This week (22nd July), Shona and I were privileged to have been given a full tour of Reuben’s Retreat. As the first phase nears completion there is lots of work for the press office to do to support Nicola and the team to raise awareness. Perhaps our most important job is to communicate to everyone that this project is far from complete. You would be forgiven for thinking that because the first phase is almost open that funds aren’t needed as much as they were when the charity was launched. In fact, fundraising is needed now more than ever. To visit Reuben’s Retreat is awe-inspiring – the work that has gone into creating The Lodge is phenomenal and when planned open days happen later in the year, people will see just how well their generous donations have been used and how much good they will do for families everywhere. The Lodge will act as a bereavement centre with dedicated counselling suites for families and children. It will also be a place for families to come together and enjoy time together with stunning reception room. Featuring a self-contained apartment, the Lodge will also welcome the first families to Reuben’s Retreat.
The Retreat will open in several phases and the ambitious plans for the main building which lies empty and in need of complete renovation will need lots of support from the local community and beyond. I found it hard not to cry going around the Retreat at the thought of how many people this place will help and how much a part of the community it will become. In fact it is already a part of the community as what moved me the most was seeing the builders, carpet fitters, plumbers etc all working away – so many products and services have been donated or given at great discount. From sinks and carpets to wallpaper and full kitchens, it truly is humbling….and a bit like watching a DIY SOS programme in action! These companies have given their products, their time and their staff who are working together because they have been inspired by the charity. Nicola is up at the Retreat a lot of the time managing the project and is always touched that each person working on the build always takes time to ask ‘How are you doing?’ We must always remember that at the heart of this charity is a beautiful boy called Reuben and his grieving family who are trying to help and support other families like them both now and in years to come.
Nicola always says ‘Everyone has something to give to Reuben’s Retreat’ and this is so true. Whether you donate funds, give your time, give products – every little thing will go towards making something we can all be extremely proud of.