Story

November, 2018

The Move

I moved from Leeds to the Yorkshire Dales. With stunning views, surrounded by beautiful countryside I settled in really quickly.
I always wanted chickens and purchased a new flock hens, 8 in total.

The Flock:

  • Mrs Meran
  • Meatloaf
  • Dafney
  • Henrietta
  • Kiwi
  • Benedict
  • Perry
  • BB

December, 2018

The First Eggs

The flock all settled, I waited eagerly for the first eggs to arrive.

Burning desire to help

Ever since my mother in law died of dad died of Cancer in 2008 and and then my father in 2012, I’ve always wanted to do something to pay back.|
In 2012 I dreamed of doing some sort of support system for friends of people of cancer.
Having experienced 2 rounds of this awful disease, I just new I had to do something, I had a burning desire to pass on what I knew, my personal experience, if only I could let others know what it was like.
I even registered a domain called friends of cancer, however I was not in the right place, I was depressed, nothing would have happened.
7 years on, its a different game.

January, 2019

Social Media Starts

Launched an Instagram and Facebook Page to profile Yorkshire Dale Life.
1000 followers in 1 month
Goals: to share the lovely countryside of the Yorkshire Dales.

        

February, 2019

Fund Raising Starts

Pay back time.
I’ve decided to raise money for a charity close to my heart.
I’m going to giveaway the hens eggs in return for donations to Yorkshire Cancer Research.

March, 2019

Instagram Posts About Mental Health

Following 10 years of depression and a spark in my new daily life, I started to post messages about mental health along with my photos.

1400 Followers on Instagram

It seams to be taking off, so much interest to follow chicks, the Yorkshire Dales and Mental Health awareness.

Goals Raise £3000 in 1 year

Opened a Heros Account for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Donate Here

https://yorkshirecancer.everydayhero.com/uk/yorkshire-dales-life

Donate here to my Yorkshire Cancer Research account

April, 2019

1500 Followers on Instagram

It seams to be taking off, so much interest to follow chicks, the Yorkshire Dales and Mental Health awareness.

Yorkshire Cancer Research Press Release

With Easter just around the corner, Nikki Brady spoke to me about my move to the countryside and how I turned fresh eggs and an Instagram account into hundreds of pounds for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Read the article here

April, 2019

Hatch Patch was Born

The eggs donations were rolling in and it was time to start hatching new ideas, so along came Hatch Patch.
Hatch Patch is simply an online version of what I do with the Egg Hutch in my Garden at my cottage.
In my case I give away my eggs for donations. In Hatch Patch, you give away an item and Patch It to a good cause.
Good Cause could be – Charity, School PTA, Club, Association, church or any None Profit Organisation.

May, 2019

HatchED The Design

I researched how we could make Hatch Patch safe, secure and crucially make the payment received end up in the beneficiaries account.

By teaming up with Stripe, Hatch Patch moved from a proof of concept to a reality overnight.

By using Stripe, our Good Causes will own and operate their own accounts and therefore ring fencing their own money. Hatch Patch will work in the middle and transaction the money from Buyer to Beneficiary on one easy transaction.

May, 2019

1600 Followers on Instagram

It seams to be taking off, so much interest to follow chicks, the Yorkshire Dales and Mental Health awareness.

Mental Health Awareness Continues

My daily life played out in front of the people interested in following me is well received.
I enjoy putting my heart and soul into my posts and helping many people see the light and helping people see what they need to do.|
Mental Health is a soul destroying and you simply have no idea what anyone is actually experiencing until you ask
Are You Ok?
I’ve experienced 10 years of depression and anxiety and in my case it was all connected to loss and cancer. I knew the heart ache I went through when my mother in law died in 2008. It was only brought back in 2012 when my dad died of cancer.
This was the start of my real downfall.
Instagram Followers 1600

June, 2019

Sorry Victoria

In June 2019, Victoria Dimond, a dairy farmer from Somerset and follower on Instagram with her own background of Mental Health issues asked me for some help. She wanted to set up a free phone number and offer a help phone line for farmers.
With deep regret I didn’t have an answer to her requirements which could be cost effective and work.
The requirement was simple, have a number  helpers could  answer and talk to Farmers who are struggling with Mental Health.
I felt upset, annoyed that I’d failed to help someone who wanted to help others. I felt I’d failed, failed myself, failed Victoria.

https://www.instagram.com/dairyqueen_shepherdess97/

Victoreia Dimond - Help 4 Farmers

Group Hug App is Born

Disheartened I couldn’t help Victoria, I slept on it and dreamed up a new concept.
This is what I’m good at, getting a solution to a problem and fast.
In 24 Hours – Group Hug App was born
What was needed was as a chat based call center, accessible from anywhere and having the functionality of a full blown telephone solution, but based around chat.
It needed to work in a field, at home, in the shops, at work – it had to be internet based and what better way than through an app.
Using technology and an app on a smart phone, the answer is staring me in my hand – Group Hug App

1800 Followers on Instagram

It seams to be taking off, so much interest to follow chicks, the Yorkshire Dales and Mental Health awareness.

GROUP HUG App Design Stage

Within about 3 days my head was buzzing, how could this work, how could this be safe, secure and have the ability to reach the masses?
I sat down one Friday evening and started designing the app flow and concept.
By Sunday evening I’d finished. The plan was there. The app was designed, the flow was simple and the requirement of safety and security was satisfied.

The 1st Group Founded

Having let Victoria down only the week before, I called her and explained what I had decided to do.
It was then when I boldly asked if she would like to lead the way and form the first Group Hug?
Immediately the answer was – I’m in.
We had our first group!

Group 1 – Help 4 Farmers

Founder – Victoria Dimond
Coverage: UK wide
Aims: Available to all farmers
Farming can be very lonely and therefore the Mental Health issues are a high risk.
Thanks to Victoria Dimond for starting this ball rolling and her commitment to helping her community, a community with a record of Mental Health problems.
Volunteers Requirements:
Preferably with farming background or experience, keen to help.
Volunteer Location:
In the UK

Social media to the rescue

Excited to share the news, I contacted an Instagram follower by the name of lord_hatfield who lives up the Dale in Hawes. I chatted to him for a short period and could tell he was eager to join the club.
Having helped a few ex service people try and settle in the area, he could see the power and potential for Group Hug in this arena.
Ex Service Core was formed
2 Groups in 2 days, more needed.

Group 2 – Ex Service Core

Founder – Kevin Hatfield
Coverage: UK wide
Aims: To help ex service people settle into civilian life
Leaving the Armed Forces can be daunting. Through his own experience of helping others in this situation, Kevin says the Group Hug “Ex Service Core” will be a invaluable and so needed to add some positivity directly into the heart of a community.
Volunteers Requirements:
Anyone who has a good ear, local experience, keen to help.
Volunteer Location:
In the UK

a winning concept

To prove to myself this was a winning concept I reached out to more people.
The next person I spoke to was another long standing Instagram follower, Alison Field.
I explained the concept and within minutes Alison was on board.
But what was she thinking? which Group Hug could she support?
Alison is keen to help people who suffer from Anxiety caused by Menopause. Not only women, but family members effected by it.
Peggy’s Ear was born
3 Groups in 3 days, more needed.

Group 3 – Peggy’s Ear

Founder – Alison Field
Coverage: UK wide
Aims: To talk and help people with Anxiety caused by Menopause
Suitably named after Alison’s mother Peggy. Peggy’s Ear is designed to offer a good listening service to people experiencing Anxiety through Menopause.
Its designed for women, men and family members, everyone can be effected and Alison says its open to everyone.
Volunteers Requirements:
Anyone who has a good ear, or personally suffered from anxiety and menopause, keen to listen.
Volunteer Location:
In the UK

What could I do?

When my dad died, I know the heart ache, pain and stress caused. In my case it was caused by outside influences, but with the added complexity, my dad was dying.
Following his death in 2012 I always wanted to do something that could help Friends of Cancer patients. Yes a hospice is beautiful and calming place, but as a family member, it can be quite daunting.
So too living with a family member who has cancer. What do you say, what do you do, I can’t talk to anyone about this, I don’t want to let my emotions out, I don’t want to burden my family, friends or loved one.
Back in 2012, I’d always dreamed of having a “Friends of Cancer” something, now was the time, a new group was needed, I actually had the idea in my for the thing I always wanted to do.
Friends Of Cancer – Yorkshire was born
4 Groups in 4 days, more needed.

Group 4 – Friends Of Cancer – Yorkshire

Founder – Me
Coverage: Yorkshire wide
Aims: To be a friend to someone with Cancer or someone who has a friend with Cancer
Ever since 2012, I’ve wanted to be able to launch and create such a service, 7 years later and I can safety say I will.
Volunteers Requirements:
Anyone who has experienced loss from Cancer. Life experience is all we need and a good ear to listen and talk about your own experiences.
Volunteer Location:
In the UK

I was on a roll

4 groups formed, I wanted more. The drive and determination was there and so I started communicating with another long standing Instagram friend Cat Dean.
A farmers wife and mother Cat explained she could create a group based on giving support to anyone who is an adult and experiencing the ups and downs of family life.
Let’s Talk Family was born
5 Groups in 5 days, more needed.

Group 5 – Lets Talk Family

Founder – Cat Dean
Coverage: UK wide
Aims: To offer a service to anyone experiencing issues with everyday life relating to family, from parenting to adulthood.
Cat is passionate to help others, as a wife and parent, she knows the stresses and strains linked to family life.
Volunteers Requirements:
Anyone with family life experience is all we need and a good ear to listen and talk about your own experiences.
Volunteer Location:
In the UK

Next up – the Black Country

I contacted another follower, Sally Shillingford, a keen photographer from the Black Country.
Sally expressed her interest with immediate effect and I tasked her to think of a group and a concept close to her heart.
A few days later Sally was in, she wanted to help others who are experiencing living their life in fear, letting anxiety rule their life.
Fear No Fear was born
6 Groups in 6 days, more needed.

Group 6 – Fear no Fear

Founder – Sally Shillingford
Coverage: The Black Country
Aims: A service specifically offered to people in the Black Country and its about life and living with fear
Sally wants to draw on her own life experience and share some thoughts on how she deals with the very situation.
Volunteers Requirements:
Anyone with experience of anxietye is all we need and a good ear to listen and talk about your own experiences.
Volunteer Location:
In the Black Country Only

July, 2019

1800 Followers on Instagram

It seams to be taking off, so much interest to follow chicks, the Yorkshire Dales and Mental Health awareness.

Social media launched

In such a short period of time I’d thought of the idea, designed it, named it and managed to land 6 Group Hugs initially.
Time for a soft social media launch.
@group_hug_app
    

July, 2019

Hatch Patch – Starts Development

Having designed and detailed the entire Hatch Patch operations, it was to start development. Its going to a long stretch, but I feel its going to be worth it in the end.

Good Luck – was what she said

Having announced Group Hug on Instagram and Facebook, I soon started to get interest from many different people.
I had the pleasure of being grilled by one of the top specialists in the industry.
I had no idea who it was, the next thing I’m been put through the mill, my tyres well and truly kicked.
But who was this lady?
Well the lady kicking my tyres was one of the team who set up and managed Childline. I was shocked, here I am getting interest from someone I admired to be a specialist in the field.
We spoke for a couple of hours and exchanged many questions and answers.
I was blessed with a “good luck” and swiftly told its a great idea, but it would be red tape that could be the problem.

August, 2019

Determined to hurdle red tape

Summer was difficult for me. Every way I turned it seamed I hit a brick wall, red tape was strangling me and now holding me up.
I was tempted to give up, but something inside my gut was telling me to drive on. This is just rules and policies I kept telling myself.
I have vast life and business experience, all I had to do is keep on it, never give up.
I know the reasons behind it, everyone needs to be safeguarded? right?
What about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, do they do safeguarding?
What about huge corporate machines who speak to millions of people face to face each day, do they do safeguarding?
They don’t, but here I am expected to do it all.

1900 Followers on Instagram

It seams to be taking off, so much interest to follow chicks, the Yorkshire Dales and Mental Health awareness.

September, 2019

Safeguarding Made Top Priority

It was very clear the app would potentially help vulnerable people, so safeguarding was top priority.
This is quite easy when you use technology, geo location services tells where anyone is within 3 meters, questions on entry to the app can try and determine a persons state of mind, just some simple questions can give a lot away.
I’m passionate about helping people and as a responsible person, I could never go to market with a solution which was not fully through from end to end.

Insurance – 150 Volunteers

This was the game changer for me. I managed to secure insurance services for the volunteers.
Public Liability Insurance confirmed – Approved for 150 Volunteers

2000 Followers on Instagram

It seams to be taking off, so much interest to follow chicks, the Yorkshire Dales and Mental Health awareness.

October, 2019

Thank you Ant and Dec

So hear I am, a Saturday night and I’ve put the TV on. I’m depressed at the hands of Barclays and I have no energy to do anything.
As my followers know, I don’t watch TV that much, but here I am watching ITV and Britains Got Talent finals.
To my surprise Ant and Dec announce a new Mental Health Campaign – in conjunction with ITV they announce “Get Britain Talking”
I put my Gin and Tonic down and watched with interest.
Here on national TV are Ant and Dec promoting a campaign to help Mental Health. To get people talking again, to encourage people to talk.
This is what Group Hug App is all about

Bounced Back

Ant and Dec did it!
I owe it to them, these two guys have had their fair share of mental health issues and both have injected life into me again.
The announcement of “Britain Get Talking” was the inspiration to get back on track and get this project that was Banked Off and Bank it on again.
Here on national TV is a campaign to do exactly what I want to do for Group Hug App.
#BritainGetTalking is all about getting the county talking again. Group Hug App goes that one step further and offers a discreet, private and safe place to talk should you feel there’s no one else to talk to.

Negative Reaction – more Determination

I’d like to personally thank Barclays Business Banking for smashing me to the floor.
You did me a huge favour!
You gave me the drive and determination to fight on, not stop, keep going… and I did.
I walked around your negative ways and found positivity again.

Positive Springboard

I managed to find a suitable alternative.
I don’t need Barclays, there are plenty of other options out there, they just made look and work harder to find them.
This is the exact Mental Health message I send out on my Instagram posts. Avoid negative people, walk around and the find alternatives, this is what I did.
Introducing my new friend Anna…

Group Hug App Development starts

Group Hug App can start.
Its taken from June to October to get this going, its been very difficult, time consuming and well worth it.

bold pledge – 100000 in 2 years

100k = people
Its my bold pledge.
I’m pledging to help 100000 people in chats in the first 2 years.
I think I can do it, do you?