Having been saddened by the poverty, and the hopelessness of the people in Rakitovo to find any employment, Julie & Martin set up a charity to provide some hope to the impoverished families there.

Rakitovo is a small Bulgarian mountain town, south of Sofia, with a population of some 10,000 and 90 percent unemployment. For 3 months in the winter, snow covers the town and temperatures can drop as low as –20C.

Julie & Martin felt that they would love to help families (living in shacks and trying to survive on less than £1 per day social security) by finding a way to make them more self-sufficient, and so they set up and now run this charity, staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers.

The charity has three patrons: Baroness Hooper, Felicity Kendal and Viscountess Monckton of Brenchley.