From Edinburgh Zoo in the north to Bristol Zoo in the south, the six special days will bring families together to share their experiences and make them feel a part of the wider Meningitis Now family.
Each day is completely free and is open to all family members who have had a direct experience of meningitis. This includes families where there is a child who is under 16 who has been directly affected by meningitis or families where there is a child under 16 who has been affected indirectly, e.g. parents or a sibling.
Although the days are not specifically aimed at bereaved families – who are invited to a separate Meningitis Now event – we do also welcome those who have a child in a family that has experienced a death due to meningitis.
The six Family Day events are:
- Family Day North at the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes, Cheshire - Sunday 12 May
- Family Day South East at Thomley Hall, Worminghall, Buckinghamshire - Saturday 18 May
- Family Day South West at Bristol Zoo - Sunday 30 June
- Family Day Scotland at Edinburgh Zoo - Saturday 31 August
- Family Day North East at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland - Sunday 13 October
- Family Day N Ireland, Belfast - date TBC
Bringing people together
Meningitis Now's Support Services Manager, Cheryl Brown, said that the days would provide families with an excellent opportunity to feel less alone.
“People can feel very isolated when they have been through something as devastating and life-changing as meningitis,” she said.
“We know how important it is to bring these people together with others who have been through a similar experience, who they can talk to and who will “get” them when others haven’t."
“But we also know how important it is for families to be able to relax, for children to play and to have fun in a safe environment. We would encourage anyone who is in this situation to sign up for one of the days – and to get in touch with us if you’re not sure what to expect or have any questions”.
Friendship and trust
Tracey Lee, Meningitis Now’s Community Fundraising Manager, went along to one of the Family Days last year to help our Support team. She said it was a really memorable day for all involved.
“The sharing of stories, the sympathetic listening, the advice built on experience and the friendship and trust that forms only with others who really understand your situation; I truly believe this peer-to-peer support is completely unique to our Family Days and something we can never put a value on,” she said.
“But the day wasn’t all about meningitis – it was about fun, it was about new experiences, new relationships and helping each other look to a future where meningitis will always be a part of their lives, but it won’t define them."
“I saw the faces of happy children and their proud parents – I was privileged to be able to play with these children so the parents could have a cuppa and a chat”.