Ahead of World Asthma Day which falls tomorrow (Wednesday 5 May), Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation have secured a three-year corporate partnership with legal and financial specialists Irwin Mitchell LLP.
This latest move aims to boost the support services available to people living with lung disease by helping with the running of a network of 150 volunteer-led support groups around the UK.
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) support groups provide hope, help and companionship to more than 2,250 people affected by all forms of lung disease, and those who look after them. Currently held virtually, the groups regularly benefit from guest speakers.
Irwin Mitchell will also help towards other BLF support group activities during the partnership, such as a Volunteer Conference, that aims to bring together the group support leaders to celebrate their achievements, recognise their contribution and provide further training and networking opportunities.
Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said:
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Irwin Mitchell and the timing couldn’t be better as some of our support groups prepare for the possible return of face-to-face meetings. For people with lung disease, the pandemic has been a particularly worrying and isolating time, with many forced to shield for months on end. Throughout this time, the BLF support groups and the volunteers who run them, have continued to be more than just a support network, but a lifeline.”
David Johnston-Keay and Jatinder Paul are specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who support people affected by lung conditions either through workplace illness or illness-related injury.
Mr Johnston-Keay said: “Sadly through our work we often see the terrible consequences respiratory illnesses, such as silicosis and asthma, can have on people and their families.
“We’re proud to be partnering Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation to raise awareness of the symptoms of respiratory illnesses and of the need for businesses to uphold health and safety laws.
Mr Paul said: “It’s vital that people with respiratory illness don’t feel they have to suffer in silence. Help and support, which can make a real difference to people’s lives, is available.”
One in five people in the UK will develop a lung condition throughout their lifetime and last year, the British Lung Foundation’s Helpline alone answered 30,000 calls.
Irwin Mitchell joins Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation’s network of Living Well Alliance members, who have all donated to the charity and are working in partnership to help improve the lives of people living with lung disease.