Scarcely a week goes by without learning that it’s International Day of the Something. With charities and PR companies scooping up the entire calendar, we picked out some of the more interesting, important or downright silly dates of awareness for the year ahead.
20th-26th February – National Chip Week
What is it? Pretty self- explanatory really - National Chip Week celebrates the nation’s love affair with the fried potato slice.
Did you know? The Oxford English Dictionary cites A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens as the first recorded use of the word “chip” as a foodstuff.
What to do? visit the Potato Council’s website for recipes and make your own. Or use it as an excuse for a trip to the chippy.
1st March – World Book Day
What is it? A registered charity, World Book Day aims to get people, especially children, excited about books and reading.
Did you know? Leaf through a few books on any bookshelf and you will notice that many have blank pages at the end. Why? Books are printed in batches of pages called signatures, which are then folded and stitched together. Intentionally blank pages are there to complete the signature.
What to do? Visit Old Trafford library on Shrewsbury Street or bring a book to swap at the exchange in the St John’s Centre. Or just settle down with your favourite potboiler.
14th March – No Smoking Day
What is it? 2012 will see the 29th No Smoking Day. Recently teaming up with the British Heart Foundation, the organisers of the day want to make sure that anyone that wants to give up smoking has the chance to.
Did you know? 23% of people in the North West smoke, 27% are ex-smokers and 50% have never smoked. The region has the highest percentage of smokers in England.
What to do? If you’re thinking of quitting, talk to your GP, who can give advice or refer you to the Trafford Stop Smoking Service here in Old Trafford.
14th June - World Blood Donor Day
What is it? Almost everyone knows someone who has been treated in hospital with donated blood. World Blood Donor Day celebrates the vital importance of blood donors to the lives of hospital patients across the globe and aims to encourage new donors to step forward.
Did you know? Only 4% of the population who are able to give blood do so. Low blood stocks cause a particular headache for doctors treating patients from diverse communities like the one here in Old Trafford. A good example is blood type U negative, which is unique to Black African and Caribbean people. To meet the needs of hospital patients, 7000 people from South Asian, Black African and Caribbean backgrounds need to give blood each day. Only 200 people currently do so. But the simple truth is that whatever your background, blood stocks are always low and donating is quick, easy, pretty painless and saves lives.
What to do? Save a life and give blood. Ask your GP or visit blood.co.uk to find local donation sessions. Regular donation centres are held at Old Trafford football ground, Plymouth Grove and St Matthew’s Hall in Stretford.,
21st November – World Hello Day
What is it? World Hello Day began in 1973 as a response to the Yom Kippur War, a conflict between Egypt and Israel in the Fall of 1973. Since then, World Hello Day has been observed by people in 180 countries., and aims to get people talking by encouraging them to say “hello” to ten people.
Did you know? Alexander Graham Bell, who was awarded the patent for the first telephone, is said to have favoured the use of the word “Ahoy” as a telephone greeting. Evidently it failed to catch on (except with Mr Burns from The Simpsons).
What to do? Don’t be shy! Greet ten random people with a smile and a friendly hello. Or why not get in touch with a friend or loved one by phone, text, email or social networking site.
1st December – World AIDS Day
What is it? Arguably the most recognised health day on the calendar, World AIDS Day’s aim is to raise awareness, remember those who have died from the virus and recognise the progress made in combating AIDS.
Did you know? More than 90,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. It is estimated that around a quarter of those people do not know that they have the virus.
What to do? Buy a red ribbon. If you are under 25, contact the sexual health clinic at the Old Trafford Youth Centre on St Hilda’s Road for advice about contraception and testing. If you are older and have concerns, speak to your GP. If you are a parent, talk to your children about the importance of safe sex. Don’t wait until December, do it now. Ignorance, laziness and squeamishness are not excuses.