Meningitis Now Believe & Achieve B&A staff member Becky Hartwell

B&A's Best Bits of 2018

Becky Hartwell 17th December 2018

Our Believe & Achieve Programme hasn't even been running for a year yet, but the things that have been achieved in that time are totally life-changing. Becky tells us more

Believe & Achieve 2018 highlights blog

I can’t believe not only that we launched B&A at the end of March, but also the rollercoaster it’s been since then. Whether it’s been running events, jumping on trains to the far reaches of the UK, or chatting to people who may have started as strangers, it’s been a busy but incredible year in B&A. Laura and I have been trying to come up with our best bit from this year and there are a lot to choose from. Here are some of my highlights (I couldn’t pick a best bit):

  • The residential weekend at Center Parcs is high up. I’d met most of you already and seen you at difficult stages in your lives before that event, but nothing could have prepared me for how incredible you all were as a group. Each one of you gave something of yourselves. It meant people found their safe space, a place they could share new things, have fun, relax and be who they wanted to be. That event was moving for me in a way I never expected and will remain one of my favourite weekends of the year. I did also love the residential at the PGL weekend, although I didn’t love bouncing on the soaking trampoline too much…

  • Hearing your good news. Whether it is getting through that course, moving house, or being able to be proud of yourself at school one day. In B&A we meet funders, lead presentations and do all sorts of random things behind the scenes, but it is your good news and comments on social media that gets instant smiles out of us even after a long or difficult day.

  • The times at B&A Days when you have got so involved that we’ve been able to stand back and watch what you’re creating; whether it is a social media post, a cheese straw or a vision board. We do love these days and we’re always happy when someone signs up to come to one as we know each person makes it better and better. However much we plan, we never know what will happen and what will come out of it. When we return to the office we love to share all that has happened and talk about how incredible, creative and memorable you are.

  • Laura - she is a big highlight for me. Laura started in Believe & Achieve in January 2018; we’d only met once before, at her interview. She brings so much joy to B&A and Meningitis Now. She works tirelessly, making sure people have everything they need, she welcomes people at events with an unending smile and brings something that makes B&A unique. She is patient, caring and wants the best for B&A and does all she can to make that happen. She’s also willing to make an idiot of herself… be prepared for more Facebook live videos in 2019. You may not always see what Laura does but B&A wouldn’t be where it is without her. Thank you, Laura, for everything!

  • Seeing you gain something from the support we’ve been able to arrange, whether it’s counselling, coaching, mentoring or linking you up with other organisations. We know that it can be difficult to make this step, but we also know it can work and offer you an experience or support that can help you in different ways. [Find out how we can support you here.]

  • Finally, it’s not really a highlight but it is something that stands out. Hearing your stories, the things you have suffered, fought through and experienced - whether you had the disease or not, whatever age you’ve experienced it - I can’t imagine how you must feel when you hear that word, when you hear of another person who has been diagnosed. Many of you have talked about how meningitis has changed your life and I feel honoured that you have shared your experiences with me. I keep your stories with me and they help me support others. When I’ve had one-to-ones with people it can be a difficult but important experience for both of us and I never take for granted how nervous you might be when we set up that meeting, or how difficult it is to talk about something that has brought so much pain. I feel lucky that I get to work with you all and want to say a big thank you for the times you’ve opened up to me, a virtual stranger.
When we started B&A we had a bit of a debate… Could we genuinely say that it would change people’s lives? A year on, I’ve seen that it has - not just mine, but of those who have accepted and given support, those who’ve come to events, lead events and got involved at all sorts of stages of B&A. I hope 2019 brings the same things and some new ones too. Please don’t forget to tell people about it, we want to make sure it’s there for everyone who needs it and continue to make a difference. 

2019 - we’re coming for you!