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Chamber Charity Spotlight | Without Wings

14 September 2023

Now more than ever local charities need support from the business community to ensure the fantastic work they undertake continues and develops. Charitable work is an excellent way to enhance your businesses CSR, in addition to giving you and your team the “feel good factor” This month we hear from our wonderful new member, Without Wings

Tell us about your charity and what your aims are?

Without Wings: Rheumatoid, Psoriatic and Juvenile Arthritis, Lupus and Ankylosing Spondylitis.

“The hallmark of a healthy society has always been measured by how it cares for the disadvantaged.” Joni Eareckson Tada.

Established in 2016, Without Wings is a small voluntary organisation with one overarching aim:

To make our Island a better place for the 1-1.5% of people in the Isle of Man struggling with autoimmune conditions that attack, amongst other systems in the body, the joints.

To achieve this goal, the charity strives to provide a compassionate support hub, so individuals and families struggling with these types of often ‘invisible illness,’ don’t also have to feel invisible.

The support:

  1. We raise awareness. Without Wings seeks to educate the public, challenge ableism and unconscious bias and promote essential earlier diagnosis.
  2. We provide useful information. Our website, social media and patient advocation campaigns help people stay connected, feel more in control and find their own wellness paths.
  3. We provide compassionate grants. These are designed to enable people to easily connect to the services that support them – whether counselling, help around the home, rehabilitation or physical equipment.

These conditions can strike anyone at any age and affect multiple systems in the body as well as multiple joints. They are also usually described as ‘progressive and incurable,’ require a lifetime of complex medical intervention, and, most significantly, are notoriously misunderstood.

Help us eradicate autoimmune invisibility and marginalisation in our community, so those affected feel supported, valued and empowered to thrive, not just survive with their diagnosis.

What current projects are you undertaking or have in the pipeline?

  1. Without Wings is in a process of development and expansion – sending out info packs to GPs, libraries, front-line workers and large businesses; delivering presentations to key stakeholders, actively seeking new trustees with particular skillsets, and, overall, working out how we can best help improve our community’s overall health by taking a socio-emotional approach to tackling complex physical illness.
  2. Free counselling to those affected by these conditions, with a current project to alter our constitution to extend this service to Manx residents struggling with any autoimmune diagnosis.
  3. Continuation of our compassionate grant and outreach support programme.
  4. January 2024 the charity is teaming up with BeNourishedIOM to offer a healthy living weekend retreat.
  5. October 2024 the charity will be running its annual awareness raising and main fundraising event – either a Murder Mystery or 12 hour band-a-thon, alongside minimum two other fundraising events next year.

We appreciate that many charities simply do not have the resource or skills required for example to market themselves, run social media platforms or carry out functions such as HR or accounting. If any Chamber members wished to support your charity by offering some time, what kind of skills would you be appreciative of?

We need new, dedicated and visionary Trustees or volunteers, who have a genuine passion for making our Island a better place for people affected by often invisible autoimmune illness.

We are looking for people with expert skills in the following areas: accounting, social media and / or event management.

In addition to the above how can the business community support your charity?

There’s a lot of talk about ‘mental health’ in the public arena – yet the ‘mental health’ needs of people living with immobilising autoimmune diagnoses are still being marginalised in our community – now, more than ever within the context of our over-squeezed NHS.

Hospital dependency, cancelled or untimely appointments, lack of continuity in care, confused signposting, medication side-effects, inefficiencies, inaccessibility and uncertainties… can all lead to anxiety and depression, more time off work, poverty and families breaking down – all within the context of conditions that respond hugely negatively to stress.

Compassion makes ALL the difference when it comes to empowering individuals to take control, so please put us on your radar!

Please display our information if you receive it (or feel free to request).

Please help us raise funds so we can expand our campaign to reach more people.

Also contact us if you have a genuine interest in self-care, compassion and improving understanding and visibility for marginalised people in our community affected by these conditions.

We’re very happy to come and speak with you about our work to make our Island a better place to live for those affected.

Finally, where can our members find more information or contact you?

@withoutwingsiom on Facebook