In 2014 Rockley launched their support for Julia's House - a Dorset-based charity which gives care to children of life-limited illnesses and support to their families.
It all started during an office discussion of who was going to run the Bournemouth Half Marathon. Once enough staff were coerced in to signing up, the next decision was to decide on a charity. Rockley had been associated with Julias House in the past but we decided there and then that we were going to whole-heartedly get on board and see if we could make a difference, no matter how little.
Some of the staff who were running the half marathon attended an Open Day at Julia's House and were completely blown away by exactly what the charity does and the extent to which they positively impact upon so many families. Half Marathon 2014 done (resulting in some very tired but exhilarated staff) and it was time for the rest of the staff to visit Julia's House and understand exactly why we wanted to support the charity. Steve Mills, Challenge & Events Fundraiser and Maria Carroll, Sibling Worker kindly showed us around and shared some inspiring stories which then lead to many of the staff completing further events - mainly of the sporting variety; cycling and running as well as attending the Julia's House charity ball (something far less exhausting!)
Rockley has continued to be involved in numerous events throughout the years, and for many of the staff it feels like they have cycled, swam or ran through the past 3 years! Collectively the Company has raised a huge amount of money with members of the Team having completed several triathlons, half marathons and cycling and running events - all with a smile on our faces
On our visit to Julia's House, Steve and Maria emphasised the importance of embracing the whole family, not just the ill child. With this in mind, we knew that as a Company we could help out. As well as hosting the 'time for tea' afternoon at our Harbour's Edge cafe, we also arrange several residential weekends each year at our Rockley Point centre for the siblings of the children who are cared for by Julia's House. Siblings and Julia's House staff have enjoyed many weekends away at our Rockley Lodge and have been given the opportunity to try a range of water activities including sailing, windsurfing and stand up paddleboarding. These fantastic weekends have been perfectly rounded off on the Sunday afternoon with the parents coming down to watch their children enjoying their time away.
Steve Mills said of Rockley; 'These events with the siblings make such a difference to them and their families and I cannot tell you how highly our relationship with Rockley is valued. I cannot think of another that has had such an all-around impact in such a short period of time. Your personal enthusiasm and interest in what we do is very special and rarely encountered in our work.'
2016 also saw Rockley celebrating its 40th year and in true Rockley style we had a huge party to celebrate. During the party we hosted a raffle and raised a fantastic £15000 for Julia's House. With members of the Julia's House Team there to help us celebrate it proved to be a wonderful tearful, dance filled and fun filled night!
Rockley continued raising money in 2018 but this time got the Rockley children and all their friends involved! It all started with the idea Cassandra Preston, Rockley's Marketing Manager and Emma Clark (wife of Operations Director Rob Clark and ex Rockley Centre Manager) and I had about our own children raising money for children and as lovers of running we naturally thought we could marry the two. With the Bournemouth Marathon Festival fast approaching, we decided to try and get as many of the Rockley children together along with their friends from local schools - Courthill First, Longfleet Primary and Lilliput First to run the 1.5km and 2km event. Within a very short period of time, we had 28 children signed up - OK the kids may not have jumped at the chance or even been aware of this but all the parents were very keen on their behalf!!
The night before the event saw the children reach their target of raising £1500 which really lifted spirits as the weather on the day turned out to be horrendous - pouring rain, blistering wind and freezing temperatures! Luckily the children (well most of them) ran with huge smiles on their faces and have ended up raising over £2000 which we all think is amazing.
The craziness continued as Liam, Josh and Aaron (Rockley's BTEC Practical Co-ordinators) alongside Mini (Rockley's French Operation's Manager) decided to shave off all their hair during the Company's annual end of season party! With Liam’s receding hairline and Mini's thinning locks, everyone thought that it was time they should takes the plunge and shave it all off. And to show solidarity in their quest, Josh and Aaron who are well known for having the busiest hair in Rockley decided to join in on all this action!
Rockley will continue to do as much as we can to support Julia's House. Between us we are all entering triathlons, cycling events and half marathons as well as participating in events organised by Julia's House including the Hospice to Hospice bike ride and the Jurassic Coast Trek.
Working so closely with the charity has meant that we have built a great relationship with Maria and the rest of the staff who are a pleasure to work alongside. We are also lucky enough to get to meet the children and the families who's lives are helped so much by Julia's House - all of whom are truly inspiring.