Meningitis Trust

Meningitis Trust/Meningitis UK chosen as charity partner for Ulster Grand Prix

Meningitis strikes in an instant, but its impact can last a lifetime.

Around 14,455 people living in Northern Ireland could be struggling to cope with the life changing after‐effects of meningitis.

And each year another 261 could find their family life turned upside down by the disease.

The impact of meningitis is so great that 1 in 4 adults know of someone who has been affected.

Meningitis strikes quickly, leaving victims fighting for their lives in a matter of hours. For the families who lose a loved one to meningitis, life will never be the same again, and for those who survive, a third will be left with after-effects, changing their futures forever.

 As the oldest and largest meningitis organisation in the world, the Meningitis Trust/Meningitis UK is leading the fight against the disease in the province; providing a lifeline to victims, giving them a voice, and raising life-saving awareness of the symptoms. Because we exist, no-one has to face the impact of meningitis alone.

The two charities merged in April this year to provide an even louder voice to fight the disease. They will continue to deliver preventative research and lifelong support – whilst strengthening the impact they have in life-saving education and awareness work.

The charity provides an extensive range of free services, tailored to individual’s needs. With support and fundraising officers living and working in Northern Ireland it is hard at work right on your doorstep to deliver the support needed.

These services include:

  • A freephone 24-hour helpline, 0808 80 10 388, giving immediate support by listening to and answering your questions about meningitis and its life-changing impact.
  • Financial support grants, giving assistance to help make life that little bit easier; funding a range of specialist aids and equipment, therapies, training, respite care, home adaptations and complementary therapies. In Northern Ireland 12 applicants received over £8,000 in grants in the last year. And we’d love to receive more applications.
  • Family days, bringing families together to share their experiences of meningitis in a friendly and safe environment. Children can play together and parents can meet each other and talk to our staff.
  • Home visits by our team of local Community Support Officers, offering support and someone to talk to in the comfort of people’s homes.
  • Our one-to-one service, putting people in touch with one of our many volunteers who have been through it too.
  • A specialist counselling servicewhere people who feel overwhelmed by the experience can talk confidentially about their feelings and find ways to manage the impact of the disease.
  •  Creative therapies, such as art, music, play or drama, helping children with some of their emotional and behavioural concerns following meningitis.

But, because we are a charity that receives no public funding, none of these services would be possible without the support, generosity and creativity of our wonderful supporters. It’s only because of them that we exist and are able to deliver our lifesaving and life-changing services.

That’s one reason why we’re thrilled to be chosen as the charity partner for this year’s Ulster Grand Prix.

Find out more about us and our work at Or call Judith Cuthbert, our Northern Ireland Community Support Officer on 0845 120 4680; email: or Joanne Wilson, our Northern Ireland Fundraiser on 0845 120 0663; email

Tiny feet stamping out meningitis in Antrim

Local Supporter Gillian McKinstry, from Antrim, knows only too well the impact meningitis can have and how the Trust can help. Her daughter Lily had the disease when she was three weeks old. Fortunately Lily, now 22 months, has fully recovered.

Gillian this year has not only organised a Hooley in the Hilton but also a Toddle Waddle to say thank you to the Trust for their support when she needed it. Some 40 children took part in the event at Lonends Ends Church Hall in 7 Mile Straight, County Antrim. Lily was joined by Gillian’s other children Miley, 3 baby Ruby and children from the local Mums and Tots group.

I know how important it is to be aware of meningitis, which still kills more under 5s than any other infectious disease in the UK” Gillian says. “I really wanted to do something which would help make a difference and raise awareness, as well as money – a Toddle Waddle is the perfect way to do both.”

This fun, short sponsored waddle for the under 5s could help save a life by raising vital awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis amongst parents.

Family days

Claire caught bacterial meningitis when she was just a day old. It was a scary time for her family as her tiny body was swollen, covered in blotches and she had a high temperature and seizures. Eventually, she pulled through but sadly Claire has poor eyesight and can’t talk or walk very well because of severe brain damage. Her epileptic seizures have continued too – Claire has up to 100 fits a day, sometimes lasting just seconds and other times several exhausting minutes.

When she’s well enough, Claire goes to school for a couple of hours a day. She takes medicines to try to control her epilepsy and has help throughout the day. It’s hard on the family but her parents and sisters adore and look after her and have all been medically trained.

BBC Children in Need has awarded the Meningitis Trust in Northern Ireland £3,000 so that families with children like Claire can go to annual Family Days. These days provide the opportunity for them to meet and give support to other families who have been through similar situations, make new friends and raise awareness of the long-term effects of meningitis.

Signs and symptoms

The early symptoms of meningitis can include fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pain and fever with cold hands and feet. Pick up one of our wallet sized guides to the common signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia from our Beat it Now trailer at the Grand Prix and help protect yourself and your loved ones.

At the same time sign our petition to introduce a vaccine for Meningitis B.

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