Guest blog: Reef's charity road trip brings industry together

By Clare Cockell, managing director, The Reef Spas, Kent

Clare Cockell The Reef SpaThe rewarding feeling when doing something for charity is a great thing. I always believe that in business it’s important to support charity where possible.

Last week, along with my two spa managers, Jenny Thuysbaert and Kelly Heaver, I took part in a charity road trip. The idea being to drive Land’s End to John O’Groats and stop off at various charities along the way that were important to us or others we knew. We handed over funds raised, gifts, and offered complimentary treatments to the teams.

Jenny, Kelly, and I felt that by actually getting out, meeting people and offering treatments that it would be a great way to promote the beauty industry, the importance of taking time out. We also wanted to bring the industry together by getting other salons and spas involved along the way.

Reef at Sleeping Beauty

We had press interest local to each area which was great for promoting treatments. But, most importantly, it was a great way to personally say thank you and treat everyone within the charities who are always working hard to care for others.

Each charity was so grateful for the pampering given. The team at Jessie May Trust children’s hospice in Bristol said they had been so excited and were counting down the days to our arrival. Those at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Cheshire were so thankful to us for visiting and also to their hospice manager for allowing each person to take a moment out of their day to enjoy something for themselves.

We did this adventure by joining forces with other award-winning salons and spas. In Bristol, the lovely Maria Mason, owner of Beauty Time, joined us at the Jessie May Trust to offer treatments. In Chester we had five of the amazing GLOW therapists join us for pampering at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd.

Reef and Glow teams

We then joined upwith the fab team at Armathwaite Hall Spa in the Lake District, where we offered treatments to Keswick Mountain Rescue, followed by treatments to Sands Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity in Glasgow with professional and friendly therapist Diane from Pure Spa and Beauty.

At one of the last stops on our trip we met three caring therapists from Sleeping Beauty salons, who assisted at the Highland Homeless Trust in Inverness.

We also visited Bowel Cancer West in Plymouth, Blackpool Cats in Care and the Royal Marines 45 commando in Arbroath for Help for Heroes.

During the whole journey we met many people who perhaps had never had a back massage or their nails done. Each person’s dignity was kept intact when preparing for a treatment and it was fantastic to see the level of care and service given by all the therapists involved, meaning that someone who was perhaps self-conscious about having a treatment had been left relaxed and completely wowed by the experience.

During the trip, Jenny, Kelly and I spent every night camping. Most campsites had been given to us for free. We experienced so much generosity throughout the week, which was heart-warming. We had someone treat us to dinner, had lunches put on for us, donations given when least expected, and even a spa afternoon!

We were over the moon in the Lake District when spa director, Colin Farndon, suggest we take a couple of hours out to enjoy the facilities Armathwaite has to offer. It was so kind of him. This was the only time we had moment to stop during the week, so it worked out well. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and the outdoor hot tub was very welcome by this point!

Reef at marines camp

We decided to camp as we felt we should remain humble throughout the charity trip, and also that it would be excellent team work and personal growth for the three of us. There was just one night for which the Royal Marines provided a house to stay in on camp.

Reef camping

We offered treatments to other campers in return for a donation, and it was great fun doing treatments in the middle of a field! Camping meant we needed to wear a few layers to stay warm and days were long due to having to erect and dismantle the tent every day but it was all completely worth it for each charity we visited.

There were some hairy moments. I must admit to my spa-owner side appearing when Kelly began squealing while driving after a wrong turn took us and our loaded van over tight, steep mountain roads in the Lake District. I felt slightly more relaxed once I took control!

We had such a great time bonding with others from the industry. For a brief moment I became a GLOW girl, as therapist Carly and I swapped jumpers! 

Everyone was so enthusiastic and wanted to help each charity just as much as we did. It was fantastic to see that some aim to carry on supporting the charities local to them, which we had visited. We had the chance to pop to most of the salons and spas involved and get photos.

I'm so grateful to Jenny and Kelly, who were hard-working, professional, considerate, and such a pleasure to do this trip with. The trip was more challenging at times than expected and I’m so very proud of them. Also to the whole team at The Reef who worked so hard to raise funds and were such a great support along the way. Plus, to the incredible salons and spas who joined the venture and came together in the beauty industry to give back to others. Together we've raised more than £2,000 and we plan to keep raising money. #ReefBBG Be Beautiful and Give!