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The Ice Bucket Challenge - it's all about you!

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There can’t be many people left who haven’t been soaked to the skin in freezing cold water after receiving the ‘dreaded’ nomination from one of your lovely Facebook friends.

Social media has been swamped with shakily-filmed video clips of overweight men in bright-green mankinis, celebrities, families and women who scream at the slightest thought of water being poured over their heads – yes, the Ice Bucket Challenge has taken over everyone’s Facebook feed.

Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s all for a good cause – but what good cause are we talking about?
When I received my nomination I did a quick Google search as I’d never heard of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and I soon found out that in the UK it is referred to as motor neurone disease. During my trip around cyber-space I also discovered that the #IceBucketChallenge hashtag was being used by Macmillan cancer support to help them to raise funds too.

Macmillan have faced accusations of ‘hijacking’ the campaign but in their recent blog they argue that their supporters were already taking part in the campaign so they have just taken advantage of the craze by being more responsive via social media. In the piece they acknowledge that other charities such as WaterAid have also benefited from this summer’s biggest charity activity and don’t try and take any credit for starting the campaign.

I’ve since noticed that a lot of people taking up the challenge have deviated from donating to either of these charities and are now giving to causes that are closer to their hearts such as children’s hospitals and local run charities and some have argued that this has diluted the ALS campaign. But when we consider the suggestion that the challenge actually started simply as a ‘cold water challenge’ in April 2014, with no mention of ALS, cancer or even ice can anyone actually complain?

Whatever the reason and motivation – whether it be a need  to make a difference, a nomination from a friend with a desire to see you shivering or good old fashioned attention seeking – the Ice Bucket Challenge has certainly hit the mark. Millions have been raised to help numerous charities, helping to raise their profiles in the process.

So this poses the question – does it really matter who comes up with the idea or is the result more important?
Everyone is looking for that next ‘big thing’, that one idea to make their product or service stand out from the crowd. The gimmicks, the need for ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ are great but what about getting to the crux of the matter. I’m sure that many of the people that receive support don’t mind where their help is coming from – they just need someone to be there for them. Are organisations too hung up on ‘who they are’ and ‘what they do’ rather than ‘who you are’ and ‘what they can do for you?’

For me, the most important thing is getting the help and support to the people that need it most; to help break the chain of dependency on state benefits; to encourage independence by building on people’s strengths rather than focusing on their weaknesses. If this means that we all come together in some way, shape or form to deliver effective support then so be it.

Bromford recognises the importance of working in partnership with other agencies to ensure that everyone gets a fair chance in life and one example of this is the Thrive partnership in Telford and Wrekin. Here, six organisations including Bromford, Stay, Maninplace, Kip (The Salvation Army) and the YMCA have come together and pooled their expertise to ensure that the best possible support is on offer to those who need it.

There are thousands of people who rely on support services throughout the UK to help them through the day and without this help there may not be a ‘brighter future’ for many of them. But, like the Ice Bucket Challenge, does it matter where that help comes from?

Communication specialist - My days are spent telling stories, networking, copywriting, posting on social media and delivering training to colleagues - a bit of everything really! 

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