Here at Skylark Vets, we aware of how lucky we are to have the support of our wonderful clients, our families and friends. However, not everyone is able to enjoy the support of others at all times. Whether human or animal is affected, sometimes life throws an unlucky card and we find ourselves in dire straights where a little charity wouldn’t go amiss. Charlotte and Heather are therefore keen to give something back to those that need a bit more support at those times! Please read on for more information about our charities…
Of course there are thousands of deserving charities in the world, so whilst it can be difficult to choose which ones to give to, we have had to make some choices! We have formed a list of charities that Skylark Vets Limited will support on a rolling basis. These charities all have special meaning for the Skylark Vets team, either relating to personal experiences or to causes we are passionate about. We aim to undertake at least one event per year to raise money for charity, but will always have a collection pot on the go for donations! If you feel you are able to spare anything, we would be very grateful for your support.
Combat Stress provides essential support to Armed Forces veterans with mental health disorders as a result of the campaigns they have been involved with and the experiences they have had. Many men and women in the Armed Forces find themselves in situations that leave a lasting effect. However, the full extent of the problem may not manifest for many years. Unfortunately, this has a direct and far-reaching impact on all aspects of life. These brave, dedicated individuals often find themselves unable to communicate well with others around them. Marriages may break down, some may be prone to alcohol or substance abuse, others may lose their job or house.
Combat Stress provides a supportive environment to help these people back to independence, gaining mental and emotional stability. This work includes counselling, rehabilitation and vocational courses to redirect the mind and in some cases, help these people find a new career and a new life. For more information, please visit the Combat Stress website.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common genetic condition, affecting more than 10,400 people in the UK. It causes a reduction of lung function, as well as affecting the digestive system. Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis must spend hours per day carrying out physiotherapy exercises and taking nebulised medications. They may need to take up to 50 tablets a day to help support their digestive system and control respiratory symptoms. The condition is usually diagnosed in infants and children, and sadly will lead to a shorter life-span. Individuals with CF may require a lung transplant.
Cystic Fibrosis Trust provides support for patients with CF, as well as their families. It also funds research to find new treatments. Please visit Cystic Fibrosis Trust for more information.
Hill walking is a favoured pastime of the British public, but many of us are unprepared for a sudden change of weather or a fall in sometimes treacherous conditions. Mountain Rescue provides an invaluable service, helping to find trapped or marooned people in remote places and to provide first aid where needed. Mountain conditions can cause hypothermia, shock and death in ill-prepared or simply unfortunate victims.
Volunteers risk their own safety to help those trapped in crevasses or on rocky ledges, or those exposed on a mountain side in high winds or driving rain. These teams are made up of volunteers who give up their time and skill freely to help those in need. Members also help to search for missing children, rescue animals from many inaccessible places, and assist in flood conditions. To volunteer or for more information, see the Mountain Rescue (England and Wales) website.
Royal National Lifeboat Institution
We are an island nation. We are surrounded by water – most of it extremely cold – and many of us find ourselves unexpectedly floating in dangerous waters each year. People are swept out to sea for many reasons and at different times. For example, whilst pursuing a favourite sport, the wind or tide may change. Some may be involved in a shipwreck and others may have a small boat capsize. Swimmers are pulled out to sea by the tide, and sailors by the wind.
Whatever the circumstance, the RNLI provides life-saving support in the form of rescue and first aid provision. These volunteers give up their time freely to peruse the coastlines, often in adverse conditions, and rescue those in danger. The charity also provides essential lifeguard training, and helps to rescue people caught in flood conditions. The RNLI website has more information on the work undertaken and on volunteering opportunities.
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Although Britain is floating on a bed of water, our in-land wetlands have been in decline for many years. Increased housing requirements, development and landscaping projects and the mining industry have all taken their toll. Perhaps surprisingly, the relatively small wetland areas provided by Britain play a crucial role in sustaining migratory birds. Whether allowing rest and recuperation for tired or injured birds or simply providing a drink and a snack, these areas are invaluable. Our endemic population of wetland birds also relies on wetlands for breeding opportunities, food and water. Interestingly, the majority of our drinking water also comes from wetlands, so it is in our own interests to preserve them!
The WWT is a conservation charity dedicated to maintaining our wetlands and protecting rare species. Emphasis is placed on sustainability and working with local governments and businesses. Further information can be found on the WWT website.
Worldwide Veterinary Service
There are many disaster relief organizations designed to aid people caught in catastrophic events, but what happens to the animals? We are lucky in this country to enjoy medical care that is easily accessible. Have you ever wondered what happens to animals in inaccessible and isolated populations?
The WVS was founded to provide veterinary care in some of the most remote areas of the world. It provides training for local vets to improve their skills and also provides veterinary supplies where they are needed most. Neutering and vaccination clinics are run in many countries, helping to control population densities and the spread of preventable disease. There is also a rapid action emergency response team to help animals in need. Follow the link to the WVS website for more information!
Our challenge this year: the South Coast Challenge
Why go for a gentle stroll in the park at the weekend when you could walk 100km (that’s 63 miles) over some challenging terrain for charity instead?
On 25th August this year, we are setting off on a 100km walk for charity. This will undoubtedly be a test of physical, mental and emotional endurance and will take months of training to ensure we will be fit enough to complete the challenge. The South Coast Challenge takes place over 100km of the beautiful southern coastline of England.
Some spectacular rugged coastal hills and historic landmarks are included in the route, such as the Seven Sisters, Devil’s Dyke, Arundel, Beachy Head and Brighton mid-point. There are some steep hills and rough grassland along the route, adding to the challenge!
Where is it?
The event starts in Eastbourne and finishes in Arundel – we have signed up to complete the route as a continuous challenge so will be walking throughout the day and night! The route includes rest stops where we will be able to have meals and drinks, and more importantly to tend to any niggling injuries or foot problems that may present themselves!
We are hoping to complete the walk within 30 hours and are ideally aiming to finish in around 26 hours, subject to hills, injury and exhaustion. This will be a real challenge for all of us for various reasons, so our main aim is to actually complete the challenge – ideally walking rather than crawling!
Our team is comprised of three: Charlotte, Heather and Mark. Charlotte is the vet and Heather is the nurse at Skylark Vets, and Mark is one of our shareholders. All three of us will be pushed hard during this challenge, both physically and mentally, so we will be having training sessions together over the coming months to try to prepare! We will be walking a maximum of 40 miles before the challenge itself, leaving 23 untested miles for the event itself.
Our Chosen Charities
The charities we’ve chosen for this particular event represent causes that are close to our hearts. Charlotte has chosen Combat Stress, Heather has chosen Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and Mark has chosen MIND. We will be collecting for all three in the same charity pot and donations will be split between them.
We spent the lovely sunny bank holiday weekend completing our first team training walk, in preparation for our challenge on 25th August 2018. (The South Coast Challenge, where we will be walking 100km to raise money for three charities: Combat Stress, Cystic Fibrosis Trust and MIND).
Our training walk started in the beautiful village of Knockholt, took us through 15 miles of countryside, around Bough Beech Reservoir and finished off in Penshurst (where we rewarded ourselves with a much needed afternoon tea!).
The unusually hot temperature certainly added to the challenge and whilst we remained jovial, the blisters and aches eventually started to emerge – we were very relieved when we finally reached the end around 6 hours later! Of course, this is only a quarter of the distance we need to do for the challenge itself – so there is lots of training still to be done!
Please take a look at our fundraising pages to read our stories and learn a little more about the South Coast Challenge, as well as the charities we have chosen. We have chosen three very worthy causes and appreciate all donations – however small.