Concert finished, funds in the bank, time for a rest….or not!

After the concert I was invited to have a shop unit in The Quedam, Yeovil for 6 weeks…a fantastic way to spread the word about HNT and to raise awareness of what I do, who I support, and how the community can get on board to help.

So, a quick downsizing of my barn, collecting donated goods and setting up a shop…which suddenly became far more than a shop! Although goods were sold, the days became more of a drop-in centre where people came to chat, to seek advice, and to de stress. I met some remarkable people with remarkable stories about their lives, their past, their experiences and their difficulties. They were from all walks of life, a variety of ages, and most with some SEN connection, whether it was personally, through friends and colleagues or through family.

I also invited other charities to use the unit alongside to advertise their work..

In the first week, something amazing happened! A minister in Yeovil came to see what the shop was and said he would donate a couple of things. The same day, only an hour after he had left, he reappeared with a couple of bits and the most beautiful painting…an acrylic. I was totally taken with this masterpiece, and he told me that he was 82 and had started painting…all self-taught…17 years ago. He was fed up being on his own and just watching the TV and had prayed to God to give him a talent.

God certainly has done this! Stan, the artist, returned home and then reappeared again with 2 more paintings…again beautiful! He was donating 3 paintings to sell, and then offered to paint outside the shop on Bank Holiday Monday…bringing much interest. The painting was raffled, again the funds coming to HNT.

What was amazing is that Stan has never been told how good his art is! He had not thought about selling the paintings…and yes, Pete and I discovered when we visitors his home, he must have at least 60+ on walls, stacked up in doorways, and in his artist’s studio. Many were framed beautifully; a painting was half finished on the easel and he was telling us about his next venture.

The time he takes to do these paintings is even more amazing…3 hours maximum in total! He uses photographs, black and white drawings…or images from his head, paints landscapes, flowers, cathedrals and churches (see examples below)…but not people or animals.

One of his paintings has been now sold, and I am absolutely thrilled that Stan has asked if I can help him promote his works, put on an exhibition, and help home sell some pieces. He is wanting to give 25% of anything sold to HNT but I have explained that he should keep the money and perhaps donate a couple throughout the year for me to auction. It has been an absolute pleasure to help him and I feel very blessed to have met such a kind person with a heart of gold.

Stan takes commissions and so, as now the HNT artist as Larry Lagrue is the HNT poet, do get in touch if you are interested. A perfect way to give a present. Stan lives in Yeovil and would be more than happy to show a variety of paintings and to discuss your needs.

My contact details are on the HNT website.


May Blog 2 F

HNT Charity Concert

What a busy start to 2019!

On March 18th, the amazing Just Take That came to perform at The Octagon Theatre, Yeovil for HNT. It was a truly wonderful community event with students from SEN and mainstream schools, staff, parents , carers , and young adults with learning disabilities dancing and singing away alongside Rotarian’s, councillors,
locals and Take That fans that had come from afar!

The band were superb, not only singing a range of Take That hits spanning 30 years, but also breaking into The Beatles and Bee Bees songs! Two hours of music for all ages, plus a couple of surprises on stage, including the amazing HNT poet, Larry Lagrue reciting his latest poem about life as an SEN child.

IMG May Blog 1 B2

Thanks to kind donations from local companies, some of the concert costs were covered and £9000 was banked. This included the money from a 2 minute bucket run when the band ran into the crowd amounting to nearly £600!

I also had written to numerous small local firms to ask if they would donate the cost of a seat or seats so that families and SEN schools who otherwise would not have had the funds to come could join in the fun. Thanks to people’s kindness this indeed happened and for some it was a once in a lifetime experience….until 2020!

So…keep the date…

JANUARY 11TH…Saturday

The Octagon Theatre Yeovil  –

Just Take That –

HNT charity concert

Tickets from the theatre box office…. £21 which includes a £1 ticket levy.

As for this year I am seeking sponsors for the following…please spread the word and get in touch if you can help as, if all the costs are covered and I can get seats sponsored again, the event should bring in over £12,000 and yet again be a truely community inclusive event.

Theatre Hire £1194

Technical Staff £138

Performance rights £254

Brochure advertisement £342

Band £1008

Insurance £375

Banner and posters £200

Seats all at £21 to include ticket levy.

The aim is to fill 80% of the auditorium, have a few surprises in the stage and to raise funds for HNT…which means funds for local SEN specialist pre-school/school groups, and families with SEN or Learning Difficulties connections.

My 2 students from Yeovil College are putting the final touches to this year’s video of the concert which will then be on the website. It includes Larry’s remarkable poem so do watch and listen as it is so touching.

In the meantime, a huge thank you to the theatre (what lovely and helpful staff!), the band who were such fun, Terry Bennett from Abbey 104 who came on stage to do the thank yous and interview at the end, to Larry Lagrue for spending his free time writing the second HNT poem (he does commissions so do get onto his website…. ), to all the sponsors, and of course to all those who came along to dance the night away!


Ride of A Life Time

I came across this amazing challenge whilst researching for my “Charity Corner” on Abbey 104.  Rachel.

SOMERSET farmer Nick Bragg, has set himself the pedal busting challenge of cycling 3,000 miles across Canada in 30 days to raise awareness and funds for the welfare charity, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I).
The challenge starts in Montreal in June 2019 and will see Nick and his trusty bicycle travel 3,000 miles across six states, through the mountainous terrain of the Rockies and finish by the iconic stone sculpture, Inukshuk, on the Vancouver water front.
Nick and his wife Claire own and run Frogmary Green Farm in South Petherton and have been supporting R.A.B.I for many years, while Nick’s self-appointed Trio of Triathlons last year raised over £1,600 for the charity.
Nick said: “After the enjoyment and self-satisfaction of completing the Trio of Triathlons, I realised my body, at 50 plus, was still fit enough to be challenged. So, on the dark evenings of November, I slowly came up with this challenge. What’s not to like about Canada? English speaking, beautiful farming countryside to cycle through and generally flat apart from the Rocky Mountains, “You never can tell what’s around the corner”, so to raise money for a farming charity that supports others less fortunate than myself gives me great pleasure R.A.B.I has been supporting farming people in financial need for 158 years with over £2 million in grants paid to 1,260 individuals and families in financial hardship in 2017 alone.
Nick will keep his followers informed of his progress with a training blog and through information on Frogmary Green Farm’s social media channels, TwitterFacebook. For more information on Nick’s Cycling Challenge and to donate, visit


Rachel’s Charity Corner on Abbey 104

The monthly Charity Corner that I broadcast on the first Sunday of each month is going well, recordings of which can be heard by going to “Rachel’s Charity Corner” on the Hidden Needs Trust website.

The show establishes what local charities are around, what they do, who benefits and in what way. I talk to the charity organisers and charity beneficiaries, and see what additional help the charity needs in order to continue and grow.

Another main aim of the show is to get charities linking up and supporting one another…and as you hear when you listen to my latest recording, this is already happening!

If you wish to be on the show, do get in touch…all my details are on the Hidden Needs Trust website!

Enjoy listening, help where and when you can with charities you are interested in, and spare 5 minutes to read the information below about the amazing work SHARES does who were my last featured charity on July 1st.

Huge Thank You!




HNT – Charity of the Year!

Hidden Needs Trust has reached the final three of Sainsburys Local Charity of the Year nominations – Sherborne

This a great opportunity for HNT to give SEN children and their families greater support – support they need and deserve.

But in order to do this HNT needs YOUR support by going to (click on link) Sainsbury Local Charity of the Year and allocating your vote,  to Hidden Needs Trust.

Or you can vote via tokens available in the Sherborne store.

Voting opens 11th June until 24th June 2018.

Please help HNT is move forward to give move support to children with Special Educational Needs and their families.



Rachel’s Charity Corner on Abbey 104

I’ve been out and about visiting two local charities and finding out first-hand how their hard work benefits others in the community. If you missed the programmes you can hear them by clicking on the “Listen Again” links below
May 3rd: Rachel’s with Paul Peters from the Geranium Trust near Yeovil “Listen Again”
June 3rd: Rachel’s with Julie Plumley of Future Roots Care Farm near Sherborne.  “Listen Again”

My next “Charity Corner will be on July 1st – Listen live at midday on Abbey 104
If you would like your charity promoted, do get in touch by going to where you can find all my contact details. Tell me who you are, what your charity or good cause is all about, and what you are up to over the next few weeks. We’ll be pleased to give you a mention…and maybe come and have a chat about being the featured charity on a future programme?