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By Kylie Cloke, Chair of OCD-UK
Written: July 2011
For those of you who are members, and who have read the last edition of Compulsive Reading, you will have been enlightened on some of the work that OCD-UK has participated in over the past year. Our annual review which was contained within the latest edition will have highlighted some of the projects we have worked on, and the extent that our charity is needed in helping those affected by OCD. I am assuming that if you're reading this website that OCD has impacted on your own life in some way, and therefore I hope that our annual review has helped to reassure you that the charity is working in the right direction to make positive change for the OCD community. We hope that our work output shows that we are constantly striving to provide support services to those affected by OCD and raising awareness of the debilitating nature of the illness, to enhance understanding of OCD to those who are responsible for policy making and subsequently to help lead improved access to treatment. For those reading this message who did not read the last magazine, please do feel free to ask for a copy to read our annual review and see the great work that OCD-UK achieved in 2010.
Just this week, Ashley (our chief executive) has spent over 15 hours making phone calls and sending emails on behalf of an individual with OCD, who had been horrendously let down by his local authority services, who were supposed to be there to help him. Instead they had left him in what we can only describe as a desperate situation, and separated from his loved ones. Whilst we cannot take all the credit for resolving the situation, it is fair to say that our pushing and asking for answers helped resolve the issue far sooner than it would have been otherwise, and should now lead to local authority reviews to prevent a similar situation arising again in that area. This one recent case alone highlights why there is a need for OCD-UK.
My reason for writing this message is to ask for your help – members and non-members alike – to support our charity. As our annual review shows, we have not only successfully operated our charity with a minuscule amount of money (OK, so £70 to 80k does sound like a fair amount of money, but when you compare our work output with similar sized charities whose income and expenditure is far greater than ours, we are operating very frugally), but we have also ploughed ahead with innovative new projects. We are extremely proud of what we can achieve with limited funds – however, these limited funds are becoming harder and harder to come by. And the crux of it all is, that without this money, OCD-UK will no longer be able to operate – and we need you to help us to ensure that this worry does not become a reality. As a charity, we receive no external funding to ensure our financial stability, and we rely solely on the generous donations of our supporters. These donations come from membership fees, fundraising and general donations to our charity, all gratefully received from members of the general public.
As our annual review showed, a significant amount of our funding last year came from fundraising efforts. We were extremely lucky to be allocated 10 London Marathon places that together raised an immense £17,000. However, this year – and for future years, we will not have the benefit of this fundraising, as we are not eligible to claim a similar amount of London Marathon places. As a result, we desperately need to make up the shortfall from the previous year with other sources of income. This shortfall in fundraising money will make all the difference between stability and instability of income.
To put this in terms of time, we anticipate that without substantial financial support, OCD-UK will run out of money in early 2012, which demonstrates the importance of your membership donations and fundraising to support our charity.
Recent research has shown that our membership levels remain stable – however, we are recruiting new members all the time, which highlights that previous existing members are failing to renew their memberships. Our feedback in the past suggests there are a variety of reasons people don’t renew, but that feedback also shows that the vast majority are genuinely happy with the work of our charity.
We can appreciate our charity will always entice new faces who have only just discovered their lives are being affected by OCD, and we will always see members in varying stages of their journey in combating the illness. But we are pleading with all members to continue with their membership when it is due for renewal. Even if you feel that OCD is not impacting in your life any more, and feel that you do not wish to be reminded of the horrible, dark places that OCD can take you to, please do remember that many many others are still struggling, and are still needing the support that OCD-UK offers, that you once needed yourself. To be able to offer that support, we are reliant on the generous nature of our supporters.
Without the funding to employ Ashley and support our volunteers, and operate our various support services, like our virtual call centre, the charity will simply not exist, and at a time when we need to expand our services to help people, we will be forced to reduce, or even close them.
Just this week, we received a call from a caller who wanted advice, and had been told by another anxiety charity that he doesn’t have OCD because he does not wash or clean! This shows the real vital need for the independent and informed service that OCD-UK offers.
If you are passionate about ensuring that OCD-UK remains financially viable, and able to continue with its great work, please help us ensure it remains. Please think about becoming a member if you are not one already, and please think about renewing your membership if it has expired.
All funds received, big and small, really do make a huge difference to our charity. The £2 a month (£24 a year) may not sound like a lot, but if we knew that we had just 1500 members supporting us each month with that £2 donation, then we could plan ahead knowing that we were self-sufficient and stable. We really do value your membership contribution so much, and so if you are able to support us with this valued donation please continue to do so.
We have also including some ideas on other small ways to help us, without actually paying any more than your existing donation throughout the magazine, please do take a moment to take a look here… every penny really will count!
Thank you for reading.
Kylie Cloke - Chair of OCD-UK