Kangaroos Silver Charity Ball a Huge Success

We are absolutely delighted to announce the huge success of our first ever independent Charity Ball at the beautiful Buxted Park Hotel in East Sussex. The spectacular event which raised £14,000, claimed top spot as our biggest fundraiser to date. Organised in its entirety by our fabulous Fundraising Coordinator, Samantha Norgate, we hope all who attended will agree what an amazing event it turned out to be.

The Silver Charity Ball celebrating Kangaroos’ special 25th anniversary year was packed full of surprises and the generosity of all in attendance was absolutely overwhelming. There are so many people to thank, none more so than our headline sponsor, Barratt Homes and the other businesses who also sponsored this event – a big shout out goes to Mortgage Heroes, RGC, Summit Environmental, and Sakala, and also to Buxted Park Hotel for their support.

We are hugely grateful for everyone’s input from the generous donations by our guests and sponsors, to the programme and auction card graphic design by Refresh Designs and printing services by the Lemonade Print Group, as well as prize donations from Flint and Co. Estate Agents, Buxted Park Hotel, Jackie Flynn, Mark Elwell, Freeman Brothers, Heritage, The Chequers Slaugham, The Foot Lady East Grinstead, The Blacksmiths Arms Billingshurst, The Ravenswood Hotel Sharpthorne and Barratt Homes. 

So, a bit about the event. Following a red carpet arrival and a glass of bubbly, our photographer, Louise Sullivan from Be Me Photography kindly donated her photography services and took some fabulous photos of our very glamorous guests. Our guests were then treated to a wonderful live singing performance by Elliot Goldie and Dervla Ramsay, who’s child attends Kangaroos. Guests were also blessed with a special and graceful dance performance by dancers from Lianne Carter’s Turning Pointe School of Dance.

A 3-course dinner followed in the dining room, which was decorated to perfection. Thank you so much to Fraser Leggate for the stunning floral table decorations and to Sara Ellis, To Have and To Hire for the beautiful silver bows. Between courses the brilliant MC, Kevin Durham, kept guests entertained with a fun dinner table game and announced our best-dressed guest – John Holmes (we loved the shoes and that sparkly bow tie). Kevin then did a fantastic job as our auctioneer. Thank you Kevin – you were awesome!

Prior to the auction we got a real sense of the amazing work Kangaroos does in a short video of Maria Barnes and her child, who attends Kangaroos. Maria told a heartwarming story of how much the clubs, activities and outings mean to the family, and particularly to her son who enjoys every minute he attends, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after that! A big thank you to Clare Jones of Brightlight Film who captured that wonderful story on film. 

Our guest speaker Amie Wiggins, mother of Sidney-Mae, who attends Kangaroos, and team member  at Harlands Group in Haywards Heath, who have been generous in their support of Kangaroos, told of the joy Kangaroos has brought to her daughters life and to the family as a whole.

We ran a silent auction which involved guests submitting auction cards for lots, which included 12 weeks gym membership at Potential Personal Training, 4 life coaching sessions with ‘Coaching with Nisanka’, a weekend photography course courtesy of Nigel Wilson, a garden design consultation with Heather Martin Garden Design, 3 signed children’s books by Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, and a signed Liverpool Football shirt.

The live auction followed, which had everyone on the edge of their seats as the bidding wars kicked off. Lots included Handmade Bespoke ear-rings by award winning jeweller, Richard Talman of RTFJ, a 3-course meal to be cooked in the comfort of the lucky recipient’s home by culinary expert Richard Herret, a stylish Kangaroo drawing by artist Bryony Hill (wife of late husband, Jimmy Hill OBE), a family photoshoot by Be Me Photography, 2 week’s use of a family holiday home in Tobago, and 2 tickets to a preview and backstage tour of Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House, donated by Elliot Goldie and Dervla Ramsay, who made an impromptu operatic performance, which received a standing ovation.

Thank you so much to those who donated prizes and to the lucky bidders who raised the roof with their astounding generosity. We really were blown away.

With spirits high (and glasses topped up) the evening was rounded off in style with dancing to live music by the ‘Funk Around Band’.

Finally, a big thank you to Lauren Stoney, Julia Trevett-Smith and Imogen Trevett for their help on the night selling raffle tickets, helping with the auction and generally making sure everyone had a great time, and also to all of those who generously purchased raffle tickets. Our raffle alone made a staggering £2,000 – this has to be our best ever!

A truly great evening to end a truly brilliant year.

A big thank you to Harlands Group for their support

We were absolutely delighted to find out earlier this year that local Haywards Heath business, Harlands Group, had chosen Kangaroos as their charity of the year for 2019/20.

We are so grateful for the support we have received from Harlands this year. They have been fantastic and are a great example of the impact a locally-based corporate organisation can have on a small charity like Kangaroos.

This blog celebrates our successful partnership. Read on to find out more about the great ways Harland have supported us so far.


Harlands is a growing company in Haywards Heath and for the last 2 years they have asked staff to nominate a local charity, which they then support for the whole year. Staff can opt to pay a percentage from their wages, and the business supports a range of events throughout the year for their chosen charity. Staff are also encouraged to take up volunteering opportunities to help the charity.

In April 2019, Aimee Wiggins – Parent from Kangaroos and employee at Harlands – put forward Kangaroos for selection as Harland’s nominated charity of the year. Some members of Harland’s team visited our complex 6-12 Kangaroos group, STARS to get a better understanding of what we do. They were amazed at our work and were subsequently delighted to be able to partner with us.

Who are Harlands?

Harlands Group work with over 1,800 leisure sites in the UK providing Direct Debit (DD) collection services and credit control. Harlands work with more leisure operators than any other DD company in the UK or Europe and are part of TSG, a leading global revenue management solutions company that provides business management software and integrated payments services to clients around the globe.

Harlands collaborate with Kangaroos

In May this year, Samantha Norgate, Fundraising Coordinator at Kangaroos, visited The Harlands Forum Team to discuss ways in which they could support us.

The Forum team at Harland run by Operations Director, Paul Lane, and Business Support Manager, Sue Coughlan aim to improve employee experience through the Harlands’ benefits package, the four pillars of which include:

  • Wellbeing
  • Rewards and recognition
  • Personal development
  • Sports, social & Charity

Each year at a showcase meeting, they unveil to the whole company who their chosen charity of 2019 is and set out some of the ways they will support the charity over the coming year.


Here’s how Harland’s have supported Kangaroos in 2019:

May 2019 – Harlands were headline sponsor at our annual Golf Day contributing £1,000, as well as entering a team. Two of Harlands’ staff also volunteered their time at the event as an auctioneer and helper.

July 2019 – A significant number of Harland employees signed up to Payroll Giving.

Sept 2019 – Some of the Harlands team joined our table at The More Radio Awards where we were the charity of the evening.

Nov 2019 – Harlands bring a table of 10 staff to the Kangaroos Silver Charity Ball, as well as selling raffle tickets for us.

The company has also organised a lot of their own in-house fundraising, including a scavenger hunt around Haywards Heath and a Halloween event, and there are more fundraising activities in the pipeline. Wow. Thank you Harlands, your support has been absolutely amazing!

If you are a business looking for a local charity to support in 2020, please get in touch with our Fundraising and Business Partnership Coordinator, Samantha Norgate.

Center Parcs – Memory of a Lifetime Trip Aug 2019

Everyone had a great Memory of a Lifetime trip to Center Parcs UK last weekend. We took part in a range of activities, celebrated two birthdays and had a thoroughly brilliant time, as captured in the lovely gallery of photos below.

Groups spilt into what activities were most suitable for them, with some going on pedalos, others on an electric boat and a few went to the spa. Everyone had lots of fun.

This crazy golf is hard work – thank goodness we spotted this chair!

Knock, knock – who’s there?

Time for refreshments!

We’re smashing this crazy golf!

Can’t we go faster? Who is pedalling this thing?

Sharing the Kangaroos’ love!

Girls at the spa.

Happy days!

Kangafest July 2019

On Saturday 27th July, 2019 we celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a special event called Kangafest, an inclusive festival held at Woodlands Meed School in Burgess Hill for our members and families, staff and volunteers (past and present) and supporters.

After a few showers in the morning, thankfully the rain clouds cleared. Over 350 people attended and helped to make it a fun and memorable occasion.

We are very grateful to our two main Silver sponsors, Tisshaws Family Law Solicitors and Restore Documents Management, and hugely appreciative of the funding received from The Edward Gostling Foundation and Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath District Round Table.

Deputy Mayor of Burgess Hill, Anne Eve opened the event. Mid Downs Radio who compered throughout the day were generously sponsored by Jackson Stops of Lindfield and the Eight Bells, Bolney.

The Deputy Mayor shows us how hula-hooping is done!

It was a fun packed day with lots going on, including a main stage with entertainment, a pamper tent, circus skills, bouncy castle, music and sensory workshops, a photo booth, animal encounter, face painting, cricket skills and much more.

We kick-started our Kanga Challenge with a fun Hopathon event and Kanga race with heats on space hoppers.

The lucky 1st prize winner of our Grand Prize Draw went to Becki Sherwood who won a PlayStation 4, kindly donated by Xbex Ltd – Independent Peugeot & Citroen Servicing and Repair Specialists.

Special thanks to Matt Flynn our volunteer roving photographer, Putty Cakes for the fabulous Kangaroos cake, Party Auntie and Not Your Average I Do for the wonderful decorations in the marquees, Floral Image for the lovely flowers in the reception tent, and Tim French of the French Group for the loan of signage.

And thank you also to all of our wonderful entertainers, singers, contributors and caterers, including JubyLee Bakes, Dawn Hughes from Refresh Designs for all her lovely design materials and graphic design work, and to everyone who helped on the day, but most of all to everyone who came along and made it such a special day to remember.

Thank you!

We are always looking for helpers so if you would like to volunteer and help at one of Kangaroos’ events in the future, please get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you.

Afternoon Tea Brighton, Vintage Bus Ride and i360 – Memory of a Lifetime Trip July 2019

We have had another fantastic trip to celebrate our 25th Anniversary and create a Memory of a Lifetime for some of our Kangaroos’ members.

This time we organised a trip on a Brighton Regency Routemaster bus for afternoon tea and a tour round Brighton, followed by a ride on the i360.

Everyone really enjoyed the bus tour and of course the afternoon tea with tasty cakes and sandwiches. The staff on board the bus were so helpful and really made our day memorable, even giving the young people a balloon each at the end of the ride.

As I’m sure you can see from the photos, we had another great fun day out.

London Eye and River Cruise – Memory of a Lifetime Trip June 2019

To mark our 25th Anniversary Year in 2019 we pledged to raise an additional £100,000 to give all of our members a special trip to make a Memory of a Lifetime. We had a great time in London on one of our Memory of a Lifetime trips.


Our sighteesing experience included a River Cruise and a ‘flight’ on the London Eye. Eighteen of our young Kangaroos members enjoyed this wonderful day out.

We started the day having lunch by the river followed by a river cruise where we spotted lots of London’s famous landmarks. We were delighted to enjoy a fly past by the red arrows to mark the Queens Official birthday! It was unexpected so added something extra special to the day.

We also went on the London Eye, a fantastic experience for so many who had never had this opportunity before. Our young people had such a fantastic day out. Many happy memories were made, just as we’d hoped.

If you would like to donate to our Memory of a Lifetime Campaign, please visit our JustGiving page. Your generous donations have made a lot of happy memories so far. A huge thank you to all of our supporters.

Here are some of the comments we’ve received on our Facebook page about our special day in London:

“I had a lovely chat with one of the participants at the Town Fair yesterday. She was still excited about where she’d been and what she’d done…especially going on the London Eye. Thank you so much for what you do for these children.”    Lynn Baines

Looks like a very happy time. Lots of interesting things to see and do with a lot of smiling going on, brilliant. Well done Kangaroos.”   Lynn Collins

What an adventure…fantastic folks.”   Ann Waghorn

Thanks to all for making it such a lovely trip!” Den KT