CHAT has run some extraordinarily successful campaigns in the two years since we were founded by a group of local mums. We are enormously grateful to the people of Caithness who have turned out in their hundreds, come rain or shine, and supported us at rallies, fundraisers, and even trips to Parliament. We simply could not do this without you.
Here are some of our highlights….
THE BIG PUSH
Our first big publicity event, The Big Push, saw 21 teams push a makeshift hospital bed 21 miles from the Dunbar Hospital in Thurso to Caithness General Hospital in Wick. More than 600 members of the public joined us for the final leg of the journey, and we received national press coverage. The march was to protest the downgrading of our maternity services and the relentless centralisation that is systematically destroying local care. Watch the video on the John O’Groat Journal website.
This tongue-in-cheek campaign started with us sending a small model cow to every MSP in Holyrood. Why? Because EU law prohibits the transfer of pregnant livestock, yet Caithness mums are transferred 100+ miles to give birth, often whilst in labour. Mooternity aimed to rally politicians to our cause, and in case they missed us, we then appeared at Scottish Parliament with a lifesize cutout cow and a petition carrying more than 6000 signatures demanding a rethink of our maternity care model. Here we are with Edward Mountain MSP.
BIGNOLD PARK RALLY
Over the course of our campaign we’ve received thousands of personal stories from local people about the services that have saved or improved their lives. We wanted to highlight that despite being a small community, we do still need our local hospitals. So we asked people to turn out in the Bignold Park for a ‘visual demonstration’. More than 800 people attended in the pouring rain, showing once again the unwavering support we enjoy from our local community.
In the run-up to the 2017 General Election, we met with every MP candidate in our constituency, asking for them to pledge their support for retaining local healthcare services. Jamie Stone, Paul Monaghan, Struan Mackie and Rhoda Grant were all very generous of their time, and long-term Caithness health supporter Jamie Stone MP was victorious at the polls. Jamie continues to advocate for Caithness and keeps in regular touch with the CHAT team. Here we are with Lib Dem Scotland leader Willie Rennie, Jamie Stone MP and Community Councillor Luke Graham.
100 MILES TOO FAR… POSTCARD CAMPAIGN
Our most recent campaign saw us send 2,500+ postcards to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The postcards carried the message ‘100 miles too far’, and local people (plus supporters from around the world) wrote their own messages and experiences. We sent the first batch of 1,000 direct to the FM along with an invitation to come to Caithness and meet us. Since then (September 2017) we have been sending batches of 100 every few days – keeping our plight under the eyes of those in power.