“It does not matter if it is hard, just carry on.”
The Newcastle Family Day in October brought together families with experiences of meningitis at the Great North Museum in Newcastle. It was a fantastic event that allowed families to see old friends and make new ones.
Families were able to enjoy all the activities and exhibitions that the museum had to offer but also spent time chatting in a safe space.
Community Support Officer Alison Yelland said: “There was a buzz in the room from the start. Some of the families had met before and were happy to see each other. New families met our team, and everyone was welcomed in the space.”
The morning session included a scavenger hunt for the children. A highlight for many was visiting the on-site planetarium. Whilst the children were well entertained the adults had a chance to share stories.
Family Days offer families a chance to open up and share their experiences. We have years of evidence from participant feedback that shows Family Days help to reduce isolation and offer invaluable support for the families that attend.
After lunch entertainer Eileen (along with her ventriloquist’s dummy Joe) worked hard to put on a show that engaged the full range of ages of children attending. The next interactive session had the children creating their own ghostbusters film- with children taking on the roles of camera people, directors and actors.
Alison said: “The children loved taking part and several of them felt very proud that they were brave enough to dance in front of one another. The day finished with juice and cakes and lots of happy faces.”
All of the adults that attended said they would recommend Meningitis Now events to others and would attend family support events in the future.
As well as glowing feedback from the adults in attendance, we also asked the children for their insights. Many enjoyed the entertainer, seeing their friends and of course the snacks, but we also had one piece of feedback that shows how Family Days, although full of fun and laughter, hold a poignant place in participating family’s calendars:
“My best memory is that it does not matter if it is hard, just carry on.”
Family Days help families to carry on after meningitis, to find hope and confidence again, and to develop a community of friends who have shared understanding of how meningitis can turn lives upside down.
Alison concluded: “I would like to thank the brilliant support team who spent time talking to individuals and get a better understanding of the unique journeys everyone has been on. This will allow us to support families, if or when they need us, in the future.”
If you would like to know more about our Family Days please see our webpage here.