Vote for the 2016 Jam Jar Army

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Today we unveil the shortlist of six charities in the running to be the beneficiary of the 2016 Jam Jar Army campaign.

There is a short submission from readers explaining what each of the six nominees does and how it would benefit from the money raised.

Voting for the winner starts now - the voting form is published in this week’s Gazette. Buy or order a copy, complete the form and send it to the Gazette offices in Alnwick. There will be another chance to get a voting form in next week’s Gazette (Thursday, February 18) before the closing date at 5pm on Tuesday, February 23.

The winner will be announced on Thursday, February 25.

Remember to hand in your jars full of money for the current beneficiary, the Amble Shannon Lifeboat Appeal, ahead of the new campaign starting.

Abbeyfield Extra Care Society

I have lived in Alnwick for 22 years and have been a volunteer with Age UK looking after elderly people at a day centre. Over the years, I have visited members, clients and friends who have moved into Abbeyfield Extra Care for their 24-hour care and would recommend anyone to their professional and home-from-home care. The care home was saved from closure in July last year. The care staff are supported by a voluntary executive committee of retired professional people determined to continue to run the home to the highest standards for elderly people for years to come. A group of men and women are also involved as Friends of Abbeyfield to support residents’ activities. However, the home is more than 30 years old and outside financial support is required to maintain and/or replace parts of the house; namely the heating system, conservatory and possible en-suite room upgrades. The Jam Jar Army campaign 2016 couldn’t be better used than at Abbeyfield Extra Care.

Brambles Childcare Centre, Amble

Brambles Childcare Centre is a not-for-profit community nursery, run by a small committee of staff and parents, which has been providing childcare and education for local children, from birth to nine years, for almost 12 years. All equipment and resources for the children are bought through fund-raising and parents and families that use the centre are very good at supporting this through summer fairs, fireworks evenings and raffles. However, Brambles is currently looking to develop their outdoor area and purchase a large jungle gym which will benefit all the children that use the centre, but need to raise around £5,000. Encouraging more outdoor play will help the health and fitness of the children as well as increasing confidence and communication skills. Brambles also runs two free community drop-in sessions – Bramble Berries for parents and babies up to 18 months and Multiple Magic, a support group for families of twins and triplets – which are open to everyone so the whole community would also benefit from the development. In January, the centre was unfortunately broken into and thieves caused hundreds of pounds-worth of damage, making any additional support they can receive even more vital.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Citizens Advice is a charity, formed in response to the breakout of the Second World War. Today, it is still helping people with different types of crisis. The charity has offices across the county offering advice and information. Locally, we have offices in Alnwick, Amble, Berwick and Wooler. Many people aren’t aware that Citizens Advice is a charity and that it is primarily run by volunteers; local people that give up their time to help their neighbours. The charity is helping thousands of people across Northumberland with today’s problems, which come in many forms. Inquiries are about employment, housing, benefits, relationships and financial worries. Issues that are hitting the headlines, like increased fuel costs, benefit sanctions, redundancies and debt are affecting people in our community. Working households who are turning to food banks and people forced to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table are coming to us for advice. The service offers help to everyone regardless of who they are. We do not discriminate in any way. The advice is free, independent, impartial and confidential. The charity will use the money donated to pay for volunteer recruitment, training and expenses to enable the organisation to continue to meet the rise in demand for its services to local people.

Hedgehog Rescue Trust charity

In the UK since the 1950s, we have lost more than 95 per cent of our hedgehogs. Now there are less than one million. Carole Catchpole’s aim is to further the conservation and preservation of the species and relieving the suffering and distress of individual hedgehogs in need. Injured or dying hedgehogs are taken to Carole’s home in Longframlington, where dedicated volunteers assist in caring for these adorable creatures until they are hopefully ready to be released. She pays for the whole operation herself out of her pension. Veterinary bills, medication, heat pads; 14 tins of cat food a day, 100kg of dry food a month and 10kg of mealworms – paying £8,000 to £10,000 a year – from her pension apart from a few donations. There is no funding other than occasional grants, personal donations and monies from self-fund-raising activities. The desperately-needed money would help so much with the running of this centre, leaving the dedicated to concentrate on caring for their patients. Hedgehogs have a high metabolic rate, eating very large quantities of food. Five days’ worming £21; monthly feed £15; monthly cleaning equipment £22.50; heat pads £15-£30 and so it continues. Please help her to win this battle preventing this beautiful creature from becoming extinct.

Refuse To Sink fertility treatment

We fund at least one cycle of fertility treatment for anyone that suffers infertility who has been denied funding on the NHS, our only criteria is that the person needing treatment lives in England. We also fund six to eight sessions of laser hair removal for women suffering hirsutism, a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome, in England. We are based in Hadston and the charity was registered on July 30, 2015. We rely solely on public donations to fund these treatments. The £10,000 would be used to fund treatments for people on our waiting list to give them the gift of life.

W Company – Northumbria Army Cadets

W Company of Northumbria Army Cadet Force covers from Berwick to Rothbury, Bellingham, Alnwick, Belford, Amble and Broomhill. Each detachment can accommodate anything up to 40 cadets aged 12 to 18. The ACF offers young people a host of opportunities from outdoor activities, sports, first aid, educational opportunities, including Duke of Edinburgh, First Aid, Leadership and BTEC qualifications. The ACF develops young people physically and mentally, improving self-confidence, teamwork, friendship and leadership and is one of the largest voluntary youth organisations in the country. W Company, by the nature of its location, attracts teenagers from a wide variety of backgrounds and communities, and is seeking funding opportunities to provide better training facilities, transportation, and equipment both in the detachments and at the various weekend events that are organised throughout the year. Led by adult volunteers, the cadets support many local events, and national activities and charities (ie, Poppy Appeal and SSAFA). The Jam Jar Army Appeal would allow cadets across north Northumberland to raise money to support their training, education and sporting activities to achieve the Army Cadets’ aim of inspiring young people regardless of ethnicity, disability, religion or background to challenge their limits and go further in life, whatever their goals.