Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

The Big Give - one donation, but twice the impact

Andy Hopkinson | 30th November 2020

Supporters have the opportunity to double your donation in the run up to Christmas to help us improve the future for people affected by meningitis

Double donations to Meningitis Now through The Big Give 2020

We’re taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge – the national initiative that sees donations received during the seven-day campaign, starting on Giving Tuesday (1 December), doubled.

We’re looking to raise a minimum of £4,000 towards our recently relaunched Rebuilding Futures Fund, which eases the financial and practical burdens that meningitis leaves behind. 

The Rebuilding Futures Fund helps pay for items and services that improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of people affected by meningitis such as specialist equipment, disability aids, rehabilitation costs, training, therapies such as acupuncture, counselling, creative therapies for children, home adaptations, travel costs associated with medical appointments and funeral costs.

Long-term positive difference

Kirsty Owen-Hayward, our Fundraising Manager, said, “Our Rebuilding Futures Fund helps families to take back control of their lives after meningitis has struck, making a long-term positive difference and supporting them to face the future with confidence and hope. 

“By removing financial barriers, we will help people access the items and support they need to start rebuilding their lives and go on to reach their true potential. 

“By making a donation to The Big Give Christmas Challenge you will be making a real and direct difference to people affected by meningitis. This is such a valuable opportunity to raise donations and awareness of this devastating disease and the long-term impact it can have on individuals and families after what has been a difficult year for us and for many charities – please support us if you can.”

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What the beneficiaries say

Three individuals and families who has previously benefited from the fund are supporting this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge – Gillian and Abbie Marshall, from Gourock in Renfrewshire, Helen Dolphin from Attleborough in Norfolk and Chloe Horsman from Bradford all have experience of meningitis and have successfully applied for support previously.

Gillian’s daughter Abbie was just 13 days old when she became ill with bacterial meningitis. Thankfully Abbie made a good recovery and is now a ‘gorgeous fighting fit 7-year-old’.

“When the coronavirus pandemic hit it had a major effect on everyone’s life,” Gillian said, “but for Abbie it turned her young life upside down.

“Before lockdown she was attending speech therapy lessons as well as swimming and dancing once a week, which she was loving. 

“This all stopped in March and I was home schooling my two daughters as well as teaching seven different classes a day. We were all sharing a PC and my older daughter’s tablet.

Application was easy

“When I saw that Meningitis Now was offering an award which could assist children’s education I thought this was a great opportunity which could have a huge benefit on Abbie’s education.

“The application was easy to complete and Meningitis Now supplied Abbie with an iPad, which has had huge benefits.

“We have got educational apps which Abbie can use independently and take responsibility for her own learning and her speech has also come on enormously.

“It has really changed Abbie’s life and everyone in the family can see the benefit – we really appreciate this massive gesture towards Abbie’s learning from Meningitis Now.”

A lot more independence 

And Helen, a quadruple amputee, who received funding for a small indoor powered wheelchair, said: “This chair has made my life infinitely better. I have a lot more independence and I’m not making my legs sore by crawling around.

“I’m so pleased Meningitis Now has this fund. My life as an amputee is so expensive and having this little bit of help really makes a huge difference to me and my family.”

And Chloe, who was awarded a laptop which enabled her to complete course work, added: “It’s made so much difference to me – it’s literally changed my life.

“I’d urge people to just give it a go – it’s quick and easy and you’ve got nothing to lose.”

The charity hopes to make 50 similar awards in the year ahead and donating in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, the UK’s biggest match-funding campaign, will help to deliver this.

Meningitis Now support - Rebuilding Futures Fund LB

Grateful to our champions

Our champion The Hospital Saturday Fund has already pledged to match fund £1,000, as has another of our long-term supporters. Donations must be received via the Big Give platform at in order to qualify for the matched funding.

Kirsty added, “We’re really grateful to both our champions for their generous support. Like everyone, our charity income has been badly hit by coronavirus, leading to a re-assessment of our service delivery and cutting back on research and awareness activity.

“But we’re determined to continue helping those who need our support and by donating to the Big Give Christmas Challenge you will be providing a vital lifeline to those that need it.”

If you, or someone you know, would benefit from our Rebuilding Futures Fund, get in touch with our Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or email

Donations can be made between 1 and 8 December on our campaign page for The Big Give.

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