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A Break from the Treadmill for Our Local Charity Sector

Burnout is a very real problem in the charitable sector nationally, and the picture in Cheshire and Warrington is no different. Our charity leaders and staff have survived a pandemic, and are now tackling a cost-of-living crisis that is refusing to abate. Our task is to get funding to these charities to enable their vital work, but what about the staff who perform this work? How do we assist in their wellbeing and recognise their individual contribution to our community?

When we were approached by not-for-profit Toolerstone about their gifting programme, offering free workshops to local charity staff, we immediately wanted to help. Toolerstone were keen to recognise local and grass roots charities but with thousands registered in Cheshire, they needed some assistance. We are well placed to identify effective charities locally, and were happy to open up our network to ensure those dedicated people were offered a creative escape, as a token of thanks for their rarely-acknowledged hard work.

We are assisting Toolerstone by contacting over a hundred charities in Cheshire and Warrington, with free workshop vouchers for their staff. This initiative aims to provide brief respite and relaxation for those who make it their job to care for others. The gifting programme is part of Toolerstone’s mission (read Camilla’s Story here), ensuring that caregivers receive the support and care they need to continue their invaluable work.

The programme has only just begun and persuading these hardworking people to take even a single day off to tackle their burnout isn’t easy. In some cases the capacity to do so is tight; while we know these people would move heaven and earth for their clients, self-care is a different matter.
We were offered a day for our own team, in recognition of our work as a charity and to better understand the gift to our colleagues in the sector. We spent a rejuvenating day printmaking, exploring the grounds at Toolerstone and taking a brief pause from our usual work.
The primary focus of the day was linocut printing, guided by experienced artist Kirsty Hall. We were able to explore our creativity, learn new skills, and take a break from our usual routines. As we carved our designs, the concentration helped to clear our minds; it was both meditative and rewarding.
The food at Toolerstone is delicious, made from the vegetables grown on site and other locally-sourced ingredients. A tour of the stunning gardens gave us some context for our nature-inspired designs, and away from the usual pressures of the office we could get to know one another better.
As the day came to a close, we left Toolerstone with our unique linocut prints, full bellies and hearts, and a renewed sense of energy. The therapeutic benefits of the day were evident, as everyone expressed how refreshed and inspired they felt. It was a reminder of the importance of taking time for self-care and the positive impact it can have on overall well-being and productivity. We’re excited to hear from our colleagues who are heading to Toolerstone in the coming weeks and months, and happy to enable them to be thanked and acknowledged for their hard work.
For enquiries about the gifting programme through CCF contact us.