Nominated by her colleague, Louise Reid, Caroline Jessel is working to offer children and families holistic therapy to heal from trauma
Not every childhood is happy, and research shows that 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14. Dandelion Time is a charity based in Maidstone, Kent, that offers support to children and their families as they work through difficulties and traumas. Engaging with children from a range of backgrounds, including those from foster families, Dandelion Time offers one-to-one and group sessions where families can experience animal care, gardening, art, music, cooking and much more.
It’s hoped that by offering sessions where families can engage with the natural world, with the guidance of skilled therapeutic staff, the children’s sense of responsibility and self-worth will develop as they learn to nurture the animals and vegetables they work with.
For 15 years, Caroline Jessel has been working tirelessly to raise awareness and funds for the charity. “She’s amazing,” Caroline’s colleague, Louise tells us. “She’s always so innovative and our events are always successful.”
For a small charity, fundraising in the local community is essential in order for them to continue offering their life-changing services. In the early days of Caroline’s volunteering, she organised a Midsummer Ball and raised more than £125,000 that Louise believes, without a doubt, secured the future of the charity at a time when statutory funding was significantly decreasing.
“Caroline inspires us with her enthusiasm and commitment. She’s constantly coming up with new ideas and ways to engage people with our cause,” says Louise. “Our indoor-rowathon was one of Caroline’s great ideas. We’ve run it for four years now, and local schools and businesses join in. Last year the event ran for five days, raising more than £10,000 – which goes directly to helping the children and families we support.”
Under the guidance of Caroline, and with the support of the community, local MPs, and most recently Chris Packham, Dandelion Time continues to offer life-changing experiences to children across the county. “Caroline’s commitment and hard work is second to none,” says Louise. “We feel so lucky to have her.”