Artemis sponsors local football team

Artemis sponsors Hurstpierpoint FC

We’re delighted to announce our sponsorship of local football team, Hurstpierpoint FC. The Artemis offices are based on the outskirts of the beautiful Sussex village of Hurstpierpoint so it made perfect sense for us to support the local team.

football pitch

 

Hurstpierpoint FC have been the village team since 1886. They currently play in the Gray Hooper Holt LLP Mid Sussex Football League Division 1. Home games are played at Fairfield Recreation Ground in Hurstpierpoint and the club trains weekly at the Burgess Hill Academy.

The club played in the Mid Sussex League for the majority of its early years, but became a founder member of The Sussex County Football League (SCFL) Division Three. Their best season so far was reaching second in SCFL Division Three in 2010/11. With us as sponsors we hope they’ll make it to the top this season!

Pre-season training is underway and the team is looking forward to the start of the 18/19 season. Manager, Dudley Christensen and assistant manager, Stuart Ritchie are feeling optimistic. Pre-season started with a 2-1 win and a 5-3 loss against a strong Southwater FC side. Despite the loss of one game, Hurstpierpoint put in two solid performances.

Our brilliant designer, Aaron Thomas is working on the graphics for the new football shirts. We can’t wait to see the big reveal and see the team in action. We promise to share more news with you soon!

Come on you Blue Dogs!


Hotjar Interface

How to turn visitors into customers with Hotjar

There are many ways that you can optimise your website to improve its position in search rankings. But for some businesses, the real challenge is turning visitors to the site into customers. To do so it is important to find the areas on your site that could potentially be used more effectively and generate more conversions from the traffic you are currently receiving.

Hotjar is an increasingly popular tool that can be used to help websites generate more enquiries or leads. It does this by collecting user data and feedback which enables you to fully understand where the web and mobile traffic is focussed on your site, and how you can benefit from it.

Whether your website is used for ecommerce or for referrals, you need to know which pages or actions can create the most leads. Hotjar uses tools like heatmaps and recordings to help you better understand and manage your website. But optimising a website for an increase in traffic or conversions can be tricky. Here are our quick top tips on how to use Hotjar effectively to increase conversion rates and turn your visitors into customers.

How heatmaps work

Hotjar’s heatmap feature essentially monitors a user’s movements and engagement across a website or on specific pages. Heatmaps are capable of showing users’ behaviour on a page and are useful for understanding where your visitors are clicking and how far they are willing to scroll down a page for more information.

It is important to then highlight where your users are often clicking to and how you can then essentially turn that into a lead or improve in other areas of the page. This can work really well for a ‘Contact’ page you’re looking to improve, whether it is by looking into how your form is shown or guiding you to whether your buttons and other elements are creating a potential barrier for users.

Hotjar Heatmaps Image
In the image above you will see an example of how users behave on the Artemis homepage. Interestingly, the majority of clicks received on the homepage can be found on the ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ tab. This can also show the areas that your visitors aren’t clicking onto that much or not at all, it gives you insight into what you need to focus on more or on how you can improve elements such as call-to-action buttons, forms or general content.

Hotjar Heatmaps - Artemis Homepage Image
However, heatmaps are capable of more. The image above shows the movements of your visitors across the page and what users are more drawn to. It can also highlight the ratio of most mouse movements compared to the clicks from the previous image, which again, can indicate on how to gain leads from certain elements such as buttons, forms and opt-ins.

Record targeted pages

One of Hotjar’s most powerful features is recordings. The recording feature can enable you to see how visitors are interacting with your website. It does this by collecting and storing visitor session data and actively records a user’s movements.

It’s not as scary as it sounds… Each event is tracked as a different session and allows you to play it back and watch how visitors are behaving on your website and which pages they are going to. Through analysing the data you have collected to see how users are interacting with the site, you can essentially build or change the site around them.

It is important to understand how a user navigates around a website, you can see your visitors’ journeys and how they digest content along the way, especially for an ecommerce site when the focus is on the products you are trying to sell.

How does recording pages help me?

Recordings can help you answer a large number of questions on the user experience and usability of your site, such as:

  • What barriers exist on my website? And how can I fix them?
  • What is driving people to convert on my page?
  • Are users ignoring my CTA buttons? Are they even seeing them?

It’s important to define the changes you need to make to a page, even if it means a small increase in clicks, especially to a targeted page such as a contact page. It means you can build or change the website around your visitors and make the user experience better, especially if there is a barrier blocking their way to another page. It is great to understand these challenges and how you can fix them.

And even better is the fact that you are not limiting: you can record both static and dynamic pages along with shopping carts and logged in areas.

Understanding how Hotjar forms work

When you have contact forms on your website, it is important to check whether you are actually receiving any conversions or interactions for what you have featured on a targeted page.

Hotjar Form Reports can provide you with an in-depth view of how each of your forms are collecting data and if they are converting traffic from them. Sessions are collected for each form and you will be able to analyse how long each user is spending on a field or whether they abandoned the contact form altogether. It is good to understand how they interact with it and if there are any challenges they are facing (e.g. a ‘Submit’ button not working correctly).

Hotjar - Forms Image
In the image above you can see the rate of sessions and drop off along with interactions for each field, making it easier to understand how to can improve a form or see what barriers your visitors could be facing.

Hotjar is becoming an increasingly popular tool that can help a website generate more enquiries and lead to more conversions. Artemis have many years of digital marketing experience and can provide expert help to enable your business to reach a wide yet targeted audience of new and existing customers. Contact us for a free Hotjar consultation.


Healthy food in a bowl

Artemis staff volunteer for #PlasticFreeFriday

Friends of the Earth have launched their #PlasticFreeFriday campaign, encouraging individuals and businesses to commit to one day every week where they do not use any form of single-use plastic.

At Artemis we thought that it was a fantastic idea, and as a part of our responsibility to the environment and sustainability, members of staff have volunteered to be a part of the campaign – eliminating single-use plastic on Fridays (as well as being mindful of plastic usage the rest of the week).

Friends of the Earth

 

There is simply so much single-use plastic that inevitably ends up in landfills and then gets into the world’s oceans. Single-use plastic includes everyday items such as wrappers, sandwich packets, bottles, plastic straws, disposable coffee cup lids, food bags, plastic cutlery and much more.

Making small changes, such as going plastic-free one day per week can help change behaviour and raise awareness to the cause and the challenges.

PlasticFreeFriday tip

 

Check out the Friends of the Earth campaign for some great tips about how to go single-use plastic free, either on Fridays or as often as you can!

Artemis takes our commitment to the environment seriously. We utilise recycling boxes, recently investing in a coffee-pod collector to make it possible for us to recycle more effectively. We also exclusively use eco-friendly cleaning products, use as little paper as possible and are always looking to implement greener policies in the office.

Artemis coffee pod recycling

 

Join us for #PlasticFreeFriday!


Computer code

Artificial Intelligence and Search Engines. Part One: Changing the Way We Search

Over the course of our two-part blog series, we will take an in-depth look at the growth and progression of artificial intelligence in relation to search technology. In Part One we will examine how artificial intelligence is changing the way that people utilise search engines. In Part Two we take a look at what these changes mean for the SEO industry and the way your website ranks on Google.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword around SEO for some time now. For a number of years, SEO professionals have postulated that AI would have a huge role to play in the future of the industry. But this all looked a long way off in 2012, when Google was struggling to get its most advanced AI software to even recognise whether or not a cat was present in a video.

Over the past few years there have marked improvements in the technology to the point where we are seeing AI systems integrate seamlessly into people’s lives. AI assistants on mobile devices and computers have become commonplace – Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are just two examples attempting to show how clever they are. AI has slowly been colonising search engines too. And while it’s certainly no secret, the growing influence of AI on Google has taken some search professionals by surprise. But to understand just how AI is affecting the landscape of SEO, we must first establish the ways that AI is influencing and altering the ways that people use search engines every day.

Computer code

Understanding artificial intelligence

AI may well be the future of search, and therefore being able to understand AI and interpret how it works is an important challenge for businesses and search engine professionals. Firstly, it is useful to understand what AI actually is and how it is applied to search engines.

When we talk about AI, we are referring to the attempts to make machines do the things that human minds can do. Machines are typically extremely efficient at being able to do the things that they are told to do, but cannot do things where they are asked to make decisions or utilise skills such as creativity or problem-solving, which we think of as intrinsically human.

Essentially it is asking machines to learn from their own experiences, rather than learning from things that they have been told by their programming. This has taken many forms, from computers that have learned to play chess better than Grandmasters to cars with the ability to drive themselves.

AI is used within search engines a number of ways. The most of obvious use is in the augmenting of algorithms used to rank websites in order to more effectively offer high quality search results. But AI is also used in a variety of situations that you might not realise when you browse on your phone or search on your laptop.
To understand these, we need to take a closer look at the different types of artificial intelligence that are used by Google, Microsoft, Apple and other technology giants who are leading the field.

The progression of artificial intelligence

There is a lot of talk of AI in modern settings, but when you attempt to understand how it is used within search engines you come up against the problem that the term ‘artificial intelligence’ is simply far too broad. AI can simultaneously refer to the earliest beginnings of the concept, the modern day technology that influences our lives right now, and the myriad possibilities for the future. It is important, then, to break down the phrase into more manageable concepts.

You might not realise that AI dates back to 1956 when computer scientists coined the phrase. In its infancy, AI pioneers dreamed primarily of machines that could mimic all aspects of human intellect – think of androids in science fiction films. Today, however, those at the forefront of the technology realise that the advantages of AI actually come from much narrower forms.

Machine learning

Rather than trying to produce AI that mimics the human experience, pioneers look for opportunities where AI can perform difficult or time-consuming tasks that we previously have relied on human minds for.

This is where we first encounter the phrase ‘machine learning’. Machine learning is a form of AI where a computer is programmed with algorithms to learn and improve at task by being shown a large amount of data. For example, if you could program a computer to understand what letters look like, it could then scan images for words. While impressive feats were accomplished with this form of machine learning, it would still encounter problems.

For example, if the first letter of a word was partially obscured, leaving the letters “E-L-L-O” a computer would not be able to recognise what most English-speaking humans would know instantly: the word is ‘hello’. It was for the same reason that Google was struggling to get its AI to recognise a cat in a video – it worked some of the time, but if the images were obscured, the AI simply was not advanced enough to recognise cats effectively.

Deep learning

It was relatively recently that the concept of ‘deep learning’ was introduced. This is a form of machine learning in which computers are exposed to a huge number of images and use something called neural networks, which examine different elements of the image to ascertain what it is. With the advent and advancement of modern computers, it is now possible for a computer to analyse millions of images and learn from its mistakes. Deep learning is currently the most effective form of AI.

This shows us, then, that what we truly need for successful AI is actually a very large amount of data that can be fed into a machine and allow it to learn. This is, in part, why Google is able (and will continue to be able) to use AI so effectively – the company simply has access to such a huge amount of extremely rich data to provide to its AI systems.

Man on smartphone and laptop

Revolutionising the way we search

So, what does the use of deep learning AI mean for the future of search? The truth is it already having an enormous impact in ways that you might not even have noticed. For example, if you have ever searched using Google Assistant (starting by saying the phrase ‘OK Google’ aloud) you may have watched your device interpreting the words you are saying. It is cleverly able to ignore hesitations and recognise natural speech patterns.

For a glimpse into just how advanced Google’s speech recognition has become, take a look at this video where Google Assistant takes a query from a user about making a women’s hair appointment and then actually makes a call to the salon in order to get the appointment booked, mimicking human speech and understanding the nuances of the conversation.

Interestingly, Google has even able to understand the difference between the ways that different generations interact with it. For example, Generation X learned to use search engines in a way that was functional, for example typing in a query like “cheap Spain holidays”. On the other hand, Millennials now interact with search engines with more natural questions like “where is cheap to go in Spain in June?”. This change has only come about because AI has grown to the point where Google is able to understand this kind of conversational language, and is able to provide relevant search results based on these sorts of queries.

There are also practical search applications for the deep learning image analysis discussed above. One innovation that Google is working on is image searching as a shopping tool. For example, if you are interested in buying a specific belt, Google can then use its image search for images of people wearing similar belts and establishing the kinds of jeans that are typically worn with the belt – it can then make recommendations to you for jeans that you can potentially buy alongside the belt.

The challenges

Of course this is not to say that Google’s AI has reached its peak – nor that current AI technology is without its limitations. For example, it is likely now that the case that Google does not truly understand why its algorithm ranks websites in a particular way. This means that if a business feels that hard done by in Google’s search results, the company may no longer be able to provide a rational explanation for why a particular site ranks the way it does. Given the importance of Google to businesses across the UK, this might seem like a worrying prospect.

Additionally, it has been established that even with deep learning techniques, AI can be tricked or make mistakes. For example, Google’s image classification AI was tricked into believing a 3D printed turtle was a rifle.

There have even been concerns that AI is not able to think ethically in the way that humans are able to. For example, in late 2017 Facebook’s AI algorithm was discovered to have created anti-Semitic advert topics that users could target. This embarrassment forced Facebook to introduce human reviewers into something that had previously been a process that was completely automated by AI.

How will AI affect SEO?

Given the enormous variety of ways that AI is influencing search, it is clear that it will play a huge role in the SEO industry. In Part Two of this blog series on artificial intelligence and search engines we take an in-depth look into how AI is changing SEO.


Successful Magento SEO Optimisation

Successful Magento SEO Optimisation

Successful Magento SEO Optimisation
We are very proud of this amazing review we received today – a 500% increase in quality organic traffic is an incredible achievement. Magento brings its own unique challenges for SEO, and over the years we have seen many instances of large Magento-based ecommerce websites struggling to achieve great organic rankings.

At Artemis we have managed to achieve fantastic results for our Magento-based ecommerce clients – if you would like to learn more about what we could do you for your ecommerce site, please get in contact with us today:

info@artemis.marketing
01444 645018

Review Image

Read all of our great client testimonials on Free Index, here.


snail-on-a-mouse

4 quick tips to speed up your website

Snail on a Mouse
Your website might have an amazing design, be well optimised for conversions and get good levels of traffic but there is one issue that could make all your hard work go to waste: your site speed is too slow.

The time it takes for your website to load is now one of the most important factors that affects how well it converts. With the industry focus having shifted firmly onto mobile search by users who have little patience and demand near instant search results, a load time of 5 seconds can result in up to 25% of your search traffic bouncing and going to one of your competitors instead.

And we don’t want that, do we?

The good news is that there are some pretty straightforward things you can do to speed up your website. However, before you start tinkering, it’s a good idea to benchmark your current load time first. There are many tools available to help you do this – we recommend using GTmetrix, Pingdom Tools or Google’s own tool PageSpeed Insights.

Once you have established your benchmark, take a look at these 4 simple ways of making the necessary improvements to your site. In our advice, we’ve focused mainly on WordPress websites but you should be able to implement these solutions on most websites.

1 – Get the right web hosting service

Let’s start with the basics. If your web hosting is poor, then frankly none of the tips mentioned below are going to make any difference. This is a key area to get right from day one – but what is ‘right’? There are so many different types of web hosting – shared hosting, reseller hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting – with some services costing as little as 99p while others will set you back over £100 a month. Which to choose?

When it comes to hosting, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ couldn’t be more appropriate. Cheap 99p-type deals will most likely be on second-hand servers with thousands of other websites hosted alongside. While this may be sufficient for, say, a small blog that gets a handful of visits per month, higher traffic levels won’t be able to cope and your website will crash.

As an absolute minimum, a website that is used to advertise a service should be hosted on a VPS (virtual private server) to give you more control over the hosting. With ecommerce websites, it’s important that they’re hosted on a dedicated service designed to deal with large volumes of traffic and that is secure enough to handle payment transactions.

2 – Optimise your images for web

When a website is built, it is best practice to upload any images in the required size, i.e. the size that will actually be displayed on the site. However, this doesn’t always happen. Often, the developer will upload images in whatever size they’ve been supplied, perhaps scaling them to fit using CSS. This is far from ideal since large image files (1MB+) can seriously slow down your page load speed.

WordPress does a pretty good job at resizing, and of course there’s always Photoshop. In addition, there are a number of free online tools you can use to compress images, such as tinyjpg which allows you to upload up to 20 images at a time and gives you the optimised images as a download, ready to use on your site.

Also available are plug-ins such as wp-smushit but these won’t give you as much control as resizing manually, and if you’re not happy with the image quality you’ll have to restore a back-up and re-upload from scratch, which is neither user friendly nor time efficient.

3 – Implement browser caching

Caching is a way of telling your browser to store certain elements of the website, such as image and CSS files, so they don’t have to be loaded every time. Implementing this is probably one of the quickest ways to improve your site load time.

There are literally hundreds of WordPress plug-ins to help you do this, the most popular being W3 Total Cache. It works straight out the box and you can also tweak the settings to enable more advanced caching, such as minifying CSS and JavaScript.

Some servers offer settings such as gZip and other caching plug-ins, but these vary depending on the server type, operating system and web host. It is certainly worth contacting your host to ask about any additional settings they may be able to activate for you.

4 – Maintain your WordPress plug-ins

It should go without saying that any WordPress plug-ins that you use should be kept up to date at all times. No doubt you are aware that any failure to do so puts your website at risk of being hacked. But did you also know that old plug-ins using outdated scripts can lead to your site slowing down?

What’s more, unused plug-ins in WordPress will sometimes still load, and may use the database, even if they’ve been disabled. A by-product of this is that your site will take longer to load. Make sure that any plug-ins that you don’t use are completely deleted from the website.

At Artemis, we’ve been helping businesses to get the most out of their websites since 2004. From local campaigns for small companies through to global ecommerce sites for international brands, our capable SEO team is fully focused on achieving tangible, measurable results for each client. Why not get in touch to see what we can do for your website?


Tom-swinging-golf-club

Artemis win cup at Kangaroos’ charity golf day

Kangaroos Charity Golf Day - Tom Hart

We were absolutely delighted to support the Kangaroos charity last Friday at their fourth annual golf day held at Mid Sussex Golf Club. The Kangaroos charity based in Haywards Heath provides a range of fun disability clubs and trips out for children and young adults with learning disabilities and complex medical needs. Kangaroos is a fantastic charity offering much needed services and respite to families in Sussex and further afield.

This was our first year at the golf event and it was a very special one with a winner’s cup dedicated to the memory of a young Kangaroo member, Ella Thatcher, who sadly passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the beginning of this year.

Ella’s father, Mike, also entered a team in the competition, and gave a very moving speech after the golf game. It is wonderful to hear such heart-warming stories of the incredible work that the Kangaroos charity is doing. Ella clearly loved her time at Kangaroos.

Kangaroos Charity Golf Day - Tom Hart 1
Kangaroos Charity Golf Day - Tom Hart 2
Our team, headed up by Tom Hart (one of our brilliant Senior Account Managers at Artemis), did us proud, scooping the best team score (94) and Tom achieved best individual score too (41). (Tom is the one donning the fabulous beard).

We are of course delighted with the result and really proud to be supporting the Kangaroos charity. Tom was very modest, saying he hadn’t played a game of golf all year! Well done Tom, we now need a trophy cabinet at the office!

As well as entering a team in the event we were also thrilled to be sponsoring a golf hole to help raise much needed funds for this amazing charity.

Kangaroos Charity Golf Day - Tom Hart With Artemis Banner
The day kicked off with bacon rolls and the sun was shining. We think it may have been the combination of sunshine and breakfast that spurred team Tom on! Reports all round were of a fantastic, well organised event, so a big thank you to Samantha Norgate, Fundraising and Communications Coordinator at Kangaroos, who worked tirelessly to make this event happen.

Kangaroos Charity Golf Day - Golfers
After a fine few hours on the golf course, the post-golf meal went down a treat and was followed by a raffle and auction. Auction prizes included ‘have a Porsche for a weekend’, golf rounds at various courses, a signed photo of Jenson Button, photography vouchers, signed golf balls and a night at a spa hotel. The great team at Artemis all brought in treats in the weeks leading up to the event and we were able to put together a hamper for the auction. We were blown away that our hamper sold for £120.

Kangaroos Charity Golf Day - Artemis Hamper
Kangaroos Charity Golf Day - Tom Hart 3
A brilliant day was had by all raising funds for a really worthwhile cause. Tom is already looking forward to defending his title next year! We are now busy planning our next fundraising event to continue our support for Kangaroos. Watch this space. More news coming soon.

Photo Credit: Simon Kingsley-Young


Person typing on laptop

Five tips for creating evergreen content

Writing evergreen content
Evergreen content is sought after by digital marketers and businesses because it is more likely to remain valuable over a long period of time. This makes it more valuable for SEO than short-term content, potentially helping to improve your search engine rankings as well as continually bringing in new visitors and users to your site.

If your business can create a piece of evergreen content that answers questions and provides useful information to potential customers, it can additionally be a valuable tool for building your brand and profile. Here are five tips you can follow to create fantastic evergreen content for your website.

Content that stays relevant

The traditional form of evergreen content is anything that covers a topic where the information will not change over time. This means that you write the page once and then it will remain relevant for many months or even years. Take an example like ‘A Guide to Driving Safely’ – the basic information on road safety and smart driving will likely remain the same for a long period of time.

On the other hand, something like ‘Five Upcoming Apps You Need to Know About’ clearly has a defined time period where it is relevant, but it is unlikely to be useful or interesting a couple of months after it has been written.

So when you are planning your evergreen content, take the time to choose topics that are going to have the longest shelf life. An article giving user advice on the iPhone X, for example, will have a shorter shelf life than one that gives user advice on mobile devices generally.

…Or content you can refresh

There is a second form of evergreen content that you can create – that is content that needs to be periodically updated. For example, a list of upcoming SEO and digital marketing events can be evergreen as long as it is continually updated. While this kind of evergreen content takes a little more work than the other, it can be just as effective.

In fact, it can be hugely valuable if you can get users to return to your page because they know it is an often-updated piece of useful information.

Put your evergreen content centre stage

It is important to make sure that your high quality content gets the attention that it deserves. Too many websites will create a fantastic piece of evergreen content only for it to be hidden just a few days later as they post more content to their blog. If you are going to create your content as a blog it is important to make sure that it is still easy to find.

For example you could have a ‘Top Posts’ section in your blog to ensure that it stays near the top of the main page, and in the case of refreshed content, you can always re-post it to bring it back to the top of your blog. Additionally you can re-post the content on social media regularly to give it extra focus and attention.

Understand the different forms of evergreen content

There are lots of different kinds of content that you can make evergreen. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, here are some of the most popular:

• ‘How to’ guides
• Beginner’s guides
• Case studies
• Original research
• Lists of resources
• Useful products or software
• ‘History of’ a topic
• Top tips and advice
• Tutorials
• Glossaries

Create content that matches your brand

Finally, remember that one of the most important aspects of evergreen content is that it can be a tool for promoting your brand. Make sure that you write your content in your brand voice, so that people can associate that content with you.

Here at Artemis, we have a dedicated in-house content writing team to help our clients achieve the best possible content for their business. From writing web page content to blogs and articles, why not contact us to find out how we can help?


Artemis Team Bike Ride a huge success

Kangaroos - Team Artemis

A massive thank you to all who sponsored us to raise money for the Kangaroos fun disability clubs’ charity we are supporting.

We are absolutely delighted to report that the charity bike ride in Haywards Heath we took part in at the weekend was a rip-roaring success. Not only did all of our team finish their respective routes, we have raised a magnificent £5,447.72 (inc. Gift Aid) so far for our partnered charity, Kangaroos.

One of the Artemis team ran in the Brighton Marathon instead, and also committed to raising funds for Kangaroos. Well done Matt!

We all made it in to the office today too! The cycling team, and our lone Marathon runner, may have a few aching limbs here and there, but smiles are wide and the atmosphere buoyant.

Kangaroos - Team Artemis

Kangaroos - Team Artemis - Mike Knivett

Kangaroos - Team Artemis

Kangaroos - Team Artemis

We are so proud to be helping this charity and it was a delight to receive medals from some of the young adult kangaroo members at the end of the ride. We smashed our fundraising target and the buzz here at Artemis is fantastic. Kangaroos are over the moon and so are we.

Kangaroos - Team Artemis

Kangaroos - Team Artemis

The Haywards Heath Charity Bike Ride, which took place on Sunday 15th April, was the first event Artemis Marketing has been involved in to raise funds for Kangaroos. We initially hoped we would be able to raise at least £3,000 for the charity, so we’ve been blown away by how much support we have received from friends, family and the business community to magnificently exceed our target and raise much-needed funds for this amazing charity.

Kangaroos provides a range of fun, inclusive year-round clubs and trips in and around Mid-Sussex for children and young adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. The charity supports children and young adults into their thirties, with a wide range of conditions and difficulties, including autism, cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome and other complex medical needs.

Kangaroos - Artemis

Kangaroos is such a lifeline to many, both to those who attend the clubs and the families requiring a break from their intense caring role. The charity relies heavily on fundraising to keep going. At Artemis we are delighted to be helping Kangaroos with their operating costs for staff, premises and storage. We know our efforts will make a huge difference.

Kangaroos - Team Artemis 6

Thank you once again to all who have supported us. As for what is next, the team at Artemis will be sponsoring a golf hole at the Kangaroos Charity Golf day on 11th May. We’ll also be organising a quiz night soon to keep our fundraising efforts going. We hope to be involved in more events as the year progresses.

What a great start to the week.


kangaroos-logo

Visit to Kangaroos

Kangaroos visit image 1

With less than a week to go to the Artemis team’s charity Bike Ride to raise money for Kangaroos, I thought it a fitting time to pay a visit to one of the Kangaroos groups run for children and young adults with special needs.

Last Friday, I attended the Pals group, held at the Ashenground Community Centre in Haywards Heath. I can honestly say I was amazed to see first-hand the wonderful work that the Kangaroos charity is doing.

Kangaroos run several different groups at various times throughout the week, on Saturdays, during school holidays, and after school and in the evening during term time. The Pals group I visited is a Saturday and Holiday play scheme for children with special needs aged 6 to 12.

The staff at Kangaroos are incredible – so friendly, empathetic and engaging. The team is made up from paid workers and volunteers, and the number of staff almost equals the number of children attending the group. Nearly every child is allocated one-to-one support.

Kangaroos visit image 2

It struck me how calm, safe and nurturing the atmosphere felt. The children were relaxed and encouraged to free play, communicate and join in group activities. In this session Dan, one of the paid workers, had made bubble mixture. The blowing and popping of bubbles was great fun for many of the children.

Chatting to Operations Manager, Jenny King, I was able to find out how much goes into running the groups. She said, many people and businesses fundraising for the Kangaroos charity often ask what equipment the group needs, but the biggest need for funds is in the operational costs.

With the high staffing levels, I can see just how important operational funding is. Kangaroos don’t have their own premises either, so as well as staff costs, there are office space, community centre rent and storage, which add heavily to on-going costs.

There’s also the cost of training staff. Paid and voluntary staff receive specialist training. Paid staff are trained to handle chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and epilepsy. They also receive training in managing adults with special needs, which has a different set of challenges.

Many of the staff can communicate with children using sign language and there are many props at the centre enabling children to express how they are feeling, such as small cushions with happy and sad faces.

It’s also great that Kangaroos offer the same level of respite to families and support to young adults who have been attending Kangaroos since they were children.

Kangaroos visit image 3

I can’t express enough how wonderful it was to see Kangaroos in action. This is a fabulous charity with a fantastic team of people enabling children with complex needs to participate in a wide range of activities and challenges. Children can enjoy day trips, residential overnight stays and challenges you just wouldn’t have thought possible, such as rock climbing.

At Artemis we are really proud to be supporting such a great charity. I for one will be pedalling my socks off next Sunday. If you feel inspired to sponsor any of our team, or make a donation, simply go to www.justgiving.com/kangaroos.

Kangaroos are a fine example of a charity making a huge difference to people’s lives, both the children and young adults who attend the groups, and in the respite given to families. Thank you to Jenny, Dan and Emily who showed me around and gave me a flavour of how vital these services are to the community. For more information about Kangaroos, see www.kangaroos.org.uk