Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

A big Thank You from Meningitis Now to our volunteers

Andy Hopkinson | 4th June 2021

Nearly 20 million people volunteer in the UK through a group or organisation each year*. That’s a big number and behind it is a big contribution that merits a big thank you

Thank you to Meningitis Now volunteers for Volunteers Week 2021

Our volunteers gave over 4,000 hours of their time to support aspects of our work in 2019-20, including raising essential awareness, supporting our student and young people’s campaign, helping out at major events such as the London Marathon (this was the pre-covid year) and delivering elements of our Believe & Achieve programme for young people.

In addition, volunteers and Ambassadors, most of whom have had an experience of meningitis, made valuable contributions to raising awareness of meningitis and fundraising in their communities across the UK.

So, for Volunteers’ Week, 1 to 7 June, we’d like to say the biggest of big thank yous to all our lovely volunteers, who make such an important contribution to our work. 

Recognise the difference

Volunteers’ Week, organised annually by the umbrella organisation the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), recognises the difference these shining examples make, and will hopefully inspire others to get involved too.

Isobel Black, our Volunteer Coordinator, said: “Our volunteers are, quite simply, invaluable to us. 

“They work as part of a fantastic team across the UK and we simply couldn’t do what we do without their ongoing support, generosity and inspiration – we’re so grateful to you all, thank you.”

Louder awareness messages

Because of our volunteers we are louder with our awareness messages, reaching more people who need us, making change happen, funding more research and, above all, getting closer to making our goal, where no one dies from meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need, a reality.

“Our volunteers help to put right so many misconceptions about meningitis; time and time again we hear that someone didn’t think it was meningitis as there was no rash, or they didn’t know their partner or teenager was at risk as they thought it was a disease that only affects young children.

“Our volunteers are our voice in their local community and by talking about meningitis and highlighting the signs and symptoms they have the potential to save a life. 

“By giving a little of your time, you can help us to help those affected by meningitis today,” Isobel added. “A few hours a month, or just once or twice a year, can make an amazing difference.”

Not one-way traffic

But it’s not all one-way traffic.

Research carried out by NCVO has shown that as well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers' wellbeing too.

“It’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out,” Isobel added. “Volunteering can also help you gain valuable new skills and experiences, and boost your confidence.” 

Interested? There are many ways to get involved and help us make a difference.

  • Raise awareness. With many places still closed to face-to-face volunteering we have developed a virtual presentation about meningitis that raises awareness of the signs and symptoms. We’d love you to give the presentation to your local secondary schools and colleges to help equip students with vital knowledge before they head off to university. 
  • Distribute materials. We have a goal over the next few years to get a signs and symptoms fridge magnet into every university dorm in the UK. You can help us by sending some to your local university, or ask us for our digital posters for schools and colleges to display on their screens. 
  • Event support. Represent us at an event near you, or at a national event. Display banners and posters to help promote events.
  • Raise funds. Take part in an event or distribute collection tins in your area.

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering opportunities with Meningitis Now in your area please get in touch with Isobel at isobelb@meningitisnow.org. Whatever you do, make sure you comply with current Government guidelines and stay safe.

*Source: NCVO

  • Meningitis Now CEO Dr Tom Nutt

    CEO Tom's round-up of the year

    We want to thank you for your ongoing support, without which Meningitis Now would not exist and the work we do would not be possible

  • Meningitis bacteria swab

    Meningococcal disease figures published

    Stay aware of the signs and symptoms, seek urgent medical advice if you suspect meningitis and keep up to date with all your vaccinations

  • Meningitis Now Young Ambassador Alex Williams

    Keeping in touch with The Believe & Achieve Trust

    Positive signals received from public health authorities about awareness activities and the benefits of joint working will enable both charities to go as far and wide as we can

  • Meningitis Now Junior Ambassador Harmonie-Rose

    Junior Ambassador Harmonie-Rose

    Steve Dayman talks about the family's resilience shining through when he first met them in 2014 – little did he or the family know how truly inspirational this little girl would be