Welcome back to Charity Corner. This is my new series where I will be using my blog as a platform to lend a voice to different charities and organisations of all sizes, backgrounds and causes. Today’s Charity Corner, I speak to Emily Cole, the Digital Communications and PR Officer at ASH Wales, a charity which aims to confront the deleterious caused by smoking.
What is the mission of Ash Wales?
ASH Wales is the only organisation in Wales whose sole focus is tackling the harms of smoking. We help make new laws, we run campaigns to educate adults and we work with lots of young people to help them quit smoking or to not even start in the first place. We’re not just ASH Wales though… we also run a youth project called The Filter Wales and an online community for adults to quit smoking, Smokefree Me.
What’s the story behind the creation of your charity?
Back in the 1970s when ASH first started here in Wales, most people were only just learning about how bad smoking really was for us. 46% of the UK’s residents smoked back in the 70s too, so that’s where we came in – to teach people about the harms of tobacco and to support them to kick the deadly habit.
What outcomes has ASH Wales seen through its work?
From when we launched in 1976 to now there’s been 400,000 less smokers in Wales – that’s something big to be proud of. Most recently, we launched our youth project called The Filter, back in 2012. Since then we’ve worked with thousands of Wales’ young people and smoking rates among teenagers has continued to decrease from around 13% to 9% in just 5 of years – that’s a huge leap.
In what way do donations to your charity benefit you?
One in two long-term smokers will die from smoking. Yes everyone will die at some point, but smoking kills on average 10 years sooner and from much more illnesses that blight people’s lives for many years beforehand. Without donations, we simply can’t do our work. Current donations are going towards our new project Smokefree Baby and Me where we’re helping pregnant mums to stop smoking for their and their baby’s health and future.
How can people help ASH Wales besides just giving money?
We love volunteers to help with our youth project The Filter! Whether you just want to write about our work and shout a bit about how great we are on social media or you’d like to run a smokefree campaign with your friends, through your school or with your youth centre, we love you all being part of it! To join in, check out our website or chat to us on any of our many social media accounts.
What is the biggest milestone you have achieved since the launch of your charity?
Last year ASH Wales turned 40 years old! To celebrate we had a little party in the Cardiff Bay where we got to show off our hard-work from the past 40 years to lots of people. You can see a quick video of our work below…
What does the charity hope to achieve in 12 months time?
We’ve got so much planned for the next year, I’m not sure we can mention it all! We going to be working tirelessly to create new laws which will protect young people from second-hand smoke, create more spaces for young people which are smokefree, support people to quit smoking (especially youths & pregnant mums), create campaigns about smoking in the home and around pets… and lots more!
Where can people find more information on your charity?
If you’re interested in campaigns and policy, head to ASH Wales. If you’re under 25 and want to know more about The Filter or fancy joining in with us, go to The Filter Wales. If you’re looking to quit smoking, give Smokefree Me a try. We all over social media too, just search for any of the names above.
Do you have a charity that you’d like me to discuss in this series? Please email me for more info.
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