Our volunteers are total superstars, and once they get started at Action Foundation, they tend to get stuck right into helping in any way that they can. Helen Johnson is a wonderful member of the volunteering team and supports refugees and asylum seekers through teaching English, helping out with our Covid-19 Crisis Support project and raising money in innovative ways.
A retired French teacher, before the Covid-19 lockdown Helen spent every Friday morning preparing and teaching in our free community English Language school, to a class of around 30 refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants.
Helen told us: “My memorable moments are with the students and classroom assistants in Action Language. I have photos of trips we have taken, visits we have made, end of term celebrations and they make me smile.”
“There is such a wealth of great experiences from working with so many different nationalities . I love the diversity of the people I meet. I have also had some great classroom assistants who have enhanced the learning with their own particular brand of humour, caring and expertise.”
Curry Lunch Hit!
Having seen the amazing work of Action Foundation first-hand, she was keen to raise money and spread the word about what we do.
Three years ago, Helen launched the first of her incredibly popular annual Curry Lunches. Helen made some leaflets advertising the lunch and invited her family, friends and neighbours – some of whom she’d never even met before!
She invited them to her home in Tynemouth and encouraged everyone to bring a tasty dish. Helen was NOT expecting what happened next…. Around 50 people showed up and nearly all of them had brought a curry! With pots and pans adorning every surface area, Helen’s home had been transformed into a curry haven.
Some of her neighbours had lived on the street for years but never had a chance to meet each other- they were so happy to be invited along.
Helen asked her guests to make a donation and was shocked to discover her small community lunch had raised a whopping £700! By inviting everyone to bring their own dish, hosting the event wasn’t too much work – all she had to do was give her house a tidy and make sure her guests were comfortable.
New fundraising adventures…
Following the success of her curry lunches, we’ve supported Helen to begin a new fundraising venture. Helen has launched Tynemouth Soap Company with her friend, a soap-selling enterprise with all profit going to Action Foundation. Helen raised £350 over Christmas and has big plans for her soaps going forward.
Helen said: “We decided to sell mainly French soaps from Provence and also products from the Chainbridge Honey Farm near Berwick.”
“We were bowled over by the positive response. People loved the soap and also wanted to contribute to Action Foundation. What we hadn’t expected was the sense of well being we got from our business.”
Helen continued: “I have been involved with the Covid-19 Crisis Support by collecting donated food from people in Tynemouth and doing food drops to people in need. Our soap company has donated to the crisis fund and has made £165 profit since Christmas. Some of that money was donated by friends who wished to help.”
Helen finished by telling us: “Helping Action Foundation gives me a huge sense of fulfilment and feels worthwhile. I like belonging to an organisation that is helping people in all sorts of practical ways. The Action Foundation team are always positive and working with them is a pleasure.”
Thank you so much to Helen for everything she does for Action Foundation – we couldn’t do what we do today without volunteers like her! If you would like to buy some of Helen’s wonderful soap OR if you fancy being a fundraising volunteer too, then please get in touch with [email protected] who would love to hear from you!