The Community Ambassador program has really helped us to educate individuals, families, communities and professionals, about the devastating impact that meningitis can have, and work towards our vision of a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.
For this we would like to thank our fantastic Community Ambassadors for all of their hard work.
Today we are meeting with some of our Community Ambassadors to review the past year and develop their roles and our plans for the next 12 months.
“We’ve raised £4000!” This was the wonderful news that greeted me, last Saturday when I turned up to the main annual concert, of the Warley Male Voice Choir to receive a cheque on behalf of Meningitis Now.
It came off the back of my visiting the choir last summer to do a talk about meningitis and about the charity. The choir had chosen Meningitis Now as their ‘Charity of the Year ‘because the daughter of one of their stalwart members had survived bacterial meningitis in her mid-thirties the previous year.
Here we were, just a few months later, and they had managed to raise this handsome sum through their concerts and the individual efforts of choir members and the choir members’ wives.
My role as a Community Ambassador stemmed originally from the sadness of having encountered the devastating effects of the disease. But I can only begin to describe the joy and satisfaction that it gives me, to know that I am able to help.
I do this by spreading awareness about the symptoms of the disease, but also by facilitating wonderful fundraising, to help sustain the charity and its work.
Since I started volunteering for Meningitis Now, I have been able to use my skills in a variety of ways. This has included speaking at the kind of event described above as well as:
- Giving regular awareness-raising talks to groups locally such as foster carer support groups and Rotarians
- Setting up and manning information stands at community events
- Doing bucket collections at supermarkets
- Speaking to paediatricians at conferences (RCPCH & Heart of England Foundation Trust)
- Picking up and banking cheques from the local Waitrose, whenever they have featured Meningitis Now as one of their monthly charities in their ‘Community Matters’ scheme
- Attending a reception at the House of Commons as part of a team of Meningitis Now staff and volunteers lobbying for the licensing of vaccines
Being an ambassador and volunteer is such a rewarding undertaking and has the added benefit of also being very enjoyable. With a mixture of activities initiated by myself and requests coming from Head Office, I have been able to keep a good flow of Meningitis Now tasks going over the course of each year, never feeling pressured into anything, but always feeling very well supported by the volunteer management team in Stroud. I do hope others will be inspired to join us.
As an Ambassador for Meningitis Now I do various types of volunteering. I go to my GP surgery and another local surgery, my dentist's surgery and various pharmacies to leave symptoms cards and leaflets.
I go twice a year to universities to give out symptoms cards and information on meningitis. I've also arranged three Toddle Waddles at local nurseries and held a Time for Tea. Meningitis Now has called on me to represent them publicly including on television and radio. I hope that after some training, I can go into schools to speak to parents about awareness.