This year has been another significant and successful year for Meningitis Now, with incredible advancements in vaccinations and increased support throughout the UK.
With your help, 2015 saw us reach a number of milestones and engage with a whole range of audiences to share lifesaving awareness in a way we never have before.
Introduction of Men B and ACWY vaccinations
After over two years of campaigning, we finally saw the introduction of the Men B vaccination as part of the Childhood Immunisation programme, becoming the first country in the world to offer this. We know this is too late for many, but your inspiration helped drive us forward.
Not only that, August saw the introduction of the ACWY vaccination for all 17-18 year olds and first year university students (19-25), offered free on the NHS.
A great step forward in our fight to save lives.
Our ongoing Beat it Now! campaign will continue into 2016, moving forward in our fight to eradicate meningitis in the UK. We will continue to push Government to extend the Men B vaccine to all children in families where there has been a case of meningitis, and call for the JCVI recommended adolescent carriage study.
This year also saw our student campaign get off the ground, working alongside 54 universities across the UK to raise awareness among students, as well as launching our brand new website, Fight for Now.
Meningitis and me
We strive to continually improve the support we offer. Knowing more about those we exist to help and their needs means we can understand how we can continually improve the support we provide.
Therefore, this year we commissioned a research project, exploring a wide range of topics, including diagnosis and treatment, after-effects and the impact of meningitis on people’s education, working life and relationships. We would like to thank the 1,131 people who took part and shared their stories with us - you are helping shape our future work.
We have made significant inroads with our Community and Young Ambassador teams, and have seen numbers soar this year, with 10 new CAs and 9 new YAs. Not only that, we launched our ‘futures builders’ recognition programme, and have seen 251 new volunteers sign up. All our volunteers are an inspiration and without them we simply could not achieve what we do.
May saw us hold our research forum, which was attended by many prominent scientists, health professionals and researchers. And we have research projects worth £1.2 million underway.
We know that Christmas can be painful for those affected by meningitis, whether it’s through bereavement, or living with the life-changing after-effects. I wanted to remind everyone too that we are here for you over the Christmas and New Year period – you can contact us through our helpline on 0808 80 10 388.
What to look forward to in 2016
This year has seen much progress made, and without your kindness and generosity we could not have achieved so much – thank you. But there is still a lot more to do.
The New Year will be the start of new challenges for us and there’s plenty to look forward to. We will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary with a variety of activities, including our own garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The Meningitis Now Futures Garden is inspired by the spirit and energy of families whose lives have been irrevocably changed by the disease.
I hope you have a peaceful, relaxing and healthy seasonal break and I look forward to catching up with you all in the New Year for another landmark year!
Sue Davie, Chief Executive