Looking forward to 2021

West Essex Life magazine

Avril Mills 62, is the founder of The Dream Factory charity, which grants wishes to poorly youngsters. 

For my personal New Years Honours list I would like to acknowledge my volunteer friend Annabel Lawrenson.

We’ve known each other for more than 25 years and she was my rock when my son Oliver fought Leukeamia for six years and sadly died aged only nine years old.  The Dream Factory was founded in his memory.

The pandemic has meant that all of our fundraising events in 2020 were cancelled – golf days, a garden party, a ladies lunch, Marathons and the children’s Christmas party.  A big loss for us possibly £70k or even more, which makes a difference to what we do.  Quite simply we are not bringing in the funds we need to sustain the amount of  ‘dreams’ we want to grant.  There are hundreds of children and young adults with life-threatening illnesses and severe disabilities who need The Dream Factory.

One thing we were able to do was grant doorstep dreams where we can socially distance at the door.  In fact we did our 500th dream this way just before Christmas.

My hope for 2021 is that we will be able to get back to being able to bring in the funds we need to grant all the dreams we’ve had to put on hold or postpone – we currently have 40 outstanding dreams we need to fulfil.

If we want to carry on the good work and grant many more dreams we need some large donations, along with more community funding.  But people have been so kind and generous to us in the past.  I am confident it will be forthcoming.


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