NAKED CLEANERS

In recent years in the UK, there has been a 29% rise in households hiring cleaners, with a quarter of households now relying on domestic help at least once a fortnight. A recent report found that the cleaning industry now contributes £24 million to the UK economy and employs more than 700,000 people.

One cleaning company has ensured that cleaning doesn’t have to be considered a chore. Boasting the services of over 400 staff, Naturist Cleaners is the UK’s leading professional nude cleaning service for the nudist community. They offer three cleaning services: one with the client nude, one with the cleaner nude, and the option of both. Clients can request male or female cleaners of a range of ages, shapes and sizes. The majority of their clients are also nudists and must agree to a strict “no touch” policy.

Naturist Cleaners are on the hunt for a new band of naked cleaners to join their ranks, with demand for their services surging up and down the country. They’re looking for part-time cleaners of all ages and figures. Applicants of both sexes are welcome but must be aged 25 or over

Do The Right Thing’s Ruth spoke with Naturists Cleaners owner Laura Smith to find out more about the industry and the role that her company plays init. She was later joined existing naturist cleaners Cat and Steve in the kitchen to find out what the perks of the job are. Ruth was also privy to observing first-hand how four trialists fared as they stripped off, cleaning in the buff for the first time.

TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH – THE WORRY TREE CAFE

Mental health issues don’t discriminate, they can affect anyone at any moment in their lives. On an average week, a sixth of the population in England aged 16 to 64 is living with a mental health condition. Yet people often find it difficult to access the right support; resources are often overstretched, referrals can take time, or sufferers may simply not know where to turn. On Do the Right Thing, we will be talking to Millie Corke, who tells the inspirational story of how mental health crisis turned her life upside down, and how she has used her own experiences to help others with her organisation, Worry Tree Café.

 Millie’s Story:

Millie was a high-achieving twenty-something when she began to struggle with her mental health. She tried to commit suicide for the first time the day she qualified as a teacher. She tried a further two times to end her life.

Facing a tough road to recovery, and learning to rebuild her life and manage her condition, it became clear to Millie and her family that the right support was terrifyingly hard to come by. They had never been affected by mental health problems before and had no experience of navigating the system. In addition, in a small, rural community Millie felt she was the subject of gossip and misunderstanding. But Millie realised something important; ‘if I feel this way, other people must do too’. Motivated by this, she began working on an idea to bring people together. She wanted to tackle the loneliness and stigma mental health can bring sufferers and their families, and to offer guidance in accessing available resources. The Worry Tree Café was born.

The concept behind Worry Tree Café:

The Worry Tree Café concept is a very simple; for two hours at the same location every week, Millie and her small team of volunteers organise tea, coffee, and biscuits. Anyone affected – directly or indirectly – by mental health issues can drop in. The environment is warm, friendly, and non-judgemental, with lots of people chatting to other guests, who have now become friends. The most common reason for attending is loneliness, but the Café also supports people dealing with grief, depression, and a variety of other issues. Guests can access advice, but there is no obligation to talk about mental health at all; for some people, the chance to get out of the house and be sociable is the most important support the Café offers. On Do The Right Thing we speak to guests including Katrina, who is now a key volunteer and describes the amazing impact the Worry Tree Café has had on her life.

What has Millie achieved so far?

The impact of her initiative has been more powerful than Millie ever imagined. The first Worry Tree Café she set up, in Framlingham in Suffolk, regularly welcomes up to 40 guests aged between 15 – 85. The second Worry Tree Café opened in Leiston, Suffolk in October of 2018 and there are plans for more Cafés across both Suffolk and Cambridge.

Do The Right Thing

Millie and Katrina, who also helps run the two Worry Tree Cafés, were both in the studio to speak to Ruth and Eamonn about their hopes for the charity. In the conversation, Millie explained how they were aiming to go mobile, with a vehicle to help them visit schools as well as those who are less mobile. Ruth and Eamonn asked Millie and Katrina if they remembered Terry, who had come to help film them both at the Worry Tree Café. They revealed that Terry was actually an undercover millionaire, and had bought them a Worry Tree Wagon to help them on their mission of Doing The Right Thing. To Millie and Katrina’s surprise, Michael drove the Wagon into the car park, with Millie’s dad in the back of the vehicle.

If you would like to find out more about Worry Tree Café, visit: https://www.facebook.com/TheWorryTreeCafe/

For mental health advice, visit the Mind website: https://www.mind.org.uk

ONLINE BULLYING

Bullying is not a new problem, sadly having caused much distress over the years. However, due to our ever-advancing technical world, this long-established issue that many children suffer has been granted a new means of affect.

Due to advances in technology and the fact that most children now have access to mobile phones and computers of their own, bullying can now follow children off the streets and out of the playground, now pervading into their own homes. The 24-hour nature of the internet means that there is no respite. Nasty comments can follow victims throughout their day from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep and so can have a devastating effect on their mental health, in some instances costing precious lives.

On Do The Right Thing, Dame Esther Rantzen will be talking to Hannah who self-excluded from school and attempted suicide after years of relentless bullying both in person and online. Hannah bravely tells us of the torment she faced at the hands of bullies and gives her message of support to those currently suffering.

Hannah’s Story:

The bullying started when Hannah was just 11 years old. It began with snide comments about her appearance and this evolved into horrible rumours which left her feeling terribly alone and isolated. At one point, when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, one bully even said to her; “If you had looked after your mother better, she wouldn’t have got cancer.” Hannah was in such a low place at this point that she began to believe it was true.

The bullying then moved online, with Hannah being targeted on social media sites and a questions app which allows people to ask each other questions anonymously. The bullying eventually got so severe that Hannah’s family took the decision to remove her from school. Hannah was left with no motivation to learn, she didn’t see the point in being alive and eventually at the age of 15 she tried to take her own life.

Hannah was ‘saved’ by Red Balloon, a charity set up by Dr Carrie Herbert that helps children who have self-excluded from school. Red Balloon combines counselling with general education to help children get back into their studies and Hannah admits that she doesn’t think she would be here if it wasn’t for the organisation’s support. Hannah is now back at college and is studying for a BTEC in applied science. She is planning to study medicine at university and has considered becoming a neurosurgeon.

Also speaking with Esther on the issue of online bullying will be founder and CEO of Red Balloon, Dr Carrie Herbert, whose organisation is responsible for getting Hannah back on track.  Anne Longfield (The Children’s Commissioner) will talk about her commitment to working with tech companies and the government to safeguard young people online, and guitarist James McVey (The Vamps) will share his own experience of bullying as well as his advice for those currently suffering at the hands of bullies.

If you would like to get in contact with Red Balloon, you can call them on 01223 366052 or email admin@group.rblc.org.uk

If you would like to get in contact with Childline, you can call them on 0800 1111 or visit their website www.childline.org.uk for more ways to get in touch. 

If you would like to get in contact with The Mix, you can call them on 0808 808 4994 or visit their website www.themix.org.uk for more ways to get in touch.

K9 CRUSADERS

Charity fraud can have catastrophic affects not only on the intended beneficiaries of a charity, but also on the dedicated people who devote their lives to good work. This is something Sue Smith, knows only too well. Sue and her husband, Peter, set up K9 Crusaders in 2002. A shared passion for dogs inspired the couple’s mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome needy dogs. With capacity for up to fifty canines, the Truro-based charity also provides long-term care for dogs who are unable to be rehomed. Over the years K9 Crusaders has cared for more than 3,000 animals.

Tragically, Peter became very ill with cancer and dementia in 2007. Besides running K9 Crusaders, Sue cared for her husband full-time. Fragile and exhausted, Sue was befriended by a lady called Katrina Jones on dogs’ forums. Jones said she had been volunteering for other dog charities and offered to help Sue with her workload. Unbeknownst to Sue, Jones was a wanted woman; in 2004 she’d appeared on Crimewatch after swindling three businessmen out of £394,000 and had then fled to Australia. Five years later, she returned to the UK with a new identity. Jones convinced Sue that she was an accountant and insolvency practitioner, ensconced herself as a financial expert and assumed the role of K9 Crusaders treasurer at K9 Crusaders, gaining control of the charity’s finances.

In December 2010, Peter passed away, with Sue nursing him until the very end. Sue battled to keep going, running the charity with undiminished care for the dogs. Jones saw her opportunity to take advantage of a grieving Sue, installing her partner as a trustee of K9 Crusaders and proceeding to slowly siphon tens of thousands of pounds from the charity. Sue became suspicious of Jones in 2014, and her doubts were confirmed when bailiffs demanded payments for an unpaid bill. Sue realised that that Jones had purchased personal items using the charity’s account and called the police.

By the summer, criminal investigations discovered that Jones had diverted funds from the sale of Sue’s house and the charity, gambling the money away. Police traced £80k stolen from K9 Crusaders, although Sue believes the figure is actually £212k. In 2015, Jones pleaded guilty to more than 29 offences relating to over £500k and was jailed for six years. Jones, now 59, has since been released after serving half her sentence. She has not repaid any of the stolen money from K9 Crusaders. Whilst Sue has kept the charity going, it has been a daily struggle, and a hand to mouth existence. Now that Jones is a free woman, Sue is worried that she could re-offend and so wants to raise awareness to stop this from happening, warning others of the dangers of unscrupulous fraudsters.

Sue joined Ruth in the studio where she spoke about her experience, joined by her beloved dog Tara. Sue explained how she felt that Katrina had left her with almost nothing, and that the charity was struggling to survive. Ruth then introduced her to Faye Tozer, of Steps and Strictly fame, who had heard about Sue’s story. Faye explained how Sue’s story had touched her, having rescued her own dog recently. She also surprised Sue by saying that Homebase and Robert Dyas had heard about all the brilliant work that Sue does, and both wanted to donate her a shed each. Ruth then furthered the surprise, telling Sue that Fish4Dogs, Nutriment, IAMS and Webbox were donating large quantities of dog food to help K9 Crusaders. IAMs have also committed to keep working with Sue, through their I Am Home Feeding Programme.

K9 Crusaders is a Registered Charity no: 1138278. If you would like to donate, fundraise or adopt a dog from K9 Crusaders, please visit their website at http://www.caninecrusaders.org.uk

Advice from the Charity Commission

Our top tips for protecting against fraud are:

  • Ensure you have robust internal financial controls in place. This should include appropriate employment checks and segregation of duties so that no one individual has unchecked control of a charity’s finances. Template policy documents that promote best practice are available to download on GOV.UK.
  • Promote a strong counter fraud culture from the top of your organisation, regardless of the charity’s size, type or income. Openness and transparency are the best ways to empower individuals within charities to come forward and challenge any concerns about fraud.
  • When things do go wrong, report this as soon as you become aware to the Police and the Charity Commission

 

We also have a couple of infographics which set out:

Both are available to download via the links above, with Charity Commission attribution included.

We regularly publish regulatory alerts to ensure trustees are alive to the risks of fraud as well as other risks facing their charities: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/regulatory-alerts-charity-commission

Please visit Protect Your Charity From Fraud webpage, which has a series of guides and checklists covering a host of fraud risks in charities. We also produced 7 short checklists and webinars on different types of fraud types for our National Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2018 campaign, which can be accessed at: www.fraudadvisorypanel.org/charity-fraud/planned-activities/