I'm really excited that the publication date for my book about toddlers is only days away - it should be available before Christmas, in paperback and Kindle formats.
And even better news is that a chunk of the royalties will be going to Home-Start, the UK's leading family support charity.
What I like about Home-Start is that it's a very practical, hands on charity - volunteers visit families in their homes and give them whatever help they need, even if it's just playing with the kids so an exhausted parent can have a rest. It's very much a 'coaching' approach, since the volunteers don't tell the families what to do, they support them to help them find their own solutions.
The Home-Start service is free and relies on volunteers. These volunteers are heroes should be applauded for what they do.
However, cuts in government funding have led to some Home-Start schemes having to close. It's a shame when familes dealing with stress, illness and disability isn't a priority. I feel honoured to be supporting these families with my book. I wish the government felt the same.
Toddlers: An Instruction Manual was always designed to be a very practical book, full of real life advice and experiences that any parent of an under five can use and apply to their life straight away. So I think it's a good fit with Home-Start. If you buy this book you will be helping yourself, and other families whom you will never meet, but who will appreciate it. That's a good thought, isn't it?
But if you don't need a book about under 5's (and I appreciate that not everyone does), but you're feeling in a charitable mood, here's an easy way to do something about it. Last week I went to the launch of a new service called Give as you Live. This service means that every time you do online shopping with a major retailer (they've signed up all the biggies) a proportion of what you spend goes to a charity of your choice. You don't pay any extra, the retailer makes the donation by giving up a slice of its profits. Given that it's suposedly one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, if you were going to spend it anyway, you might as well do it the Give as you Live way, and donate at the same time. You've got nothing to lose, whilst your chosen charity has everything to gain.