This is a blog post I have been meaning to write for a while but it’s such an important issue I wanted to make sure I could do it justice. Here I talk about the charities I regularly support, what they do and why their work is so important. Hopefully this blog can be my small way to raise awareness of the causes that are near to my heart and important to society as a whole.
Blurt is a charity focused around raising awareness and providing support for those with depression. They run education programmes for schools and businesses about managing mental health. Having had mixed experiences with support for my health, that’s something I am passionate about supporting. Personally I think mental health training should be compulsory in all work places but we aren’t there yet. Blurt also has an amazing array of online resources on a host of issues offering real practical advice such as on budgeting with mental illness. I am subscribed to their email newsletter and it always seems to be written just for me with advice or words of wisdom I need to hear.
I have supported Hospital Rooms since almost the beginning and I am proud to continue to do so. Hospital Rooms paints and decorates psychiatric wards. They take art and colour into the places it is needed most. If you have never been on a secure acute psychiatric ward you cannot possibly understand what it is like to be cut off from the outside world. It is so easy to become institutionalised and isolated. Art can help to remind you of a world outside the hospital walls. The fact that someone has come to decorate a ward makes you feel wanted and included. Colour can help to lift you from a dark place. I wish when I had been an inpatient it had been on a unit Hospital Rooms had painted and I can’t give higher praise than that.
I lost a friend in my second year of university. Kelsey. A trans woman. I support Mermaids in her legacy. I hope that if others can receive support and guidance that they can not only survive but thrive. Mermaids is the only U.K. charity supporting transgender and gender diverse children and young people. In an era where government funding for gender clinics, particularly for young people, is at an all time low, their work is more crucial than ever. In fact according to Stonewall “More than half (54 per cent) of trans people reported that they have been told by their GP that they don’t know enough about trans-related care to provide it.” Mermaids lobby’s government and lawmakers. They fight for justice for trans people across all aspects of society. They have a helpline to provide support to trans people and their families. They have a website full of useful information. Almost half of young transgender individuals have attempted suicide. All the research shows that support to a transgender individual will hugely reduce that likelihood that. I will stand with any organisation that can help to reverse the worrying trends we are seeing and protect some of our most vulnerable.
This is my newest charity to support and it was as much a protest/political decision as anything else. Having grown up by the ocean and in a family keen on water sports, I have always been aware of the work of the RNLI. If you want to learn more about their incredible work I highly recommend watching ‘Saving Lives at Sea’ on BBC iPlayer. Every episode leaves me in awe of the volunteers who risk their own safety to come to the aid of others. But the main reason I chose to financially support them was because of the brave stance they took on rescuing migrants in the English Channel. They refused to pass judgement on who they go to save. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, if you need help out at sea, the RNLI will come for you. Naturally this decision got a lot of backlash from certain politicians and members of the public. But I cannot live in a country where we let people drown because of the passport they carry and so I will support the RNLI.
This is the charity I have supported and been aware of for the longest as I am not the only member of my family to support them. Their mission is gloriously simple: to provide a meal for children at school. The impact is huge. Not only are children more likely to attend school but their performance once their improves vastly because they aren’t hungry. More than that the charity employs local people to cook and serve the food as well as sourcing ingredients found in and around the location of the school. From humble roots with one family working in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s to now feeding 2,058,099 children across Africa, Asia, The Caribbean and South America. So many lives are being changed.
I hope this blog post inspires you not just to check out the charities listed here, which are all amazing. But to think about causes that you are passionate about and what you can do to support them. It might be in a regular or one off donation. It might be volunteering for them. It might be sharing their information on social media or signing a petition. There are so many different things you can do and if we all did them the world would be a better place.