The pandemic has hit hard in so many ways but nowhere has this been more keenly felt than in the third sector. Charities were needed more than ever to help those who find their support indispensable and yet their ability to raise money and profile through public events dried up almost overnight.
At PLG during 2022 we are featuring just some of those charities who have come through what we all hope is the worst of the pandemic and we talk to them about how they have survived these difficult times and their aspirations into what we all hope will be a brighter future this year.
Meningitis Now was formed over 30 years ago to support those who have had life changing injuries as a consequence of meningitis but also support families who have lost loved ones to this terrible infection. They are there to offer advice and support in all manner of ways including on how different aids and property adaptation can help transform lives for those who have lost limbs as a consequence of meningitis, and to offer support in accessing funding to achieve these aims.
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes that protect the spinal cord and brain. When the membranes become infected, they swell and press on the spinal cord or brain. Meningitis symptoms strike suddenly and worsen quickly and can have life changing consequences including multiple limb loss. And so often it will affect children and young people in the prime of life.
Long before Covid vaccines were talked about, Meningitis Now has been campaigning for, and contributing to the research relating to no less than 5 different vaccines to protect against meningitis in the hope that, one day, this infection might be eradicated forever.
We spoke to Dr Tom Nutt, CEO of Meningitis Now about how they have coped over the last 2 years.
When Covid first hit and we were locked down, keeping the charity going was tough. For us 2020 was virtually an existential crisis. But we found a way through by reducing expenditure, taking advantage of government aid and using some of the reserves which we had put away for just such an eventuality.”
Now we are looking to rebuild. And we see this as an opportunity. Fortunately we have not seen any known interplay between Covid and meningitis, but Covid has shown to the world the awful consequences of an infectious disease and the psychological effects that this can have. Covid in fact brought back to some meningitis survivors the emotional trauma that a dreadful infectious disease can bring to them and their loved ones. And, as it was for us all, the isolation of lockdowns meant sometimes dealing with that trauma alone. So having the support of Meningitis Now on hand was never more important.
But the one silver lining of social distancing for us was that, as well as reducing Covid infections, the number of meningitis cases dramatically reduced as well.
For Meningitis Now, 2022 will be a year of recovery with lots of exciting events planned. One of the key events of the year, the Five Valleys Walk, a sponsored walk through Gloucestershire amidst some of the loveliest countryside, has been virtual for 2 years but hopefully 2022 will see its return. Other events include: London Landmarks Half Marathon on April 3rd 2022, Kew 10k and Half Marathon over the weekend of 9th April 2022, Edinburgh Running Festival on 28th and 29th May 2022, Great North Run 2022 on 11th September 2022 and the London Marathon 2022 on October 2nd 2022
Take a look at www.meningitisnow.org for more information.
The future is looking brighter and Meningitis Now are looking forward to rebuilding. They want to carry on supporting those who have had meningitis, continuing to raise awareness of not only the physical effects but the psychological ones of a lethal infectious disease which we have all glimpsed at thanks to Covid.