 32. That’s why there are now approximately 90,00 young people across the UK who need support from their local children’s hospice. Young babies with complex needs can often now can have longer lives too. We have expanded and adapted our services to meet this need.
The complexity is off the scale. For example, 25 years ago, we were just learning about ventilation for a young person or a child but now it is completely normal for us to provide this, and we are now able to support any complicated clinical needs. We are a nurse-led service and our nursing and clinical skills have grown and continue to grow and develop.
Our changes are driven by what our families are telling us; providing a choice of services and where these services are received is now available as a direct result of this feedback. For example, families can now request music therapy online or in their home; or they might want to come to us, get peer support here and some respite. Or a mix. Our care is personalised to every need.
So, it’s Demelza’s 25th birthday this year. Congratulations on your quarter century!
Thank you! We are having a whole year of celebrations. Our actual birthday is September with Demelza Kent first opening its doors in September 1998. Our birthday events include open days here at the hospice and a fundraiser ball at the De Vere hotel, amongst others. We are also holding celebration get-togethers with Demelza staff and volunteers too.
Can you talk us through your new look for Demelza – what was the thinking behind the change in branding?
Changing our branding is our long-term strategy, with the rebrand agreed in principle back in 2019. We had looked at it and felt it was not only starting to feel tired, but that it could better convey the expert care and services that we provide. Unfortunately, these plans had to be postponed due to COVID. Emerging from this with our 25th birthday approaching, we felt the time was right to rebrand and relaunch, modernising Demelza and shaping our image to be more accessible and far-reaching.
Our research organisation conducted a stakeholder survey last year and found that the word ‘hospice’ can be off-putting, mainly associated with death and dying, and detracts from the incredible range of services we provide, that are not associated with end of life care. There’s a lot to be done, support to be had and given, memories to be made. We want people to see it as a vibrant time, and Demelza is a fun and vibrant place!
Our namesake, Demelza, was a beautiful young woman who was passionate about hospice care for children, and we wanted to pay greater homage to our origins by including her in our logo and bringing her to life.
We also wanted something that represented our persona more closely, adopting a softer tone of voice, and a narrative really explaining what children’s hospices actually do and myth-busting to move the focus away from just end of life care.
One of the main changes was moving away from the colour red: it is the sign of danger. It also typically represents sales in shops; with a large high street presence, this is not reflective of the high-quality stock that we sell! Our retail outlets are often the first time many are introduced to Demelza and our new branding makes us more recognisable and identifies more clearly what we as a charity do. The blues and new colour palette are softer and offer more flexibility, and we softened the name, and type, with a lower case “d”. Moving away from the red clown, we now have a more representative brand featuring a cartoon Demelza in our logo and with her friends, they will help tell our story.
Talk to us about our very long friendship: between Demelza, the Axis Foundation and Axis?
We are so grateful. I can’t tell you. You have been on a such journey with us. Without your support, very few of the things I have mentioned would have been possible. You have empathy. You have raised our profile with a ripple effect, through talking to communities. We are incredibly grateful. I genuinely mean it, I really, really do. You are part of our team.
What you think and feel is really important to us at Demelza. We can come to you with ideas, and you help us develop them. And you come to us with ideas for us too.
We cannot do it with you. We want the next 25 years to be bigger and better for us all.
There really are no limits to what our own Axis People will do to help the Axis Foundation and Demelza!
Everyone who works at Axis cherishes the Foundation and Demelza. We’ve been up (and got down) to many activities, Fundraising and using our Volunteering Days to support both causes close to our hearts. Here are just a few examples!
Fundraising for Demelza and the Axis Foundation
Ben Ibrahim, Divisional Manager, ran the London Marathon. Ben raised £14,600
Our Oldbury Team organised a fiendish Treasure Hunt for Halloween. Their devilish enthusiasm raised £45
Kellie Turner, Head of Community Investment, and Oliver Refson, Head of Sustainability and Quality, abseiled down the ArcelorMittal Orbit in Stratford Olympic Park. Kellie and Ollie raised £1,500
With Croydon Council, our team in Croydon hosted an 11-a-side charity football match, raising £640
Volunteering to help our Foundation charities
Colin Norwood, Projects Supervisor, Joseph Hayes, Business Development Manager, and Kemeisha Brown, Resident Liaison Officer, all volunteered at Arts for All, a creative charity based in London which runs art therapy sessions for people with special needs.
Marketing crew Tim Aslett and Kurt Mussell volunteered at The AHOY Centre which helps disadvantaged children in Deptford learn life skills on the water.
HR Intern Grace D’Souza volunteered at Hope in Depression, supporting individuals managing depression and/or anxiety.
Volunteering to support Demelza
At the Warehouse: RLOs Sarah Cooper, Martine Hales, Adila Gredelj, Donna Tryhall Adila Gredelj, Elma Gredelj, Christina Castle and Ben Nitsch, Electrician, sorted donated items at Demelza’s warehouse in Maidstone, Kent for delivery to Demelza’s charity shops.
And In the Garden: Lorrae Mannering, Commercial Manager, Katie Hayes, Team Leader, Gary Weaver, Multi-trader, Bradley Emms, Groundworker, Michael Kitts, Multitrader Steve Hogben, Electrician Jake Remon, Apprentice Electrician, Emily Nisbett Commercial Analyst, Stuart Carlow, Plumber, Thomas Darling, Apprentice Plumber, Ryan Kelly, Plumber, Louie Attaway, Plumber, Anthony Veal, Supervisor, Geoffrey Collins, Multitrader, Michael Kitts, Plasterer, Stephanie Hendry, Administrator and Amelia Randall, Scheduler, all spruced up the gardens at Demelza’s Sittingbourne Hospice.
Two Sittingbourne operatives, Nigel Blackshaw and Dave Day, helped Demelza by collecting Christmas trees in Tunbridge Wells, Bromley, Medway and Swale. Demelza will use the trees for topping up bark pathways, mulching underneath trees and hedges and composting in the grounds of the Sittingbourne Hospice.
Main picture: Francesca Fordham, Rositsa Kormeva, Tanya Edwards, Sarah Cooper and Connor Ritson from Projects volunteered to raise funds at Morrisons in Thamesmead for Demelza.
Thanks to the generosity of our guests – suppliers, subcontractors and supporters – our 16th Axis Foundation Charity Ball raised £215,000 for our charity partner Demelza and the Axis Foundation.
And this year, our parent company, Axis Europe, match-funded the amount raised at the ball – so a further £430,000 will be available for the small, local and impactful causes the Foundation supports including Demelza. At the heart of our celebrations was the fact that our Foundation has donated £2m in our history of giving. And now we’re planning how to give away the next million! Without the generous support of the following people at our ball, we could not have raised this record-breaking amount!
A to Z Stone Repairs Ltd
A&B Electrical Contractors Ltd
AC Davis Electrical
Adeva Home Improvements Ltd
ASA Scaffolding Ltd
BMB Drylining Ltd
Britelite Windows Ltd
The Bute Group
Butler & Young Services Ltd
BVL Scaffolding Co Ltd
CM Electrical Midlands
Decor Repair Services Ltd
Dimetrix Electrical Services
Enigma Security Solutions Ltd
DMG Office Ltd
Dynes Motor Group
Example Recruitment Group Ltd
Excel Painting Contractors
Five Point Recruitment
Gertski Wealth Management
Horizon Installation Ltd
Inner City Fabrications
Integral Environmental Solutions Ltd
Kent Supreme Heating
Intex Facades Ltd
J & S Heating
London Drainage Facilities
M&R Building & Landscaping Ltd
Moron Services Ltd
Multifleet Vehicle Management
The Pump Practitioners Ltd
Quayside Office Furniture
Peter Varney Associates Ltd
Pioneer Site Services Ltd
Premier Roofing and Construction
Resideo Honeywell Home
Roofmasters Watford Ltd
Stuart Fenn Property Services Ltd
Symphony Windows Ltd
UK Roofing Specialist Ltd Ultimate Services
Ultimate Access Solutions
Universal Roofing Ltd
VH Electrical (UK) Ltd
Vinyl Creations Ltd
To our Entertainers and Auctioneer
Charles Hanson – Auctioneer
Kevin Reynolds – Manager of Soul Connection, pianist Alex Bennett and singer Roy Hamilton
Steve Sutherland – our MC
To those who sponsored the evening
Masons Scaffolding who generously sponsored our band Soul Connection
London Drainage who generously sponsored our champagne reception
Example Recruitment Group Ltd who generously sponsored our pianist Alex Bennett
BG Building who generously sponsored our singer Roy Hamilton
Five Point Recruitment who generously sponsored our photographer Amit Champaneria
To our Patron Alan Curbishley and all the Trustees of the Axis Foundation
Axis’ Walter Shave recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro raising a fantastic £2,500 for Demelza and First Halesworth Scout Group.
The two-week expedition, which was completely self-funded by the team, took just over two weeks to complete and created memories to last a lifetime.
Located in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is the African continent’s highest peak at 5895m (19,340ft) and is the highest free-standing mountain above sea level worldwide.
The team started off by climbing up two smaller peaks nearby to acclimatise to the altitudes. And then it was time for the main event! The climb up Mt Kilimanjaro started after additional training in the rainforest. Every day Wally and his team climbed a total of 1000m which is the equivalent of Mount Snowdon!
On the summit day, they woke up at 1am to reach the top just in time for sunrise. Wally reports: “We noticed that we were struggling a lot to physically move due to the lack of oxygen at that altitude, our average speed was 1.2km per hour! It was hard to believe that our oxygen levels went down to an astonishing 70%. When you are at sea level, if your oxygen levels go down to 92% you need to be rushed to A&E! The last 250m we walked through glaciers to reach the summit which were incredible: planes were flying below us! Once we reached the summit it was a feeling of such achievement and joy surrounded by amazing views and a beautiful sunrise, we will cherish that moment for our lifetime!”
For his scout group, First Halesworth Scout Group, the money raised will help fund an annual scout trip to Scotland or Switzerland for less fortunate members. For Demelza, the money will help to ensure every child and young person who has a serious or terminal condition receives the care and attention they need to live the most fulfilling life they can.
“Young people are our future! If I can make a small but meaningful contribution to both these fantastic organisations by giving up some of my time and sweat, then it’s a win win all round.”
Read more about our precious partnership with Demelza here.
And there’s more about how we helped First Halesworth Scouts here
“Since having my young son Ellis, it has made it more apparent what a great job Demelza do… this bike ride was a good way to raise money to help support the charity in the fantastic work they carry out”- Lee Covington
“The ride was full of emotions what kept me going was Axis team and the help we were giving to Demelza” – Leslie Crabbe
“It was an experience that I will never forget, although it was hard it was worthwhile for the money that was raised to support the Axis Foundation and the fantastic causes” – Lee Pearce
“It was the best and hardest experience of my life so far; it was only possible with the great team of people around me at Axis!” – Jake Thomas
“Our joint effort raised a substantial amount of money, which will hopefully go a long way to help those less fortunate” – Elliott Pillin
There’s more about our precious partnership with Demelza here
The Axis Foundation is proud of our precious partnership with Demelza Hospice for Sick Children. In our 13-year history, the Foundation has donated £707,000 to Demelza.
Our donation of £6,000 to Demelza was one of our Foundation’s very first donations. And when our Foundation’s donations reached an impressive total of £2m (July 2022) we were delighted to present Demelza with a cheque for £89,000 which marked our £2m Moment.
Like all good friends… we share some history
Our friendship with Demelza goes back nearly 20 years – all the way to 2004. We had formed a charity partnership even before the Foundation was born.
Our parent company Axis supported Demelza’s Bricks and Water appeal creating a Hydrotherapy Centre and two new bedrooms for teenage patients meanwhile refurbishing two existing bedrooms at their Sittingbourne hospice, Kent
Axis also contributed to building a new hospice in Eltham in south east London. Olympic champions and Demelza vice presidents Jayne Torvill and Robin Cousins opened the new premises in 2009. Celebrating the first anniversary of the Eltham hospice in 2010, our people joined Demelza supporters, nurses, children and their families at the ‘polka dot tea party’.
Like all good friends, we share some major triumphs
When our Foundation’s donations reached an impressive total of £2m (July 2022) we were delighted to present Demelza with a cheque for £85,000 which marked our £2m Moment!
And yes, like all good friends we share great sadness too
When Liam and Amy Hayes’ son Benjamin Jeffrey John Hayes was born in 2019 and suffered brain damage during birth, the family took Benjamin to Demelza where, as Liam says:“They helped us make happy memories, even at the toughest time our family has ever been through.” You can read Benjamin’s story here.
We Axis people love Demelza
Axis people are in their element – snow, ice, water, air, mud – when we are fundraising for our charity partner Demelza. Tough Mudder challenges, cycling to Paris, swimming, boxing, flying, running, climbing in the Arctic, walking hundreds of miles, dancing, baking, eating (even not eating) – there’s no stopping us when it comes to raising funds for Demelza and the Axis Foundation. There’s more about our challenges here
Our clients, suppliers and subcontractors too have generously given at our golf days and charity ball to support both charities.The Axis Foundation’s Winter Appeal 2021 raised £75,000 for Demelza thanks to Axis people, our suppliers and subcontractors. And our 2021 Charity Ball raised a whopping £340,000 for the Axis Foundation’s small, local and impactful charities – including Demelza.
Foundation Funding Focus is mainly on the areas where our parent company Axis Europe works to make social housing properties safe and comfortable for residents: in London and the South East and Essex. Demelza offers hospice care in Kent and South East London, as well as helping families across the South East.
All the money we raise goes into Demelza’s Adopt a Nurse programme, which brings a nurse full-time for one year. As well as visiting the children at the Hospice, the nurses also see their families at home to help with medication and physiotherapy as well as aid the parents in their time of need.
£100 buys nine hours of nursing care for a child with a life-limiting illness at Demelza.
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