1 tweet reaps new member, volunteer and website for ANUK

I monitor the internet for mentions of ‘aniridia’. Last week Phil from Liverpool tweeted that his wife, who has aniridia, had been declared ineligible for Personal Independent Payments.

I checked our database and found no record of her. So I wrote to invite them to join Aniridia Network UK. We also offered guidance on benefits from our disability rights advice service.

This story has become fairly common – we have gained several new members in similar ways. But in this case there is an extra chapter.

While establishing that Phil lives in the UK and finding an email address to contact him I browsed his website. It turns out that he is a freelance web developer. Furthermore, on his blog he had written a post entitled Giving Something Back. Here Phil offered to build and host a website for free for a worthy cause. He invited nominations.

So I excitedly wrote to  explain that ANUK is outgrowing its current website. I asked if he would work with me and other technical volunteers to develop a new site to help us achieve our aims.

I was delighted when Phil quickly replied to say that having received many requests; ours had made up his mind. On his Giving Something Back: Decision blog post Phil said: “It is a privilege and an honour to be able to improve not only a worthy charity’s website, but a charity that is integral to improving the lives of people who have the same condition as my family, who deserve every chance in life.”

I’m especially proud that this has happened as a result of social media – twitter and blogs. It not only fitting but these are areas I’ve been developing at ANUK  for the past three years. It’s a great example of how worthwhile it is to spend time on them at both personal and organisational levels.

So we are all very grateful to Phil and excited about the future. I’m really looking forward to working with him to develop a better aniridia.org.uk that has more features, is more accessible and works well on mobile devices. Aniridia Network UK has little money. We cannot afford to pay for website development. Instead like everything else we need volunteers to help us out. This works best when they are motivated by having aniridia themselves or in their family.

I’m sure that Phil’s family will enjoy being part of ANUK. And with their help we’ll give better online services to everyone in our community.

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