As part of our Behind Blue Walls series, we’re delighted to be able to support and promote a charity called The Dream Factory, which is based in Hainault, Essex, not far from our store in Romford
. The Dream Factory raises money to be able to make life a little brighter for the children and young adults between the ages of 3 and 25 who may be struggling with severe disabilities or who have life-limiting or even life-threatening illnesses.
The Dream Factory’s beginnings
The Dream Factory was set up in 2008 by Avril Mills BEM, who had a strong background as a fundraiser and events manager at a Children’s Hospice. Avril was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to children and young adults Avril’s much-loved son, Oliver, was diagnosed with leukaemia and whilst he was receiving treatment, his mum managed to arrange for him to meet Ross Kemp, Sid Owen and Martine McCutcheon - stars of his favourite soap, EastEnders.
Oliver said that when he grew up, he wanted to be able to make other people’s dreams come true, just like his mum had. Sadly, Oliver died when he was only nine years old, but knowing how much impact meeting his favourite celebrities had made upon her son’s wellbeing and happiness, Avril was determined to do the same for other children. The Dream Factory was born and ten years later it’s still going strong, raising money to make dreams come true for children and young adults who really need something to brighten their day.
The Dream Factory’s fundraising efforts
One of their fundraising methods is to ask for donations of wedding dresses, which the charity sells at wedding fayres. The money from the sale of the wedding dresses goes towards making dreams come true for countless young people. Their website has a host of really lovely stories about the dreams they have fulfilled this weekend they granted their 450th Dream
. The charity has paid for lots of exciting treats and experiences that are carefully tailored to what each child or young person most desires, for example:
- A trip to Disneyland Paris
- VIP Millionaire for the day
- A day as a VIP at Wembley
- Tickets to see WWE at Wembley
- An all-expenses-paid shopping spree
- A day of swimming with dolphins in Portugal
- Much-appreciated equipment such as an accessible trampoline and swing, an Apple MacBook or a gaming laptop.
The charity says that no dream is too small
and for some of the children and young adults who benefit, their dreams are really very simple. A replacement for a broken iPad, for instance, or a trip to the seaside. The charity aims to deliver a break to the normal routine and bring a smile to the faces of those who endure significant pain and frequent medical interventions that make normal life difficult to maintain.
The Dream Factory’s Wedding Dress Fundraisers
The charity initially used social media to ask brides to donate their wedding dresses after they had been worn once and cleaned; many brides happily donated so that their dresses could be put to good use rather than languish in the loft for years
. Then, as the idea caught on and it was clear that the charity could raise a great deal of much-needed money through this avenue, The Dream Factory approached wedding dress shops and asked for donations.
Eighty dresses were donated, along with dress rails, tiaras, veils and designer shoes, for their first big sale.
It sale raised over £1500 and was so successful that Jane (Events and Fundraiser Co-ordinator) and the Dream team continued their efforts to gather more dresses for future events. Their next event will be held in February 2019 and they already have around 60 dresses being safely stored at our Romford store.
If you can help The Dream Factory, check out their website
and do what you can to support the charity in making yet more dreams come true.