Adults with learning disabilities, staff and volunteers at Reach Southwell and Flower Pod are busy getting ready for their Big Give Christmas Challenge Week from 27th November to 4th December when donations to the charity will be worth double.

The charity is raising funds for their 'Small Changes, Big Difference' appeal to help tackle the risk of very poor health facing people with learning disabilities in Nottinghamshire, and their higher risk of developing potentially preventable conditions like Type 2 diabetes.

Reach client Chelsea explains how coming to Reach Southwell helps her to gain important skills for better health: "I come to Women's Group, Fun and Fitness and volunteer on reception too. On Vegan Day me and my friends made pumpkin soup, stuffed butternut squash and baked apples. There is some special equipment to help people who find it difficult to do things like chopping, which is very useful and important.

"Also, at Reach we do exercise like going for walks, playing badminton, tennis, Boccia all sorts. We did our own dance routine for the 'Reach for the Stars' song, it was fun and we had a good laugh about it. I'm also looking forward to going on the Reach winter holiday. It's a Jackson 5 weekend so there will be lots of dancing and other activities to keep fit!"

Julia Sandhu, Reach Fundraiser, says: "Adults with learning disabilities are more likely to experience preventable poor health. In fact, it is believed they are almost twice as likely to develop diabetes. But with the right support, people can learn how to make healthier choices that benefit them now and in the future. Our expert staff offer healthy cookery and fun fitness activities at our four centres, plus lots of other opportunities to keep active such as gardening at Flower Pod, and supported volunteering. Funds raised through the Big Give will help us to run more courses and activities, ensure we have the specialist staff, volunteers, and equipment in place, and support more people like Chelsea and Sarah to feel happier and healthier."

Reach is aiming to raise £40,000 through the Big Give. Generous pledgers like the Edwinstowe & The Dukeries Lions Club, Southwell & District Lions Club, Minster Lodge, Andrew Spybey & Associates Optometrists and other local donors have already pledged a total of £10,000. Candis magazine (our Big Give Charity Champion) has pledged another £10,000. Every £1 raised online during Big Give week is matched by £1 from the 'pledge pot.' Local people are once again asked to kindly support the Big Give Christmas Challenge, knowing that every £1 they donate will be matched up to the £20,000 target. Go to: www.secure.thebiggive.org.uk/project/bigdifference to donate. 

There are lots of events and activities planned during the challenge week. The week will be launched with a Sing Along at Southwell library on Tuesday 27th November, 7pm, plus there is a Quiz night on Saturday 1st December at Southwell Golf Club, coffee afternoons and an auction. There will also be free diabetes screening planned at the Newark centre on 28th November and Chelsea's mum is offering Indian Head massages until 3rd december at Body and Soul tel: 01636 819292. 

For more information please see www.reachuk.org/fundraising/big-give-christmas-challenge. Please note donations can only be doubled on the Big Give website between 27th November to 4th December. For further information, please contact 01636 819066 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.."