I am very excited to announce my first WHSmith book signing event to be held in Minehead on Friday 29 January 2016. It is a real honour to do something like this for such a major mainstream book store . The first of many I hope !
The New Year set my heart soaring with my first course based completely on my book ,”Indian Head Massage For Special Needs”.My students all left me very confident and within 24 hours had done their first solo paid treatments . It is such a joy to me to see my work spreading in this way and to share with some amazing people .One student even brought her child (who is on the autism spectrum ) for the second afternoon to be worked on ,much to everyone’s benefit.
My February course is almost totally booked out already and for the first time ever I have funded staff placements from schools as far as an hour away . News of the therapy and its benefits is spreading and this is just the most wonderful groundbreaking news . A very happy New Year everyone , especially to the wonderful kids with differences whom some of us are so lucky to know !
On Thursday 10th December I did my first ever book signing – a wonderful event where I kept wanting to pinch myself ! I learned so much and met some amazing, inspiring people . I feel extremely honoured to be in a position where I can now share my work with others and touch so many lives. The feedback has been incredible . I poured my heart and soul into the pages and achieved this book against all the odds. It was a proud day .
Since September 2015 I have had all my sessions with the learners at Foxes academy moved to a wonderful sensory room. Since 2011 I’ve been used to running between all the houses and treating the learners in their rooms or quiet areas. It is just fantastic to have it all centralised in one place but the benefits to all my fabulous young adults has been just amazing. The walk up to Foxes Fields where the sensory room is located really helps the learners unwind and mentally prepare . They love the beautiful ,gently moving starlights and other special lamps I have in there as well as the furry rugs and beanbags. I replay again and again in my mind their reactions upon first seeing the room – the gasps and wonder at just how magical it feels.
For thirty minutes per week my learners really do get that total time out, that deep and uninterrupted escape from the bustle of chores and the chatter and distractions of life. The improvements to all the sessions and the benefits that have touched each person I have treated there have been noticeable. With some learners I would go so far as to say there has been a 100% improvement .
On a personal level it is so wonderful to see my pioneering work accepted by an outstanding college such as Foxes Academy and to feel it valued to such a degree. I am truly blessed to work in such a magical place where every single person is valued and nurtured to their full potential.
In July 2015 an article about my work appeared in the Foxes Times, a Foxes Academy publication.
Coming soon will be an article appearing in the very prestigious Exmoor magazine about my work and book. I am massively excited about it. Due in spring 2016.
A follow up will appear later in the year or very early next year reviewing my book. This is a real honour.
In July 2015 the local press ran articles covering my fundraising and work . I appeared in the Somerset County Gazette online the week of 8th July and appeared in print the following week. The West Somerset Free Press also ran a separate feature on Friday 10 July. I didn’t even know until a friend called me to say she had bought a copy ! A lovely surprise.
At the Foxes Graduation on 17th July 2015 I was presented with the Community Award !!!!
This is an award given to one member of staff or the wider community – by the learners. It was apparently voted for months ago, long before the fundraising.I was told afterwards that the vote had been unanimous – goodness.
I was informed beforehand that I had a named chair and I thought it was because I am now officially on the therapy team at Foxes Academy but when I arrived, the therapy team were nowhere near me. I then panicked thinking there had been a mistake or that it was the naughty chair or that I was suddenly going to have gunk emptied out of the ceiling onto my head.
I was called up onto the stage , shaking like a leaf, to have two of my gorgeous learners bravely read out little speeches they had prepared saying why they had all chosen me for this award. They said some beautiful , touching things and I could hardly see because I was choking back the tears.
I shall treasure this award always. It has gone up on a wall in my therapy/training chalet. It’s the only certificate I’ve ever received that I have put out on display. Even my degree and qualifications have never seen the light of day.
This award is different because it wasn’t something I had any control over. You can achieve anything if you are determined enough and work hard enough- but this was something chosen for me by others and totally unexpected. I kept feeling like I needed to check they had got it right !
It is worth more to me than all of my qualifications put together . It floated in and out of my dreams all that night .I just hope I didn’t upset anyone in being given this because I know so many people quietly and silently give so much to our learners at Foxes Academy and I am sure there are several who deserved this award jut as much or more.
Thank you to my beautiful, inspirational learners . You have made my YEAR !!
You are all incredible and I brought three of my four children with me just to see how much you all achieve, sometimes against all the odds. To watch you all collect your certificates and NVQs and other awards is always a very moving and humbling experience. You are all proof that anything is possible .
So moved have I become by any of the stories and journeys of the children and young people I work with , that I decided in June 2015 to raise money to help them.It was nervewracking because I had never attempted anything like this before but all I could see in my head were the little faces of the I work with every day and how hard they try to contribute to our often harsh society. Their funding had all been slashed again at government level and once again it appeared they had no voice or say in it. I resolved to do something to help, however small.
So on the 19 June I did a personal record of 18 massages in one day , back to back with no break at all. I donated the whole amount to the fund and asked for everyone I knew to sponsor me to do it.I set up a crowdfunding page on justgiving and set the target low, at just £300 because there are many good causes out there and I feared people would just look the other way, as is so often the case with people with “special needs”.
You see, all I see in these kids are people with dreams and goals, just like everyone else…kids with a huge desire to give back to society, to be allowed to work, to be allowed to grow…to fly a little. I truly no longer see their “disabilities”.
Within three days I blasted through the target with donations as large as £150 coming in !! Other people believed in these kids too and everyone seemed to get on board. The final amount was a mind-blowing £1,663 !!!! After the 5% justgiving fee and the charges for each debit transaction ( and a few pledges that didn’t quite make it through on time) the final amount presented to the Foxes Academy learners fund was £1,340 – £1,363 more than I ever dared dream !
Foxes Academy learners had no idea I was doing this for them and the huge uproarious cheer and applause when I arrived with my son Oliver to present the cheque at their end of term barbecue, will stay with me forever. Some goals and dreams will be achieved this year because of this money and I am hugely proud and forever grateful to all those who donated to this wonderful cause.
Thank you .
My book is now available to pre order on Amazon at £14.99
It will be on the shelves 21st November 2015 !!
Keep an eye out for my book signings and talks at Waterstones bookstores,amongst others, nearer the time.