CURB's Founder 

Community Award Winner

Maureen Booth-Martin

 

Lord Mayor’s

Capital Awards 1993

 Lord Mayor’s

Community Awards 1999

 The Whitbread

Volunteer Action Awards 2000

 South Wales Echo

Community Honour’s List 2003

South Wales Echo

Community Champions 2008

 Wales Voluntary Action Council

    Volunteer of the Year 2010

In June 2012 Maureen will have worked resolutely for thirty years in the voluntary sector and is still is working as a dedicated and committed volunteer covering a wide field of need ranging from a lack of medical equipment to bullying in schools.

 

In 1982 Maureen began fund raising for local charities.  Then in June 1985 Maureen’s six week old baby developed breathing difficulties known as Apnoea Attacks that can and have resulted in fatalities in new-born babies!

  

Within days of her baby being admitted into Llandough Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit, Maureen realised that there was a general shortage of specialised medical equipment, most noticeably and relevantly in her case, Apnoea Alarms!

 

Apnoea Alarms have a mechanism that triggers off a piercing siren within seconds of a baby stopping breathing to alert medical staff and parents!

 

Maureen immediately began a campaign to highlight the seriousness of Apnoea Attacks in new-borns, plus the shortage of Apnoea Alarms available, joining forces with the local Police Service and local communities across Cardiff to raise funds!

  

In 1985 Apnoea Alarms cost approximately £2,000.00 each, but the cost of the alarms did not deter her and her efforts not only secured ample supplies of alarms for Llandough Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit but benefited several other community based baby units in Cardiff. 

 

Subsequently, families with babies who were deemed high risk of Apnoea Attacks and/or SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) would receive an alarm free of charge!

 

Maureen also initiated The Llandough Hospital CT Scanner Appeal!  This project was eventually funded by a Welsh children’s cancer charity LATCH.  The funds Maureen raised were used to help with the building work and maintenance of the scanner.

 

Maureen’s final fund raising efforts for Llandough Hospital’s Radiology Department resulted in a new X-Ray machine known as a Piggostat. This equipment was specially designed for new-born babies. This equipment could only be purchased from the USA so extra funds were raised for its transportation and installation! 

 

 

The remainder of funds from this project was used to purchase a stereo system for the children’s cancer unit so they could listen to their favourite music during their treatment.

 

Maureen continued to raise funds and numerous supplies of travelling Nebulisers were consequently donated to local hospitals for children and young people who suffer with chronic asthma! 

 

 

Travelling Nebulisers not only reduced the amount of hospital admissions among these children and young people, it also meant they could finally have short breaks away and holidays with their families, which had not been a viable option before.

 

Maureen next became involved with bullying issues in schools.  The nearest anti-bullying organisation that Maureen could find for advice and support was Kidscape based in London.

 

 

 

Kidscape helped and supported Maureen during a traumatic time in her and her children’s lives and in return Maureen became Kidscape’s main volunteer for Wales, unstinting in her efforts.  This led on to Maureen finally deciding her home town would benefit from having an anti-bullying helpline and set up Cardiff Anti-Bullying Initiative (CABI)!

 

In 1991, due to the overwhelming success of CABI, Maureen restructured the helpline so it could offer more services to parents of children and young people who are victims of bullying!  Henceforth, Wales’ first and only anti-bullying organisation formally known CURB (Children Under Risk from Bullying) was born!

 

Maureen always apportioned her valuable time between her family commitments and CURB, but still found time to organise fundraising events for other local charities in need.

 

January 1993 found her in full swing on yet another fundraising mission and by June of that year Maureen had reached the final stage of securing the thousands of pounds needed to transport nine of the most seriously ill children from Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Children’s Renal Unit on their first ever holiday. 

 

 

This including nursing and medical staff to accompany them along with a specialist dietician and medical equipment the children would need daily to keep them alive!

 

However, June 15th 1993 towards the final stages of this funding raising event tragedy engulfed Maureen’s family as her youngest son Jonathan then eight years old was mowed down by a hit and run driver.  Maureen had to stand by helplessly while paramedics resuscitated her child at the site where the hit and run driver left him to die!   

 

There was no mistaken the catastrophic head injuries her son had suffered then having to endure the stress and strain of waiting hour upon hour while major surgery was carried out on him only to be informed by the neurosurgeon’s registrar that her little boy would remain in a permanent vegetative state would have broken many!

  

However, despite this ordeal, Maureen still honoured her pledge and continued to raise and secure the final sum needed to send the nine very sick children to Euro-Disney for four days.  And they had a fantastic time!

 

 

As a result of Jonathan’s accident, local residents wrote and personally approached Maureen about their concerns regarding the increase in cars speeding on their roads and the level of anti-social behaviour in their area, informing her that for approximately eighteen months prior to Jonathan becoming a casualty, they had reported and written to the appropriate authorities to no avail.

 

Although she never left the hospital throughout Jonathan’s stay, Maureen did agree to meet with some residents within the hospital grounds.  It soon became clear to her what was needed and with the support and assistance of the residents, Maureen founded the Mynachdy Tenants and Residents Action Group!

  

The Mynachdy Tenants and Residents Action Group rapidly expanded to The Mynachdy, Gabalfa & Maindy Community Action Group formally known as MGM!   MGM to date is still supporting residents throughout Cardiff!

 

During the acute phase of Jonathan’s brain injuries, Maureen requested and researched information on areas of rehabilitation for ‘Acquired Brain Injury for Children’.  It became immediately apparent that there was no unit, support and/or rehabilitation centres for children who suffers acquired brain injury; it was only available to adults!

 

Wasting no time, Maureen obtained as much information as possible from the adult rehabilitation units and designed her own rehabilitation programme for Jonathan, starting with daily physiotherapy and setting Jonathan simple targets of achievements.

 

As time went on Maureen introduced Jonathan to a more vigorous rehabilitation schedule with a view to developing and strengthening the areas of acute weakness that continued to plague him!

  

During the last nineteen years Maureen’s persistence and continuous encouragement have resulted in Jonathan achieving exceptional results generally. This includes obtaining outstanding academic achievements. 

 

 

In September 2011 Jonathan secured his initial year of a four year study placement at the University of  Glamorgan and has recently been informed he has secured his seconded year.

 

Maureen’s hard work and dedication to Jonathan was officially recognised and recorded by the Court of Protection/Public Guardianship Office.    An official document was forwarded to Maureen commending her outstanding commitment as an unpaid ‘Court Appointed Deputy for Jonathan’ with her unwavering dedication to her son’s general safety and wellbeing that continues to date!

 

Undaunted by the personal challenges she had to face during such a traumatic time, Maureen established the smooth running of CURB, revamping and re-launching the organisation May 1st 2006 from Cardiff Central Police Station.  May 1st 2012 the organisation celebrated its 21st Birthday!

  

CURB now offers parents of children and young people who are victims of bullying, one to one emotional support, a twenty-four hour answering service, letter writing, help in understanding education authorities’ procedures (including Special Educational Needs) and in more serious cases of bullying, introduces’ victims and their families to specialised legal support.  This is coupled with informal access to information on CURB’s Website.

 

Maureen herself has suffered physical injuries that have left her with long-term damage rendering her completely immobilised for days at a time and coping daily with unendurable pain.  Irrespective of this, Maureen has and continues to assist others.

 

Maureen’s fortitude, dedication and steadfast approach in all her endeavours have attained a far greater quality of life for many and Jonathan’s situation alone has proven her courage, strength and resilience when faced with adversity!  This is what makes Maureen such an inspiration to so many.

 

Still putting others before herself, Maureen is at present campaigning and lobbying for an Independent Education Council to be setup in Wales to investigate and handle allegations of bullying in schools. 

 

 

She is also highlighting the lack of NHS rehabilitation units for children with acquired brain injuries.  She aims to see at least one established in Cardiff and we have no doubt she will achieve this and more!

 

 

 © MBM

 

 

 

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