Supporting Sickle Cell In Birmingham
The Charity Bringing The Christmas Spirit To People Living With Sickle Cell And Thalassaemia In Birmingham All Year Round
OSCAR Birmingham – Who Are They?
To my knowledge, OSCAR Birmingham are the first sickle cell charity to exist in the UK. They have been supporting sickle cell for almost half a decade and for people living with sickle cell and thalassaemia in Birmingham, they are life changing.
Established in 1974 primarily to promote greater awareness and support individuals affected by Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia disorders, they are the only community based local charity in Birmingham providing services arising from complex issues for those affected by this genetic blood disorder. They have a person centred approach to meet the needs of their service users which extends to the carers and families of those affected.
From family fun days and game tournaments to First Aid Training and educational workshops, OSCAR Birmingham are always actively supporting the individuals and families of those living with sickle cell and thalassaemia. Thanks to funding and support from organisations such as BBC Children in Need, Co-Op Foundation, Forward Carers and many more, Oscar Birmingham are able to provide social, educational and recreational trips and activities throughout the year for young people impacted by the genetic condition to come together from different backgrounds and communities to socialise, make friends, build support networks and reduce youth loneliness.
They are also able to run workshops and projects for mentoring, nutrition and coping strategies as well as services specifically for family carers to help them to increase their social participation and confidence as carers.
Continued Support During the Pandemic
Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia were both highlighted as being high risk. So during the coronavirus outbreak, many people living with the conditions had to shield. In line with the vision of OSCAR Birmingham to provide quality care and support for their service users, they quickly found ways to help those in need. Regardless of job roles, the whole team worked together to source food and essential items to give to those who were unable to leave their houses. They provided online and telephone mentoring support for adults as well as young people and carers who were impacted. They also actually increased their business running days.
When lockdown and shielding were lifted for everyone in August 2020, OSCAR Birmingham still tried their best to plan activities, projects and support that would benefit their service users. Due to new social distancing rules, activities were provided for whole families / social bubbles to enjoy together and where necessary they even ran the same activities several times over so all of their young people would be able to participate in small groups. Carers and adult patients were even provided the opportunity for massage therapy to help reduce stress from the obvious fears of the pandemic.
Christmas and Beyond
Realising that for many, Christmas would not be the same this year. The team at OSCAR Birmingham put in an amazing effort to prepare, pack and distribute treats and care packages across Birmingham bringing joy and smiles to children, families and adults during the festive period.
With projects focussed on empowering young women, supporting carers from Black and Minority Ethnic communities and reducing social isolation and vulnerability in adults and senior citizens, OSCAR Birmingham are only increasing their services and support in 2021.
Their aim is to work in partnership to help improve the quality of health, social and economic well-being for children, young people, families and adults living with Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia in the Birmingham and surrounding area.
Their name is OSCAR Birmingham!
To find out more about OSCAR Birmingham and ways you can get involved, visit: https://oscarbirmingham.org.uk/get-involved
You can also follow OSCAR Birmingham on Instagram @oscarbham