12 incredible things that happened on Change.org in 2016 #12DaysofChange

 2016 has been an unforgettable year for a lot of reasons. On Change.org it was the year we saw people speak up on the issues that matter to them on an unprecedented scale.

We wanted to celebrate. So, over Christmas we launched our #12DaysofChange series spotlighting some of the most memorable things people power did this year.

Day 7: The year Isabelle got her son, Matthew back

In September 2015 Matthew was detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, over a hundred miles from his home and his family. After being told this would be a temporary measure, six months later Matthew was still not home - at her wits end, and out of ideas, Isabelle started her petition.

Day 1: The 9 year old who took on the Scottish Government - and won

Day 1: The 9 year old who took on the Scottish Government - and won

Kicking off our #12DaysofChange is Michael Young from Falkirk in Scotland. This amazing 9 year old suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy - a severe form of the disorder that usually leaves children unable to walk by the age of 12.

November Impact Report

Your contribution has helped people to raise their voices and fight injustice across the UK. Just this month there have been over 20 victories, hundreds of pieces of press and dozens of responses from decision makers.

Here are a few of the incredible stories you have helped to power this month. 

Victories

Saving May

This month 60,000 people came together and won a campaign to help save 23 year old leukaemia sufferer, May Brown’s life.

When May found out she had leukaemia she was devastated. Doctors said a stem cell transplant could save her life, but the only person with a perfect tissue match was her sister - who lives in Nigeria. When the Home Office refused her sister a visa, her only chance of survival was cute off.

A petition took off calling for May’s sister to be allowed to come to the UK temporarily for the transplant.

Within days ITV, Daily Mail, BBC and Guardian had featured the campaign. Then, on Thursday night, May found out that the Home Office changed their decision and granted the visa.

When May heard that she would get this lifeline, she said;

"I am overjoyed for the u-turn the Home Office has taken regarding my sister Martha's visa application. I would like to thank every single person who supported my petition! Your support is what has kept me positive."

May has a long road to recovery ahead but is overjoyed that the so many people helped to give her a fighting chance. You can read more about her story here.

Bringing Rachael Home

After 2 years of battling with NHS executives, Mum and daughter Rachael have been reunited with the help of their Change.org campaign.

When Rachael Palin turned 13 she developed severe depression and has been suffering ever since. When, a year later she was moved to a specialist unit 153 miles away from home, her mum, Tara, didn't know what to do.

Feeling like no one was listening and running out of options, Tara logged onto Change.org and started a petition to get her daughter care closer to home. In days she managed to get thousands of signers, and discovered that there were hundreds of supportive people out there with stories just like hers.

With the support of over 200,000 signers Tara's campaign made national headlines, and she won meetings with politicians and NHS executives.

Now, after a nearly 2 year long campaign Rachael is finally moving home and being reunited with her mum.

To the people who signed Mum Tara said;

"I can't thank everyone who supported me and sent me messages enough. They have kept me going over the past two years. Everyone has been amazing."

 More on their story here.

Power in Parliament 

In the UK this month hundreds of other petitions have been making the headlines, and getting headway in Parliament.

A moment for Miriam.jpg

This month the Briddon family ramped up their campaign for tougher drink driving laws. Daughter and sister, Miriam Briddon was killed by a drunk driver. Her killer only received a 5 year prison sentence, of which he will serve 2 and a half years. This month the BBC and ITV news covered the families fight. They think their campaign is close to winning and want you to add your support here. 

Mum of 2, Catriona, headed to Westminster this month accompanied by dozens of supportive parents and their children. She has been campaigning to extend maternity leave for mums of premature babies. Check out her account of the day here. Since her petition delivery the Minister responsible, Margot James, has agreed to sit down with Catriona for a meeting. You can get behind her campaign here.

And the campaign for a Helen’s Law got a first reading in Parliament and is on it's way to becoming legislation. Marie's daughter Helen was murdered thirty years ago and her killer still won’t reveal the location of her body, so now she is campaigning for a law that will make killers disclose where they have hidden a victim’s body. This month the law was read in Parliament and won support from MPs.  This latest development in her campaign was featured across the evening news, watch some of the coverage here.

 

 Your support is helping up to keep the platform running and offer support to people fighting to transform their worlds. So, thank you for helping make all these change happen!

From the Change.org UK Team

3 times your signature made the impossible possible

A signature can do incredible things. From reuniting families, raising awareness of the Yazidi genocide and clearing supermarket shelves of eggs from caged hens, people power is making the impossible possible.

We spoke to three people whose lives were transformed by the support of people like you.

Meet Lucy

The teen that took on the UK’s biggest supermarkets -- and won.

Animal lover Lucy, 14, is an ordinary teenager whose life changed earlier this year when she started a petition to stop supermarkets selling eggs from caged hens. The campaign went viral, attracting over 200,000 signatures, and before long Lucy’s petition had attracted celebrity support, sparked action on social media and persuaded executives at Tesco to meet her. Within months, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons announced they were phasing out eggs from caged hens.

A year ago people told Lucy that stamping out caged eggs from supermarket shelves couldn’t be done, but with the support of people like you, the impossible has been made possible.

Lucy is going to keep campaigning to make sure all eggs in the UK are cage-free. Her dream is to get a job as an animal rights campaigner when she finishes school.

She says: “It’s hard to imagine that nine months ago I was just doing normal 14 year old things- hanging out with my friends and my pets. Thanks to my signers my life is completely different.”

Meet Phil

The inspiring dad who wouldn’t take no for an answer

When Phil’s son Josh was moved to an autism facility 260 miles away instead of being given care locally, Phil did everything in his power to bring Josh home. For a year no one listened. So, at his wits’ end, Phil started a Change.org petition, attracted 250,000 signatures and convinced Cornwall Council to provide care for autism so that  Josh could be close to his family.

Phil said, “the petition was the thing. We went for 18 months with no one listening but the petition opened eyes and ears from people at the top that hadn’t been hearing us. I wasn’t a fan of petitions before but it changed everything. It gave Josh a voice”

“It means the world to have Josh home. Everyone who sees him now says that the sparkle is back in his eye and I always say it's the people that signed his petition that put it there." 

Since winning his petition Phil has become an ambassador for autism charity, Anna Kennedy Online, and has built up a community of parents who are using petitions and the media to bring their children home too.

Public support brought Josh home when nothing else could, and now Phil’s inspired other families to use petitions to speak out for their children too.

Meet Rozin

The Yazidi student campaigning for her community

British Yazidi teen Rozin Hajool is no ordinary 18 year old. For a year and a half she has been campaigning on behalf of the Yazidi women and girls sexually assaulted at the hands of ISIS.

Before she started her petition these voices were rarely heard in the UK media - but your signatures helped tell the Yazidi people’s story in Britain.

Now she has teamed up with fellow Yazidi Nadia Murad (recently nominated for the Nobel Peace prize) and is keeping her campaign on the agenda of the international community.

“Progress is being made” Rozin says. "I think about everyone who has signed my petition. They're my strength and without every signature I would have given up. 229,000 people believe in me, and that helps me believe in myself".

The signatures on Rozin’s petition form part of a campaign which grew from nothing. Every signature has helped to spread the story of Yazidi women and girls, and given this remarkable 18 year old the power to carry on.

It’s has changed me as a person, doing campaigning”, she says. “The signers and the people I have met have been so inspirational. They have convinced me I have to do campaigning for the rest of my life. There’s no question about it - it’s what I want to do.”

 

5 things that happened on Change.org this week

Every week we see petitions signed by people like you making a lasting impact. In case you missed it, here are 5 things that happened on Change.org this week.

1. Thomas Cook: Stop “Dolphin Experience Trips”
Katie Bashford has over 70,000 signatures this week on her petition for Thomas Cook to stop the promotion of “dolphin experience trips.”  

Katie says dolphin experiences seem harmless and fun but are actually cruel and inhumane, claiming dolphins are being stolen from their natural homes to meet demand and are being kept in confined spaces which have a significant impact on dolphins’ physical and mental wellbeing. “A life in a tank is no life at all” says Katie. If you agree, sign her petition here.

2. Mum gets school to embrace braids
“Through our united voice we changed something that will perhaps make a difference to many students lives and encourage our youngsters to embrace and celebrate their cultures in a positive way”.

This is the victory message from mum Leanne Sullivan  who won her campaign to change Fulston Manor’s school uniform policy. After her daughter Chyna was told that her braiding was “extreme” and prohibited, she argued that the policy conflicted with the school's Equality and Diversity Policy and that braid extension hair styles reflect cultural backgrounds for mixed-race and black students.

Her attracted petition with 32,000 supporters leading to governors at the school agreeing to remove the problematic wording.

3. “Everyday is like a Paralympic event”
William Pike - who was injured in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks - claims everyday activities can be a Paralympic event simply because of lack of thought or investment in disabled access. Now, 44,000 are backing his campaign for American Apparel and Cafe Nero to provide access to their outlets for wheelchair users. William is also sending the petition to the Equality and Human Rights Commission asking them to pursue the issue with these companies.

Watch the campaign video below and read the petition here.

4. Prime Minister announces commitment to ‘Alan Turing Law’
This week Theresa May’s government announced that it is committed to introducing an ‘Alan Turing law’ and will, in due course, pardon thousands of gay men convicted under historic gross indecency crimes.

This is part of an ongoing campaign by Matthew Breen launched two years ago signed by over half a million people. Will you help 49,000 get an apology too?

5. Concentrix contracts stopped by HMRC

Concentrix, the US firm accused of unjustly withdrawing tax credits from hundreds of claimants, will not have its contract renewed in 2017 as a result of Kelly Faulds' petition.

During her campaign Kelly made the case for hundreds of distressed families across the UK for whom the tax credits of £200 per month were a lifeline for living costs. Five thousand signed her petition to drive the change here.

 

 

HEALTH: Schoolboy receives letter from Scotland’s First Minister telling him he will receive life-prolonging drug he’s been campaigning for

Nine-year-old Michael Young who has muscular dystrophy has been fighting for a drug that’s unavailable in Scotland where he lives.

The drug, Translarna helps him to walk and lead a normal life relatively pain-free. He started a petition calling for the drug for him and some of his mates who also need it.

The young campaigner bagged a meeting with Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon in June where he handed over his petition - which had 153,000 signatures - and she told him she would look into his issue.

Victory! Michael received a personal letter from the First Minister telling him he would receive the drug Translarna

Victory! Michael received a personal letter from the First Minister telling him he would receive the drug Translarna

He has now received a “surprise letter” from First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon that the drug has been approved for him and other sufferers of the same condition.

He told Change.org: “I am probably the happiest boy in the whole world right now. I got a surprise letter from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

"She has told me that I will get my medicine, Translarna, from my NHS Health Board. This is amazing news. It also means that other boys with Duchenne in Scotland should also get the medicine.

Private meeting: Michael met with Nicola Sturgeon in June to ask for her support

Private meeting: Michael met with Nicola Sturgeon in June to ask for her support

"It is so important, because it will help me stay walking for longer and means I can play with my friends.

"The petition has worked. I’m grateful to every person who signed it. I loved reading everyone's comments and it helped me stay strong.”

Notes
Change.org petitions are now embeddable. Any mention of a campaign can now be paired with the visual (just as you'd embed tweets in a piece about a topic on Twitter). Find out more in our handy 'how-to' guide here

CULTURE: London Mayor responds to petition to save iconic Fabric saying he will hire 'Night Czar' to protect club spots

East London fixture, Fabric, which opened in 1999, had its licence withdrawn for 28 days by Islington Council following two drug-related deaths of 18-year-old men at Fabric within nine weeks of each other.

Fabric: More than 90,0000 people have signed a petition calling for the club to reopen

Fabric: More than 90,0000 people have signed a petition calling for the club to reopen

One of the club’s promoters Jacob Husley who said: “Closing a club such as Fabric would be an incredibly short-sighted response to a complex problem”, started a petition to save it signed by over 93,000 people.

Now, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who said London’s clubs are an “essential part of our cultural landscape”, responded via Change.org in a message that was received by all of Jacob’s signers.

His written response also stated: “As part of our wider plan to support the night time economy, I will appoint a Night Czar to lead this work by bringing together key stakeholders including club and venue owners, planning and licensing authorities, the Metropolitan Police and members of the public.

Iconic: Sadiq Khan says London’s clubs are an “essential part of our cultural landscape"

Iconic: Sadiq Khan says London’s clubs are an “essential part of our cultural landscape"

"My team have spoken to all involved in the current situation and I am urging them to find a common sense solution that ensures the club remains open while protecting the safety of those who want to enjoy London’s clubbing scene"

To read the statement in full go to the petition page here.

Notes
Change.org petitions are now embeddable. Any mention of a campaign can now be paired with the visual (just as you'd embed tweets in a piece about a topic on Twitter). Find out more in our handy 'how-to' guide here