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UKATA to host coffee morning for mesothelioma sufferers

Thursday 4th February 2016

UKATA to host coffee morning for mesothelioma sufferers

Training association set to support Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team initiative

The UK Asbestos Training Association (UKATA) is hosting and sponsoring a Midlands Coffee Morning on the 22 April 2016, 11am – 1pm at The Markham Vale Environment Centre, Derbyshire in aid of the Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team (DAST). The morning is open to Mesothelioma sufferers, partners and carers who can confirm attendance by contacting DAST or phone 01246 380415.

DAST hosts several coffee mornings per year, giving people suffering from Mesothelioma the opportunity to get together and meet others in the same situation. They arrange for a speaker, a medical professional to attend, and try and answer people’s questions in a relaxed environment.

“UKATA has looked to support DAST in the past, most recently speaking at their Conference in November 2015, so when I heard about this event I wanted to see how UKATA might be able to offer some support,” said Victoria Castelluccio, Marketing Officer at UKATA. “We are delighted to be able to host the next coffee morning and look forward to welcoming attendees.”

DAST is a charity which helps and supports anyone diagnosed with an asbestos related disease. The majority of people they help and support have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma and their unique support service includes help with benefits uptake, Government Compensation Schemes and advice about making a civil compensation claim. They also act as a support group by arranging meetings, conferences, and distributing regular members’ newsletters. They also have resources to help those diagnosed with respiratory diseases to manage their condition and live the fullest lives possible.

DAST has now been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund of £3,800 to enable them to collect stories of those affected by asbestos and to record where and how the deadly substance was used throughout UK industries.

Asbestos was widely used in the mid-20th century. One of the common reasons for use was its excellent heat resistant qualities. It was used in the construction of public buildings, houses, trains and cars which meant workers involved in those industries came into contact with the dust. Many of those people have gone on to develop the asbestos cancer Mesothelioma.

DAST will interview people who worked with asbestos between 1945 and 1999 the year that the substance was banned in the UK. Volunteers will record what sort of industries it was used in, including where and how. There will be calls for people to share photographs of themselves at work and of finished products that contained the substance.

Sarah Walters at DAST said the findings would be shared on a specially created website which is currently under construction and on social media (Twitter handle @BewareAsbestos and Facebook Our Asbestos Heritage UK). Sarah said “We are pleased that the Heritage Lottery Fund agree that this is a worthy project, this allows us to raise awareness of asbestos in the Heritage sector and beyond. There is still a lot of asbestos about and we want people to be aware and stay safe”.

Jonathan Platt, Head of the Heritage Lottery in the East Midlands said “Many of us are aware of the dangers of asbestos, but the history of why and how it was used so extensively is perhaps less well known. This is an important project that will ensure the stories of those affected are not forgotten, whilst helping to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos and how to avoid it”.

This year according to official figures 5000 people are likely to die prematurely as a result of asbestos exposure. This is around three times the number of road accident deaths. There are potentially thousands of contractors who have still not received asbestos training of any kind and UKATA strives to get the message across that professional training can change the way today’s workers operate so they don’t put their lives at unnecessary risk.

“The history of asbestos exposure is important and it will play a vital role in helping raise awareness among today’s workers that the risk is still very real, “ added Victoria. “UKATA members provide training on asbestos safety, delivering the highest standard of asbestos training in the UK and such training is the only way to ensure people stay safe.”

UKATA is the leading authority for asbestos training provision in the United Kingdom. Tasked by the HSE in 2008 to manage the licensed asbestos training providers, UKATA has gone from strength to strength and now has more than 180 member organisations from all corners of the UK.

Media Enquiries:
Victoria Castelluccio, Marketing Officer
01246 824437