Have you ever found yourself pondering on that age-old saying, ‘…when one door closes, another opens…’? Well, nothing could have proved how very valid this could be for me, than the series of events that have unfolded since I was finally forced to accept medical retirement from the career in Nursing, which I adored, in February last year.
Perhaps I have confused relaxing and resting with idleness but I have never really mastered the art of either, unless I’m literally floored by my health challenges. So, I prepared to fill my time following retirement, with a nutrition course and voluntary work.
First on my list, was to initiate a local PINNT group, here in Milton Keynes. With the support of Sylvia Cottee and Carolyn Wheatley, the MK group has met twice and the feedback has been very positive. I wanted to do more to help raise funds and awareness of PINNT.
I had been successfully running a ‘Juice and Smoothie Bar’ at the local Retirement Village (where I also volunteer in the gym) for several months; raising funds for the village gym (enabling people of all abilities to access the facilities with adaptive equipment). As my Intestinal Failure continued to deteriorate (hence commencing PN over two years ago), my passion for ‘food as medicine’ soared. Although I am very restricted on oral intake (pureed only), I try to ensure everything I take is nutritionally beneficial, so that if I absorb anything, it will be something helpful!
I also worked tirelessly to set up the charitable ‘Community Juice Bar’ for several months, until on 4th
October the CJB adopted its constitution and became a charitable, not-for-profit group. The CJB launched on 6th
December 2014 and now runs regularly on Saturday mornings 10am - 12pm, at the local Leisure Centre. All proceeds go directly to PINNT (£140 raised so far!). I absolutely love running the CJB. I am delighted that I have found a new passion to replace the loss of my Nursing career. It’s such an amazing privilege to raise funds and awareness of PINNT, as well as promoting the health and wellbeing of the local community. If you are local to Milton Keynes, do join us to sample the juices and smoothies – you are always sure of a very warm welcome!
I’ve been successful in attracting donated equipment, including a reconditioned high speed/power blender and top of the range cold-press masticating juicer, so that we can serve freshly cold-pressed ‘live’ juices and smoothies at just £1 each. I was also able to appeal to local companies for donations of raffle prizes (increasing the donation to PINNT) and fresh local organic produce. I’m also delighted to say that I secured a grant from the local Lions Club (which enabled purchase of a fold down trolley to transport all the equipment and produce to the venue and the essential insurance) and a further grant from the local Parish Council - enough to purchase fresh produce for approximately three months.
I am hopeful that we will be hosting a juicing workshop in the summer, provided by a very successful juice bar chain. This will extend the funds available to PINNT further and be a wonderful experience to anyone interested in juicing.
I also hope to win a scholarship to train as a ‘Juice Therapist’. I would then offer consultations in exchange for a donation to the CJB/PINNT.
The next task is to attract local companies to regularly donate fresh (surplus) produce for the CJB and even try to arrange for a local gardener or allotment owner to donate surplus produce, in exchange for the pulp from the juice…which makes the most fantastic compost material.
I have a Facebook page, at: www.facebook.com/communityjuicebar
- if you are a user/member of FB, I post lots of recipes, tips and information on the page.
We had a feature in the Milton Keynes News on 11th February 2015.