This is not a political website. But many things have happened in 2016 (and before) that feel to me to be dividing us, promoting intolerance and hurting the most vulnerable amongst us. I see no reason to stay silent about that.
So starting today I am going to be sharing what we can actually DO. It won’t be big things, or at least not often. Sometimes it will involve donating money. Sometimes it will involve donating time. Sometimes it will be signing petitions or writing to your MP. Sometimes it will be giving away your stuff. I have no scientific process for choosing what I will suggest, and I do not claim to be doing all of these suggestions myself. But I will find something every day that you can DO, because inaction is the worst thing.
Let’s get moving!
Update: I set up this page the day Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Barring a few breaks here and there I have put up one action per day. I am now taking a break from posting on here, but there are 85 individual actions listed below, for the UK, the US and elsewhere. You will find at least one thing that YOU can do. And it will make a difference. Keep moving.
Day 85: attend Divas In Action
There is a lot of talk at the moment about the need to ‘do things differently’, to work more collaboratively, to empower people and communities, to redesign our public services, to put social responsibility at the heart of business, and for decision-makers to work with citizens to co-produce new solutions. Whilst some people talk, there are women across Greater Manchester who are already doing it!
If you are keen to see good ideas ‘in action’, and to learn from what is already working, come along to this event and listen to Divas of Greater Manchester, tell us about the differences they are making in our communities, public services, town halls and businesses.
More information, and ticket sales, here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/divas-in-action-tickets
Day 84: become a campaign organiser for the Women’s Equality Party
WE are recruiting. Join the team as Campaigns Organiser (Liverpool). Find out more and apply before 28 February: http://www.womensequality.org.uk/campaign_organiser_liv
Day 83: support and mentor migrants to the UK
- Been through tough experience as migrant when moved to UK?
- Want to help other people with general issues?
- Sign up now and start mentoring people with similar cultural background in order to help them to settle in the country.
Sign up here: https://www.new2ukhealth.com/mentor-application/
NHS support for new migrants here: https://www.new2ukhealth.com/
Day 82: help Book Island and Readathon support seriously ill children in UK hospitals
“Readathon does something amazing. We get children reading for fun through our sponsored read in schools. The money raised provides children’s hospitals with regular storyteller visits, plus a mobile bookcase jam-packed full of brand-new books, which are replenished every six weeks.
We give schools free resources with everything needed to run a brilliantly successful sponsored read.”
More information here: http://www.readathon.org/
Day 81: Name the women who inspire you, drive you, empower you
For every shout out using
#EVERYWOMAN a book will be donated to a Women’s Aid refuge.
Day 80: encourage your GP and dentist to learn more about drugs in breastmilk
So many women are given incorrect advice about what medications they can and can’t take when breastfeeding. This often cuts short their breastfeeding journey as they believe that they cannot breastfeed whilst taking some painkillers, anti-depressants, anti-histamines or after certain operations.
The Breastfeeding Network’s Drugs in Breastmilk service, run by pharmacist Dr Wendy Jones, is a fantastic and constantly updated resource on this subject. Please, next time you visit your dentist or GP, print off a few of Wendy’s factsheets and ask your healthcare professionals to read and save them.
Full information, and a link to the information sheets, here: https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/detailed-information/drugs-in-breastmilk/
Day 79: add your voice
The Obama Foundation is a living, working start-up for citizenship — an ongoing project for us to shape, together, what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century. The Foundation is based on the South Side of Chicago, and we will have projects all over the city, the country, and the world.
To help us get started, we would love to hear from you. Send us your ideas, your hopes, your dreams about what we can achieve together. Tell us about the people who inspire you and the organizations whose work you admire.
This will be your Foundation just as much as it is ours.
“Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen.”
—President Barack Obama
Find out more here: https://www.obama.org/
Day 78: help Tally Kaur to raise money for Shelter via her Iceland Trek
“After a very tough year personally and having to overcome challenges in my life I’d never dreamed, I promised myself 2017 would be the year I give something back and challenge myself to do something I’ve never done…..
Why Shelter….? It was an easy choice because homelessness has always been a topic close to my heart and I have dedicated the best part of the last 12 years working to help street homelessness and tackling bad housing. The road to becoming homeless for any of us is only a few pay cheques away….frightening thought! So I would want to know that someone was there to help me if I needed it…..
Those of you who know me personally, camping and trekking for 5 days is really not my thing….. I’ve never done either before…..please donate and help me to raise the money I have pledged to raise for Shelter.”
Donate to Tally’s page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/TallyKaur
Day 77: send a Valentine’s Day gift with a difference!
“Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day charity gift? We’ve goat you covered! Whether your loved one likes a bit of DIY, spending time in the garden or is an animal lover like me, there’s something here for everyone. And don’t forget to add a Little Extra, like some Divine Milk Chocolate Hearts, and a personal message at checkout for smiles all round.”
More information here: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/oxfam-unwrapped
Day 76: re-frame your arguments to better persuade people
“Conservatives are more likely to support issues like immigration and Obamacare if the message is “morally re-framed” to suit their values.”
Fascinating insight into psychological techniques for political arguments: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/02/the-simple-psychological-trick-to-political-persuasion/515181/
Day 75: Watch “Transparent”
“An L.A. family with serious boundary issues have their past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out.”
Thought-provoking, illuminating, heartbreaking – and very funny.
Day 74: Visit My Mosque
#VisitMyMosque Day 2017 is taking place TODAY (Sunday 5 February) and over 150 mosques are taking part! Find your nearest mosque here: http://www.visitmymosque.org/
Day 73: help refugees
Day 72: join The Fawcett Society
Violence against women and girls: when will we see change?
“The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading charity promoting gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. We want to see a society in which individuals can fulfil their potential, regardless of their gender.”
“Working to create a society in which the choices you can make and the control you have over your life are no longer determined by your gender.”
More information here: http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/blog/violence-women-girls-will-see-change-icchange-2/
Day 71: remember what can happen when people work together
Shared on BBC Berkshire on 26th January:
Day 70: email your MP. They vote tomorrow!
“Discussions on the European Union Bill have been extended to midnight on Tuesday to accommodate more speakers, with a vote to take place on Wednesday.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has ordered his MPs to vote with the government, but some are expected to defy him.
Ministers want to get the bill passed in time to trigger Brexit by 31 March.”
More information here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38799686
Find your MP here: https://www.mysociety.org/wehelpyou/who-is-your-mp/
Day 69: come out in protest
The UK protests against Trump’s “Muslim Ban” that are happening TODAY:
I’ll be at the one in Manchester. See you there?
Day 68: prevent Donald Trump from making a state visit to the United Kingdom
This petition states:
“Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.
Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit.”
Day 67: support the ACLU
For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
On 27th January President Trump signed an executive order that suspended resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely, suspended all other refugee resettlement for 120 days, and banned the entry of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. All seven countries are predominately Muslim countries. We have no doubt that the motivation behind the executive order was discriminatory. This was a Muslim ban wrapped in a paper-thin national security rationale.
The ACLU with other organizations immediately sprang into action and challenged Trump’s executive order in court as violating the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. We immediately got a hearing and argued our case. At around 9 p.m., Federal District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a stay, blocking President Trump’s discriminatory policy from taking effect and preventing refugees and immigrants from being deported. She did not rule on the constitutionality of the order, but for now, the men and women who would have been deported are safe.
More information here: https://www.aclu.org/blog/president-trumps-first-week-aclu-hands-him-first-stinging-rebuke
Please support this vital organisation to continue its work: https://action.aclu.org/donate
Day 66: stop medical appointments affecting school attendance
Some schools mark children as absent when they have to attend routine medical appointments and clinics due to their ongoing health conditions. This then affects their attendance record, and can mean that they miss out on “awards” for attendance which their friends and peers might receive.
Sign the petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/168779
Read comments from affected parents here: https://www.facebook.com/thespecialparentshandbook/posts
Day 65: support Greater Together Manchester
Greater Together Manchester is a registered charity, working to tackle poverty and transform lives and communities across Greater Manchester and Rossendale.
“New statistics from the DCLG show why our Night Shelter project is needed now more than ever! It costs us £27 per bed, per night, to run the Greater Manchester Winter Night Shelter – can you help?”
More information: http://greatertogethermanchester.org/
Day 64: Understand the phrase “White Privilege”
This may be a new concept for you. If it is, then this American piece includes a great analogy for understanding the issue: http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/07/white-americans-learn-race/
Day 63: support Home-Start’s Snowflake appeal
Last year Home-Start managed to support more than 60,000 children in 30,000 families throughout the UK. But many young children are still experiencing hardship or tragedy through no fault of their own and the charity had to turn thousands away last year. Research has shown that 26% of babies are estimated to be living within complex family situations where there are problems such as domestic violence, mental illness or drug/alcohol abuse. More than a third of the families Home-Start supports experience mental ill health, almost half are isolated and 13% face domestic violence.
Find out how you can help: https://www.home-start.org.uk/news/2016-snowflake-appeal-launched
Day 62: take a stand against gun violence in Greater Manchester
Today marks the beginning of Greater Manchester Police’s firearms action week, aimed at raising awareness of gun crime and encouraging people to come forward with information, anonymously.
The drive is being supported by the father of 20-year-old Halton McCollin, who was shot in the back of the head outside the China Garden takeaway in Chester Road on January 19 2008.
To pass on information about Halton’s murder or gun crime in general, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You will not have to give your name or details.
More information here:.
Day 61: watch and share Human Milk: Tailor Made for Tiny Humans
Share from here https://www.facebook.com/milk4tinyhumans/
As my lovely friend Lucy says:
“It feels important to me that breastfeeding starts to make a stand against the formula companies – the lengths they go to in order to undermine women is unbelievable – how many of us believed we couldn’t breastfeed? How many of us have been exposed to such a constant drip of sexism and low level discrimination that we think our breasts are for display or to satisfy a man? When you know exactly what formula companies are doing with their ads, you can see it everywhere. But it’s the others too – Medela, Lansinoh, the bottle makers… they need women to think they can’t breastfeed… they need to hold us down and back by preventing us from doing the ONE THING that biologically 98% of CAN DO WITH SUPPORT.
This advert is the start of us fighting back against generations of discrimination and undermining of what WE can do with support and confidence. The government won’t pay more than lip service to it so a group of women came together and gave up their time and money to do something themselves.”
Find out more about the ad, and more information about breastfeeding, here: http://human-milk.com/
Day 60: take a moment to reflect
This powerful campaign for a charity is worth reflecting on:
Day 59: March!
Donald Trump will be inaugurated as president of the United States today and women are preparing to take to the streets of Washington and cities across the globe on Saturday 21 January.
In the UK at least 14 marches, demonstrations and gatherings are planned. In London, tens of thousands of people are planning to turn out in solidarity, and sister demonstrations are also being held in Bangor, Barnstaple, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Shipley, Southampton, St Austell and York.
Day 58: Buy a Refuge parcel and support women and children escaping domestic violence
Buy a parcel here: http://www.refuge.org.uk/get-involved/refuge-parcels/
Day 57: Donate to WaterAid UK
When a community gets clean, safe water for the first time, it’s the start of something truly life-changing.
Right now, some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people don’t have access to safe water to drink, decent toilets or hygiene. Without these basics, overcoming poverty is just a dream.
But when you help us to dig a well or install a tap stand in a community, everything changes.
Today one in ten people are still living without safe water. But your support could help change everything for a community – in a single day.
Find out more here: http://www.wateraid.org/uk
Day 56: Donate your unwanted make-up
Give and Makeup is a non-profit initiative that helps pass on your surplus makeup, clothing and more to the thousands of women who turn up at refuges with nothing after escaping domestic abuse. It was founded six years ago by skincare expert and blogger Caroline Hirons after research for a blogpost on everyday essentials led her to a page on Refuge’s website.
“I read that the fewer things women take with them, the longer they have to get away, because the abuser is less likely to assume that she’s left,” she says. “Most of them only take their kids, their purse and maybe a change of underwear. I had a lightbulb moment. I had been sent so much stuff for the blog and I didn’t need it all, but these women did. I rung my friends up and said ‘Bitches, we’re doing this!’”
Two women are murdered by a partner or ex-partner every week in the UK, with one in four experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime. Charities like Refuge and Women’s Aid protect those in need, helping them find somewhere safe to stay while they struggle to rebuild their lives.
Day 55: Remember that “I’m fine” is often a lie
Why our cultural trend of not discussing mental health needs to stop:
Day 54: Save the Acton FGM Community Clinic
The Acton FGM community clinic was set up in 2007 to provide a specialist service for women with FGM. Over the last 10 years we have helped more than 1,000 women. We have carried out the reversal procedure for more than 500 women; We have referred over 200 women for specialist gynaecology consultations; and we have provided counselling for over 150 women. Many women have told us that “this service changed my life after suffering years of pain”.
This clinic was set up in response to the needs of local women who were unable to access specialist services to help them with the health consequences that they were suffering as a result of FGM.
We have just received notice that Ealing council (Public Health) will no longer fund the clinic post March 2017. They have stated that this is because they can no longer commission a clinical service. Ealing CCG have also notified us that the clinic is not cost effective and the numbers are too small and therefore they are not able to take-over the commissioning of the Acton clinic. Therefore the clinic will close at the end of March.
The clinic is a community-based and midwife-led service. It is especially targeted at younger women to give them help and support before or during pregnancy but we also see a number of older women who have problems of long term pain, incontinence, fistulas and prolapses. These women are referred on for specialist uro-gynaecology services. Our ethos is to never turn anyone away. Women do not need a referral from their GP. They can self-refer and there are no geographical boundaries. It is a fast-track service – we see all women within 2 weeks of them contacting us.
Over the last 10 years we have also trained more than one hundred professionals how to deinfibulate and also trained thousands of multi-agency professionals through workshops, seminars etc
During a clinic consultation we carry out a physical and mental health assessment. We educate all women of the Law in the U.K. and the health consequences of FGM. We diagnose and explain to them what Type of FGM they have. We also carry out an essential safeguarding risk assessment of female children or younger siblings that may be at risk of, or have had, FGM.
We often see women that have never spoken about their FGM before and do not feel that they can discuss FGM with their GP and they frequently reveal that they have suffered years of urinary tract infections and painful sexual intercourse prior to accessing our service.
In 2011 we won a Guardian Public Service Award in the category of Diversity and Equality.
The clinic was visited by M.P. Jane Ellison (and former Public Health Minister) in February 2016 as an example of a gold standard, holistic FGM service that has been used as a blueprint for services across the UK.
This service will close at the end of March, 2017 unless we act NOW.
Please help us Save the Acton Clinic and sign this petition. Thank you
Day 53: Join the NHS Organ Donor Register
If you needed an organ transplant would you have one?
If so please help those in need of a transplant by opting to donate organs and tissue.
Right now across the UK there are 6,500 people – including 150 children – living a life in limbo, waiting for a call that will change their lives.
Sadly a shortage of organ donors means too many people die before they get the transplant they need.
The couple of minutes you give to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register could lead to you saving lives in the future.
Having an illness or long term condition doesn’t prevent you from registering as an organ and tissue donor. Even if you can’t donate your organs when you die, most people can still donate tissue.
As an organ donor you could save or transform up to nine lives. So, what are you waiting for?
Day 52: follow ManWhoHasItAll
Follow @manwhohasitall on Twitter for hilarious tweets that get you thinking about the way we talk to and about women and men. Never fails to make me laugh.
Day 51: support Coffee4Craig
When one of the founders’ brother Craig passed away on the streets due to mental health and substance addictions Risha knew it was time to do something…
Coffee4Craig was created as a result and we are all proud to say;
There is now more awareness around homelessness and a dedicated team of regular volunteers who feed hundreds every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday by Manchester Cathedral without fail, week in week out come rain or shine… C4C volunteers are there.
We also work with existing partner organisations to provide the best service, housing options and support packages. One person at a time…
Craig was 37 when he passed away on the streets in his hometown of Cardiff. He died of a heroin overdose after battling for years with the mental health diagnosis schizophrenia. Within 3 days of his passing and knowing something had to be done, they decided to make a step into the unknown…
What started as a simple call out on facebook for all their friends to buy a coffee for someone who is homeless, saying it was from Craig, quickly became a meal in Cardiff in his honour, then a food and coffee service in their home city of Manchester has now grown into a foodbank, 4 street kitchens over Cardiff and Manchester and they currently support over 200 people each week.
Please volunteer or donate. More information here: http://www.coffee4craig.co.uk/
Day 50: help the refugees in Dunkirk
You may remember me posting a blog post that Maddie McMahon wrote after her visit to the camp in Dunkirk. This is her update: https://thebirthhub.co.uk/2017/01/09/fire-fury-fatigue-dunkirk-camp/
You will see that it includes 3 suggested actions at the end. I am delighted to be able to tell you that Katie Olliffe was able to put up this update on Facebook yesterday:
The mayor of Grande-Synthe, Damien Careme has just tweeted me in response to our calls for Action to say: “We will have a new one (Woman’s Centre) very soon! I’ve found a foundation who will offer new women center to all women & children of La Liniere”
So that just leaves two actions that you can undertake to help the people in this camp. Please read Maddie’s blog for more information.
Day 49: join the Women’s March on London!
THIS MARCH IS INCLUSIVE AND ALL ARE WELCOME.
On January 21 2017, the first day of Donald Trump’s Presidency, women-led marches, welcoming all participants, will take place across the world, with the largest expected in Washington D.C.. We call on people of all genders to march in London as part of an international day of action in solidarity.
We will march, wherever we march, for the protection of our fundamental rights and for the safeguarding of freedoms threatened by recent political events. We unite and stand together for the dignity and equality of all peoples, for the safety and health of our planet and for the strength of our vibrant and diverse communities.
We will come together in the spirit of democracy, honouring the champions of human rights who have gone before us. Please spread the word, so that our numbers are too great to ignore and the message to the world is clear.The politics of fear and division have no place in 2017.
More information here (it is free to attend): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-march-on-london-tickets-29951554907
Day 48: support Age UK
Age UK is the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life.
The over-60s is the fastest-growing group in society and there are more of us than ever before.
Ageing is not an illness, but it can be challenging. At Age UK we provide services and support at a national and local level to inspire, enable and support older people.
We stand up and speak for all those who have reached later life, and also protect the long-term interests of future generations.
Ways you can help: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/
Day 47: sign this petition to protect Sunderland’s refuges for women
Day 46: pay attention to Project Unbreakable
Project Unbreakable is a photography project aiming to give a voice to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.
Day 45: follow Media Diversified
“Media Diversified is a non-profit independent publishing platform that aims to advance the discourse around race, politics, identity and popular culture.”
More information here: https://mediadiversified.org/
Day 44: fight for dignity for all
This article highlights a disgraceful issue about which we should all be aware, particularly anyone who has responsibility for public facilities:
Day 43 (after a break for Christmas): look after your own mental health
This is a great article with some simple ideas for protecting your mental health. Well worth a look, and please do share with your friends: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/mentally-chill-2017
Day 42: volunteer with the Citizens Advice Bureau
“We aim to provide the advice people need for the problems they face and improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives. We provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination.”
Here’s how to volunteer with CAB: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/support-us/volunteering/
Day 41: support the Christmas Mumsnet campaign for Women’s Aid
This Christmas, mumsnet.com are doubling donations made to their appeal and Women’s Aid is one of their lucky chosen charities. Thank you Mumsnet! You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/womensaid/mumsnetchristmasappeal16
Day 40: Give Blood
Giving blood saves lives. The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments.
Many people would not be alive today if donors had not generously given their blood.
We need over 6,000 blood donations every day to treat patients in need across England. Which is why there’s always a need for people to give blood.
Each year we need approximately 200,000 new donors, as some donors can no longer give blood.
Most people between the ages of 17-65 are able to give blood.
Around half our current donors are over 45. That’s why we need more young people (over the age of 17) to start giving blood, so we can make sure we have enough blood in the future.
For information on how to donate, whether or not you are eligible and how it all works please click here: https://www.blood.co.uk/
Day 39: read Flat Earth News
An award-winning reporter exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media
“Finally I was forced to admit that I work in a corrupted profession.” When award-winning journalist Nick Davies decided to break Fleet Street’s unwritten rule by investigating his own colleagues, he found that the business of truth had been slowly subverted by the mass production of ignorance.
Working with a network of off-the-record sources, Davies uncovered the story of the prestigious Sunday newspaper which allowed the CIA and MI6 to plant fiction in its columns; the daily newsroom where senior reporters casually refer to ‘nig nogs’ and where executives routinely reject stories about black people; the respected quality paper which was so desperate for scoops that it hired a conman to set up a front company to entrap senior political figures. He found papers supporting law and order while paying cash bribes to bent detectives and hiring private investigators to steal information.
Davies names names and exposes the national news stories which turn out to be pseudo events manufactured by the PR industry and the global news stories which prove to be fiction generated by a new machinery of international propaganda.
He shows the impact of this on a world where media consumers believe a mass of stories which, in truth, are as false as the idea that the Earth is flat – from the millennium bug to the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, tainting government policy, perverting popular belief.
He presents a new model for understanding news. With the help of researchers from Cardiff University, who ran a ground-breaking analysis of the contents and sources for our daily news, Davies found most reporters most of the time are not allowed to dig up stories or check their facts – a profession corrupted at the core.
Read All About It. The news will never look the same again.
Day 38: support Rape Crisis
Are you passionate about social justice for women and girls who’ve experienced sexual violence? You can take action today by donating or raising money for the life-changing work of our Rape Crisis movement.
More information here: http://rapecrisis.org.uk/supportus.php
Day 37: more tiny actions for Aleppo that are better than no action at all
And if you live in a country at peace, spend your day in gratitude.
Day 36: help the people of Aleppo
Syrians are posting their “goodbye” messages from Aleppo: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/13/middleeast/syria-aleppo-goodbye-messages
There is so little we as individuals can do. But we can give money to those who are there and can help.
6 charities who can help: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-to-help-aleppo-charities-and-organisations-to-donate-to
Please give generously.
Day 35: simply Make A Wish!
As true now as it was when I first wrote this blog in September 2015: https://heartmummy1980.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/make-a-wish/ And something of which we all need to be reminded.
Day 34: support the Samaritans
Here’s how: http://www.samaritans.org/support-us
“People talk to us anytime they like, in their own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to them. You don’t have to be suicidal.”
Day 33: add your support to the 1001 Critical Days cross-party Children’s Manifesto
The 1001 Critical Days manifesto highlights the importance of intervening early in the 1001 critical days between conception to age 2 to enhance the outcomes for children.
The 1001 Critical Days Manifesto Coalition looks forward to a society where:
- Every baby receives sensitive and responsive care from their main caregivers in the first years of life.
- Parents feel confident to raise their children in a loving and supportive environment.
- A holistic approach to all ante, peri (around 20th week of pregnancy to around the 28th day of life) and postnatal services enabling seamless access for all families.
Since the manifesto was launched in October 2013 we have; 36 Politicians/MPs, 6 Lords and Baronesses, 10 Public Health Bodies, 105 charities and oganisations, 143 All Party Parlimentary Group members and 300 individuals who have pledged their support for the 1001 critical days manifesto.
The manifesto seeks to engage organisations who have pledged their support, to create a relationship based ethos with a commitment to actively support and promote at a local and national level, the establishment of universal and specialist provision to offer relationship-based services, where appropriate to parents and their babies during the 1001 Critical Days.
More information here: http://www.1001criticaldays.co.uk/home
Day 32: write to your MEPs and tell them how passionately you feel about maintaining your rights as EU citizens, including the ability to live, study and work abroad
More information here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-eu-citizenship
Day 31: get some Positive News!
Positive News is the constructive journalism magazine.
Online and in print, we look at society’s challenges through a lens of progress and possibility.
The longest-established publication for quality reporting that inspires, Positive News is owned and supported by a global community. As a magazine and a movement, we are changing the news for good.
Day 30: help to stop Donald Trump reversing climate control
Greenpeace tells us how: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/5-ways-trump
“The most common way people give away their power is believing they don’t have any”
Day 29: volunteer to help homeless people this Christmas
Here comedian Andy Smart explains why: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/andy-smart/crisis-christmas-volunteering
“In this time that politicians are using division to promote themselves and spreading fear, it is great to be involved with something that forges unity and positivity. Crisis at Christmas is a community, a caring community.”
More information on the Crisis website: http://www.crisis.org.uk/
Day 28: sign the UNICEF Baby Friendly Call to Action
“Our Call to Action for breastfeeding urges the UK and devolved governments to take four key steps to create a supportive, enabling environment for women who want to breastfeed.
JOIN OUR CALL TO UK GOVERNMENTS TO TAKE URGENT ACTION TO REMOVE THE BARRIERS TO BREASTFEEDING – ADD YOUR VOICE
In the UK breastfeeding is a highly emotive subject because so many families have not breastfed, or have experienced the trauma of trying very hard to breastfeed and not succeeding. No parent should have to feel the pain of any implication that they have not done the best for their child, but the UK context has become so fraught that conversations about breastfeeding are shut down.
Powerful new evidence about the benefits of breastfeeding provides a compelling case to alter prevailing attitudes and practices. Three ground-breaking pieces of research funded by the Gates Foundation highlight the practical, emotional and cultural barriers that still stand in the way of women breastfeeding and underline the importance of breastfeeding in improving health, saving lives and reducing costs in every country in the world, rich or poor.
We are calling on UK and devolved governments to implement four key actions to create a supportive, enabling environment for women who want to breastfeed:
- Develop a National Infant Feeding Strategy Board in each of the four nations, including members from all relevant government departments and tasked with developing a comprehensive National Infant Feeding Strategy and implementation plan.
- Include actions to promote, protect and support breastfeeding in all policy areas where breastfeeding has an impact.
- Implement evidence-based initiatives that support breastfeeding, including the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative, across all maternity, health visiting, neonatal and children’s centre services.
- Protect the public from harmful commercial interests by adopting, in full, the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes (“the Code”).
More information on the BFI website: https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/baby-friendly-resources/advocacy/call-to-action/
Day 27: Disability Matters
Some great Calls to Action from the launch of the Disability Matters report:
You can read the report here: http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/disability-matters#report
Day 26: follow The Special Parent’s Handbook
This the Facebook page for Yvonne Newbold’s book: https://www.facebook.com/thespecialparentshandbook/
Follow the page, see life from a different perspective, learn how to support families of children and adults with Learning Disabilities, Autism and Complex Needs.
Learn more about Yvonne and buy her book here: http://yvonnenewbold.com/
Day 25: Be an ethical consumer this Christmas
Day 24: add some charity gifts to your Christmas list
Lots of charities offer gifts you can buy for your family and friends. Two suggestions:
Lots more available, see what your chosen charity has on offer!
Day 23: donate to charity instead of sending Christmas cards
Send your festive greetings by email or text, give people a ring or tell them in person. Donate the money saved on cards and postage to a charity of your choice. Simple!
Day 22: watch Sophie Walker’s speech to the Women’s Equality Party conference
Feel like being inspired today?
Day 21: tweet for Shelter
The point has been made that British Gas, with its enormous profits, could easily just donate £25,000, but this is an awareness raising exercise as well as a fundraising one.
Shelter’s website says “Our core belief is that everyone should have a safe, secure and affordable home. We strive every day to give people the help they need, and campaign relentlessly to achieve our vision of a home for everyone.”
“This Christmas, 120,000 children will be homeless. You can help change this.”
Donation and support options here: http://england.shelter.org.uk/support_us
Day 20: read, follow and support The Canary
“Kerry-anne Mendoza, aka Scriptonite of the Scriptonite Daily blog teamed up with a group of extraordinary people to form The Canary in October 2015. With absolutely no financial backing or outside investment, we have rapidly built a brand new media outlet from scratch through determination in our goals, a vibrant team and engaging content.
This has been made possible through a unique business model and some of the best news, politics, science, technology and health writers from around the world.
We remain completely independent of any advertisers, funders, companies, political organisations or political parties.
The team at The Canary believe a free, fair and fearless media is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, because for democracy to work, it requires informed consent from its citizens. We intend to help generate that informed consent by providing our readers with high-quality, well-researched and incisive journalism that holds power to account.”
Lots more information, including how you can support this venture, here: http://www.thecanary.co/
Day 19: give as you live, fundraise as you shop
There are websites where you can sign up to support your chosen charity, and then every time you shop via those sites money gets donated to your cause. You can use the same shopping sites you always use, you just access them via the charity site. It doesn’t cost you a penny, and it’s really easy to use. A simple way to raise funds whilst you shop online, and the only cost is the time it takes you to set it up in the first place.
Women’s Aid is set up as a cause on Give As You Live: https://www.giveasyoulive.com/
Find your cause on these sites or similar ones and get going!
Day 18: become a foster carer
This one is a big ask. But some of you reading this page will be able to do this. Olive Branch Fostering is recruiting foster families in my area:
“There has been a rapid escalation in the number of children forced to flee from conflict, wars and persecution in countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. As a result they have been living in unhealthy, dangerous, unhygienic camps and have continued on in the hope of finding a better life. They have embarked on dangerous journeys jeopardising their lives, all in the hope of finding a home where they can be safe. They have been without their families to guide them, and isolation is a huge emotional and psychological part of their recent experience. Unaccompanied children are extremely vulnerable and more at risk of trafficking, child labour and sexual exploitation.
As you will have seen in the news, there are are over 6,000 unaccompanied asylum seeking children coming to the UK and there is a severe shortage of foster carer to look after them
These helpless children need a warm, safe, stable and nurturing home where they will have a family to take care of them, averting them from more suffering.”
More information on Olive Branch here: http://www.olivebranchfostering.co.uk/uk-foster-families-needed-for-refugee-children/ There will be similar agencies in your area.
Day 17: Read the Private Eye “In The Back” section
Whatever you think of the humour / satire in the rest of the magazine (I happen to love it), the “In The Back” section is investigative journalism at its best. In these times of “post-truth” or however we characterise it, good investigative journalism should be supported. If you can afford a subscription to the Eye please do get one.
Day 16: support the Nurture Project International’s Diaper Campaign
“Nurture Project International is a US-based, non-profit organization that works to protect safe infant feeding among families impacted by crisis and disaster.
We organize and train volunteers and build mother and baby tents where they can provide technical support to mothers and babies fleeing war, oppression and persecution.
We provide ongoing peer support from trained volunteers to mothers while they are in transit.
We empower mothers and give them training that allows them set up peer to peer support groups in large, established refugee camps as well as temporary refugee situations.
Currently, we are one of the only NGOs distributing diapers. We need your help to ensure our mothers have one less thing to worry about.”
Full information on how you can help to ensure mothers in these camps have nappies for their babies: http://nurtureprojectinternational.org/donations/help-donate-diapers/
Day 15: support Strong Voices to help displaced peoples in Iraq
From their Facebook page:
“I have just received a list of needs from our partner agency in providing relief to displaced Christian and Muslim people in Iraq
They have the following requirements for distributions:
1. Men’s jumpers small 1500 pieces.
2. Men’s jackets small 1500 pieces.
3. Women’s jumpers small 1500 pieces.
4. Women’s jackets small 1500 pieces.
5. Winter shoes in sizes 41 and 42 3000 pieces
6. Men’s underwear in small and medium sizes
7. Winter hats for adults and children
8. Winter scarves for adults and children
9. Serger machines (overlock machines)
10. Tailor accessories (scissors, measuring tapes, fabric)
11. Washing powder or liquid
12. Dish washing up liquid
13. Dry food
14. Oil (for baking)
16. Flour (for baking)
17. Canned food (vegetables, tuna, no meat)
18. Nappies (diapers) sizes 4,5,6.
Anything that they can help with is fantastic!”
Please message Anne Davies, CEO, via the Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/jigsaw4uinternational/posts/1267720343290581
Day 14: support Birthrights
“Birthrights is the UK’s only organisation dedicated to improving women’s experience of pregnancy and childbirth by promoting respect for human rights. We believe that all women are entitled to respectful maternity care that protects their fundamental rights to dignity, autonomy, privacy and equality.”
Ways in which you can support this important organisation: http://www.birthrights.org.uk/support-us/
Day 13: Be an ethical consumer
“We give lots of money to people over a lifetime through the purchases we make. Some products reach us through better labour conditions or have a lower environmental footprint.
We owe it to those affected not to forget that smartphones may contain rare conflict minerals some of which come from eastern Congo where mines are controlled by militias with child soldiers and rape is a weapon of war. Let’s also remember that parts of the clothing industry use child labour. And let’s not forget that so much of the plastic we consume is produced from petrol, an industry which partly fuels war in the Middle East.
Everything we buy has a history and a social, environmental and political cost: the raw materials, the labour, the ecological footprint. There is much more to it than the price.
There’s also the stock market dimension. Many pension funds, banks and insurance policies invest our money in whatever offers the highest returns, often without much thought about ethics. Why not pressure those massive money pots to be more ethical in their investment preferences?
Of course you cannot put your money where your ethic is all the time. Nor does ethical consumption (which advertisers have become effective at spinning) resolve deeper structural issues. But a more inquisitive approach to our daily shopping can have an impact on the world. So ask yourself: who and what benefits if I buy this product?”
Day 12: read this blog post by Maddie McMahon then do 1 of the 4 things suggested at the end of it
“This article is about the help that refugees need in the camp in Dunkirk. A camp that is under resourced and forgotten. 1000 people, including babies and children, are living in damp, cold wooden sheds. The infant feeding team need money and volunteers. Read on for details and a link to donate. Thank you. Trigger warning: references to violence and loss.”
Day 11: read, follow and support the Everyday Sexism project
“The Everyday Sexism project aims to take a step towards gender equality, by proving wrong those who tell women that they can’t complain because we are equal. It is a place to record stories of sexism faced on a daily basis, by ordinary women, in ordinary places. To show that sexism exists in abundance in the UK workplace and that it is very far from being a problem we no longer need to discuss. To provoke responses so numerous and wide-ranging that the problem becomes impossible to ignore. To report the way you have been treated, even if it has not been taken seriously elsewhere. To stand up and say ‘this isn’t right’, even if it isn’t big or outrageous or shocking. Even if you’ve got used to thinking that it is ‘just the way things are’.”
Full information here: http://everydaysexism.com/ The Support page of the website has links to a number of organisations that you might consider supporting financially.
Day 10: take part in What Women Want
“Twenty years ago, 10,000 women took part in a ground-breaking study that changed the course of British politics.
We’re doing it again. Will you join us?
What Women Want 2.0 gives women the opportunity to share what matters most to them.“
The project is still gathering feedback, click here to have your say: http://www.thisiswhatwomenwant.org/
Day 9: donate to the Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal
I have received this letter from the Red Cross:
Please consider donating to their appeal, more details here: http://www.redcross.org.uk/en/Donate-Now/Make-a-single-donation/Syria-Crisis-Appeal
Day 8: try to avoid using products that contain palm oil produced in an unsustainable way
From the World Wildlife Fund website: “Palm oil grows in tropical rainforests, and the uncontrolled clearing of these forests for conventional palm oil plantations has led to widespread loss of these irreplaceable and biodiverse rich forests. Plantations have also been connected to the destruction of habitat of endangered species, including orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos.
The good news is you don’t have to give up products containing palm oil! It can be produced in a responsible manner that respects the environment and the communities where it is commonly grown.”
Look for the RSPO label to ensure you purchase products made with certified sustainable palm oil. This label gives you the confidence that the palm oil was produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
Lots more information on the WWF website: http://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/palm-oil-the-hidden-truth-lurking-in-your-home
Day 7: support the proposal of an ‘Associate EU Citizenship’
On Monday 21 November, the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee will discuss a proposal that would give “associate citizenship for those who feel and wish to be part of the European project but are nationals of a former Member State” and give them “the rights of freedom of movement and to reside on its territory” as well as being represented in the European Parliament.
The proposal follows a widely-circulated article by the Secretary for Bristol for Europe – and Britain for Europe organiser – Joe Williams, who argued for voluntary dual citizenship if Brexit goes ahead: https://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/opinion/tuesday-give-brits-voluntary-dual-eu-citizenship
Full details here of an email you can send in support of this proposal: https://www.facebook.com/europaunited.eu/posts/1092811087503416
Day 6: Donate items to a local refuge or charity
My charity of choice for the Manchester area is Wood Street Mission, who are asking for:
– new or good quality second hand non-branded school uniform, stationery and sports kit towards our SmartStart appeal
– children’s clothes ages 3 years upwards
– children’s bedding (quilt covers and pillow cases, new or laundered duvets, towels)
– baby equipment (e.g. prams, cots, moses baskets) and baby items (e.g. disposable nappies, bottles and formula milk),
– toiletries suitable for adults (including sanitary products) and suitable for children
– children’s books
– children’s toys
Find out more here: http://www.woodstreetmission.org.uk/ or find your local women’s refuge here: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/
Day 5: Sign this Global Open Letter to Donald Trump:
Dear Mr. Trump,
This is not what greatness looks like.
The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry. We reject your support for torture, your calls for murdering civilians, and your general encouragement of violence. We reject your denigration of women, Muslims, Mexicans, and millions of others who don’t look like you, talk like you, or pray to the same god as you.
Facing your fear we choose compassion. Hearing your despair we choose hope. Seeing your ignorance we choose understanding.
As citizens of the world, we stand united against your brand of division.
[Add your name by clicking here: https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/deartrump]
Day 4: Watch and share this video “Stop Funding Hate”:
More information here: https://www.facebook.com/stopfundinghate
Day 3: Come to the Women’s Equality Party Conference
This is a pricey one, but if you can then please attend this conference in Manchester on 25th-27th November. I’ll be there on the Saturday as a non-party member delegate, to see what this new party has to offer and how I can help. The WEP’s objectives are:
- Equal Representation
- Equal Pay and Opportunity
- Equal Parenting and Caregiving
- Equal Education
- Equal Media Treatment
- End Violence Against Women
Conference details and booking here: http://www.womensequality.org.uk/conference_2016
Day 2: Donate to your local Food Bank
This image is from a food bank in Chorlton near me at which my friend volunteers. The idea could be used for any local foodbank though, and is a nice twist on the advent calendar:
Day 1: Join More United http://www.moreunited.uk/
“MoreUnited.uk is a new movement setting out to change British politics. We’re going to transform the way politics is funded, giving a voice to the millions of open and tolerant people in Britain who feel the political system no longer works for them.
The idea is simple. We’ll use the power of crowdfunding to raise money for any candidate from any party who supports our principles, making it easier for moderate, progressive MPs to get elected and creating a new centre of political gravity in the UK.”