Meningitis Now CEO Dr Tom Nutt

Meningitis Now CEO Tom shares his round-up of the year

Dr. Tom Nutt | 21st December 2020

In March this year, Meningitis Now - along with the rest of the UK - was thrown into the cauldron of the Covid-19 pandemic, social isolation, and the lockdown. Even at that early stage, it was obvious that the prospect of a global pandemic heralded difficult times and this has sadly turned out to be the case

Thank you for supporting Meningitis Now in 2020

However, despite a drop in income of potentially more than half this year, and with 70% of staff being furloughed between April and October, we have been determined to fight on. 

During this time, our aim has been to survive, to protect what is valuable about our charity (as well as retaining the ‘essence’ of Meningitis Now) and to keep delivering our charitable objectives. Above all, this meant keeping our valuable ‘frontline’ services going. This has included our nurse-led Helpline, Community Support, and web and social media channels. We’ve had to adapt, of course, and many of our face-to-face activities have either moved online or remain postponed. We also responded quickly to the challenges of Covid-19 and created a new emergency fund to help young people and their families with their education, learning and ongoing development through the lockdown period.

The biggest challenge and the one that impacts almost everything we do is, of course, our ability to raise funds to support our work. Inevitably, we have had to cut our expenditure and this year we have reduced investment in research projects, awareness campaigns and other forms of activity. A review of staffing levels resulted in a 40% drop in staff numbers in the autumn, with reductions affecting all areas of the charity’s work in both Stroud and elsewhere across the UK. These changes took effect in October, and it is likely that other staff you may know will have been affected.

Resolute in our determination

I can reassure you, however, that we remain active throughout the UK and are resolute in our determination to fight meningitis. We will continue to ensure that those who have been affected by this terrible disease have access to the help and support they need to rebuild their lives.

You are part of the ‘Meningitis Now family’, and in difficult times we have to stick together. After a difficult year for all of us, I want to thank you for your ongoing support, without which Meningitis Now would not exist and the work we do would not be possible. 

As we approach Christmas, I can honestly say that I’m immensely proud of what our charity has achieved during the lockdown and I’m genuinely excited about the year ahead. Clearly, the charity has changed, but I trust that the bonds that unite us, the 'Meningitis Now family’, remain strong.

On behalf of everyone at Meningitis Now, I’d like to wish you all a peaceful and restful Christmas and to say that we all look forward to working with you again in 2021.

With all good wishes,

Tom.