We have all had a bad time in lockdown. It’s been long and difficult, especially lockdown 3, and because of that we have all had way more than our fair share of doom and gloom. Whether in the news, on social media, or just talking, there has not been much of a positive atmosphere lately. That is why, when I was offered the chance to do something positive, I (figuratively) jumped at the chance!
THe PFC trust is a charitable organisation dedicated to improving the lives of people around Hartlepool. At the start of this year, they launched a new campaign – U change Lives 25. The aim of this campaign is to raise funds to buy a caravan, which in turn will provide the young carers of Hartlepool with a well deserved holiday. Did you know, on average a carer spends 25 hours a week caring for a loved one? As someone who has been on the receiving end of that type of care, I understand the importance of recognising the incredible work that carers do. Sarah was literally a lifeline for me and whilst I am independent now, I would never have reached this point without her help and support.
A typical carer spends 25 hours a week caring for loved ones. Taking this statistic as a starting point, The PFC Trust has launched a new fundraising initiative for 2021 based around the number 25. Initially, we are aiming to raise £50,000 to fund a new caravan for Hartlepool Carers, with additional sums being used as part of the Trust’s COVID-19 response.The PFC Trust
If nothing else, this campaign is hoping to shine a light on the little-acknowledged world of young carers, and how much we as a society take for granted just because we cannot see what’s going on behind closed doors. Oftentimes we, myself included, think of a smart uniform and a big building when we think of carers, but this is often not the case. A lot of the time it is family members who step up and look after loved ones, which in itself is a huge undertaking – imagine coupling that with going to school/ college etc, looking after siblings… These young carers are truly selfless and this campaign will really do good to show appreciation for the work they do.
If you want to know more about The PFC Trust, you can find them here: https://www.thepfctrust.org/. They do incredible work supporting the local community in Hartlepool by bringing about the type of support that is often overlooked – they provide vouchers for things like utilities and broadband to those who need them, as well as providing donations, grants and scholarships to organisations and individuals. The charity has been around since July 2019, the same amount of time that I have been injured, and one quick glance at their work demonstrates just how dedicated they are.
So, with all of that said, what will I be doing? Well, I should say ‘What will WE be doing?’ as Sarah and Amelia will be joining me. In answer to that, I’m going to do what I do best, push a wheelchair – more specifically mine. Over the course of 25 days I will push 25KM, which with a bit of calculation works out at 1KM a day. That may not sound a lot, but it’s a lot more than I am used to pushing regularly, and I will have to fit it in around work. Now obviously there are some sensible terms I am imposing such as I don’t want to be out in adverse weather as it takes me hours to dry off and warm up, so the 25 days may unfortunately not be quite consecutive; that said rest assured I will complete this challenge. If you wish to donate then my Just GIving page which links directly to The PFC Trust is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sam-watson26. Alternatively I can take cash in, although I would prefer to avoid this where possible. Obviously the times we are living in dictate that we should not leave home without good reason, which is another factor I have used in deciding my challenge – I can leave my house and not have to drive, as this is simultaneously my daily exercise allowance. The COVID thing is also the reason I am avoiding cash wherever possible, to try and reduce my interactions.
So there it is, my challenge for the next month or so. I feel that this could not have come along at a better time – the 11th of February marked 1 whole year since I was discharged from hospital. I did have a whole post ready about the trials and tribulations we have all faced, and how this wasn’t the year I had expected, but it has been that way for us all. I feel that this is a much better way of celebrating my release, and it may hopefully bring some benefit to those who deserve it most too.