New Health and Safety Regulations for Holiday and Home Parks

It isn’t easy these days to drive change. Don’t we know! However, through our stubborn hearts, grit and determination are helping people become more aware of Lyme. We are building the foundations for education and with our courage for speaking out about our own stories, people begin to try and understand this complex and awful disease.

Lyme may not be cancer; it isn’t recognised and often when spoken about, people don’t bat an eyelid. Not because they want to be ignorant, but because they really don’t understand the disease. That is where our hard work comes into play on the front lines. People often get overwhelmed or put off thinking they must carry out MASSIVE gestures to help in the awareness campaign season. In reality, the smallest actions can create the biggest waves.

Over recent years, thanks to the courage of sufferers not just in the UK but globally as well, people are beginning to listen, to educate themselves and to protect themselves from Lyme disease. Through word of mouth, leaflet drops, posters, fundraisers and sharing our stories, people are beginning to take note and information and education really does protect and save lives. Our climate is warming up and ticks are only becoming a far greater issue. We need to keep the ball rolling and our voices loud and clear so that change cannot be stalled anymore. Local councils got involved, lighting up some of the UK’s best known landmarks green in support. Local businesses also displayed posters and leaflets to help get our message out there. We are so very grateful for all the support.

       Wyre Vale Park, Garstang, Owner: Michael Ward

I am lucky that my family own a park home business, in which Rufus Bellamy, a BH&HPA National Adviser on Conservation and Environmental Management, has taken my request on board. By messaging around 700 parks who are part of the David Bellamy Scheme last year, we are now seeing parks beginning to put Lyme awareness alerts in their Health and Safety regulations, which is incredible! Health and Safety legations for parks have recently being revised so that park owners have had to rewrite their own Health and Safety regulations to meet new laws and legations. Of course, Rufus really helped to get the message across to the park owners last May, but I am so impressed by the response from park owners following his campaign. We expected parks to begin displaying posters and leaflets in their offices and around their parks but to make tick education and awareness a Health and Safety must is simply amazing. It just goes to show how people are waking up to this GLOBAL issue.

It is difficult knowing that so many hundreds, if not thousands, of people that are within our business know my story. Many of them knew and met me as the elite athlete who was strong, determined and successful. They don’t know this battered, exhausted, weak and very poorly girl. I rarely attend shows and conferences now but when I do people don’t just judge me as weak and ‘lazy’. They want to know more. They question my symptoms, they question my treatment and most importantly they ask HOW THEY CAN HELP.

When people ask this, it is music to all of our ears because we know our message is getting across to them. They are listening. It isn’t falling on deaf ears at all. I know my dad gets a lot of emails from park owners asking more about the illness, where to seek treatment, what advice to take and how they can help on their parks.  We have tick tweezers on all our parks and give them out freely. We display posters and leaflets around our parks and all the fundraisers we host see staff and residents of the park being the main people who come out and support, which is incredible. I know in the future residents want to do so much more to help raise awareness and funds for Lyme Disease UK, which I am beyond grateful for. Again, it just goes to show the amazing impact we are having.

I just wanted to give this update today because I felt like it was important. Awareness month drew to a close in May and sometimes we struggle to see how our impact is still making waves. We often begin to think people have forgotten us when that isn’t the case. They are working hard in any way they can to help the cause, protect and save lives. It is something truly special. It is all well and good celebrating these successes and giving thanks. Which of course is important, but we also need to congratulate ourselves and be proud of ourselves for the work we do and continue to do. It is no easy task and we never give up the fight.

I encourage you to get local businesses involved, spread your message and share your story. Speaking out is so powerful and it is key for people to be able to see, fully understand and appreciate the complexities of Lyme disease. This will inspire them to act because you and your story will be playing on their minds. You aren’t weak for showing how awful this disease is and what it has done to you. It shows great courage and strength! You should be proud of yourself and it is never done in vain because you WILL be protecting and saving lives. To me, that makes all my pain and suffering ‘acceptable’ because I needed it to help others. We must channel our negative energies in a positive way and protect the people who surround us and the next generations.

We hope, as a business, our next step will be to supply all staff with their own tick tweezer. Living in the countryside means lots of organised country walks and people do a lot of outdoor activities in general. So, it is key to keep them protected and safe.

Sophie Ward