Meet The Lighthouse Family, the network of ordinary but incredible people making a huge difference in their communities all around the UK.
Just like lighthouses, without these people we’d all be on the rocks, high and dry, overboard, whatever you want to call it. Their beams of light touch so many lives and save so many people and yet they hardly ever get to see the effect they have. The gaps between these lighthouses, the places light doesn’t reach, are full of wrecks and ruin. We’re trying to connect them all, build up new ones and make sure the whole sea is lit up when it gets dark.
Life is like the ocean, there’s huge ups and downs and storms and fog and discomfort and danger and the lighthouses guide us through all of that. There’s no one that’s the same as another, some are established and powerful, others new and small, some stand in tranquil waters and others are battered by merciless waves, but all are necessary and valued.
We’ve yet to discover how to make these lighthouses automated and so more often than not the light is kept shining by small teams of dedicated people. We all love to visit lighthouses and look up at them in awe, but we often forget that their purpose and nightly task is to save lives and, without them, our society would fall apart. Maybe we all need to start playing our part in keeping these lighthouses alive.
All you have to do to join the Lighthouse Family is let your light touch the lives of others. We hope the stories of all these incredible people encourage you to do what you can to make a difference. Listen to the Lighthouse Family’s motivation and ideas, get connected and be inspired. Now we’ll let them speak for themselves……
*please note that is page is under construction, I have hundreds of people to add and this page will be updated with more of their stories on a regular basis 😊*
Location – Hull, Yorkshire
Contact – visit catzero.org or find them on Instagram/Twitter as CatzeroOfficial
CatZero are the charity we chose to take on Round The UK On A Tenner A Day to support. We wanted to do something positive and contribute to making a difference and so we chose CatZero because of the way they give people a future and the opportunity to live up to their full potential.
CatZero are based in Hull and they really are transforming lives and creating hugely positive, long lasting change in the community. They run programmes for young people, ex servicemen, the long term unemployed and families and use the principles of sail training as part of helping people to help themselves and giving them a family that’s always got their back. As a sail trainee myself, I know the power that life at sea has to change lives and give people self confidence, resilience and strength. As well as the sailing and other outdoors activities, CatZero also deliver a mix of training, including practical and vocational qualifications, workdays, team building, mock interviews and CV writing, with long-term move-on support.
When you see the transformation CatZero creates in individual lives and in the entire community, it’s incredible and we wanted to do all we could to support them.
Location – Immingham, Lincolnshire
Contact – Caz is known as the Little Red Cyclist on Instagram and Twitter and as Little Red’s Little Adventures on YouTube.
Before she completed one of CatZero’s programmes a couple of years ago, Caz was suicidal, self harming, struggling a lot with her mental health, would never leave her bedroom, didn’t have a great relationship with her family and had no hope for the future, but if you met her now you’d hardly believe it. Caz’s story is the true embodiment of the way CatZero transforms lives.
Caz is now probably the most positive person I know. Her instagram posts inspire me every single day, whether she’s out on her bike doing a cycle challenge to raise money for CatZero, immersing herself in her local community, doing something kind for others, volunteering with the Beavers or just generally being her happy, optimistic self.
For the month of December 2019, Caz did an ADVENTure a day, getting out & about and making a difference in her local community. She invited an elderly neighbor for dinner, used the money she’d been saving up for a part for her bike to buy food for some homeless people, helped out at a local coffee morning, handed out motivational notes, hung out with the older folk at a care home, been for runs, made blankets for the baby care unit at a local hospital, cleaned the house of some older people in the community, donated blood, hung out with her family, made Christmas cards and invited 11 people round for dinner who would otherwise have been alone. They’re things we could all do, things that make a big impact both on us personally and on the world around us.
Caz shines with confidence and is an integral part of both the local community and of CatZero.
Location – Hull, Yorkshire
Contact – you can find Callum as Callum_Jake97 on Twitter
Callum is in his early twenties and works for CatZero onboard their yacht, taking people out on life-changing voyages. He’s confident and skilled at sailing and brilliant at encouraging people to get out of their comfort zones and flourish. His first involvement with CatZero was when he completed one of their programmes several years ago, after being admitted into hospital for a drug overdose. Previously to that he’d been homeless.
He has inspired countless young people who have been in the same place as him and is playing a key role in helping them live up to their full potential. Many of these young people had never been on a boat before, never been away from home, never cooked healthy meals or done the dishes, never spent time working as a team with a group of people you don’t know very well. It’s a huge step out of their comfort zone, but Callum helps guide them through it.
This year he had the opportunity to sail one leg onboard a Clipper yacht in the round the world race. The future looks bright for Callum and for all those whose lives he makes a difference in.
Location – Bolton, Northumbria
Contact – n/a
We met Laurence when he was fixing Mo at his garage in Northumbria and he told us this story about how he spreads kindness. He always used to buy his Mum flowers when he went shopping on a Saturday, but since his Mum passed away 4 years ago, he continues to buy a bunch of flowers every week and has been giving them away to other people in the community 💐 He has touched so many lives with such a simple gesture and it should be a lesson to us all that sometimes making the effort really can make a difference.
Location – Dunbar, South East Scotland
Contact – The Ridge on Facebook
The Ridge in Dunbar was one of the very first community projects we visited and it was the beginning of us starting to think that we’d stumbled across something that could really make a difference – projects that are bringing communities together and changing lives. The Ridge does that through the transformation of an overgrown abandoned piece of land into a beautiful garden. They facilitate the opportunity for apprenticeships in heritage trades and employment for local young people, a safe space for everyone, somewhere to rebuild lives and a place to build new friendships. They’re bringing a community together and making a huge difference in so many lives.
Location – Peterhead, NE Scotland
Contact – FitClub on Facebook
If The Ridge began to show us that bringing a community together makes a huge difference, FitClub was the thing that made us certain. The sense of community spirit amongst those people in that place is kinda magic, but at the same time it couldn’t be more real. There is sweat (and plenty of it), but instead of blood and tears there are smiles and high fives all round.
There’s high intensity training, but everyone goes at their own pace, games that bring all generations together and there’s PJ – the guy who started FitClub (part of ShapeUp Peterhead) out of his own need and his own passion for fitness and being active. Everyone is there not only because they care about own well-being, but because they care about their community. Families go to this club not only to have fun together, but also to become closer. People young and old come not only to get fitter and healthier, but to encourage others that they can do the same.
This is what being a community is all about – supporting each other, having a laugh and helping each other to live our best lives.
The Brave Outdoors
Location – Peterhead, NE Scotland
Contact – The Brave Outdoors on Facebook
We spent an AMAZING afternoon and night full of campfire smoke, laughter, swinging hammocks and learning new skills at The Brave Outdoors community woodland. The project is run by Lewis, someone who is passionate about transforming lives by creating an outdoor space for everyone to use and enjoy. As the woodland is right near a big town, he is also dedicated to sharing his love of nature with others as he sees the difference it makes.
When we visited in Spring 2019, Lewis was just getting started and he was running the whole show pretty much as a one man band. He now has loads of volunteers from the community and has been able to welcome loads of people to the woodland – from local schools, scout/guide groups and the general public. They’ve got funding and sponsors and are making a huge impact on people’s lives.
Sonya Warren + Buckie
Location – Buckie, NE Scotland
Contact – Cllr Sonya Warren on Facebook
It’s spending time in places like Buckie that have made us realise that when you get out and look for community and the good in people, it is absolutely 100% out there. The people of Buckie – with their incredible sense of community and the overwhelming hospitality they showed us – inspired, humbled and encouraged us on our journey.
Before we got to Buckie, we put a post on their local Facebook group asking about visiting any community projects in the town. Sonya, the local councillor, got in touch and before we knew quite what was happening we were swept away on a two day tour of the town which included lots of the traditional fish soup ‘Cullen Skink’, hanging out with the little kids from the community theatre (who had rehearsed a song for us), being invited for fish and chips, spending the night on someone’s drive & having breakfast at their family restaurant, hearing about some amazing community projects and watching the choir concert.
We were fed until we could physically eat no more, taken to meet all the incredible people making a difference in the town, so many people came up to us and donated to CatZero, everyone stopped to talk and introduce themselves, everyone was incredibly proud and knowledgeable about their roots and Buckie’s history. It was like stepping into another world where everyone just cares about each other and their community as a priority instead of an afterthought or an add-on. For them it’s as if it’s just obvious that it’s an essential and necessary part of life and that is so incredible to see.
We were only there for a couple of days, but we consider the people of Buckie good friends. Buckie is right up in the North East of Scotland, an area not without its issues, but an area that maintains so much of its community strength and spirit.
Moray’s Got Talent
Location – Buckie, NE Scotland
Contact – Moray’s Got Talent on Facebook and Instagram
Leah organises Moray’s Got Talent every year to showcase all the talent across the Moray region, bring people together and raise money for local charities. She’s an incredibly motivated, dedicated and positive person who’s doing a lot of good and she’s been an amazing support to us on our journey.
Location – Lossiemouth, NE Scotland
Contact – Logan’s Fund on Facebook
Logan’s Fund is a children’s cancer charity providing families with a focus away from hospital & treatment using their caravan on Lossiemouth seafront (where they facilitate holidays & breaks for families whose children have been affected by cancer). We were invited there by founder Cameron to meet some lovely people called Kirsty, Amy & Kayleigh.
Amy was diagnosed with cancer eighteen months ago, but recently rung the bell that signifies having finished her treatment! She is now training to do a 5K obstacle course to raise money for Cancer Research. I only spent a couple of hours with her, but I still felt proud of her because of her desire to do something to help others.
Logan’s Fund are doing an amazing job of putting fun, laughter & magic in the lives of families like Amy’s who’ve had a really tough time & helping them to create some positive memories. The local community have come together to fundraise to help these children and their families – doing something like this to make others happy is an amazing thing.
Location – Moray, NE Scotland
Whilst in Lossiemouth, we also got to meet Sandra & Gordon from Kieran’s Legacy. They set up this incredible charity in memory of their son who tragically passed away as a teenager after being involved in an accident whilst out on his bike. They are completely committed to educating others on safety & how to save lives. They have taught many (including us!) how to use life-saving equipment & raised money to put defibrillators all over communities. We’ve been told that Kieran had a passion for sport and the outdoors and I’m sure he would want others to share that, all whilst having fun and staying safe.
Driving Daisy Minor
Location: we met them in Durness (right on the North of Scotland, they’re based in Norfolk, but the charity they support is in Somerset)
Contact – Driving Daisy Minor on Facebook and Instagram
When we were right up in the North of Scotland, lots of people had been telling us about Amelia and Amanda driving the North Coast 500 in their beautiful Morris Minor ‘Daisy’ so imagine how excited we were when we heard that they were just up the road in Durness!! We managed to flag them down for a chat and found out that they were a mother & daughter raising money for Rusty Road 2 Recovery, a charity using the parallel of using restoring classic vehicles to restore people’s lives. Both Amelia and Amanda had realised the difference doing up their Moggie had made in their lives (just like sailing had for me!!) and wanted to support a charity that they completely believe in and relate to.
We were inspired by their story and it was great to see some others taking on a journey to make a difference & to share experiences of Morris Minors and life on the road.
We actually met Amelia and Amanda again months later when we spent a week at Rusty Road 2 Recovery (which has become one of our absolute favourite projects), hanging out with the team and getting Mo back on the road. They also saved the day by picking up a rear axle and dropping it off for us when ours snapped on our way to our gran’s in Essex for Christmas. They were an integral part of getting us back on the road – an incredible story of kindness and humanity that enabled us to continue our journey.