Hello and a very warm welcome to my newly relaunched blog. I'm Paul a 40 year old family man from the UK. In this complex, information overload 21st century world, too often we lose sight of what's really important. Here I want to celebrate life, share inspirational stories, throw the spotlight on charities and causes close to my heart. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Making a difference - my first donations!

Once again a warm welcome to all my new and existing followers!.

Since joining up with Blog catalog a week or two back I've been lucky enough to make some fantastic contacts within the online blogging community, spread wide across the world.

So I think it's high time that I provided a recap on what I'm trying to achieve here, as well as an update on how things are going so far

What's it all about?

For the benefit of those newcomers, here's a quick bit of background on this blog. Like most of us out there, I lead a very busy life, juggling precious family time with demanding work commitments. I've always had a major passion for writing, and over the last two years in particular through online review sites and the like, I've dedicated a lot of my spare time to dipping my toes in the murky freelance earning waters.

After coming through a serious health scare in the last few months, I've been able to make a lot of positive changes to my work / family life balance, have changed long standing poor dietary habits and rediscovered a balanced exercise routine, which has made a huge difference to me in so many ways.

In simple statistical terms to date I've lost just over 30 pounds since December but the real impact in terms of rediscovering my energy and passion for life is immeasurable.

As for my writing, I had always had this dream of just packing in the IT day job, and throwing all my efforts into a rewarding freelance career. As soon as I'd made it big, then I could really give something back, support all those charities and causes that have meant so much to me over the years.

Guess what? 

In a sudden wave of inspiration it hit me.

 Right now I get to write about whatever means something to me.

If I go down the all freelance route, being realistic the chances are very high that I would have to prioritise finding ways to scrap and scrape a living , writing about things that really don't interest me, just to get by.
What do I love best about writing online - the feedback, the sense of community, the freedom to write what and when I like  - it's certainly not the financial reward!

So I dusted down my original entirely purposeless blog, and came up with a theme that I could really believe in.

In March 2010 , Make a difference was born. Sharing positive, inspiring stories, highlighting amazing charities and fundraising initiatives.

And my own personal commitment.

Every single penny that I earn online, whether that be from existing review sites, spare time surveys, adsense revenues, cash back shopping etc. - I will give directly to charities.

Donations update

So I've gone through a number of my existing online earnings sources which had reached payout threshold levels and as a result these are the donations I've been able to give so far.

The grand total so far is (drumroll......) £81.40!

1) Miles for smiles -  http://miles-of-smiles.org.uk/  - see alo link on my blog page- £50 donation (earned via existing http://www.mutualpoints.com/ and http://www.quidco.com/ earnings

A fellow writer from UK review site http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/  told me about a brilliant charity that supports children with disabilities called "miles for smiles" which provides much needed care for her little grandson. It's a small regional charity that has really struggled for funding during the recession, so I'm more than happy to give it any extra promotion that I can.
The lady in question has kindly given me her permission to publish an extract from the deeply moving message she wrote to me - I think you'll agree it's much more powerful and personal than anything I could write here myself

"I just wanted to mention a charity very close to my heart, Kent Kids, Miles of Smiles. They are a Kent based children's charity, who have supported my young grandson, Miles Griffiths, for over 18 months. Miles was born with spastic quadriplegia, he is 8 this year but cannot sit, mobilise, speak or even swallow due to his condition.

He is fed via a jejunostomy tube into his bowel (as his stomach does not work) and his care needs are so great that my daughter was unable to continue caring for him at home. She has two other children and was becoming ill with the sheer hard work involved after 6 years care giving with little or no help.

It was heart-breaking for us all as I am sure you can imagine. Kent Kids stepped in and took Miles into 'Footprints' their residential centre, they supported him financially until Social Services decided to fund him...another story altogether!

I try to do our bit for the charity and support their fundraising ventures, but as you can imagine the current recession has hit the charity's donations very hard. If you would consider highlighting Kent Kids on your blog, I would be very grateful."

2) Oxfam unwrapped  - feed a family campaign  - donation £6.40 (monetary equivalent of points) - via my http://ipoints.co.uk/ earnings

About the appeal / charity:
Emergency rations are a priority for crisis-hit families and this gift is the edible equivalent of first aid. We’ll be there with the essential eats – grain, beans, oil, salt and sugar - to keep everyone going until normality is restored

3) http://www.make-a-wish.org.uk/ donated £10 via Ipsos opinion polls at

About the appeal / charity:
Make-A-Wish grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening illnesses.
At any given time, over 20,000 children in the UK are living with life-threatening conditions. In 2010, around 1,000 children will turn to us to have their special wish granted

4) http://www.worldvision.org.uk/ donated £10 via Valued opinions surveys at http://www.valuedopinions.co.uk/

About the appeal / charity: World Vision works to make a serious and sustainable impact on poverty and its causes, especially as they affect children. We are committed to long-term change, which means connecting people. Whether it’s enabling people in developing communities to support each other, or linking donors to those in need through child sponsorship, or creating networks to campaign for justice, we believe that getting people connected is the best way to make a difference.

5) http://www.shelter.org.uk/ - donated £5 via http://www.pigsback.com/ earnings

About the charity:
Shelter is a charity that works to alleviate the distress caused by homelessness and bad housing.

We do this by giving advice, information and advocacy to people in housing need, and by campaigning for lasting political change to end the housing crisis for good.


The last thing I want is for anyone to think that this blog is some kind of "hey look at me - aren't I incredibly worthy" exercise.

I'm sharing with you what I'm donating, because I think it is vitally important that rather than just highlight and talk about these causes , I put on record my own personal commitment along the way. In addition to the purely monetary donations, I'm going to look at any ways I can directly get involved in some of these causes, whether that be through fundraising events or volunteering.

My real hope is that this blog inspires a few of you out there do something similar. Maybe you are already doing something like this, in which case I applaud you from the bottom of my heart.

Either way, I really want to hear from you. Your ideas, your thoughts , the charities that mean something personal to you - if I can help in any way however small, it all makes a difference. Please get in touch!

It's a small world after all!!


  1. I think it's great that you have not only donated to these causes but have explained what the charities are all about.

    There is a local homeless charity that we have donated to which is exceptional. It's called "Solutions For Change" and it is a long term program to solve homelessness. It's not just a meal or a bed for the night, but a very involved "univeristy" which provides a 1000 day program to solve homelessness permanently. It's a wonderful program that works!

  2. thanks very much for sharing that Rebecca! - I've just had a look and if anyone Stateside would like to get involved with this cause - please go to http://solutionsforchange.org/

  3. It does make one feel good to be able to make a difference on the less fortunates. And yes you have a smile that says that you are a happy person. I enjoyed your post and will follow your journey hopefully to be inspired.
    I am a cynic as my blog could have demonstrated, but I have not giving up all hope yet on Men' s resource for compassion. :)

  4. Thanks Sibel,

    The truth is there is an awful lot to be cynical about in this world - whether it be politicians, financiers, warmongers, or the self-obsessed celebrity culture.

    I can be as cynical as the next person so I guess I'm looking to find inspiration myself from across the global community - where there is hope there is always a reason to smile - thanks for coming along on the journey!

  5. Hi, found you through RBU. I'm a fellow combo workslave/freelance writer. Congrats on your weight loss and new healthy lifestyle, and focusing on the positive is always a good philosophy. I blog over at Wanderlust. Come by and say hi sometime.

  6. Cheers Kristin - a warm welcome to you - yes I'm definitely in the glass half full side of life - whatever happens we have to make the most of the time we have!

  7. Hi there!

    Great to see that someone is trying to spread a constructive message effectively and enthusiastically...

    Lemme give you a well deserved pat on the back for your humility...

    Wld like to read your activities and updates - so keep posting mate!

    God bless!

  8. really enjoyed reading your post - I think it is vital, but unusual, to be able to talk about charitable activity - especially in England!!

    But blogging is its own world and we can share about these things and those who don't like it can keep away!!

    Well done and keep up the good work
    2 weeks to go!!

  9. Thanks for your support Maulik, it's great to get such positive feedback on what I'm trying to do. I certainly will keep posting , I can promise you that!

  10. Cheers Ivor - yes it's like that DJ Smashie and Nicie sketch by Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse - "do a lot of work for charity , but er don't like to talk about it mate"

    In this cynical money driven world, positive initiatives, great causes need to get much more attention than they do

    To anyone dropping by, please please please take a look at Ivor's link - he's doing a 90Km run in 4 days to raise money for the Children on the Autistic Spectrum Parents association (CASPA)

  11. If you log in to your paypal account you can set up a 'donate' button and add it to your blog (perhaps set up a new paypal account specifically for that purpose) - that way people can donate the odd $ or £ when they want to and you can add it to your total and maybe credit them in a monthly post or something (not that they should want crediting, but it may encourage people to give - and that's what you need, at the end of the day).

  12. thanks again Cassundra, will definitely look into adding the donate option!


Hi, this blog is all about sharing ideas and feedback - would love to hear from you!