Think Free

Dear all - a while back there was a lot of debate around the effectiveness of existing charities/bodies in the coeliac/intolerance/allergy space. Talking to others, my conclusion was that there is a space for a new charity to help:

- Support sufferers

- Undertake research (both to understand the size of the problem and to ultimately do medical research

- Lobby government, food manufacturers and caterers

- Provide educational material for schools and supportive material for medical profession

- Provide an accreditation scheme to allow sufferers to go to restaurants/cafes/pubs in the confidence that they are not going to get poisoned

And so the concept of Think Free was born - a not for profit charity which will aim to do all the above. This has been helped with input and thoughts from members of GfG. I've got my head down and got on with a lot of work behind the scenes to try to get some basics in place - the organisation has been registered, small Board put together (and we are seeking additional board members), branding developed, basic website setup think-free.info.

I am currently trying to put funding bids (multiple) to provide core funding to get it up an running and to fund the first phase which will be to develop educational material.

Part of the next phase will be develop a map-based interface allowing identification of businesses that support people with food-related illnesses. To extend this, there will be an accreditation scheme with several levels where suppliers have to either agree to adopt certain basic standards or at a higher level, undergo an audit. The end product being certified restaurants, etc which you know you can eat in safely. This will be ported to an app as well to help raise funds.

Longer term, there will be lobbying of manufacturers for better labelling, commitment to use free-from ingredients (and we mean free-from not "gluten free") and the lobbying of government around definitions of gluten free, etc.

We're not setting ourselves up in direct opposition to Coeliac UK as they have a different remit/aims. Think Free is not just gluten either - it is for all food-related illnesses.

So - what am I looking for from you?

- Support

- Thoughts

- Feedback

- Offers of help (we need to develop content for online fact sheets)

- Support for fund-raising

- Expertise - we desperately need people with medical/catering/web or app design skills

Just to be 100% clear - I'm not drawing a salary from this - my intention is to stay in my day-job, which is a director of a national charity for schools. I'm using my experience/skills/contacts to help grow this.

The site is also basic at the moment and will grow/change/become more professional.

Our aim for doing it is pure - its to develop a community resource for the community.

10 Replies

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  • Hi meanioni and I thought that you'd gone quiet recently but you have been busy so just to confirm you have my support.

    Now you said:

    ''Part of the next phase will be develop a map-based interface allowing identification of businesses that support people with food-related illnesses.''

    If it's any help I have recently started a web site which is to support independent shops that supply gf foods with map and location. I have a few local shops listed and have just added the facility to add any town/city as I've just got the software sorted. I fund both these sites so there is no charge for listing : withoutgluten.co.uk/

    It's under shops but has it's own web domain: withoutgluten.org/

    So I am more than happy to let the site be used to list supporting companies. If this is any help and please just say how you would like other support.

    And lastly good for you,

    Jerry

  • Thanks Jerry and appreciate the support.

    Yes interested in the map interface and your kind offer; still trying to get my head around how this could look/work especially as we will end up with a database of suppliers and need to use this to do some of the lobbying. Also trying to think about how to integrate this into an app. I'm going to knock up a spec and will share it for comments.

    In terms of help, well simple things really:

    - Write an article for the blog

    - If you felt you could write some text for a fact sheet to help others

    - Post something on the forum

    - "Like" the site on Facebook and Google+ and spread the word

    - Thoughts on fundraising

    ........

    anything else really!

    Sorry for having gone quite lately, its been a hell of a last couple of months. C

  • I've added Thinkfree to the links section of WG:

    withoutgluten.co.uk/links/

    I can also probably help with the APP, so lets see who else is interested in being involved. And I'll happily write a blog.

    I'll let the grey cells mull things over and get back to you.

    I am also impressed with the web site and one thought is that any interested parties sign up to the Thinkfree forum.

  • Thanks Jerry

    I'm off on hols for a week from Friday so will use the week to get some thoughts clear.

    C

  • Thanks :-) Appreciated, see list above in reply to Jerry ^ even going in and clicking on "Like" is good we have a Facebook page: facebook.com/thinkfreeltd

    and a Twitter feed on #thinkfreeltd - you are very good at finding news, maybe post the odd news link article on Twitter?

    Hadn't thought to do that on HealthUnlocked... will investigate - thanks for the idea

    :-)

    C

  • Thanks - that's brilliant :-)

    Some interesting things coming out on the survey will share results once we get some more people using it.

    C

  • If you get the chance, please undertake the survey:

    surveymonkey.com/s/MLQCKGK

  • I am happy to put this up on the HU sites Im a member.

    This is a huge gap in the market filled Thank You so much! I will gladly do a blog but I think Im a bit new to it all to be of any real use other than that!

    I wish you all the best of luck! :-)

  • Thanks Ellen, that's brilliant!

    I'm committed to making this happen.

    Appreciate your support,

    C

  • Blogs are Done!

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