Hot on the heels of the hugely successful British Polio Anniversary Roadshow at Heathrow on the 12th June, national charity The British Polio Fellowship has reported an equally enthusiastic response to the Manchester roadshow on 28th June. Like the London event before, the show witnessed record numbers of attendees, an inspiring talk from Paralympian medal winner Anne Wafula-Strike, MBE, as well as contributions from Brunel University, Motability, and a Welfare Rights Officer – plus an appearance from the digital graffiti wall.
The British Polio Anniversary Roadshow in Manchester is the second of three across the country marking the charity’s 75th anniversary celebrations. At the roadshow members were able to meet up and benefit from workshops relating to the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) as well as enjoying the entertainment on offer on the day. The roadshow also included a screening of The Journey, a unique film where members share their life stories and memoirs relating to Polio and The British Polio Fellowship’s essential role in their lives, as well as healthcare professionals giving their perspective on the condition.
The charity’s Chair of Trustees Pam Jones opened the event in the morning and helped mark the charity’s 75th anniversary by cutting an anniversary cake with The British Polio Fellowship CEO Ted Hill, MBE. The keynote speech was delivered by Colchester Hospital based Neuro-rehabilitation specialist, Anne Glynn. Anne used her speech to explain the management of the late effects of Polio and PPS before giving her time in a Q and A session, inviting questions from the room.
“Both our roadshows to date have proved an outstanding success,” explained Ted Hill. “The fact that both events were oversubscribed tells you all you need to know about their enduring appeal. The need for events like this offering advice and support is as strong as ever, even after 75 years.”
As one of the 120,000 people living with the late effects of Polio and PPS, Anne Wafula-Strike was well placed to give a talk to entitled “How to improve your wellbeing” which went down well with members on the day, many of whom had met Anne previously at the charity’s National Indoor Games in Leicester back in April.
The afternoon witnessed a screening of The Journey, (a film with production of the forthcoming DVD now kindly being sponsored by Mundy Cruising), produced on behalf of The British Polio Fellowship featuring many of the charity’s members. A break for lunch followed, before the commencement of the afternoon workshops covering a range of topics from the value of occupational therapy, to updates on the latest changes to disability benefits.
In addition to the film screening, the other big draw on the day was the interactive digital graffiti wall, with member’s taking time out from the busy roadshow schedule to express their creative side. Members had photographs of themselves taken and were then able to write inspirational messages that mattered to them alongside using a digital spray can. These images have been saved and will be used alongside the charity’s ‘Sowing the Seeds of Hope’ campaign, the results of which will be rolled out later this year.
The British Polio Fellowship has been inviting schools and organisations throughout the country to join in ‘Sowing the Seeds of Hope’ by planting wildflower seeds with the aim of raising awareness about the late effects of Polio and PPS in the UK. Some 10,000 packets of seeds provided by Syngenta and Westland Horticulture have been distributed via the charity’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Bulletin. The campaign will culminate on PPS Day when the charity attends a Parliamentary reception on 28th October.
Other features of the event were the ever popular history corner, which allowed members to share stories of the charity’s heritage and official (and unofficial) events from the charity’s past 75 years, plus a stand selling merchandise and commemorative gifts marking the charity’s 75th anniversary proved as popular as the mobility stand.
“The Manchester roadshow may have coincided with the World Cup, but there were enough activities to keep members occupied and away from the TV screens,” added Ted. “The graffiti wall is very new and exciting while for traditionalists we had our popular history corner so there truly was something for everyone. We look forward to doing all again in Wales a little later this year.”
The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome. For more details or information on The British Polio Fellowship, call us on 0800 043 1935, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk