Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Meet Cheryl, the new Hearts and Minds Events Manager

Hearts and  Minds is delighted to announce that Cheryl Broadfoot has joined the Hearts and Minds team as our new Events Manager!  Previously she was a choreographer and the manager of bands such as Black Box and Cleopatra.  You can meet her at the Autism Show in Manchester this week, where she will be on hand to answer questions about the charity, fundraising events such as the upcoming Horse-racing and Madness evening, as well as giving advice on collecting old mobile phones.

Cheryl is also Mum to Bobby, who has autism, and recently ran a very successful campaign to collect enough old mobile phones to provide an iPad for every child in Bobby's class - an aim that was achieved in just eight weeks!

She is also currently looking for volunteers to take part in a sky diving event (date to be organised) to support Hearts and Minds.

Here's how to contact Cheryl:


Facebook: HeartsandMindsEvents
Twitter: @cshowbiz

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Hearts & Minds at the Autism Show in Manchester

Are you going to the Autism Show in Manchester this week?  Well don't forget to pop to stand A17 and say hello to the Hearts and Minds team: it's our first time at the show and we hope to have lots of visitors!

We will have a questionnaire at the stand for parents about Autism Education and the need for the type of school that Hearts and Minds is planning to establish - please fill it in and help our campaign. It's only short as you can see - and if you can't make the show and would like a copy, please email heartsandminds100 at gmail dot com.

The stall will also be providing information about upcoming fundraising events, and there will be help and advice for families who are collecting phones to exchange for iPads through the Hearts and Minds mobile phone recycling campaign.

Could an iPad help your child too?

If you live in Britain, simply collect 165 old mobile phones and the Manchester-based charity Hearts and Minds will exchange them for a new iPad.

Details here:

Website: :

Friday, 21 June 2013


A family from St Ives is urging the local community to answer their call for old mobile phones – as part of a fundraising scheme aimed at equipping autistic children with iPads. 

Rachael and Andy Allen are calling on people to donate unwanted handsets, so that they can buy an iPad for their son Toby, who has autism and sensory processing disorder.

Toby, aged seven, struggles with communication and finds writing extremely difficult and often painful. This means that he is behind his classmates by about two years.

The scheme, run by autism charity Hearts & Minds Challenge, enables families to exchange old mobiles for iPads. Just 165 mobile phones will result in a brand new iPad, which will make a real difference to youngsters like Toby.

Childminder, Rachael, 40, said: “The Hearts & Minds iPad scheme is amazing, because it provides an excellent way for autistic children to communicate, learn and develop new skills. It also raises much-needed funds for the charity, so they can continue to help even more autistic children in the UK.

I’d like to encourage anyone, who may have old or unwanted mobiles lying around at home, to get in contact and help transform our son’s life – and the many other children just like him. Toby has had the chance to try out an iPad at school, and through doing so he has come on in leaps and bounds. As a result, he was able to access the same curriculum as his classmates. Toby finds maintaining friendships very difficult, but through an iPad, he could learn to communicate with his classmates through the apps that are available.”

Hearts & Minds Challenge is a charity dedicated to supporting children and families touched by autism. The organisation, which is supported by Mel Sykes, Keith Duffy and Paul Scholes, aims to raise the quality of life for individuals and their families affected by the disorder, by ensuring the provision of the highest standards in education, care and support.

To date, the charity’s fundraising activity has raised over £500,000 and has helped to educate and support many children and families.

Ian McGrath, founder of Hearts & Minds, said: “This scheme has already helped to transform the lives of families around the UK and we would like to see many more people benefit.

The therapeutic benefits of using interactive, easy-to-use technology, such as an iPad, have now been widely recognised and really can make a difference. I’d like to encourage everyone to donate any old phones to help support Toby and his family.”

If you have any unwanted mobile phones, please contact Rachael and Andy Allen via email at

If you would like to find out more about the charity, or the mobile phone scheme and how you may be able to get an iPad for a friend or loved one, please visit

What is it all for? 

Hearts & Minds Challenge is currently campaigning to raise £1 million, to fund an Autism Centre of Excellence in Manchester. The centre will initially school 25 pupils, aged three to 11. Comprehensive evaluations for each student will be carried out to identify their personal strengths and needs and bespoke programmes will be developed and tailored to each individual.

Friday, 14 June 2013

How to collect 165 old phones in 6 weeks

Positive from the start, Bristol Dad, David Anderson, shared every step of the Hearts and Minds challenge to collect 165 old phones to exchange for an iPad for his son Ashton.

It all began at the end of April...

"We started our challenge a week ago and the response has been amazing!  I have people putting phones in the post from as far away as Newcastle, and have friends in North Carolina collecting phones to send from the US back to us in the UK." 

Ashton with the first two phones
Within days Dad David had also made contact with the local papers and joined forces with local Mum Toni Harwood, who is collecting phones for her son, Ethan.  They persuaded people in Bristol, Bath, Swindon, Chippenham, London and North Caroline to collect phones.  Fone Fix in Swindon donated phones and allowed customers to leave their donations in the shop too.  David also contacted local football and rugby teams, a community centre, a social club and a builder's providers.  The following week saw stories in two local papers.

By May 13th David had 47 phones in his hand and another 100 in various cities around the UK, waiting for collection!  There was also more media coverage with a story in the White Horse News:

May 18th saw a big drive to collect phones in Swindon.  And the boys met for the first time:

Ethan and Ashton
The target was reached on May 23rd...

And Ashton is currently waiting for his iPad to be delivered!

Special thanks also go to Sara Kennedy, Lynn Griffen, Mary Lawrence, Andy Runsam, Dilton Marsh Social Club, Timms in Carterton and the Brunei Centre in Cranwell.

Ethan's Mum is still collecting, and this is a video made by her middle daughter for her autistic brother, which shows why this cause is so important.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

How to make a weighted blanket for under £50


1.  Use this guide to work out the size and weight of blanket that you need for your child.

2.  Sew a double layer of wadding around the edges on the three closed sides of the duvet cover, leaving it open in the middle.

Plastic Polybeads

3.  Put 10% of the plastic poly beads beads into the duvet cover.  Then sew across horizontally with sewing machine and repeat until the blanket is divided in 10 rows.

4.  Then once the duvet is sealed up, divide it again vertically.
5.  Takes about 4 hours to make.

More detailed instructions here:
With thanks to Galway Autism Partnership who would be delighted to welcome any families from the UK who are travelling to the West of Ireland to join in with their events for children with autism this summer.