The Retreat

Loch Venachar

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Helen – great supporter and good friend of It’s Good 2 Give ran the Edinburgh Marathon for us earlier this year.

That’s by way of telling you about who took this gorgeous photo!

She was up at Loch Venachar last week and thought we would like to see this view.

She was right.   And now I want to share it with you.

Our Ripple Retreat will be built so that views like this can be easily seen from the living area.

I don’t know about you but I get a sense of calm and peace just looking at the photo.

Thanks Helen.


Ripple Retreat

Posted by | The Retreat, £100k in 5 weeks | No Comments

Oh how good it feels to be able to show you the Retreat and our plans.

We have all worked so hard to get to this stage and often wondered what it would feel like – (amazing, exhausting, wonderful, scary)

There is much to do – from fundraising to dealing with the building warrants and getting a builder.

So, it was with much pleasure I came home to find an envelope filled with 20p pieces from my cousin Linda – she had been saving them in a Smartie tube – as you know saving 20p pieces in a Smartie Tube is one of our easy fundraising ideas!

And within an hour or so of that discovery – I got an email from longtime supporter Katy Lamb – she had just donated online £1000 plus gift aid.

Both donations mean the world to me – because they both contribute to our beautiful peaceful Retreat –

Thank you Linda and thank you The Lamb family – your donations, and I know you already know this well, are very very much appreciated.

If you would like to follow in their footsteps feel free!


It’s Good 2 Give will always remember 26 May 2014

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Because it is the day we got our planning consent for the Ripple Retreat!

At 1.45pm today to be exact – a unanimous decision by the planning committee of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Let me tell you the story – it has been bubbling away inside me for nearly a year and we have been working very very hard to make it a reality.

In 2010 when Ian and I set up It’s Good 2 Give we knew we wanted to provide practical support – the snacks, parent packs, workshops, ironing vouchers, requests but our dream was to create a Retreat for the families – somewhere that was within reasonable distance of the Edinburgh hospitals so that those still in treatment could get back there within an hour if they needed to.

Ian worked away behind the scenes meeting possible land donors, sellers and property people.  We investigated a couple of possibilities and kept our ears open.

Then, a year or so ago, I met Kirsten Speirs, MD of KD Media – she told me the great news that we were going to become the benefitting charity from the Scottish Property Awards and the Scottish Home Awards for the next three years. The Scottish Home awards are in June and this was middle of May. She suggested I print a flyer saying we were looking for land and she would give all the guests at the event one of these flyers.

At the same time I thought I would put this request out to our database.

Within a day or two I received a phone call – man says his name and  he wants to speak to me about land he might donate.  I wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not – it seemed almost too good to be true.  I said that Ian would call him back.  Before you knew it we were heading up to Callander to meet David Ferguson.

And then before you could say jiminycricket he was offering us some of his beautiful land. (oh and there is a very beautiful twist to this tale as the reason David was told about us was because of Zoe King, one of the first teenagers I met fighting cancer, way back in 2006)

I am saving the photos to the end because you wouldn’t keep reading my story!

To condense the last year into a few short sentences seems hard for me – a real blether – but I have to.

We were introduced to Dan MacDonald, MD of MacDonald Estates who became our property adviser and he introduced us to Tony Kettle – award winning international architect (designed the Falkirk Wheel) and a lovely person.

The planners at the Trossachs National Park Authority acknowledged our charitable status and the purpose of the retreat and said that if we had any chance at all of getting consent the building would have to be exceptional.

Tony took that to heart and off he went.

The Ripple Retreat was designed – its inspiration is the ripples on the loch – hence its working title though we are now all agreed we love the name Ripple Retreat.

The roof will be zinc and much of the rest glass and oak.  The pier will let families sit out and enjoy the view up and down Loch Vennacher.

Callander itself  is beautiful – the safari park is within 30mins drive as are many other attractions but we hope that the peace afforded families in the Retreat will mean that most of their stay will be spent there.

It will have three bedrooms, a caretaker’s /companions room, kitchen, playroom, dining room and lounge.

David and his wife Jean (and their family) have worked hard with us to achieve today’s outcome.  This is a wonderful family and we owe them a great deal in donating a huge chunk of their land to our charity.  David’s son in law is also undertaking our Arctic trek next March!

Tony and his wonderful architect, Chris Barr are a joy to work with and incredibly generous too – getting us to this stage has cost us only the National Park fee for the planning application.  These are very busy architects and we know that and appreciate almost beyond words what they have done for us.  Today Tony gave me the little model of the Retreat and it now sits proudly on my desk.

When we were told the building would have to be exceptional not in my wildest dreams did I think it would be this exceptional.

I always said we wanted to create something we could be proud of, something Scotland could be proud of and I believe we are about to do just that.

What’s the next stage?

Well, it is getting Building Standards approval – that will take several weeks.  Which gives me time to beg some more money and introduce our Pledge Book.  Our Pledge Book will be a bit like a wedding list and you will be able to ‘buy’ items for the Retreat.

More on that later – meantime let me introduce you to

The It’s good 2 give Ripple Retreat.


the Ripple Retreat

Review of 2013

Posted by | 26 stories of christmas, Events, Kilimanjaro, patrons, Special supporters, The Retreat, trustees | No Comments

Every year has highs and lows and 2013 was no different.

I am going to stick with telling you about the highs!  And one of them was very high indeed – the tallest freestanding mountain in the world – and we climbed it.  31 intrepid folk raised over £120,000 for It’s Good 2 Give and 24 of them got to the top. While I was one of the 7 who didn’t get that high I am incredibly proud of what I achieved both in terms of fundraising, looking after the group before the trek and ‘trekking’ up That Hill.  Because you see, I did my best.  What more can you ask?

The best way to tell a story about a year is with pictures.  I actually could still give you hundreds more such was the community spirit of our fundraising – I have collected dozens of cheques from all kinds of fundraisers, met some amazing folk, got us a bus (Oh yes, if you know me, you know how I love ‘our’ bus), organised 12 major events (even I couldn’t do that again!) attended dozens more – we have a superb team of Patrons, Trustees, Ambassadors, volunteers and supporters all working hard to help us get to that £1m!

This year we have raised over £300,000 and been gifted a piece of land on which to build our Retreat

Thanks again to you all for supporting us – please watch this space for news of 2014 events.




Grand Designs Live and the Huf Haus

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Today was the day we visited the Grand Designs Live show in London to see the Huf Haus team.

In this photo you can see me standing in front of a giant photo of the house I now call my ‘Dream’ It’s Good 2 Give house.



Isn’t it fabulous?   All on one level and so interesting.  I have a lot of research to do before meeting the Huf Haus experts again.   Oh and I had better get looking for pieces of land too!

It is so exciting to be moving into this new phase of our work.

Watch this space……