Monday, 21 November 2016

You Can Bank on DAST

It’s been such a busy year at DAST. We’ve launched the Asbestos in Schools Awareness project and run the Asbestos Heritage research project. The bereavement support services entered its second year and we held a Reflection and Remembrance event at Lincoln Cathedral. We ran an Action Mesothelioma Day event and hosted this year’s Mesothelioma in the Midlands conference.

All this happened while we continued to provide our ongoing regular services including making home visits, holding coffee mornings and delivering information directly to those affected by asbestos disease.

The cost of some of this work has been covered by grants and donations from charitable bodies and trade unions. We are very grateful for this support, but the tendency is for them to select a specific project to fund.  Finding a grant or large donation to cover your day-to-day work is rare. Few charitable bodies want to fund our core work – the home visits or the maintenance of our website, for example.  The telephone bill is a major expense for DAST. Our staff spend hours of each working day on the telephone; providing reassurance and guidance, chasing up claims or planning events. According to our most recent accounts, DAST spent over £9000 on telephone, internet and postage in the last financial year.

DAST's most recent coffee morning in Stamford

This is why we need general, unrestricted funding. Our panel of solicitors help us to meet the cost of a large chunk of our overheads – the salaries, the rent and the travel expenses. But the rest? That all comes from our supporters.

Your donations really make a difference to the level of service that we can provide. Without them, there would be fewer coffee mornings where Mesothelioma sufferers find information and support. There would be fewer, less informative, information booklets. There would be no newsletter to keep families in touch with developments or ways to campaign on issues affecting their loved ones.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider signing up to a regular donation through standing order.

·        £5 per month would cover the cost of room hire for a coffee morning each year.

·        £10 per month would cover the cost of printing and mailing a newsletter to 100 families each year.

And knowing that this money is coming in regularly helps in planning our future activities.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to DAST this year. You have helped us to make a difference to many people. if you would like a standing order form, please follow the link below and click on 'Donation Leaflet pdf':

Monday, 8 August 2016

Donate to DAST Without Giving Money!

 Here at DAST we collect several used items which we can magically turn into money to help pay for our services!

·        Old and foreign money. This is the new addition to our recycling programme.  Please consider having a collection of all that spare change that you and your friends might bring back from your holidays abroad.

·        Postage stamps. If you can, please cut these out leaving a border of 0.5cm – 1cm. Do you know a workplace office that can save stamps for us?

·        HP ink cartridges

·        Mobile phones

·        Any unwanted gift that would look good on our raffle table, or that we can sell on ebay.

·        Handmade items for our craft stalls

If you are coming to one of our future events, then it is easiest to bring your donations along then. Or if you are in the Chesterfield area, then you are welcome to pop onto the office on Glumangate.

Otherwise, we can accept most things through the post – except mobile phones. Royal Mail are no longer allowing these into their system so these do need to be handed in in person.

Please think about DAST before throwing any of these things out!

Visit the fundraising page on our website here

Monday, 18 July 2016

Your Legacy, DAST’s Future

It is both sad and heartlifting when DAST are sent notification of a legacy. We recently learned that we had been left 10% of the estate of Mr H, and a fixed sum from Mr P. Of course we were sad to hear of their passing. Because we visit people that we help in their homes; and meet them at our events, it is a sombre moment to discover that someone’s own personal battle with asbestos is over.

But this is tempered with the knowledge that they have entrusted DAST with part of their estate. It is an honour to find that a person really believed in the work that we do, and knew that by supporting us, we will give real help to others – and keep on pushing for greater awareness of asbestos and Mesothelioma. It is a ray of sunshine hitting the office.

These two legacies come at a time when we are seeking donations towards several events. There is Mesothelioma in the Midlands and the DAST conference. But we are also planning an event in Lincoln this November, where we will project the names of those affected by Mesothelioma, as we did in Derby some years back. We are also looking into an official launch of the asbestos in schools project.

We are proposing to use Mr H and Mr P’s legacies towards our Lincoln event. It feels appropriate to put the money to use within their home county, where we will be warning others of the deadly effects of asbestos exposure.

As a small, tightly run charity, we can ensure that any legacy is spent in this way and doesn’t just disappear into general running costs.

If you would like to know more, we have legacy information sheets.  You can download these from our website – or we can post/email them out on request.

The Derby Cathedral Projection

Click here to visit our website and download legacy information

Friday, 15 July 2016

Walk a Mile With Your Mates

Our Walk a Mile for Mesothelioma event is fast becoming an established part of the DAST calendar. We chose to launch it in 2014 for the following reasons:

·        To get people talking about Mesothelioma by organising small local events and telling others why they are doing it
·        To encourage those suffering from Mesothelioma to do some gentle exercise – this is encouraged by medical professionals in order to try and combat stress and fatigue
·        To increase awareness of DAST and the need for our work – as well as to raise funds to enable us to deliver our service

DAST workers and volunteers will again be walking their mile at Nottingham’s Forest Recreation Ground. Anyone is welcome to come along and join us. It has been wonderful over the past two years to see families and pets and to have a chat while we circuit the park.

Gorgeous Dandelion joined us last year
We will be there on Friday 9th September from 11.00am. We will travel by train and tram (there is a tramstop right outside the park) but there is also a large car park.

If you are unable to join us we would love it if you could organise your own walk in September.  We have a sponsor pack available containing sponsor forms, pens, a T shirt and guidelines for contacting your local press.

We would welcome walks organised by small/local businesses. Perhaps a sponsored walk could be arranged at lunchtime or after work (a short hike to the pub, maybe…) In return for your company’s support we can put the name on our website list of organisation/company supporters and show your photos on all our social media sites and publications. Check out the current list here:

Show your support for asbestos support!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Lincolnshire Needs You!

A few years back, DAST projected the names of people that had been lost to Mesothelioma onto the tower of Derby Cathedral. This event drew attention to the issue of asbestos diseases and put the word ‘Mesothelioma’ into the local media. The photographs taken on the night have become iconic to the work of DAST – an image both arresting and poignant.

Since that event, time has progressed and unfortunately a lot more East Midlands residents have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma. We thought that it was time to stage another event of this type, especially since it would complement our new Bereavement Support project. The projection of names allows loved ones to share their loss and to gather with others who have been affected in the same way.

When it came to choosing a location, Lincolnshire immediately sprung to mind.  At the time of planning, this was a particularly busy county. DAST was being referred a third more asbestos disease cases from here than from the second busiest county of Derbyshire. We felt that these statistics signalled a need for an awareness drive in this area, encouraging local people to be aware of the issues being faced by so many people.

So, on 9th November 2016, DAST will be holding an event in Lincoln City Centre. We will be in the grounds of Lincoln Cathedral – the highest point for miles around – and we will be projecting names onto one of the buildings. We will also have speakers and we will be displaying information about the dangers of asbestos.

We will invite the local press as well as trade union and local council representatives to help filter the message out into the local community. This will be one of the stand-out events of our busy year.

But this is going to cost us quite a lot of money. We need to purchase the technical expertise to set up the projection programme and to deliver this on the night. We also need to invest in getting the event noticed by purchasing advertisements and printing leaflets.

At the moment we have yet to receive any pledges of support specifically towards this project – so this is where you can help!

We need sponsors.  Because of the nature of our core funding and the trade union-based ethos of our charity we have to be careful about who we accept sponsor money from. For example, we cannot accept donations from solicitors who are not on our panel, or from asbestos removal companies who are not properly registered and qualified. But we are interested in hearing from any Lincolnshire based trade union or business that would fit well with our work. It might even be a workplace where a colleague has been affected by asbestos exposure from their work in the past.

In return for this support, we can offer a mention in the event literature and in our newsletter and annual report. We will also acknowledge donations on our social media accounts.

Ideally, we need to raise around £4,000 for this event. Any shortfall will be made up from our general fund so the event will still go ahead. However our general fund also needs to pay for the home visits and other methods of directly supporting those affected by asbestos and Mesothelioma.

Do you know someone who can help?  Can you make a contribution to this event?  Please let us know:

Twitter @DAST24

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Asbestos in Schools Update

Our Asbestos in Schools project is taking shape and will be ready within the next few weeks. Funding has now been secured from the trade unions Unite, UCATT and ATL, along with donations from the Cowley Family and Linda Reinstein’s Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation.

As with the Asbestos in the Home project, the focus will be on an interactive computer programme.  This will give a virtual guided tour around typical school buildings, highlighting the areas where asbestos might be found. This programme can be shown on a large screen at events – but most importantly it will be saved onto usb sticks and distributed to schools and teachers. The programme can then be used in staff rooms during training sessions, or viewed by teachers individually.

There will also be an accompanying booklet and a launch event to be held during the school holidays.  We really hope that through this work, we can save lives.  There are currently over 400 schools in the county of Derbyshire alone which still contain asbestos and the workforce urgently need to be informed on how best to protect themselves and their pupils.

The programme is being given the finishing touches by Derby Quad – here’s a taster:

 If you know of anyone who works in a school, and who might like to get involved in raising awareness of the project, please ask them to contact us on

You can also make an online donation by visiting our page on

Monday, 4 January 2016

Welcome to 2016!

DAST are starting the New Year with two new projects.

Firstly, we must thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant of £3,800.  This is for a one year project that we will be working on throughout this year.  Called ‘Our Asbestos Heritage’, we will be collecting memories, observations and photographs from people who worked with asbestos from the 1940s to the 1990s.  We will use this information to make a catalogue of trades, types of workplaces and household objects which involved asbestos. We will prepare a leaflet and a display and share our findings using a website and social media. The overall aims include to record this part of our industrial history, and inform those who work with historic buildings and artefacts so that they can be vigilant. Leaflets will be sent out to museums and magazines specialising in vintage homewares.

You can contribute!

·        Did you work with asbestos?
If so, please complete one of our questionnaires – ask Sarah for a copy.  We can help you to fill it in if required.

·        Do you hold any photographs of someone at work with asbestos or in an environment where it was heavily used?
If so, please email a copy or allow us to borrow it so that we can scan a copy.

·        Do you have any photographs of objects that contained asbestos?
Please share them with the project.

·        We will shortly be launching a new Twitter account and Facebook page devoted to this project.
Please follow us and contribute your thoughts – look out for the links on our existing social media pages.

Secondly, January is Artisans For Asbestos month.

We are asking our supporters to while away the dark, long evenings by crafting something for DAST to sell.  You could knit, sew, crochet or anything you fancy.  Please make objects that people would be interested in buying from us, either at our events or from an online shop. Some ideas include:
·        Hats/scarves/gloves
·        Brooches/corsages
·        Toys
·        Cushion covers
·        Cards/gift tags
·        Bags/purses
·        Artwork

Have a go!  Share your works in progress on our Facebook page. 

If you’re not crafty yourself, why not ask a friend to relative to make something on your behalf?