Friday, 28 September 2012

Sonny says thanks for the iPad

Another day, another iPad and another happy child! The Hearts and Minds mobile phone recycling scheme is changing lives all over Britain.

This is Sonny's story:


My name is Sonny.  I am 5 years old.  I was born at 25 weeks and weighing a whopping 790 grams.   Since my birth I have fought against infections, a heart attack and a series of mini strokes.  I am severely under-developed with my walking and talking, but I am doing far more than my Mummy was told I would ever achieve.  I have resolving chronic lung disease, which will never be fixed.  I have many issues with sounds, lights and smells. I have autistic tendencies and severe behavioral difficulties.  Currently I am waiting for a grant so that Mummy and Daddy can build an extension on our house so I can have my own room, I am unable to climb the stairs as recently I have developed epilepsy so I have frequent seizures – I sleep in a special bed in the lounge (which is great as I get the wide screen tv, log burner and comfy sofa).   I have a very high intelligence and am hyperactive so I don’t need much sleep to function, whereas Mummy does!!  I have two sisters who live with me, they are 10 and 7.  I drive them insane (apparently) with my constant questions and needs (I have no awareness of danger so need constant supervision).   I go to a specialist school for language and communication difficulties and in September I will be going into Year 1, which I am very excited about!  Mummy was put in touch with a UK Charity, Hearts and Minds, which has started a scheme to re-cycle old mobile telephones in exchange for an iPad. 

Look what 185 old mobile phones can do?  Gives me this cheesy smiley face!  Look at me now, I’m in iPad land and I love it! I can watch my favourite programmes through you tube and follow links as well as improve my fine motor skills by navigating the different apps (*cough, cough*) and give Mummy a small break as it is keep me very still!!! I am having a ball.

To all of my favourite friends: thank you, thank you, thank you – you are all truly superstars!! Lots of love Sonny xxxxxx 

If your child needs an iPad please check out Hearts and Minds:

Twitter: @handmchallenge

This scheme began in Ireland:


Thursday, 20 September 2012

A 3 Peaks Challenge for Hearts & Minds

The 3 Peaks Challenge for Hearts & Minds involves climbing the three highest mountains in the United Kingdom - Ben Nevis in Scotland; Scafell Pike, in the Lake District National Park and Snowdon in Wales - in 24 hours or 3 days: your choice.

The 24 hour challenge takes place from 14th to 16th June 2013.

The 3 day challenge takes place from 23rd to 26th August 2013

More about the 24 hour challenge:

We travel to Fort William on the Friday and climb Ben Nevis on the Saturday morning, we climb Scafell Pike in the early evening and finally, on Sunday morning we climb Snowdon.

People contemplating this particular event should have the necessary fitness and also be prepared for the endurance of lack of sleep.

We aim to complete the mountains in a time of 13 hours: Ben Nevis in 5 hours, Scafell Pike in 4 hours and Snowdon in 4 hours. The overall trip takes longer than 13 hours as you need to transfer by road to each mountain along the way.

The Challenge is guided by qualified mountain leaders and our driver is a professional and competent member of our company and will stay with the vehicle throughout the Challenge.  This event is a full on Challenge that will test your physical ability.

Typical Itinerary 

We run the trip over the weekend, Friday morning to Sunday Afternoon. We also offer a midweek Challenge, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.


We will meet up at different points of the route and travel to Fort William. We will have a briefing and check that all clients have the necessary equipment. For the remainder of the evening, we will be able to relax, eat an evening meal and prepare for the following event.


We aim to have breakfast at 7:00 am and depart for the beginning of the Challenge at approximately 8:00 am at Ben Nevis visitor centre. This should be a round trip of about 5 hours. A transfer to Scafell Pike in the Lake District National Park. Scafell will be an evening ascent (4 hour round trip).


Early hours of Sunday Morning, we will transfer to Snowdon, where we will complete the final part of the Challenge: climbing Snowdon, in approximately 3.5 hours. Drop offs along the route to Manchester.

Please note that this itinerary is only a guide and can be subject to change dependent upon fitness and weather conditions. 

Recommended Fitness Programme

The 3 Peaks challenge over 24 hours will require a high level of physical fitness and there is a preparation programme on the website:

A Few facts about the Mountains you will Climb 

Ben Nevis 

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. It is located in the West of the Grampian Mountains and is close to the town of Fort William. The mountain is 1,344 m (4,409ft) high. It was first climbed on 17th August 1771 by James Robertson. The track was built in 1883. There are ruins of Meteorologist observatory on the mountain.

Scafell Pike 

Scafell is the highest mountain in England and is located in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria. The mountain is near the town of Gosforth. The base of the mountain runs along Wastwater, the deepest lake in England at 79 metres deep. Scafell is 978 m (3,209 ft) high.


Snowdon is the highest peak in Wales and is located in the Snowdonia National Park. It is 1,085 m (3,560 ft) tall and has several climbs up the mountain. The usual tracks that ‘The 3 Peaks Challenge’ takes are the Pyg track or miners track.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A Hearts & Minds sponsored cycling challenge in sunny Spain

Fancy soaking up the sunshine in Andalucia on a bike while raising funds for children with autism?  Then join the Cycling Buddy Charity Challenge, a sponsored 4-day 300 mile bike ride from Malaga to Gibraltar in May 2013 in aid of Hearts and Minds and in association with  The cyclist that raises the most sponsorship money will win a holiday for 2 at a Villa in Portugal.  Funds raised will go towards plans by Hearts and Minds to build a school for autism.

Sign up for the challenge here:

“The CyclingBuddy Charity Challenge” is a cycling challenge that consists of cycling 300 miles in 4 days. You will start your challenge in Malaga and cycle through Ronda, Seville and Jerez before finishing in Gibraltar where you will enjoy an end of event celebration party.

Each day you will be in the saddle for around 6-8 hours, so padded shorts are a must! We guarantee the routes will keep you wanting more with challenging short sharp inclines, long energy sapping inclines, mixed with rewarding declines and plenty of opportunities to chill out and enjoy a chat. There will be scheduled breaks during each day and each evening we will be sampling the very best of Spanish culture.

By taking part in this challenging experience you will not only get the chance to cycle along some of the most scenic routes in Europe while making some great new friendships, you will also get to meet some of our celebrity supporters who will be joining us on the ride.

All the funds raised during this event will be used to make a difference to the lives of children with autism in the UK & Ireland.

Simply register for £100 and agree to raise a further minimum of £1600 and you will be part of “The CyclingBuddy Charity Challenge”

All members of get a 10% discount
You can join for FREE at

Return flights from the UK to Malaga
Coach transfers from airport to hotel
2 cycling shirts (Must be worn during the event)
All hotels including breakfast and evening meal
Food and energy drinks during each day’s cycling available at feeding stations
Bikes and bags transported by road and ferry
Marshalls to guide and assist you each day
Physiotherapists to help you recover at the end of each day’s cycling
Emergency medical team
All bags will be transported to the next hotel ready for your arrival
Celebration Party at the end of the event in Gibraltar
Advice on training for this event

Bike and equipment
Cycling Helmet (Helmets must be worn at all times when cycling)
Travel insurance


DAY 1 UK to Malaga 23rd May 2013
All cyclists will fly from the UK to Malaga and then be transferred to their hotel where they will collect their bikes to get them ready to start the ride the following morning.

DAY 2 Malaga to Ronda 24th May 2013
Day two will be the start of our challenge. You will start the ride from the hotel and cycle approximately 50 miles to Ronda. This will be the shortest and most difficult part of the ride. You will have some tough inclines ahead of you before you reach Ronda with average inclines of 2.6% to 6.9%

DAY 3 Ronda to Seville 25th May 2013
Day three takes us from Ronda to Seville covering approximately 75 miles. This part of the ride has plenty of good rewarding declines as well as a number of short inclines ranging from 2.5% to 4.8% average gradient.

DAY 4 Seville to Jerez 26th May 2013
Day four takes us from Seville to Jerez covering approximately 87 miles of undulating roads with no categorised inclines.

DAY 5 Jerez to Gibraltar 27th May 2013
Day five takes us from Seville to Gibraltar covering approximately 91 miles with a number of inclines in the middle of the ride with an average gradient of 2.8%. After arriving at Gibraltar we will get ready to celebrate finishing our challenge with a celebration party.

DAY 6 Gibraltar to the UK 28th May 2013
Return flights from Gibraltar to the UK

Set up your own page on our charity giving site so friends and family can sponsor you on line just go to
Hold a 50-50 raffle.
You sell raffle tickets at any event that you have going on. There is only one prize - half the takings! That’s right, some lucky person gets half of all the money taken. The other half of course goes towards your fundraising target. The more tickets that are sold - the bigger the jackpot! Build the excitement by showing the current total on a display board. It’s really important to whip up some enthusiasm for the raffle but keep it good fun.
Ask your employer if your company can support you.
Some companies will match the amount you raise.
Set a target amount you want to raise from your work place.
Let your colleagues know your target and offer to go to work in fancy dress for a day if they reach the target. Let them vote on your fancy dress outfit.
Hold a cake sale
Each Friday at work with all profits going towards your fundraising target.
Ask your local school to hold a no uniform day.
All pupils can pay £1 so they can wear their own clothes for the day instead of their uniform
Hold a charity fundraising night
Ask your local pub or club to hole a fundraiser such as a race night or pub quiz.
Bag pack
Ask your local supermarket to let you pack shopping bags in order to collect donations from shoppers.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Promo codes for Wombi apps for kids - have your iPads ready!

Swedish App developers Wombi have given eleven promotional codes for their kids' apps to Hearts and Minds.

AROUND THE CLOCK is their most ambitious app, containing 24 mini-games, one for every hour of the day.  It was included in the Guardian’s 50 BEST APPS FOR KIDS earlier this year.

There is one promotional code for this - first person to click gets it.

TOUCH AND LISTEN is a popular picture book app.  Check it out here:

Here are 10 codes to try it out for free:

(There is also a free lite version so everyone can get one copy:
If your child needs an iPad please check out Hearts and Minds:

Twitter: @handmchallenge

This scheme began in Ireland:

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

In the news - September 2012

More than 900 families have now registered with the Hearts and Minds iPad scheme and many are finding that a good way to collect old mobile phones is to get an article in the local paper or on-line.  Here are some recent examples...

A Daventry Mum is appealing for phones to get an iPad for 13 year old Callum, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Swansea Mum Carley Owen thanks readers for their help and asks for more.

A Cornish autism support group has a lovely write up about the Hearts and Minds challenge.

Mum Anne Stone (@okesanne) writes a heart-warming blog about life with 5 children, two of whom have autism.  Recently she registered for the Hearts and Minds scheme and she explains why in this post.

If your child needs an iPad please check out Hearts and Minds:

Twitter: @handmchallenge

This scheme began in Ireland:

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A video celebration of kids with their iPads

More than 1000 people have now joined the Hearts and Minds Facebook page - just 3 months since the TV launch on May 31st.  And by the end of last week 900 families had registered for the mobile phone recycling scheme.   There are also 23 happy children - and families - who have finished collecting old phones and have exchanged them for iPads.  This (very short) film shows just how much their new devices mean to them...

If your child needs an iPad please check out Hearts and Minds:

Twitter: @handmchallenge

This scheme began in Ireland: