Members can make a big difference in small ways, within their local communities.
Anyone can be a Coeliac Ambassador – all you have to do is one or two small things in your local community that might create awareness or make things easier for the next coeliac to come along there.
So What Can You Do?
A lot, but in little ways can make a big difference for all of us!
- The next time you go to a Restaurant you haven’t been to before, give them an English Eating Out card or ask them if they have seen the Society’s Catering Guide which you can download and read about here Catering Guide
- If you meet someone with familiar symptoms, tell them how they can get diagnosed.
- If you see someone in a supermarket, staring blankly at the gluten-free section – chat to them. Perhaps they have just been diagnosed and could use a gluten-free friend to help them adjust.
Meet your local TD
No national policy exists for the diagnosis and management of coeliac disease in Ireland. The policy currently in use in Ireland is the NICE UK policy. If you have experienced difficulty in diagnosis or your disease management post diagnosis, make your local TD aware. You will be making them aware of coeliac disease, its symptoms and aftercare.
Many TD’s contact the Coeliac Society of Ireland, while helping their constituents access improved quality of care.
Other Simple Suggestions
Many people wish they could volunteer but feel that they don’t have the time, maybe they aren’t in the right location, or they have families and job commitments. But perhaps there’s something else you could do in your own time, without joining a committee or going to an office?
- Talk to local groups about Coeliac disease; e.g. your local ICA group or Parent & Toddler Groups.
- Ask your own workplace if you can arrange a talk on Coeliac Disease with help from the Society. Or organise a gluten-free coffee morning in aid of the Society.
- Talk to the chef in your work canteen and see if they can provide gluten-free options, or if they can improve the choice of the ones they already offer.
- Ask if you can host a talk to your child’s class or at a parent/teacher night.
- Ask your local delicatessen/butchers if they would bring in artisan foods that are in the Food List
Be a Coeliac Society Representative
Represent the Society at a Pharmacy Information Day, or at a Mini Marathon where sponsorship is being raised for us, or hold a one-off event in your area to gather coeliacs and celebrate being gluten-free together!
Be a New Product Supermarket Ambassador
How often do you see a new product advertised and wonder why it’s not on your supermarket shelves – well next time you see it, resolve to go ask the manager of the store to bring it in.
People power works and the manufacturers will testify to that as they struggle sometimes to get products listed because there isn’t demand – but is that the case? All you might have to do is have a conversation or send an email!
You have the opportunity to meet new people, gain new skills, have an influence on the work the Society does…All of which benefits you as a Coeliac.
For anyone out of the workforce at present, you can keep up certain skills, learn about how a charity runs and what challenges we face.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas or post on our forum to tell fellow members what you’ve done or contact us to discuss what else you can do!
My kids picked something up on the Coeliac webpage about pins? for doing ambassador type things for Coeliac Awareness Week.
We are a house with 4 of our 5 members gluten free and to highlight how this can affect us the kids spent the week putting one informative post a day on our facebook page about different things. Symptoms and how to get checked, meal ideas, fun stuff to make etc etc.
We are all athletic enthusiasts and very involved in our local athletic scene. The kids posted on fb an article from Supervalu about cross contamination and the problems it causes, and said that this is why they can’t eat at the buffet’s after race meets and such.
They then went and baked lots and lots of gf brownies, fruit scones & gf oat, choc chip cookies, wrapped them individually and placed them in big tubs with lids on them clearly marking that they were GLUTEN FREE and to PLEASE REPLACE THE LID TO AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION, put pictures of them up on Facebook again and let the local sporting community know that they would be available for everyone to try after the local 8k race.
I am very proud of my kids (Roisin age 11, GF Matthew age 7, & Blathnaid age 6 GF). Their little idea reached the 284 athletes who took part in the race and the athletes friends and families that came to support them. We had lots of positive comments back from people, mostly that they never realised how much the cross contamination issue was a problem and how tasty GF food could be. At no stage did anyone including small children forget to put the lids tightly back on the tubs and the tubs were empty at the end of the evening, and I know of 4 people who are making appts with their doctors to get tested.
Will all their hard work get them a pin?”