FirstSigns (aka LifeSIGNS) is 7 years old today!

In 2002, Wedge founded our organisation after discovering that there was no helpful, relevant, UK based information online for people affected by self-injury. Over the last seven years we have been raising awareness about self-injury, and supporting people affected by self-injury in any way, both in the UK and beyond.

Several directors and volunteers have come and gone over the years, and Wedge has worked with some fantastic people who have helped our organisation develop and grow; but it’s Wedge himself who has remained the one continuum throughout, and his determination, passion and dedication have ensured we have succeeded where many other would-be organisations have failed.

Back in 2002 we were probably the only UK based, user-led voluntary organisation focusing on self-injury – it was certainly the only UK organisation I could find. Today there are many that have tried to mirror our success, but I’m confident that we remain the best and the most inclusive.

FirstSigns is ‘real’. Wedge and I really care about our organisation, and we care about our members. We don’t have any hidden agendas or motives – we simply want to do what we do best – and that is providing free, helpful, relevant information to everyone and anyone needs it. And if that means travelling the length of the country to meet with an organisation who wants our help, then that’s what we do.

As you already know, Wedge is currently on a well deserved break from the day-to-day running of FirstSigns (although he of course remains our Chair and leader), and I’ve taken on more responsibility until he returns, but he’s never far from my mind and or the minds of the people and organisations I work with. FirstSigns isn’t just an online organisation – we love getting out into the real world and interacting with people – and the opportunities I have had to do so over the last few months have been largely as a result of Wedge’s work over the last seven years. Nobody cared when we changed our name because it’s always ‘Wedge’ who people remember, and who people ask me about time and time again when I’m out and about representing FirstSigns.

In the last couple of months we’ve worked closely with schools in North Wales as they develop their Schools Self-injury Policy, and we’ve also worked closely with the BBC on an exciting project that will be revealed here over the coming weeks. Our ethos and our vision for the future remain consistent with our Mission Statement, and it’s exciting to think where we could be in yet another year’s time, and in five and ten years. FirstSigns isn’t an organisation that will ever give up, either on ourselves or our members, and even through adversity we fight on, becoming stronger and stronger with each year that passes.

I currently miss working so closely with Wedge on a daily basis – it’s not easy running our organisation alone – but Wedge has continued to be a great source of support to me and I’m proud to be running his organisation and hopefully maintaining his high standards until he fully returns. We have great plans for the future, and we will be looking for new members of our Management Committee over the coming months to help us implement some of our ideas and maybe even offer some new ones.

I know Wedge will join me in thanking everyone who supports us in any way – our volunteers, the people and organisations who use and circulate our information, and all the members of our thriving community. As I said before, it’s not easy managing a whole organisation, and it’s not even always pleasant, but it’s certainly worthwhile. We are passionate about raising awareness about self-injury, and with your help, we really do make a difference. Thank you.

Happy Birthday FirstSigns, and congratulations to Wedge on another year of fantastic work. To celebrate our Birthday, we are giving away Awareness Wristbands to anyone who leaves us a birthday comment!Please email Jules@FirstSigns.org.uk with your address after leaving your comment.

Thank you, and I look forward to the next year :)

Jules

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