Latest member update can be downloaded here – GradTouch Member Update 31st May 2017.
Latest member update can be downloaded here – GradTouch Member Update 31st May 2017.
Follow the link for the Member Update 5th May 2017
Please follow the link to download the latest Member Update – April 24 2017.
We will be making these twice monthly going forward.
On Saturday (15th April 2017), Lizzie and I travelled down to Essex to meet Reggie and his parents, Becca and Mark.
Now, for those of you who might not have read some of my previous blog posts, Reggie is on the Autism Spectrum. I am in danger of majorly over simplifying Reggie’s condition here but the basic headline is that he has problems communicating with others and understanding their emotions.
(For a more sophisticated explanation of how the Autism Spectrum works, I’d recommend reading this article.)
On an almost daily occurrence, Reggie will become either angry, frustrated or confused with a situation he is in and this can lead him to lashing out and self harming. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for Becca and Mark and it was great to be able help them.
From speaking with Becca on the phone over the last couple of weeks and from speaking to a couple of experts, we came to the conclusion that a sensory room in Becca and Mark’s home would game changing for them. A sensory room is a place where Reggie can go to be comforted and relaxed by lights, sounds and smells. By creating a safe space so to speak within their home, Reggie will have somewhere to go to calm down and this will stop him from hurting himself.
So, after taking suggestions from Learning Space UK (a specialist supplier of sensory equipment) and Reggie’s school, Becca, Mark and I compiled a wish list. Becca and Mark have been able to raise funds through friends and family over the last few weeks and coupled with our membership fees over the last month, we were able to order pretty much everything on the wish list!
In total, the equipment we ordered cost £594.45 which included an oil projector, a dark den, led lights and aromatherapy dough.
The dark den will act as Reggie’s quiet area and somewhere he can take himself away to when he is anxious. The oil projector will have a calming effect and it’s highly detailed image wheels will be great for Reggie. The Mohdoh (dough) is a good fidget and smell sensory toy. It has a slight texture that Reggie will like and the more he plays with it the stronger the smells gets. Playing with the Mohdoh will also help improve Reggie’s motor skills used for handwriting. Finally, the LED lights. This was the most expensive item and will be used alongside the dark den. The lights come in different lengths but we ordered the two meter long strands because Reggie has used these before in an NHS sensory room and really liked to wrap them around his arms and legs.
The equipment is due to arrive over the next 1-2 weeks and once it has all arrived, we’re going to head back down to Essex and see the sensory room all set up.
I’d like to say a quick thank you to Becca and Mark. Firstly, for letting us tell their story and to share their experiences with the world and secondly, for being two amazing people with a lovely family.
I’d also like to thank all of our members who have helped fund this equipment for Reggie. You’ve all had a huge impact on the lives of an awesome family.
If you’ve not signed up to WeTogethr, then grab your credit/debit card and sign up here.
It takes less than 2 minutes, costs as little as £4.99 per month and at least 75% of your money will go towards buying medical equipment that will have a life-enhancing effect on those who need it.
So make sure you sign up!
Tomorrow (Saturday 15th April), Lizzie and I are off to see Reggie and Becca in sunny Essex. Thanks to all of our members who have signed up so far, we are able to help fund a sensory room at their home which will help with Reggie’s autism.
It’s a pretty long drive from Manchester to Essex, according to google maps it’s about a 500 mile round trip which should be made even more enjoyable due to the bank holiday traffic! 🙂
However, Lizzie and I are really looking forward to it and being able to help Becca and Reggie even more so. We’ll be writing a blog post when we get back so that we can keep you all up-to-date with the progress we’re making.
Hello! My name is Theo Chung and I’m the Head of Development at GradTouch, a startup based in Manchester. Recently, I’ve also been planning and building the website for WeTogethr.
My current commute to work is a mile or so walk through Manchester and over the past year or so I’ve really started to notice that although the city seems to be booming, there are many in society who aren’t feeling this effect. I’ve always donated money to people and causes that need it on an ad-hoc basis but in the past I’ve been left feeling frustrated in not knowing exactly what impact my direct contributions have had.
When Zac approached me with the idea of WeTogethr I really felt like I could get behind something I believe would change society positively and bring good things to people who struggle on a daily basis.
The basic premise of WeTogethr is to use the money we generate through memberships fees to buy things that will improve the quality of people’s lives. This could be specially designed wheelchairs through to a piece of kit called an Eye Gaze which is similar to the device that Stephen Hawking uses to communicate.
One of our core values at WeTogethr is complete transparency. Call it an open source organisation if you will. Everything we collect and everything we spend is open to the public on BareMetrics. To start with at least 75% of our funds will be going directly towards helping others. As we grow we will be looking to reduce our running costs and aim to increase this number to 90%.
Being from a technical background and having a passion for Technology, I really understand the benefits of being open to society. Many open source technologies have been the foundation for massive platforms we use on a daily basis.
We want to be open because too many businesses, charities and even Governments like building an information wall preventing access to key stats. Only with continual full transparency can you have trust, honesty and truly do something to have a large positive impact on society.
If you are passionate about doing good and want to support those in need, please sign up here and join our community.
I’m happy to announce that we have found our first cause to fund!
Earlier this week I contacted Becca, after finding her blog online. Becca is a mum to 4 amazing children, 2 of which have special needs.
Now I won’t ramble on about how tough it must be for Becca as I can’t even comprehend the daily struggles she and her husband face. Instead, I want to focus on Reggie, Becca’s 5 year old son who has autism. Becca recently blogged about Reggie and I want to share with you an extract from that blog.
“Recently his self harm has increased and I learnt if he is anxious about something he nibbles at a spot on his wrist, he will do this either until it turns red or until it is bleeding, in fact sometimes I swear he bites it right off! When he is angry, frustrated or confused Reggie will bash his head. Slight annoyance equals him slapping his head, major annoyance means slamming his head on surfaces…
…I’m still learning the way he takes everything so literal. This morning I was asking him to sit still in the car so I could buckle him up. I did the buckle and got in my seat but then all hell broke out. He thought I hadn’t buckled him in and after calming him down I realised he thought the buckle would somehow attach itself to him. Although we do this process daily a slight change of wording (I never normally say buckle) made him freak out.”
Now, the thing that would really help Reggie is a sensory room at home. This simply is a place in his house where he can go to be comforted and relaxed by lights and sounds. Before speaking to Becca, I was completely ignorant to Autism and equipment that is out there to help. But, by creating a safe space so to speak within their home, Reggie will have somewhere to go to calm down and this will stop him from hurting himself.
To make this sensory room a reality, Lizzie and I have set aside £750 of our own cash which should be enough to buy some of the key items. Obviously, we’d love to help as much as possible which is where I turn to you, the reader!
Lizzie and I are hoping that by putting our hands in our pockets we will show our friends, family and the wider community our belief in WeTogethr.
So, if you haven’t already signed up, then click here and sign up now!
P.S. We will keep you posted on our progress with helping Becca and Reggie as things develop!