Thursday
Jan242013

Prostate Cancer UK

 

This week’s charity visitors,Prostate Cancer UK, visit Dens as part of the community initiative. DFCSS caught up with Elaine Nixon, the Campaigns & Media Manager Scotland for Prostate Cancer UK to find out what they do.

Already the most common cancer in men, prostate cancer is predicted to become the most common cancer of all by 2030. Prostate cancer kills one man every hour, 10,000 a year in the UK.
Despite this breast cancer — the most common female cancer which has a similar death rate as prostate cancer — receives more than double the annual research spend (£853 per case diagnosed compared to £417 for prostate cancer).


At the start of the start of the year, Prostate Cancer UK launched The Sledgehammer Fund to raise money to crack this dreadful disease. Funds raised will help Prostate Cancer UK find answers by funding research; support men and provide vital information; and lead change, raising the profile of the disease and improving care.


You can donate now. It’s as easy as phoning us or sending a text. Donate £5 to The Sledgehammer Fund by texting CRACK to 70004, visiting prostatecanceruk.org or calling 0800 082 1199.
For further information about Prostate Cancer UK’s Sledgehammer Fund visit http://prostatecanceruk.org/sledgehammer


CASE STUDY - Alister Walker

Alister Walker, from Pitlochry, knows only too well how prevalent prostate cancer is, having been diagnosed with the disease in November 2006. That was over six years ago, and today the 59-year-old says he has a positive outlook for the future despite doctors being unable to cure his advanced prostate cancer. Since his diagnosis Alister underwent radiotherapy, and has since been receiving quarterly injections of oestrogeon – one of the side-effects of which is impotence.

Alister says: “I can remember the day I was told I had aggressive prostate cancer as though it was yesterday. The news hit me like a sledgehammer.  “I first suspected something wasn’t right with my urine flow while on holiday in Spain. My wife Jane quickly made an appointment with my GP who then referred me to the hospital for further tests and examinations. When the oncology nurse confirmed that I had prostate cancer, I remember asking if I would see Christmas that year, but they were unable to give me any predictions. I was shocked and stunned.


“My consultant ruled out a prostatectomy (the surgical removal of the prostate gland) for my treatment – so I’ve been lucky not to suffer from one of its common side effects, incontinence. The biggest blow has been the effects of impotency, which I try to manage as best as I can. “I now visit the hospital for regular check-ups and receive my quarterly injections of oestrogeon to keep on top of the disease. Today I enjoy my life, my family, my passion for photography and I look forward to a few more healthy years to come. I consider myself very lucky.


“My message to men is don’t ignore your health, take control. Be aware of the existence of prostate cancer and consult your doctor if symptoms arise. It can be successfully treated if identified early.”
Alister owns a photographic hardware and printing business (JRS Photo Hardware) based on Scott Street in the heart of Perth and is an active volunteer for Prostate Cancer UK. There is currently no screening programme in place for prostate cancer in the UK, although men have a right to ask their GP for a PSA test. The test does not diagnose prostate cancer, but can indicate prostate problems that may or may not be cancer.

DFCSS would like to thank Prostate Cancer UK, and welcome them to Dens to spread the word about an issue that is vital in regard to men’s health. The Society would urge all our fans, male and female to take time out to have a word with our visitors, the information they can provide may help save the life of a loved one, or indeed your own. The Society would also like to take the opportunity to once again thank Jacqui Robertson and Team Dundee FC, who raised over £2600 for men’s Cancer charities during Movember.

Wednesday
Jan232013

In Memory Of Ronnie

As we look forward to our first home game since the winter break, we remember those who are no longer with us, and for one man in particular, find a fitting way to celebrate their memory. Ronnie McIntosh was a man who devoted the latter years of his life to organ donation, being the recipient of a donated organ himself, and Community director Jacqui Robertson came up with an idea that allows us to honour his memory in a way that he and his family have said he would have wanted.

 

'For anyone who attended the funeral of Ronnie Mcintosh, the sheer volume of those who wanted to show their respects for this much loved man was testament to what he achieved in life. Ronnie's achievements have been well documented and some of them may not have been possible if it were not for his transplant back in 2009. Since then Ronnie did more than most of us could manage in a lifetime.'

 

'I met Ronnie through the group Revival Tayside who came to Dens as part of the Community Initiatives. You may remember they competed against fans in a tug of war with MSP Joe Fitzpatrick and ex Dee legend Tosh McKinlay. The message that Ronnie, Sid, Andrew and the group wanted to get across was simple - that being the recipient of a transplant doesn't mean being unhealthy or unfit, sometimes quite the opposite. I believe Ronnie embodied that message.'

'Not only was Ronnie an infectious character to be around, he was so unassuming and I would imagine many would agree, uncomplaining. Something that Ronnie spoke about often along with his constant fundraising and helping others was organ donation and he was very proud to be able to share this with Dundee fans. He kept thanking us, but we were just amazed by HIM.'

 

At Ronnie's service Dominick Watson told the hundreds of people inside and outside that Ronnie's promotion of organ donation was very important to him, a mantle that will now be taken up by his granddaughters. We couldn't agree more and at this Sundays game, myself and DFCSS volunteers will be handing out organ donation forms in his memory. There will also be an opportunity to donate to Ward 22 and the renal ward at Ninewells for those who would like to.

 

                                                                                                                 Jacqui Robertson

Tuesday
Jan222013

Lennon Fund Follow Up

Lennon Thomson is a three year old boy who lives with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. His parents Lisa and Liam set up The Lennon Fund in his name, and were the charity visitors for the game with Aberdeen on Dec 29.

DFCSS spoke to mum Lisa after the visit, to find out how the day went, and how Lennon enjoyed being a mascot for the day. ‘ Lennon is a Dundee fan, the whole family are, so for him to get the chance to be a mascot was great, letting us raise awareness for the Lennon Fund was fantastic too. They day was great, and while it was a bit cold, the whole family enjoyed the day out. Lennon had a great time, but was obviously a little tired later that day after all the excitement.’

‘We heard about the Community Initiative through Rab Douglas, we were doing a bucket collection, and he stopped, came over and gave us the names of Jacqui Robertson and Graeme Brymer, we contacted Jacqui, and she arranged for us to come to Dens. She also managed to get Lennon a spot as a mascot which was fantastic. Lennon got to meet all the players, and that was great, but at the same time, we got to introduce ourselves and the Lennon Fund to the Dundee supporters, who were fantastic. We had CD’s and wristbands, and people were very interested, we actually collected over £120 on the day, and we also got the signed top and ball, so we managed to raise some funds as well as our profile.’

‘The CD is actually a song written by a young girl from Kellas, Charlotte, and anyone can download it from iTunes by searching for Lennon’s Song, or by visiting our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LennonsFund  and we have a big auction night planned, where we hope to raise more money from the merchandise we got today. We really can’t thank Jacqui and her team enough,we didn’t really know what to expect on the day, but the volunteers from the Society were there keeping us right and helping set up. And of course, thanks to Rab Douglas for putting us in touch with Jacqui, and everyone involved at DFCSS and Dundee FC.

For Community Director Jacqui Robertson, this was a charity visit that meant a lot, ‘Lennon's Dad Liam told me a lot about Lennon's Fund during our chats about their visit and it was only on the day I got to meet Lennon, his brother Hayden , Mum Lisa and the family friends who braved the cold to talk to the fans. I hope that Lennon enjoyed his day as much as everyone else, and thanks to our own Billy Shepherd for ensuring that Lennon was as involved as possible on the day. I wish them all the best of luck with future fundraising and am proud to have helped one of our own and that the feedback from them made us smile.’

DFCSS would like to thank Lisa, Liam, Lennon and everyone who came to help out on the day, and wish them all the very best with future fund raising. The Community Initiative has been a fantastic success over the last two years, and this visit gave the Society a chance to help a local family of Dundee supporters raise awareness for a very special little boy, and the fund set up in his name. We would encourage our fans to visit the facebook page above, and keep up to date on all the fantastic fundraising efforts, and maybe pop along to one to show your and our support for fellow dees.

Thursday
Dec272012

The Lennon Fund

Lennon Thomson is a three year old boy who lives with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy. Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe form of cerebral palsy, in which all four limbs and the trunk are affected. Born fourteen weeks premature, one of twins, Lennon spent his first thirteen weeks in hospital, and suffered from chronic lung disease, which threatened his life. An undiagnosed hernia, followed by a major operation followed, before Lennon was finally allowed home to mum Lisa, dad Liam and twin sister Kayla.


Since then, Lennon was diagnosed in November 2011 with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy affecting all four limbs. This is the most severe form of Cerebral Palsy, where all four limbs and the trunk are affected, as well as difficulty in controlling muscles in the mouth and tongue. Further complications associated with this condition include seizures, bowel and bladder dysfunction, scoliosis, hip dislocation, tooth decay and skin sores.

Lennon was further diagnosed with Profound Neurodevelopmental delay, where a child’s basic survival instincts are not inhibited, as is the norm. This can lead to problems with balance, motor control, hand-eye co-ordination and perceptual skills. Also, as a result of treatment for his lung disease, Lennon suffered an injury to his nasal septum.

Lennon has also been diagnosed with Systematic Epilepsy, a form of Epilepsy where the cause of seizures is unknown, as well as Faltering Growth, Lennon is not achieving expected growth potential. Lennon’s Fund became aware of the possibility of visiting Dens as part of the Community Initiative after a chance encounter, as dad Liam explains. ‘Lisa and the committee were out canvassing for the fund along with Lennon and bumped into Rab Douglas, Rab took time to listen and understand what we were trying to do for Lennon, he then gave us a few contact details of some people he felt could help along the way - the main one being Dundee.'
 
With our family being Dundee Supporters we were even more overwhelmed that Lennon's Fund would be supported by not only Dundee football team but the Dundee community as well, we are looking forward to raising awareness of Lennon's Fund on the day we visit Dundee.’
 
Liam was overwhelmed that the club he supports would offer to help. ‘I have been a Dundee fan for many years and although i do not attend as many games these days, I was a season ticket holder for many years before Lennon and Kayla were born. Now I just do not have the necessary care for Lennon to attend games.

Lennon has recently joined the Junior Dark Blues along with his older brother Hayden, and
it means so much more to us that OUR local team, that we have supported is now supporting our cause.  It makes it that little extra special, and we cannot wait for the day. Hopefully Lennon and his brother and sister will get the chance to see all their heroes’

 

Lennon is currently undergoing therapy twice a week at Armistead Child development Centre, where he receives much needed physiotherapy, visual impairment classes, speech and language classes, and occupational and hydro therapy. He also attends a separate physiotherapist but is having great difficulty due to his age and lack of strength in his neck and inability to stand unsupported.
Lennon likes to be in close physical contact with other people and is very responsive to touch. He requires additional support when seated and he exerts increased amounts of physical energy trying to maintain a posture. He is currently unable to lift and control his head movements.

 While Lennon responds well to certain sounds by smiling, giggling and showing changing facial expressions he cannot as yet move his head towards the direction of the sounds. He is also aware of light in a dark room but again cannot follow the source of the light, nor identify low light sources such as a light up toy. He still has great difficulty eating and every day is a chore for mum trying to feed him the simplest of meals.
 

Increased care and attention will be required as he grows, and the family will require help with not only funding Lennon’s care, but also the cost of altering their home to accommodate Lennon in comfort. It is estimated that the cost of caring for a cerebral palsy sufferer is around £750,000 over the lifetime of the sufferer.

Jacqui Robertson, the Community director for Dundee FC Supporters’ Society is delighted to welcome Lennon and family to Dens, ‘When Robert Douglas approached me about Lennon I knew it would be a worthy cause. We wanted our fans to let us know if there were any local charities that would benefit from a day at Dens and Lennon and his family, who are Dundee fans certainly fall into that category. Being able to invite Lennon and his family to Dens as part of the community initiative gives the Dundee fans a chance to show support for fellow fans, and Lennon’

Robert Douglas was happy to have played his part in the visit, ‘When I met the family, I immediately thought of Jacqui Robertson and the work she does on match days, so I passed her details on. It is great to see that Lennon and his family will be coming to Dens, and I wish them all the best for the day'

Dundee FC Supporters’ Society is delighted to welcome Lennon and his family to Dens, and to highlight a cause worthy of  the visit. The Society would like to wish he family all the very best for their visit, and hope that along with raising awareness for Lennon’s Fund, they also have a great day out at the game.

Monday
Dec242012

Samaritans

With Christmas upon us, and New Year approaching, Dundee FC Supporters’ Society welcomes The Samaritans to Dens Park for the visit of Celtic. The Samaritans, like Dundee FC are celebrating a 50th anniversary this year; the Dundee Samaritans began in 1962.

The Samaritans were originally founded in 1953, and are now contacted over 5 million times a year, by telephone, text or email, and face to face. With over 18,000 volunteers, and over 200 branches in the UK and Ireland, Samaritan volunteers are there to support anyone feeling down, depressed or struggling to cope offering a confidential service where people can speak freely without fear of being judged.

Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide. We make it our mission to alleviate emotional distress and reduce the incidence of suicidal feelings and suicidal behaviour by being available 24 hours a day to provide emotional support by reaching out to high risk groups and communities; by working in partnership with other organisations, agencies and experts; and by raising awareness and influencing public policy.

Maggie Brown of Dundee Samaritans explained a bit about the service they provide. ‘Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide. We make it our mission to alleviate emotional distress and reduce the incidence of suicidal feelings and suicidal behaviour by being available 24 hours a day to provide emotional support by reaching out to high risk groups and communities; by working in partnership with other organisations, agencies and experts; and by raising awareness and influencing public policy.’

‘We find that people will often talk to us about things that they might not share with anyone else, including suicidal feelings.  For some people, talking to Samaritans is the first step in dealing with the worries they face.  This can help them to develop the strength and confidence to talk more with others.’
‘Dundee branch of Samaritans celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. Esther, our longest serving volunteer with over 30 years service to Dundee Samaritans, cut the celebration cake. Situated in purpose built premises, our band of 61 volunteers are there to answer your telephone calls, emails and text messages day and night, 365 days per year.  Samaritans never sleep – when you need us, we will be there for you.  Fancy a confidential chat over a cup of tea?  We do that too.’

Dundee Samaritans also regularly organise social occasions, with theatre trips, coffee mornings, quiz nights and informal get-togethers.

Dundee Samaritans are looking for volunteers, and, if anyone believes this is something they would be interested in, encourage people to get in touch. Training is provided, and to get in touch,  please contact Samaritans of Dundee, 6 Old Glamis Road, Dundee, DD3 8HP  Tel: 01382 832555. Prospective volunteers can also make contact via email at dundee.samaritans@hotmail.co.uk

Community Director Jacqui Robertson welcomes Dundee Samaritans to Dens, and explains why this charity is so important. ‘Having the Samaritans as this weekend's hosted charity is quite apt, as Christmas can be a difficult time of year for some and a hard subject to discuss. Not only that, but locally in Dundee, there was a terribly sad spate of suicides in our young male population. The Samaritans, a long standing supportive charity can help. Picking up the phone can be tough too but that little step can make a big difference. I hope that our fans take notice of this important message today - it might help you or someone you know.’

Dundee FC Supporters’ Society would like to welcome Dundee Samaritans to Dens, and encourage our fans to take time out during the festive season to talk to them before the game. The Samaritans do very important work, and especially at this time of year, would encourage anyone who feels the need to contact them.

Saturday
Dec222012

Movember and Team Dundee FC

The annual Movember Campaign saw a return of team Dundee FC for the second year.  Dundee FC fans, along with a couple who crossed the street to help out took to furnishing top lips to raise money for Prostate and Testicular Cancer. With team Captain Jacqui Robertson joined by representatives from the Club Board, the Society Board, Dundee supporters, and the aforementioned social climbers from across the divide, the team was confident of eclipsing last years total of almost £800.

This confidence was boosted when Billy Morris, last year’s MVP returned to take his place in the team, quickly resuming where he left off last season, raising a fantastic £617 single moustachedly, only spending a few days not on top of the list. Billy was ably supported by Steven Guild, who while moonlighting from his position as a volunteer for the Football Memories Project managed to weigh in with £411, so between the two, smashed last year’s total. Club Director Steve Martin, fresh from his climb up Kilimanjaro also joined team Dundee FC this year, bringing in another £396, while Graeme Pert added £311.

From Boomerang, also charity visitors in the past, Neil Ellis and Carlyn Connor brought in another £277 between them, although Neil was the only one who grew a Mo. The interlopers Richard Diamond, and Family Guys Duncan Crighton did their best to show their team in a good light, crossing the street with £197.  Elliot Davie, DFCSS secretary along with directors Grant Cook and Captain Jacqui Robertson between them added to the total with a combined £169. This amount despite the fact Elliot put over £100 through as team donations. Colin Reid and Robert Bishop added a further £62, and with team donations added, Team Dundee FC raised an amazing £2627 at the last count.

Team Captain and Community Director Jacqui Robertson was overwhelmed by her teams efforts in raising money for Testicular and prostate cancer. ‘Thanks to everyone for tripling last year's total and it was great to have some Dundee United fans showing support for the cause, something very worthwhile coming together for. The team were an absolute credit this year and I could not be prouder.’

Dundee FC Supporters’ Society would like to take the opportunity to thank all the members of Team Dundee FC for their fantastic moustache growing, fund raising efforts. To see so many team members doing so much to help, and half the team have been involved in the Community Initiative in some way, shows not only the generosity of the people of Dundee, but the success of the community initiative in building bridges with the local community. Everyone who took part for this fantastic cause is to be commended, including any partners who had to put up with hairy top lips for a month.

Well done Team Dundee FC!

Friday
Dec212012

White Ribbon Return

 

Sunday 9th December saw the return of competitive Derbies to Dens Park, along with the return of White Ribbon Scotland, in their second visit to promote the work they do to counteract violence towards women. While this is the second visit under the Community Initiative, the White ribbon Campaign is something Dundee FC have supported in previous years also.  Kathryn Sharp of Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership, and Callum Hendry from White Ribbon Scotland were joined by Lucy Kapasi and Emily Milton from Dundee Women’s Aid, as they brought a message to the Dundee fans.

 

White Ribbon Scotland, along with its partners took time out during a worldwide campaign, 16 Days of Activism to spread the word about the problem of violence towards women, as Kathryn sharp explained. ‘This is the second year we have been visitors as part of the community Initiative, although Dundee FC have helped us out before. The players wore White ribbons on their strips, as well as the staff and directors wearing them. This is a fantastic place to come and spread our message, often football clubs are negatively associated with domestic violence, and I think it is really positive that Dundee FC, and the Supporters’ Society have continued to be involved in a positive way.’

 

‘News reports suggest that reports of incidents of domestic violence rise when football is on, so it’s great to see Dundee FC getting involved positively, and sending out a good message to everyone connected with the club. At this time of year, we see a lot more women and children coming to places like Women’s Aid, and Barnardos, so it is really important as the holiday season approaches that we raise awareness, not just so that men get that important message, to end violence against women, but also so that women know that there are services that can help them.’

 

‘Monday 10th December was the last day of our 16 Days of Activism for the elimination of violence towards women, and that is an international campaign, and again Dundee FC have always supported us in that campaign, so it is good that we finished our programme of events at Dens Park.’

 

‘The real message behind the campaign is that everybody can do something about domestic abuse, and other forms of violence towards women, it may be someone you know, are concerned about. It could be someone you work with, or someone you know for any reason, and maybe just giving some information, or sometimes just talking to people will help, there are loads of ways, and the thousands of people who support Dundee FC could be part of that.’

 

On the visit itself, Kathryn wanted to thank the Dundee fans for the reception they received on the day, ‘We had a fantastic time at Dens on Sunday. The atmosphere at the ground was brilliant, with many supporters stopping in the stands to talk to us and to pledge never to commit, condone or stay silent about violence against women. Despite the chilly weather and the disappointing result we had a very entertaining and worthwhile time with you all. As always, the Dundee fans were amazing, and welcomed us warmly to Dens. All of the staff, players (current and former) and Supporter's Club representatives were very supportive throughout the day and we were pleased to see so many people already wearing white ribbons or who had already signed up to the pledge in previous years. With the help of the staff at Dens we handed out hundreds of leaflets and white ribbons.’
‘We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone at DFC for their continued support in tackling violence against women and for the White Ribbon Campaign. The support that you have given us over the years is an invaluable opportunity to raise awareness amongst a large section of the local community. We wish everyone at the club and all your supporters a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2013’]

 

Community Director Jacqui Robertson was delighted to welcome White Ribbon back for their second visit as part of the community initiative, ‘We were delighted to welcome the White Ribbon Campaign back to Dens and have kept the relationship going throughout the year with regular contact with the team. Again Dundee Football Club led the way with the players and manager showing their support running out onto the pitch on derby day proudly sporting the white ribbon. Nothing was more important than us showing our support for the campaign against domestic violence.’

 

Dundee FC Supporters’ Society would like to thank White ribbon Scotland for taking time out during their 16 Days of Activism Campaign, to come along to dens and spread the word about the work they do to reduce violence towards women. The Society would like to once again ask Dundee supporters to show support for this campaign, by visiting the White ribbon website, and taking the pledge to help end all forms of violence towards women here

Thursday
Dec062012

White Ribbon

THIS WEEKENDS CHARITY VISIT IS KINDLY SPONSORED BY:The Glasgow Dees

 

The latest visitors to Dens as part of the Community Initiative are a campaign who also visited last season; the White Ribbon Campaign. White Ribbon campaign to raise awareness of the problem of violence against women, and will be represented on Sunday by members of the Dundee Violence against Women Partnership. This is part of a wider, global campaign of men and boys committing to taking action to stop violence against women.

 

Statistics show that domestic violence occurs once every ten seconds, and that in over 80% of recorded examples of domestic violence, the victim is female, and the perpetrator is male. To help raise awareness of this problem, Dundee FC players will be wearing strips adorned with a white ribbon, as the club alongside Dundee FC Supporters' Society continue to support this very worthy cause.

 

Dundee FC Supporters’ Society spoke to Kathryn Sharp from the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership to ask her why White Ribbon were returning to Dens. ‘We are really delighted to be returning to Dens as part of this year’s 16 Days of Activism for the Elimination of Violence Against Women campaign. All the staff and members of the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership look forward to visiting Dundee FC each year. We are looking forward to an exciting derby match and speaking with supporters of the club about our work to end violence against women in Dundee.’

 

‘As always, our primary reason for visiting Dens is to raise awareness amongst staff and supporters about issues of violence against women and the thousands of people across Dundee that this issue affects. Each year hundreds of women and children are supported by Dundee Women’s Aid, Barnardo’s, Tayside Domestic Abuse Initiative and the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre because of the impact of domestic abuse, sexual violence and sexual exploitation. Thousands of incidents are also reported to Tayside Police who work very hard to keep everyone who is at risk safe.’

 

‘We know that many of the staff, supporters and other people associated with Dundee FC will have been affected by domestic abuse, either directly, or through a family member, friend or colleague. We also know that the club is committed to supporting us to tackle these issues and to support women and children in Dundee to live their lives free from violence and abuse. We had a brilliant visit to Dens last year. Many supporters took the White Ribbon pledge and committed to never to commit, condone or stay silent about men’s violence against women. We were really grateful for their support and look forward to many more pledging this year. Staff and members of the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership and White Ribbon Scotland are always welcomed warmly to Dundee FC, with many supporters stopping to talk to us and find out more about our work last year.’

 

Community Director Jacqui Robertson was obviously delighted to be able to extend an invitation to White Ribbon against this season, ‘Club secretary Laura Hayes and the manager and players have been supporting the White Ribbon Campaign for a few years now, and myself and the Society have been keen to add our voices to those campaigning to stop violence against women. A cause close to my own heart, it's with pride that I watch our manager, players and staff don the white ribbon. The fact that this year’s visit falls on a derby day is even better with a bigger crowd to welcome our guests. It's also important to remember that incidences of domestic violence rise during the Christmas period and after football matches so for our fans to stand against this is brilliant. Please sign up to the campaign on the day and wear your ribbon with pride’

 

This weekend's charity visit is sponsored by the Glasgow Dees, their secretary Ian Rae explained why, ‘We believe that it's important for the club to rebuild our place in the community after 2 periods of administration. The Glasgow Dees were formed 10 years ago this season; as part of our celebrations, we are happy to support the community initiatives by sponsoring our charity guests, White Ribbon Scotland this weekend.’

 

Any supporters clubs or individuals interested in sponsoring future charity visits should contact Community Director Jacqui Robertson at jacquiroberton@rocketmail.com

 

Dundee FC Supporters’ Society would like to welcome our guests today, who represent a cause which seeks to put an end to violence towards women, and would invite Dundee supporters of all ages to take the pledge, to help put an end to this problem. To take the pledge, or find out more information about the work done by White Ribbon Scotland, please visit their website  here

Saturday
Dec012012

World AIDS Day

 Saturday December 1st 2012 is World AIDS Day; to commemorate the 25th anniversary of this event Dundee FC Supporters’ Society invited members of the red Ribbon Campaign to Dens Park for the visit of Hibernian on the 19th of November, to give the campaign a chance to raise awareness for the event. Joining us on the day were Donna Thain and Christine Bird from NHS Tayside, and Laura Kerr and Janet Murray from Dundee District Council’s Drug, Alcohol and Blood Borne Virus team.

 

DFCSS caught up with Donna after the game, to see how the day went, and what message she hoped to get out to the Dundee fans with the visit. ‘ We started approaching some local clubs to see if any of them would be willing to let us come along and spread the word, and Dundee thankfully said we could'

 

'Jacqui Robertson got in touch, and asked us if we would like to come along on the 19th November to spread the word. I honestly did not know what to expect, but then Jacqui and her team did a fantastic job guiding us through the day, and the supporters were fantastic as well, we actually ran out of leaflets such was the interest in World AIDS Day. Football crowds are maybe an audience we wouldn’t normally reach, but when you see the diversity in the fans, there is a big mix of ages, and this is a great opportunity to spread the word about safer sex, HIV, and World AIDS Day.’

 

‘This is a message we really want to get out into the general public, and it is important we target audiences like this, and not just groups seen as ‘at risk’, because the reality is, everyone who is having sex is at risk. When you look at the number of young males going to football that is a group who generally won’t pick up leaflets, but they were almost a captive audience for us, so it iwas a great chance for us to get the information to them. I was really surprised and pleased at how many fans came to speak with us, donated money or got some information about HIV.  I did get quite a few laughs from some of the older fans when I offered them Red Ribbon condoms though! I'd like to thank the Club and all the fans for their support and look forward to working with them again in future.’

 

Community Director Jacqui Robertson was delighted to welcome Donna and her team on behalf of DFCSS, ‘It was lovely to meet the girls who were a really friendly and approachable team, whose employers should be very proud of their passion and effort in raising awareness. One particular member of the team, who shall remain nameless to spare her blushes seemed to be pretty starstruck by our Deewok who was happy to meet her. In all seriousness World AIDS Day tells the story of a stigmatised illness that may have touched the lives of our fans or their families in the past or the future. We were pleased to play our part

 We asked Donna how Dundee fans can get involved with World AIDS Day, ‘The main way to be involved is to wear a red ribbon and be HIV Aware - know the facts about HIV and how it is transmitted and how to protect yourself. 

 

There are also a number of events going on throughout Tayside for World AIDS Day, including information stalls, art exhibitions, charity bake sales and a community gathering - full details can be found on www.bbvmcntayside.scot.nhs.uk  but the main thing is to stay safe-stay sexy.’


 

 

Thursday
Nov222012

The Man Who Went Up a Mountain and Came Down a Mo-Bro



The Community Initiative is now into its second full season at Dens, and this season saw the arrival of the Blake McMillan Trust. Blake is the son of Dundee fan Paul and his wife Jenny, and was born with MeCP2. MeCP2 Duplication Syndrome is a rare condition, occurring almost exclusively in males, with only around 150 diagnoses worldwide.  Symptoms can include moderate to profound intellectual disability, weakened muscle tone, problems with feeding and failure to thrive, speech that is poor or nonexistent, and muscle stiffness.  Severe, uncontrolled epilepsy is also very common with sufferers of this condition.

 

Heavily involved with the Blake McMillan Trust is our own club Director Steve Martin, who pledged to once again climb Kilimanjaro to kick start the fundraising. Steve has just returned, and the Society caught up with the mountain man to see how the epic journey went.

 

‘We were discussing Blake in the pub one night, and I said I would go and climb Kilimanjaro to start off the fundraising. That was in March, and I kind of forgot about it for a month, then realised what I had taken on. I didn’t really want to do it on my own, my son Stephen had climbed the same mountain with me last year, and I knew there was no chance of him doing it again, so I got in touch with my mates Duncan Souter and Colin Morris. Duncan had never really been into hill walking or mountain climbing, but he is quite fit, he thought about it and quickly said he would do it with me. Colin Morris, or ‘English Colin’ as we call him, he is English, and called Colin, so you can see how he got the nickname, he had never been up the Law before, never mind Kilimanjaro, but we talked him into making the trip as well.

 

‘Preparations began in late April, we started climbing Munros for training, the Paps O’ Fife, which were easy for us, a ten mile circuit which we were doing basically every week, when I say easy, compared to the rest of the Bens in Scotland, it was easy because you can nip across there and be back in four hours, so we did a lot of training. The guys were obviously getting apprehensive, what gear do we need, what are we going to do, stuff like that, but we pretty much kept training right up until October.’

 

With business interests in Spain as well as here, Steve had to continue his training while out of the country, and roped in wife Elaine to help with that. ‘While in Spain, I took advantage of a local mountain called Montgo ,which is right in Javea, where I have a house, and that is great training for Kilimanjaro, at 850 metres high, so I did that five times in the summer. Also, along with Elaine, I did the Camino de Santiago, which is a 100 mile walk in northern Spain hiking right down to Santiago, that was five days, eight hours a day, similar to walking from Dundee to Perth every day, so that was hard work, but it was training for Kilimanjaro. The Camino de Santiago has about ten different routes, some from France, southern Spain, northern Spain, but they all end up at Santiago Cathedral where St James, the patron Saint of Spain is buried. It is a shrine really, so we took advantage of going on this pilgrimage as it were, and training at the same time. On top of that, we got some money towards Blake’s fund from CURVES in Broughty Ferry so that was quite good as well.’

 

 

So after all the training, the group had to come up with a name, ‘We called ourselves Blake’s Mountain Goats, Blake is obviously from young Blake, the mountain for Kilimanjaro, and the Goats, well basically, someone told me I must be acting the goat when I said I was going up again, so Blake’s mountain goats came from there. We have been raising money for the Blake McMillan trust since then, and once all the money is collected, we hope to have raised about £3000,and that includes £180 from the first team squad at Dens, but the journey itself was difficult.’

 

‘I thought I knew what to expect, and I did really, but we went a different route this time, last time I climbed from the south, this time we started from the north, right on the border with Kenya, and it was a difficult route, pretty much constant sixty degree climbing, the route up and down is a seven day route, although we managed it in six. We really just wanted to get it done and get back to a decent hotel, sleeping in tents was horrendous, and while we were lucky with the weather, Kilimanjaro is that high, it has six different climates, at the bottom you are sweltering in 33 degree heat, at the top, its -20, we spent two nights at base camp in -20 conditions, it is so cold, you struggle to undo the zip on the tent.’

 

 

So from there Steve and the ‘Goats’ were ready to return, and just in time for the start of Movember. ‘I had put a picture on my facebook page, just to say look at the state of me after Kilimanjaro, I had a fair bit of facial hair, when one of team Dundee Football Club, a team involved with Movember asked if I would be interested in joining the team. I thought I had a wee start on it anyway, so I might as well, so basically I signed up for Movember from halfway up a mountain. So that was settled, and so far I have raised £almost 300 towards the team total, which I believe is currently at over£1300, and we are only just finished the third week, raising over one thousand is obviously fantastic.’

 

‘Sometimes it is difficult for me, I run four companies, and for certain customers, this look is not what they expect to see from me, but to be fair to them all, I mention Movember, and they have all been very understanding. and obviously as a club director, I represent the club, and sometimes I have to turn up at away games nicely presented, and go into the boardroom, help build bridges in the game, we do still have to build a lot up again, but turning up with my Mo, I am sure they will understand.’

 

Steve also wanted to point out, that although he has been closely involved with two of the Initiatives this season, the Community Initiative is something that adds to the work done running the club, ‘I think that the work Jacqui and her team do in the community gives the club a new dimension that we never had before, really showing that we are a caring club, not self centred, and basically helping other less fortunate people, and getting good publicity for the club which has helped “ build bridges” after our misadventures of the past.’

 

For Jacqui Robertson, having Steve on board with the Movember campaign, following up from his adventure as part of Blake’s Mountain Goats, can only be a good thing. ‘Steve is a real charity champion and regularly seen to be getting involved in really physical activities to raise awareness and money and I applaud him for it although I'm happier to do these things from the relative comfort of home and Dens Park, so all credit to him.’

 

‘Having Steve join the Movember team is great and a real indication of the strength of relationships between the Board and Supporters' Society. Incredibly at his first online donation Steve added £200 to the team, currently beating last year's leader Billy Morris. It's probably fair to say that Billy's leadership was more about the money than the aesthetic quality of said mouser but he did an amazing job last year helping to take Team DFC past the £700 mark.’

 

‘As it stands at the moment we are hoping to double last year's total soon and I want to thank everyone who joined or donated to our team, they are all helping to raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancer and men's health in general’

 

The Society is proud to be involved with the Blake McMillan trust, and the Movember Campaign, and anyone wishing more details on either charity can visit online
here for Blake’s Mountain Goats,
here  for Steve’s Movember page, or
here   for donating to team Dundee Football Club

Thursday
Nov152012

This Saturday's Guests - NHS Tayside (World AIDS Day)

Saturday November 17th sees NHS Tayside return to Dens Park as part of the ongoing Community Initiative.  Last season saw the team from FAST, helping to raise awareness for the importance of prompt treatment for sufferers of a stroke, this season we welcome the arrival of Donna Thain and her team from the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Managed Care Network to promote the 25th World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day (WAD) is observed on December 1 each year and is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.  HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and prevents the person from being able to fight off certain infections.  Between 1981 and 2007, the AIDS virus killed more than 25 million people worldwide.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action.  If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today, you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding.

There are four main ways in which people can contract HIV.  These are through unprotected sex, sharing needles, mother to baby infection and infected blood.  HIV remains an issue for everyone and people should protect themselves by being aware and acting aware.  This year NHS Tayside Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Managed Care Network are running a campaign to raise awareness of HIV, dispel some of the myths and reduce stigma.

NHS Tayside Consultant in Genito Urinary Medicine Dr Sarah Allstaff said, “HIV has not gone away.  It is more common now in the UK than it has ever been and is increasingly affecting people who don’t have any of the traditional risk factors like drug use.  The outlook for people living with HIV is excellent thanks to rapid advances in anti-viral medicines however people who have not been diagnosed are still at risk of some of the devastating complications of AIDS.  Although we have come far in medical treatment for HIV unfortunately many HIV-positive people still live in fear of rejection and isolation.  The responsibility for overcoming this stigma lies with every one of us.  Wearing a red ribbon is a simple but influential way of challenging this and showing support.”

HIV affects more than 90,000 people in the UK with over 300 people across Tayside living with the disease.

For Community Director Jacqui Robertson, the return of NHS Tayside to Dens, albeit supporting a different cause, is still something that is close to the heart of a Community Nurse, "Working for the NHS I can appreciate the importance of health campaigns and raising awareness of AIDS is as important as any.  An incredible amount of work goes into this and it's great to have the team along to talk about what they do in advance of World AIDS Day.  It would be fantastic to see our fans wearing red ribbons in support."

The Society are delighted to have this opportunity to publicise World AIDS Day ahead of the event, and would hope that Dundee fans can take the time to get to know more about not only the event, but ways to protect themselves from HIV.  The Society would also like to thank Donna and her team for making time in the lead up to this 25th World AIDS Day to come along to Dens Park on Saturday, and share some of their knowledge with Dundee Supporters.

For more information on WAD, or the work carried out in Tayside, please visit the websites of World AIDS Day, BBVNCM Tayside, Sexual Health Tayside or Men Only Tayside.

Wednesday
Nov142012

CHAS Visit Dens

Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) were the latest visitors to Dens Park for the home game against Hearts on November 3rd.  Sarah Secombes, the East of Scotland Regional Fundraiser for CHAS, arrived at Dens to raise awareness of the work done by the Children’s Hospice providers.

The Society caught up with Sarah to see how her day went.  "One of the team, a fundraiser in the Dundee area, was doing a bit of research into opportunities, and brought this up, she thought it would be a great chance to get along to the club and speak to all the Dundee supporters about the things we do, and all the great things you guys do to support charity in the community.  This is an absolutely fantastic opportunity for us to speak to the people in Dundee about the work we do, we are really trying to raise awareness across the country, CHAS provides the only Hospice service in Scotland for children and young people with life shortening conditions, and we support children and their families all over the country, and this is a great opportunity for us to come along and tell everybody about what we do, and hopefully get a few new supporters at the end of it.

"What we tend to find is that a lot of our supporters have been CHAS supporters for a long time, and coming along to somewhere like a football ground, it is a completely new audience for us, it is different people, people who we know are passionate about things, particularly football, that tends to mean you have passion in other areas of your life as well, so it is a new audience for us to talk to, and tell them a wee bit more about us.

"Everyone was really great.  We had lots of fans stop to take our leaflets on their way past or put some loose change into the cans on the table and they were all very friendly.  I also received a really warm response when I was invited pitch side at half time.  The signed merchandise will be used basically to help us raise even more funds for CHAS, it costs us seven million pounds every year to run our Hospice services, which are obviously completely free of charge to the families that need them, so anything that we can do to raffle or auction things at events that take place in order to raise a bit more money is greatly appreciated, so thank you very much for that merchandise.

"I had a great day at Dens.  The process was very smooth from stall to match to pitchside, and the game was pretty good too!  I would absolutely recommend a day at Dens to other charities.  Jacqui, Grant and all the other volunteers were so helpful, and it was such a great opportunity to get into the community."

For anyone with an interest in helping CHAS, they are planning their own sporting challenge, "We are in the process of promoting our ‘Beat the Borders’ event.  This will be a CHAS event, and the first time we have ever put on our own sporting event, I believe it comprises a forty five mile cycle, followed by a seventeen mile walk, or run, and we are trying to encourage participants from across the country, companies can put in teams, sports clubs can enter teams, so if anyone is interested in taking part, just get in touch."

Summarising the day, Sarah was over the moon with how it all went.  "This was a great chance for CHAS to speak to a new audience, with lots of people who may not have heard about us before which is fantastic for awareness raising.  The programme piece, and this follow up just added to this, and we were delighted to also receive the signed football and team shirt which we will use in our fundraising in the city.  I have no doubt that the day at Dens will help to raise CHAS’s profile in Dundee.  The game was fantastic, it was great to see a home win, and we would be delighted to be seen as a lucky charm!"

Photograph courtesy of David YoungFor her part, Community Director Jacqui Robertson wes equally delighted with the visit.  "Dundee FC Supporters Society continue to welcome charity visitors to every home game, and every visit brings new faces.  Without fail, these charities arrive at Dens and leave us humbled by the fantastic work they do, and in the case of CHAS, it was no different.  To hear about the work involved in providing hospice services for children with life shortening conditions puts a lot of things into perspective, and like every charity guest we have had, the Society would like to thank Sarah and CHAS for coming to Dens Park to share some of the work they do, and offer our very best wishes to CHAS in their sterling efforts."

Anyone interested in the ‘Beat The Borders’ event, or just looking for more information, please visit the CHAS website.

Tuesday
Nov132012

Follow Up on Food Train

Friday Oct 19th saw Dundee FC play an SPL game on a Friday night for the first time; it also saw the continuation of the Community Initiative with the arrival of our latest charity, Food Train.

Food Train is a charity which has recently expanded into the Dundee area, and provides assistance for elderly people who may have mobility problems with the collection of groceries.  Although only started up in Dundee in January, Food Train now has over 100 clients.

Dundee FC Supporters’ Society were delighted to welcome another charity to Dens, and spoke with Grant Simmons, the regional manager of Food Train to see how the visit went.  Grant told us how the publicity surrounding last year’s Community Initiative encouraged Food Train to get in touch.  "I saw the publicity about Dundee FC getting all the charities they have hosted together for the last game of last season and wondered if we could be included in the new season.  So my initial contact was with Jacqui Robertson, and it developed from there."

For Food Train, this was a chance to publicise the work they do, and get to meet the Dundee Supporters, "Food Train is a fairly new charity in Dundee and we are always trying to raise awareness of who we are and what we do.  This was what we were able to do thanks to the Dundee FC Supporters' Society.  We were able to hand out leaflets about the service, talk to some of the supporters and get more people talking about Food Train and how they can help.  The Dundee supporters were fantastic, a large number of them came over to see who we were and find out what we were doing."

While raising the profile of Food Train was the main objective of the evening for Grant and his team, the signed merchandise received at half time will hopefully help further as the Food Train continue to grow; "As a charity we are always looking to raise money.  The signed ball and shirt will be a brilliant star prize in a raffle, we are planning to have a quiz night soon and the intention is to raffle the merchandise at that event.  We at Food Train would like to thank everyone at Dundee Football Club for hosting us on the night.  A special thank you must go to Jacqui Robertson and Grant Cook for their excellent welcome and for looking after us.  We were made very welcome and looked after and catered for which added to a special evening, thank you."
 
Community Director Jacqui Robertson was delighted to welcome Food Train to Dens Park on behalf of the Society, and the Dundee supporters who have given this initiative fantastic support from its inception.  "One of the nicest things to come out of the community initiatives is the amount of Dundee fans involved with these charities and Grant Simmons is no stranger to our club.  Another lovely part of their visit was Pat Liney being the ultimate gentleman as ever and coming to meet with Grant and the team to say hello and find out a bit more.  In fact, Pat is now going to spend a bit of time with the charity in the near future.  We are very lucky to have such big hearted fans and staff."


Dundee FC Supporters’ Society are delighted to have met Grant and his team from Food Train, and would like to wish them well as the charity grows in and around Dundee.  The Society is also keen to thank Jacqui and her team for all the sterling work done so far this season, the Community Initiative first and foremost helps out each charity that visits, but also has the added benefit of raising the profile of Dundee FC in the wider community and beyond, and this is something everyone on the Society Board is keen to see continue.

Friday
Nov022012

This Weekend's Guests - CHAS

This Saturday, as part of the Community Initiative, Dundee FC Supporters’ Society welcomes Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) to Dens Park.  CHAS is a charity that provides the only hospice services in Scotland for children and young people with life-shortening conditions.

Sarah Secombes from CHAS spoke to Jacqui Robertson ahead of their visit, outlining her hopes for the day.  "CHAS are absolutely delighted to be invited to Dens and to be supported by Dundee FC Supporters.  Everything we do at CHAS is about making the most of the time the children and families we support have together, whether that's watching a football match together, seeing a music concert, or simply taking a walk in the garden.  We rely on the generosity of the Scottish public to help fund these vital hospice services, so opportunities like this are a fantastic way to help raise our profile.  Thank you to everybody for inviting us to Dens on Saturday."

We would like to extend a very warm welcome to CHAS.  As part of raising awareness of local and Scottish charities, CHAS were one of the first to enquire about the possibility of coming to speak to our fans about their very special work.

Community Director Jacqui Robertson said, "Having worked in a local hospice with adults, I can fully appreciate the importance of what CHAS provides.  With the service being provided for children, it is without doubt an emotive subject matter; however the care and help provided by CHAS will be invaluable to everyone involved.  I hope that we can help the charity to raise awareness and that our fans will take time to say hello on the day."

Rachel House (photograph courtesy of Sean Bell)CHAS offers care in two children’s hospices, Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch.  The hospices support the whole family by offering short planned breaks, emergency support, end of life care and a range of bereavement services.

CHAS also provides a home care service, called CHAS at Home, staffed from both hospices and with dedicated teams in the North of Scotland.  The service offers care to families in their own homes when they need it most.

CHAS supports over 250 families, as well as a significant number of families who receive bereavement support.  The services are funded mainly through the generosity of the many supporters who help raise over £7 million needed each year to provide these vital hospice services.

Anyone interested in the work done by CHAS can obviously contact them on the day in the Bobby Cox stand, or visit their website or facebook page.

Thursday
Oct252012

Movember  

As the year rolls on inexorably towards its end, we find ourselves deep into October, and for anyone who is anyone, the time of year to consider signing up as a mo-bro, or mo-sista as the Movember campaign seeks to raise awareness and cash for Prostate and Testicular Cancer Research.


As with last year Team Dundee Football Club is registered with Movember, and the Society would like to take this opportunity to invite Dundee fans near and far to consider living the life of the fuzzy lipped for the month to help us raise as much cash as possible.


Once again the team is captained by Jacqui Robertson, and with the return of last year’s MVP Billy Morris, Team Dundee Football Club is confident last year’s total of over £700 can be surpassed. Billy is a perfect example of exactly what Movember is all about, raising almost half the team total despite, it would be fair to say, not exactly getting a ‘Magnum’ on his top lip. Billy however raised cash aplenty,and he was happy to explain why he was back in the fold. ‘Despite the hirsute humiliation of last year’s attempt at top lip furniture, I'm back again for further bum fluff escapades. Let’s hope I can surpass last year’s target both financially and stubble length wise.’


Community Director Jacqui Robertson explained the motivation for once again backing the Movember Campaign, and leading her team into fundraising, ‘It's that time of year again and not only are we looking for bigger and better moustaches but we are looking to strengthen the team with some new signings. Seriously we are looking to continue the great work our mo bros and sistas did last year and do our bit to highlight and increase awareness of prostate cancer. As well as having a large male audience in our fans we are also looking for the girls to show their support, so please take a moment to sign up. DFCSS and DFC are proud to promote good health to our fans. Bring on the challenge’


While the Movember Campaign is obviously a light hearted way to raise awareness and money for Prostate and Testicular Cancer, the need for this is certainly not. Testicular Cancer strikes approximately one in 250 men worldwide, although the cure rate if caught early enough is almost 100%. For Prostate Cancer, studies of men who have died of unrelated issues show Prostate Cancer in 30% of men in their 50’s; with the percentage rising to 80% once men reach their 70’s.


Dundee FC Supporters' Society is proud to once again back the Movember Campaign, and would urge anyone to get involved. The process is simple, a mo-bro simply spends one month growing the finest example of top lip topiary he can, while asking friends and family to compensate him for his humiliation by donating to the campaign. A mo-sista simply pledges to support the cause, and again try to raise funds through family and friends. To join team DFC is simple, and can be done by visiting here   and join the 1.9 million mos around the world who so far have raised over £184 million in the last 7 years.

Wednesday
Oct172012

Friday's Guests - Food Train Dundee

As Friday night football arrives at Dens, The Society continues the Community Initiative with a visit from Food Train, a charity which provides a solution for elderly people with mobility problems by delivering groceries.

Community Director Jacqui Robertson went along to the Food Train to meet Regional manager Grant Simmons and find out what the charity means to the local community.  "The Food Train is a grocery delivery service to older people who are 65 and over and live in Dundee who can't do their own grocery shopping because of ill health, frailty or mobility problems.  As long as they cover the three areas; over 65, live in Dundee and have a reason why they can't get their shopping, someone can make a referral on behalf of their relative - or the person can make the referral themselves, that's not a problem.  It's just a case of phoning us up and we fill out a simple form and get them started as soon as possible."

Asked what coming to Dens mean to Grant and his team, he told us, "I think it's really important because it's raising awareness of what we do.  We've got 2 vans out on the road and people may have seen them with their distinctive logo and wonder just exactly what Food Train is, so it's about raising awareness of the project and maybe getting people to look on our website and find out more about it, or to take one of our leaflets - have a look at it, put it in your pocket and take it home.  I'm sure you'll know of, if not a relative, then a neighbour who might benefit from the service."

Coming to a football ground has been an unusual experience for most of the community initiatives, but Grant spoke of its importance, "It's about getting out to as wide a range of audiences as possible.  I do presentations to church groups and women's guilds.  There have been presentations in supermarkets as well so it's great to get to football clubs too, with thousands of people we can address.  We have 114 customers already, as well as looking for additional customers, and we've only been going since the end of January and we are always looking for volunteers.

"We have over 50 volunteers to either drive or help out on the van and we need volunteer shoppers in the supermarkets."

Dundee FC Supporters’ Society would like to extend a warm welcome to Grant and everyone at Food Train, and would urge fans to take a moment to visit their information stand and have a look at what they do.

Monday
Oct152012

Tayside Mountain Rescue Follow Up

At Dundee's last home game v St Johnstone, we welcomed Tayside Mountain Rescue back to Dens Park as part of the Community Initiative.  This would be the fourth visit in a year from TMR after a successful visit last season followed an aborted visit after floodlight failure, and of course as part of the charity day on the final day of the season.

Tayside Mountain Rescue are obviously adept at adapting however, the nature of the work they do means that they can be called away at short notice, as happened on this occasion.  Deputy Team Leader Paul Russell explained "We were due to bring a search dog with us today, but the dog and his handler were called out on Thursday, and is still involved in a search, so obviously he can’t be here today, and that is probably a good example of what life in Tayside Mountain Rescue is like.  We have around 25 civilian volunteers, and all of us know that we can be called out at extremely short notice.  The three dog handlers can also be called out to help in other parts of the country, as has happened this week.  We have been getting busier, which in turn means we need to raise even more money, last year was a record year for call outs, and this year looks set to pass that mark.

"The logistics of what we do, Tayside Mountain Rescue cover a fairly large area, from Montrose right across through Glenshee and Glenclova to Kinloch Rannoch, and west to Aberfeldy right down to Perth and Dundee, we have had the odd shout in Fife as well, and with over 45 call outs this year, you can see how busy we are.  It is fairly important to have an understanding employer as well as family, a call out can come at any time, and without the understanding of family and employers, well you can see how much we need and appreciate that.

"We are hoping to raise enough money to fund a new rescue base, hopefully in Blairgowrie, which is pretty central for the Tayside area.  Obviously we also need to raise funds for training and supplies, it is an ongoing process really so the signed merchandise will help towards our running costs, and is greatly appreciated."

As well as raising awareness for the work they do, Paul wanted to point out that volunteers are welcome, with a regular intake.  Anyone interested in volunteering can contact TMR at team@taysidemrt.org.uk asking for an application form.  Anyone wishing more information can visit the TMR website or their facebook page.

Society Community Director Jacqui Robertson was delighted to welcome back some familiar faces, and once again help to raise awareness of the fantastic work done by TMR, "It was great to have Paul and the team from TMR back at Dens after they enjoyed a successful day with us last season.  The job these people do is amazing and they literally give up their time at the drop of a hat and we are happy to have been able to help.  It's important that people know exactly what the volunteers do."

Dundee FC Supporters' Society are once again delighted to extend our thanks to TMR for the work they do, and for taking time out to come back to Dens.  Paul and the rest of the team obviously do a fantastic job, in challenging environments and conditions, and it was an honour to welcome them back to Dens Park to assist with raising awareness of the sterling work they do.

Friday
Sep282012

This Saturday's Guests - Tayside Mountain Rescue

This Saturday, the Society are delighted to welcome Tayside Mountain Rescue back to Dens.  TMR are a local service which relies heavily on the support of our communities within Tayside to provide its service funding.  They were part of the Community Initiative last season, and are now getting fairly familiar with Dens, last season saw them visit three times, once on "Floodlight Night", once for the rearranged fixture, and of course the final game of the season.

Tayside Mountain Rescue is one of 28 mountain rescue teams in Scotland, providing a land based search and rescue service and is a registered charity, providing a 24/7 service 365 days per year to help those in need.  The service is provided by a dedicated team of volunteers who work closely with rescue agency partners: Tayside Police Search and Rescue Unit; RAF Search & Rescue; Scottish Ambulance Service; Tayside Fire & Rescue Service.

Providing such a service is reflected in the intense training needed for the volunteers to carry out the job safely and efficiently.  They deal with anything from medical and trauma emergencies in remote settings in Tayside, all in a difficult environment.  Fundraising is vital and ongoing and will help to equip the team to deal with inclement weather and provide them with the specialised transportation.  In fact, the yearly operating cost to keep this much valued service moving forward is around £40,000.

Paul Russell, Deputy Team Leader, spoke to us on behalf of Tayside Mountain Rescue in advance of their visit to Dens Park and we found out exactly what he and many other amazing people give up their time to do.  "It's great to be returning to Dens Park this season, we really appreciate all the hard work that Jacqui and the team do here.  Again, it's a great opportunity for Tayside Mountain Rescue to get our message out there, last year we had a record number of call-outs and the way it's going at the moment, we will probably surpass that number this year.  It's fantastic to be involved in this initiative and it can only be good for us in terms of people's perception of what a Mountain Rescue Team does.

"We are a voluntary emergency service, Tayside MRT was established in 1976, and we are getting a lot busier every year.  We survive on public contributions - and although we get some money from the Scottish government we still have a massive shortfall we need to find every year to protect this vital public service."

As you can imagine, a lot of training goes into the work carried out by TMR, as Paul explains, "Technical, Medical, team member safety equipment, and vehicle training are all important aspects of what we do.  Many of our team members are trained to a high medical standard.  We have around 30 training events per year and attend national MR training courses too.

"Donating a small amount of money goes along way and will help to sustain this much valued service in Tayside.  Fans can donate via our website - click just giving.  Additionally we have a Facebook page which you can ‘Like’ and follow the work of the team and again make donations.  We also have TMRT wrist bands available for any donation amount you wish to give.  Remember TMRT help to serve all users of the outdoors in Tayside, includes our young mountaineers and tourists who visit our amazing lowlands and highlands of Tayside.

"I spend a lot of time with TMR, at least 2 days per week and that time excludes our callouts to emergencies.  It really varies depending on how many callouts we receive.  In Mountain Rescue you really must have a good employer who is willing to support this vital service.  You need to have a very understanding family too, because the reality is you might get called away from your Christmas lunch."

"We serve the public and assist people in need 24/7 – all charities are important, they all need money to survive... if you do not have a specialised MR team who else would do it!  The public of Tayside need a dedicated professional MR team....  Tayside MRT have provided this service for nearly forty years; we have genuinely saved thousands of lives.  If we only save one life our service is worth supporting and having."

Monday
Sep242012

Scottish Dementia Awards

On Thursday September 20th, Society Directors Jacqui Robertson and Grant Cook were joined by Dundee FC legend Pat Liney on a trip to Hampden Park for the Scottish Dementia Awards after the Society had been shortlisted in the "Best Dementia Friendly Community Initiative" category for our involvement with the Football Reminiscence Project.  This would be the trio's second trip to Glasgow, after spending an afternoon filming for the award ceremony a month earlier.

Photograph courtesy of Peter Devlin

Grant said "the day promised to be a good one, the previous journey for filming had confirmed that Pat is fantastic company on a journey, and the train ride this time was no exception, as Pat regaled both Jacqui and I with tales of his time both as a goalkeeper, and his life outside of football.

"Arriving at Hampden in the pouring rain, the realisation of what a massive deal it was to be shortlisted for these awards set in, we were mixing with political and NHS heavyweights, but the welcome we received could not have been better.  Everyone wanted to know about the work done with the FRP, and nerves soon disappeared as it became obvious that we were there on merit, and that experts in the work on dementia showed a real interest in how our work had gone.

"Pat, as is usual fitted in straight away, mingling among the crowd and generally representing the club fantastically, ending up with an invite to visit another group in Stonehaven to talk to them about his life. Jacqui was soon networking, and generally doing the job of spreading the word about the Society, the club, and the supporters who gave so many precious mementoes in the name of charity, not just for the FRP, but also while the club were in Administration.

"Once the award ceremony started, it became obvious that this was a room full of real experts, and that being shortlisted among this group was indeed a fantastic honour, the work carried out in the field of dementia, and represented in the room was fantastic, and to hear professionals talk about the work they do was a real eye opener.  In the same category as the Society was a scheme which provides people with dementia the chance to go and play golf, and a Dementia cafe, with the cafe running out as deserving winners.  While we were disappointed not to come away with the award, to lose out when up against some really great initiatives makes it a lot easier to understand why.

"Once the award ceremony was completed, the DFCSS contingent was again popular, with Jacqui in particular making some good contacts, and a lot of interest shown in our video presentation, with an invitation to apply for another award to be handed out early next year.  The FRP HQ is also in Hampden, and we met up with some old friends there, who whisked us away for a wee tour around the football museum, where we posed for some pictures, before being led out into the presentation area so famously visited by our own Ronnie McIntosh at the League Cup Final last year.  More photographs were to follow, and the Society would like to thank Peter Devlin for taking the time to provide us with the photographs, before we headed off into the Glasgow rain for the train journey back to Dundee.

Photograph courtesy of Peter Devlin

"While the day was ultimately unsuccessful as far as the awards went, we can truly take heart from the fact that the Society was nominated alongside some excellent Initiatives, to be shortlisted among eighteen, from almost 130 nominations is indeed an honour, and that honour reflects not just on the Society and Club, but on all the volunteers who give up their time for this Initiative, all the supporters who willingly donated prized possessions, and everyone who has supported Jacqui and the Community Initiatives.  While Pat, Jacqui and myself were the ones at Hampden on Thursday, the journey really began with you, the Dundee FC fans, and on behalf of the Society, the FRP and people everywhere with dementia, thank you."

Thursday
Sep132012

Saturday September 15th - Dundee Foodbank

Saturday 15th September sees the return of league action at Dens Park after the International break, and with it, the arrival of our third charity of the season, Dundee Foodbank, a charity that provides a nutritionally balanced food supply for people who for whatever reason are suffering from financial problems.

The Society spoke to Ewan Gurr of Dundee Foodbank ahead of the visit, to find out exactly what the charity does and how they got involved in this year’s Community initiative.  "This came about when a Dundee Fan who works with The Citizens Advice Bureau saw the charity work done by Jacqui Robertson last season.  We get a lot of referrals from CAB, so when we were told of this Initiative and invited to take part by Jacqui, we were delighted to accept.

"The Dundee Foodbank is, along with the Highland Foodbank, the oldest Trussells Trust Foodbank in Scotland, having been running for seven years now.  We are a Scottish charity that provides emergency food relief to individuals and families experiencing financial hardship in and around Dundee.  We provide three to five days of nutritionally balanced food to people who have been referred by local statutory services such as social work, welfare rights, criminal justice, housing support and various other statutory agencies.

"Since January, we have provided for around 1,800 households, although that number is expected to rise to around 3,000 before the end of the year.  We are already the busiest of the thirteen Foodbanks in Scotland.  That is not to say that Dundee has the biggest problems, statistically, there are places worse off, but as we are more established than, say the Glasgow Foodbank, we experience a higher volume of service users.  The majority are short term, one time service users, although with redundancies, it may take 12 weeks for benefits to be sorted, so those people will be using the service for possibly 12 weeks.

"All the food we provide is donated; churches, schools and other charities help us a lot, and last Saturday we visited two Tesco stores in Dundee and generally made people aware of what we did, and handed out our ‘shopping list’.  Shoppers then had a chance to read a bit about us as they shopped, with many deciding to donate one or two things from the list, resulting in donations of 1.2 tonnes of goods for us, which was fantastic.  This week, thanks to Jacqui and the Supporters' Society, we get the chance to speak to people who generally prefer to do something other than visit a supermarket on a Saturday afternoon, so this is a great opportunity to spread the word.

"The success of last week’s supermarket day has shown that the people of Dundee are extremely generous, and Dundee Fans are no different.  We would hope to speak to people who maybe are not aware of what we do - the more who know about us, the better.  Dundee FC and the Supporters' Society have shown what can be done; welcoming local charities to the stadium on match days is a great idea, and one that can only benefit the local community as a whole.

"To maintain the level of service we provide, it is important that we spread the word, and this visit gives us an excellent platform to spread the word.  As the Society fly the flag for charities, maybe this is something other football clubs should be looking on, and taking inspiration from, and at Dundee Foodbank, we applaud the Society in their charity work, and obviously thank them for this opportunity."

The Dundee FC Supporters' Society look forward to welcoming Dundee Foodbank to Dens Park this weekend and we hope the day is successful.  The Society would also like to ask fans who wish to donate not to bring any donations to the game on Saturday, but to donate directly to Dundee Foodbank. Anyone wishing to do so can drop in to the facility on Constitution Street or email Dundee Foodbank.  Alternatively you can visit either the Dundee Foodbank website, or facebook page for more information.