Annabel reaches the finishing line!

4 May

Annabel Taylor of Milford on Sea, a regular supporter of Friends of Ray of Hope – Uganda, ran the London Marathon to raise sponsorship.

She says;   ‘It was an amazing day. They had forecast snow at one stage; thankfully there was no rain and the right temperature.  My preparation had been less than ideal, as I had a calf strain and I feared I wouldn’t be able to run.  Some people running were wearing extraordinary outfits.  One man was running with a real washing machine on his back; there was also Jesus on a crucifix.  The first half was fine, a lot of weaving in and out of runners. A highlight was running over Tower Bridge; we then headed to the Isle of Dogs before heading back to Westminster. My husband, Martin, and the family were there to support at mile 8,12,23, and 25- it was so encouraging to see them.  Predictably the last 2 miles were really hard work.  I tried to speed up but my body didn’t let me.  I made it in 4 hours 31 min; which I’m thrilled with.  My fundraising total will exceed £2100, which I’m also delighted with.’

Thank you Annabel for your efforts on the day and for doing it for Friends….




Annabel runs for Ray of Hope

11 Apr

Fellow friend Annabel Taylor of Milford on Sea plans to run the London Marathon on the 24th April and is seeking sponsors so that the project at Ray of hope School will benefit by her efforts.  Despite suffering a leg injury in training, Annabel is determined to complete the course.  We are very grateful to her for thinking of Ray of Hope.  If you would like to sponsor Annabel, you can do so through Paypal on  the website.  Just drop us an email to let us know your intentions.

Sale of craft goods raises £600

5 Apr


Whenever our trustees visit the project, we have learned to take minimal clothing so that on our return we can fill our cases with craft goods, much of it made by the mothers of Ray of Hope children.  The women have learned craft skills in sewing and basket making, and in addition to their work, other craft goods our bought at the market.  Even though we never quibble over prices we pay in Uganda, and have even paid more than asked for on occasion, we can always make a healthy profit when we sell in the UK.  Every penny we make, as always, goes back to the project.   We take advantage of any opportunity we are given to have a stall at village events, and this year have taken part in Milford’s Big Breakfast event and also Food Week which has just finished.  We have also generated our own selling opportunities and in total so far this year have raised £600 in this way.

We have masses of beads of various sorts, and will be trying to sell some on ebay, but if you think you may be able to sell some for us then please get in touch.

Charity Dinner raises £570!

5 Apr



We offer our grateful thanks to Christine, Ruth, Jen and Alison (and probably many others behind the scenes) at Milford on Sea Baptist Church for the sit down meal that was provided on Saturday 2nd April.  All proceeds were donated to Friends… .  In addition to a lovely meal and good company, there was an opportunity to give supporters – new an old – a project update.   Particularly well received was the video of Emily in which she explained exactly what has been, and is, accomplished by the funds sent out by Friends…

Thank you to all our friends at Milford Baptist Church.

Lottery Fundraising Services

5 Apr

it Gifts from LFS

LFS became our first corporate sponsor last year and were very generous, both corporately and individually, toward the work of Ray of Hope.  Without their support in 2015 we would not have come through the year as comfortably as we did.   This year we have cause again to be grateful as they enabled our trustees visiting the project in February to purchase much needed IT equipment.  A new lap-top, router, camera and printer were purchased, as can be seen in the picture above.   Thank you very much LFS.

Trustees’ visit to Ray of Hope School

3 Apr

R of H Team

Eight of the ten members of the Ray of Hope team;  From top left to right – Headmaster James, Administrator Christine, Project Director Emily, Cook Mama Santa.  Bottom Left: Social worker Lydia, Teacher Lydia, Social worker Joanita, Teacher Harriet.  Missing from the picture is Teacher Lawrence and Mama’s assistant.

In February two of our trustees, Matthew Brearley & Sue Forward, together with Matthews wife Nicola and Sue’ Granddaughter Elly, visited the project and met up with the Ray of Hope team.  As the trustees always do, they observed every aspect of the project’s work that they could during the week, and spoke to the staff, children and parents to ensure that the services delivered to the community there was making best use of the funds raised by Friends… in the UK.  They found the Ray of Hope team, operating under Project Director Emily, was delivering in all respects.  The staff at Ray of Hope are more ‘family’ than working colleagues and this makes for a happy working environment.  The trustees were able to speak to Emily about communication concerns experienced in 2015 and agree a strategy to improve things.   The building work that was done throughout last year was inspected and found to have been done  satisfactorily.   Before our team returned home, the children at Ray of Hope School were treated by the trustees to a day out at the zoo – hard to believe that some of them have never seen a lion!

Emily made a video during the visit specifically thanking all friends of Ray of Hope in the UK for  their generous support , assuring them that their generosity  has made a great difference in many lives.  At some point we hope to get that video onto the website.




Generous response to Sponsored Fast

12 Feb

‘Friends…’ Trustee, Steve Jennings says: As announced at the beginning of the year, I fasted over the weekend of the 30/31st January, a total of 60 hrs.  The motivation for the fast was the need to replace funding for our feeding programme at Ray of Hope School following the loss of a sponsor.  The sum needed for 2016 was £800.  Fifteen hours into the fast I was not doing too well, I had a headache and was beginning to feel nauseous.  As I frequently go 24 hrs without food without such a reaction, I soon realised that it was the lack of caffeine that was the problem,  A strong cup of sugarless black tea soon put me right, and I completed the full 60hrs, celebrating with a hearty breakfast at its conclusion.

I was overwhelmed with the response to the fast, and now that virtually all of the promised money is in, I am pleased to be able to announce that in excess of £2,700 has been raised!   I offer my sincere thanks to all who have supported me so generously.  We would have had to have found the money from somewhere to feed the children even without the sponsorship, as there is no way we could have stopped.  However, such an outcome has enabled to go into this year with confidence.

Providing a daily nutritious meal for the children is crucial to their well being and so will remain a top priority for ‘Friends..’.  As for the project, their focus is on education, but it is not possible to successfully teach a hungry or sick child, and so they too have to deal with the ‘whole’ child.   If you would like to help provide the means for them to do this then please get in touch, we would love to welcome you to our small group of ‘Friends of Ray of Hope.’

Have you ever been really hungry?

31 Dec

020The answer for most of us is ‘No’, and at this time of year we have probably over-eaten at times and felt really full!  The children who live in the slums of Kampala know what it is to be hungry. Their parents know too what it is to go without so that the children can eat. Families together have experienced hunger in order to pay the rent.  Since 2010 Friends… has been feeding the children of Ray of Hope School every day, and we want to be able to continue to do that, but 2016 will see a drop in our income for this aspect of the project’s work, leaving a shortfall of around £800. Feeding the children is not something that we can stop doing!

What can you do?  Well, if you are able to give monthly to help support the Feeding Programme that would be wonderful!  If not, how about sponsoring me for a 60 hour fast that I intend to subject myself to over the weekend of the 30/31st January.  If you can do either of these things to help us make sure that the children continue to be fed we would really appreciate it. Thank you.

If you would like to sponsor me, just drop me an email

You can make your donation either by Paypal through the website or contact me for further options.   Thank you.

Steve Jennings





Good news! – Thank you HMRC

31 Dec

As 2015 closes it is really good to be able to report that we have just successfully made our first Gift Aid claim.  HMRC will be adding just over £4,500 to our account for the New Year!    The period for which this claim was made was for the year of 2013.  Next year we will claim for 2014, thus we will always be two year’s claims in hand.

Friends’ AGM – 11th December

27 Nov

We will be holding our AGM for 2015 on the evening of Friday the 11th December.   The venue is the home of our Trustee Matthew Brearley and his wife Nicola in Milford on Sea.  Rather that publish their home address, if you would like to be with us, then please give the Brearleys a call for the details on 01590 644686 – this will have the advantage of giving us an idea of how many to expect.  As usual it will be a very informal affair commencing at 7:30 pm with coffee and desert.

If you cannot be with us, but would still like to keep up to date with the year’s events, then please read the posted interim report.

 Our thanks, as always to our loyal supporters and fellow friends.

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