CEO, Charlie O’Dell, celebrates 10 years’ service for local bereavement and support charity the Dove Service – combined with plans for 35th Anniversary Charity Dinner
When Charlie O’Dell joined the Dove Service back in 2009, her only aim was to combine her background in business management with the counselling that she had been studying part-time, using her evenings and weekends. She had no expectations that a decade on from saying ‘yes’ to a project management job at the Dove Service (registered charity based in Hanley, S-O-T), that she would have enjoyed so many amazing years working for an organisation with such a huge heart, or that she would now have the honour of leading that organisation at the helm as CEO.
The Dove Service is still a relatively unknown organisation in the North West – perhaps because it is known for dealing with death – a taboo subject for many of us, until we experience it. Charlie comments “We often hear from our clients who say they had no idea we were here until they needed us, and maybe that is why the charity fails to gain the media attention or following, which other charities enjoy”. Which is why it may surprise many to know that the Dove Service have in fact been supporting the people of Staffordshire and the surrounding areas through their grief, for 35 years this year.
The Dove Service work with all aspects of grief, be that through bereavement (which is what we are more commonly associated with), but also the grief that comes from being diagnosed with a life-changing or perhaps life-limiting illness, and from any significant loss in life that causes those feelings of grief to surface. They are able to respond to community incidents that involve trauma and grief, offering services to support those who have witnessed or, were directly involved in events.
The breadth of what the Dove Service do has expanded and shrunk cyclically over the years, dependent upon the amount of funding they have been lucky enough to have accessed. Due to massive changes in the area, they are fully aware that any funding will be incredibly challenged in the next few years, so are working hard to find alternative sources of funding, as well as hoping that the people of Staffordshire and the surrounding areas will support their fundraising efforts to ensure their future.
For the last couple of years, unfortunately the demand on services at the Dove Service has far exceeded the amount of funding they have been lucky enough to have received. This has resulted in the charity having to spend more than they had to enable them to support the people who needed the service. This has meant that they now need to either find more funding, or reduce the services they offer going forward. Reducing their services is obviously not on the agenda, especially when demand for support is on the increase – so as Charlie says, “we’re just going to have to get better at shouting from the roof tops asking for help!”
Charlie comments “I can’t say it enough, and perhaps I don’t say it publicly enough, but I am so proud to work with the many different people at the Dove Service. Our members work so hard to ensure that we maintain a client-centred organisation, they really do put our clients at the forefront of everything they do, and always try to make sure that anyone who accesses the Dove Service gets the right help at the right time”.
She follows up by saying “I want to say “thank you’, to all of our staff, counsellors, volunteers, placement counsellors, and trustees for the care and compassion you show to the people we support. “Thank you” to everyone who have used the Dove Service over the last 35 years, benefitted from the services we offer, and who support us. We hope that we will be here for the next 35 years for those of you who might need us in the future!”
This year the Dove Service are proud to be celebrating 35 years of service – providing specialist counselling, training and support to people from the age of 4+ who have been affected by grief through bereavement, significant loss or life-changing illness since 1984.
To celebrate this milestone for the charity, they will be holding their 35th Anniversary Charity Dinner on Friday 29th November 2019 at Newcastle Golf Club – their biggest fundraising event of the year. Tickets are now on sale priced at £45 per person, which includes a 3 course meal, jazz/swing entertainment by local swing singer, Luke Gessner, charity auction and prize raffle (with 10% discount available for bookings of 10 people or more).
The evening is hoped to raise much needed funds which would enable the Dove Service to be able to continue providing their support to clients far and wide across Staffordshire and surrounding areas. If you would be interested in purchasing tickets for this Charity Dinner, contact them direct at their Head Office in Hanley.
Have you used the Dove Service in the last 35 years and would you like to share your story? Would you like to support the Dove Service to be here for the next 35 years? Or perhaps you are looking for support because you are struggling with your grief? Contact the Dove Service on 01782 683155 or email email@example.com