I started my own petition to get unpaid carers valued by government and society as a whole, six months ago. As a carer myself I was dismayed that carers issues went unnoticed, their voices went unheard and the sheer value of their work ignored by both government and society as a whole. I was determined to make carers voices heard.
The petition was a reaction to the government’s continued failure to publish the Carers Strategy it promised all unpaid carers back in 2016. On July 22nd my petition ended with 2,124 signatures. The map below shows the reach of the campaign across the UK as a whole.
Whilst the petition never reached the threshold required (10,000 signatures) to get a response from government it did apply pressure on two ministers and galvanised carers support organisations up and down the country to fight for carers rights. A national Carers Strategy would help to identify and support carers who are facing increasing cuts ro their services and are feeling more isolated and invisible.
Whilst my petition was the main thrust of my campaign, it quickly became clear to me that carers needed to campaign on their own issues. We Care Campaign was launched in April. Over the six months we have held a launch party and we have been mentioned in parliament. We had spoken to journalists, written articles in papers and online. We have appeared in carers magazines and been on radio programmes. We have enjoyed some craftivism (craft and activism) and we have used social media effectively. We hosted a twitter Q and A session during Carers Week for the Shadow Minister for Social Care and we have even identified carers who weren’t identified before.
Just before Carers Week, an annual event to highlight the work of carers, the Carers Action Plan was published. This was a set of 64 actions government had drawn together for carers. Whilst it was cross- department it failed to provide any financial support for carers and much has been left for the Social Care green paper in the autumn.
I was recently awarded a Jo Cox Foundation Scholarship to attend some specialist Campaigns training. This has given me the opportunity to see carers issues in a wider context and enthused me to carry on the fight for a better deal for Carers throughout the UK. Meeting so many other campaigners and hearing their stories was inspiring and I am looking forward to where We Care Campaign goes next.
You can follow us on twitter at @WeAreCarers and if you are a carer yourself, join our We Care Campaign Facebook Group Page for updates and how you can help support our grassroots movement.
The MND Association AGM was extra special for me this year as it makes a full year since I was nominated to be a trustee for the Association. I have now done a full round of Board Meetings, Committee meetings and project task group meetings.
Why go to the AGM?
The AGM is a place to meet up with old and new friends, other volunteers and staff from our MND community, together with exhibitors and speakers.
I find that there is always something new to learn, whether it is from another Branch or Group, or finding out about the research being done, or the equipment on offer. One big hit was the virtual reality headsets which Mark, my husband tried out. One was a general virtual reality demonstrating all of its features including being in a helicopter, in a hot air balloon and giving lots of different views and landscapes. He particularly enjoyed the car racing around the Le Mans circuit.
I attended a workshop around Legacy Fundraising which was one aspect of the Association’s work that I knew little about.
Even if you can’t attend to you can follow the event Live on Facebook and it is always nice hearing the messages read out from those back at home, watching the event unfold. Here’s the link to this year’s AGM and research speech. https://www.mndassociation.org/videos/
The afternoon speaker was Professor Martin Turner who was there to speak about his bio -marker research at Oxford. Something close to my heart. I have been part of that research, sitting in multiple scanners for many hours as a healthy control for Professor Turner’s research. I was very interested to hear how that particular research was going.
Huge thanks to the management and staff at the Botany Bay Hotel for raising the sum of £1000 for MNDA East Kent. This sum was raised from a football match, a quiz as well as counter collections
We would also like to thanks Shepherd Neame for their support and also for making the Botany Bay such a great place to visit and enjoy, especial thanks are due for accessibility to people with mobility problems.
Last but not least we thank all the customers of the Botany Bay Hotel whose generosity enabled this sum to be collected.
The picture below shows from left to right;
Clive Hudson – Chair MNDA East Kent, April Eames – Manager Botany Bay Hotel, Christine Smith – Guest, Lana Turner – Team Member and Steve Smith – Guest
On Sunday 1st July, MNDA East Kent entered a team in the KM Charity Group Dragon Boat Race. Our team was made up of members of the Lawrence family from Folkestone. The team were entered into three races, impressively winning two and coming second in the third race.
In our final race, we were pitched head to head with the team from MNDA Mid Kent, who were the fastest team on the day. It was a very close race, we managed to beat Mid Kent but due to their faster times in earlier races they went through to the finals. Congratulations to the team of MNDA Mid Kent!
Tom Harling ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon, raising £650 to be shared between the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) in East Kent and The Pilgrims Hospice.
In Tom’s words
“A good friend of mine, John Rawlins was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND)and this lead to him having to give up work around a year ago now. The disease is similar to the ‘Stephen Hawking thing’ and there is no cure.
John worked all his life on building sites as a digger driver from Westgate, and been a good friend of mine for the best part of 10 years. I ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon on 25th March 2018 to raise money to split 50/50 between the MNDA East Kent charity and The Pilgrims Hospice in memory of my friend John who was an absolute legend of a man who despite MND managed to keep his sense of humour and comical outlook on life.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks for your donations and support.”
Some images of Tom on the run are shown below together with his certificate.
The Wealden Business Group have supported MNDA East Kent throughout the past 2 years, organising 3 major fundraisers, as well as weekly collections.
More than 60 people attended a race night in the Little Silver Hotel. This was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and raised a considerable sum for MNDA in East Kent.
A Murder Mystery Evening at Little Silver Country Hotel in Tenterden. The case was The Curse of the Willoughby Diamond. The evening started with champagne followed by an excellent 3 course meal to die for!! During the meal the actors presenting the murder mystery developed the plot of the murder and murder w
as indeed committed.
The Black Tie dinner and charity auction held at The Little Silver Country Hotel, Tenterden on Saturday (17 March) raised more than £4,000. The event, which included a fizz reception, auction of promises and disco was in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. The dinner marked the culmination of two years of fundraising for MNDA by the Wealden Business Group.
The grand sum raised by these events was £10,579.81 which was presented to Clive Hudson, Chairman of MNDA East Kent Group on April 18th, by Martin Tickner.
MNDA East Kent would like to thank the members of Wealden Business Group for their generosity and support.
Did you know that you can support MNDA East Kent by shopping online?
Every time you shop online via Easyfundraising.org.uk at one of the 3,300 retailers including John Lewis, Aviva, Sainsbury’s and Booking.com, a donation will be made to MNDA East Kent, and it won’t cost you a penny extra.
Easyfundraising.com is a simple to raise funds for MNDA. If you buy anything on line, you can do so via Easyfundraising.org.uk and raise a small percentage of each sale for MNDA.
There is no cost to you and no effort other than going to Easyfundraising.org.uk before shopping, once there you chooses your retailer and for any purchase you make MNDA will receive a small donation.
In the last year we have almost £200 from Easyfundraising.org.uk, from just half a dozen members, we are looking to increase our members using Easyfundraising.org.uk into several dozen which should enable us to raise at least £1000 each year for no cost and minimal effort, just remembering to go to Easyfundraising.org.uk first.