Friday, 24 October 2014

Caring for the Carers

Plans are now well underway for our first event to be held especially for those who have been bereaved by an asbestos disease.  Last week, Joanne and Sarah visited the Doubletree Hotel in Lincoln and booked their hospitality suite for the 26th March.  They also met with the branch chair and secretary of the local Cruse Bereavement Care.  They will be sending some of their volunteers along to offer help and support, and to tell those attending a bit about their services.   This event will be an opportunity for people to share experiences and talk to someone else who “understands the journey”.  We hope that those attending will find companionship and moral support.  The event will be open to anyone – not just widows – children, parents or close friends will be welcome too.

This is just the beginning of what we hope will be a big development in DAST’s services.  Up until now, we have only had the resources to support those actually suffering from asbestos disease.  However it has been clear to us for sometime that loved ones need just as much support.  Stage two of our lottery bid will be submitted within the next couple of weeks.  If we are successful this will pay for a new worker to join us for 3 years to help set up a befriending scheme and a friends and relatives forum.  Keep everything crossed for our success.

Sarah has been working on this bid as part of her remit to diversify and develop our income.  New projects like this are needed to tap into funds from the Lottery and others, because they always prefer to fund new work over existing services. This is good in a way because it has made us look at what out service users need that we are not already giving them.  However, it is an uphill struggle to fund funds for our day to day work.  General running costs, such as telephone and electricity bills in particular are hard to find grant funding for.

But in this respect we have had some good news this week.  Two separate charitable trusts have donated a total of £1200 towards meeting the cost of our home visits in the county of Northamptonshire.  These visits are obviously the most expensive for us, because of the distance that Natalie has to travel to get to them and the time that they take.   So we must say a big thank you to the Maud Elkington Charitable Trust and the Earl Fitzwilliam Charitable Trust for giving us much needed support in their area.

Do you know of any funds or foundations in your area?  Let us know.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

DAST Get Upclose and Personal

Fundraiser Sarah writes:

One of the nicest things about my job is reading the letters and cards that come with the donation cheques.  On many days our postbag contains some very heartwarming messages, thanking us for our help and describing to us how our work has made a difference to the sender and their family.

DAST get a lot of these cards and letters because we offer such a personal service.  As soon as someone makes contact with us asking for help we arrange to go and visit them within a matter of days.  We take our service into their own front room, no matter where they live.  Even though we are based in Chesterfield, we have pledged to personally visit anyone in the East Midlands area that needs our help.  That often means Natalie or Paul being out for a full day visiting people as far afield as Northamptonshire.  On occasion, we have even been asked to go to Norfolk or Cambridgeshire.  And as soon as they return, they attack the paperwork in order to get claims processed as soon as possible.  They are available to advise and reassure throughout this claim process.  As someone once said on one of our questionnaires:

“The people at DAST were a lifeline...they became friends.”

The cost of delivering such a personal service is high, which is why we are so grateful for the donations that people send to us.  We have received a lot of requests for home visits in Lincolnshire in recent times.  Each visit to Scunthorpe costs us in the region of £135, while each visit to the Louth area costs us around £160. This includes transport costs, worker time and administration.

So thank you to anyone who has ever donated to DAST – it is you that keeps this service running and allowing us to throw out that lifeline to people affected by asbestos.