Wednesday, 18 February 2015

We're in the Money!

At last! After a great deal of work, DAST have finally secured a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.  The people running the Lottery Fund are very careful about who they give their grants to, and they want to make sure that the money is well spent. Sarah’s work to prove that the project is needed has been going on for over 18 months.  Some of you may remember taking part in a survey about bereavement support back in 2013 – that was to help with this bid! Two Outline Proposals were rejected before we got through to the final stage of bidding.  Your support kept us going through this frustrating process – thank you all.

So, now we have got the grant – what are we going to do with it?  The £110,215 has all been earmarked to provide support to people who have been bereaved by asbestos. We will begin by recruiting a new worker to the team, and they will stay with us for three years to set up and launch the new support processes that will be put into place.  These will include:

·        A triage service when a bereavement is first reported.  The worker will compile a database of local sources of counselling and pass details on if required.  If a visit is needed to sort out benefit payments, or if the bereaved needs someone to accompany them to the inquest, then they will provide this service. They can also act as a listening ear if someone just needs to talk about their immediate concerns to a person outside of their family.
·        A befriending service.  We will be looking for volunteers who have experienced asbestos bereavement in the past to take part in this service.  This will probably involve a set number of telephone conversations at pre-arranged times, to help the newly bereaved to begin to work through their feelings.
·        A Friends and Relatives Forum.  This will enable friends and relatives of those affected by asbestos to get together and discuss issues important to them.  It will give people an opportunity to get involved in campaigning, and in steering the work of DAST in the future.  This will be a way for those who have been bereaved for a longer period of time to work for change and make a difference.

We will begin advertising for a worker very soon and we hope that the project will be able to properly launch in the summer.  Meanwhile, we will talking about the project at our event in Lincoln next month (see our previous post Caring for the Carers).

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for more information about the project as it progresses.