Church of England Diocese of Bath & Wells Fivehead

Unicef - Twin my Vaccine campaign

24 Mar 2021, 8:45 p.m.

Twin my Vaccine – an Adventure in Supporting Unicef

Although Covid-19 has been hard on everyone in many ways, Revd Scott and I have noticed many rather lovely side effects: kindnesses drawn out by necessity. People have flocked to support their neighbours through the foodbank, provision of equipment for home learning, collection of prescriptions and so on. Many have learnt new skills so as to continue to provide access to lessons, community groups and hobby groups online. It can be hard work, but it’s worth it to keep ourselves and our community healthy.

I’ll admit, though, that as the year turned, the prospect of continuing this new, restricted lifestyle through the winter didn’t fill our hearts with joy. However, there was light, in the shape of the first invitations for people to attend vaccination clinics. During January, we heard feelings of gratitude and hope expressed as the rollout began, especially as everyone in this country will have the vaccine provided, at point of contact, for free.

And that gave Scott an idea.

How about treating this unique moment as an opportunity to celebrate what we have here by being generous, not just to our local community, but to our global neighbours – people who won’t be receiving a letter from the NHS because they happen to live in less rich or developed countries? What if, whenever someone received a vaccine, they made a donation (if they could) to a charity involved in procuring and delivering vaccines to the poorest in the world?

We looked into it. Unicef, with their vast experience of delivering vaccines across the world, are doing exactly that, in partnership with the WHO and other organisations. JustGiving make it really easy to set up a fundraising page, where people can donate online.

So, we set out on a little adventure.

On Saturday 30th Jan, quite late at night, I set up a JustGiving page, called Twin my Vaccine, with an initial target of raising £1000. I shared it with a handful of friends and family. Our first donation arrived by morning.

Over the next couple of days, we shared it with members of our churches and my limited social media contacts.

By 3rd Feb, we had passed our target; by the Friday it was five times over. People liked giving. They loved having a medium for expressing their gratitude and hope and being able to reach out and help across the world, just as they’d done locally.

We have simply sown the seed of an idea and set up an easy means of following that idea through, but it has been a real joy to see how eagerly others have taken it up. Mrs Pook, at the Primary School, announced a non-uniform day (for those attending school), in aid of the appeal, which was wonderfully personal for us. Then, thanks to people sharing the link way beyond our personal contacts, the total grew and grew.

The adventure continued. Before Scott had even approached them, the communications team at the Diocese of Bath and Wells had heard about his idea and had posted an article on the news page of their website. Plus, when BBC Radio Somerset rang them asking for interesting stories, they passed our details on.

So it was that at 7am this morning (14th Feb) I found myself speaking live over the phone to Charlie Taylor on the Breakfast Show. You just never know where life will take you! And the current total on our JustGiving page is £14,600 - £3000 more than it was this morning. JustGiving will pass this money directly to Unicef and GiftAid will mean they can claim thousands more.

It may be that we have already bored you silly by promoting this idea everywhere you look. But if you haven’t come across it before and you’d like to celebrate your vaccination or that of a loved one, please look at our donations page and feel free to share it widely:

There is a further link there to information on Unicef’s work in this field.

Thank you so much. It is a joy to facilitate one of Covid-19’s better side effects.

Rowan Patterson

**Stop-press** As of 24th March the current total stands at over £79,500 + £14,000 GiftAid! Thank you to all who have so generously given.