National Volunteers' Week

1st June 2019

Meningitis Now is a busy charity with loads going on – but few realise the importance of the role played by our cherished band of volunteers

National Volunteering Week blog

From awareness raising talks to picking up collection tins, these unsung heroes are the backbone of the work that we do. And so at the start of National Volunteers' Week 2019 we want to say a huge thank you to all of them and make sure everyone knows just how vital they are to us.

It’s impossible to write an exact job description for a volunteer, who all have their own personal experience of meningitis. But to give you a taster here are some of the roles with some real-life examples: 

  • Distributing symptoms cards: Two of our volunteers in Lincolnshire, Tony and Marilyn Hines, liaised with their local scouting and guiding associations and distributed 3,000 cards between them with plans to roll this out further.
  • House of Commons: Several of our volunteers helped us out at the House of Commons last year when we launched our Adults Get it Too campaign. They were there to speak to MPs and other guests about their meningitis experience and one of our very special Community Ambassadors, Holly McNaughton, gave a speech about her mother’s experience with the disease. 
  • Events support: We were really grateful for the assistance from volunteers at our Five Valleys Walk last year – more than 30 signed up to do things like registering walkers and giving support at checkpoints.
  • Receiving cheques: When an individual or group has raised money for us, we like to send someone along to say thank you in person and pick up the cheque. In March, our Community Ambassador Mary Garley visited a senior citizens club in Hackney to pick up the money raised by the group after being inspired by a meningitis storyline in Call the Midwife. 
  • Awareness raising using personal stories: Talks are given up and down the country, to groups large and small. In April last year, Community Ambassador Lynette Adjei spoke about her personal experience of meningitis at a charity night in Solihull, organised by one of our London Marathon runners. 
  • Student awareness stands: One of our biggest weeks of our volunteering year is the student awareness weeks, when our volunteers organise stands at universities around the country. In November 2018, Vanessa Whiting and Charles Duke Stephenson went along to Queen Mary’s University of London in support of the university’s vaccination awareness event. 

So much more

Although this is already quite a long list, there are plenty more ways our amazing volunteers help us. 

Meningitis Now’s Volunteer Manager Jean Lawton said it was a privilege to work with all the supporters of the charity who give their time and are based in every corner of the country.

“The challenge of being a small, national charity means we can do so much more with the help of our volunteers,” she said. 

“It’s incredible how much they do for us, we really couldn’t fully function as a charity without them."

“We’re always looking for new people to take an active role in helping us to raise awareness so let me know if you think you could join us."

“We need people with the initiative to seek out opportunities to raise awareness in their local community – be it giving talks about your meningitis experience, running an awareness stand, or distributing signs and symptoms cards

“On behalf of myself, Isobel and Clemency on the Volunteering team, we can’t wait to hear from you!”

To find out more about volunteering please visit our volunteering pages or email

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