Gillian’s Den

Some of you may remember Gillian McCarthy from a few years ago. Her housing situation was atrocious. I lost touch due to my own housing crisis, and only recently started remembering her and wondered what had happened.

To my delight, some people have finally taken it into their own hands to keep her from freezing this winter. Somehow, they are making a small, safe, warm natural den for her, but they need our help. This is so long overdue, it brings tears to my eyes.

Building a Low Impact Den for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

“Gillian McCarthy is a sufferer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity caused by organophosphate poisoning early in her career. Without a warm roof over her head she will not survive this winter.

Tony Wrench and a group of natural builders are building her an emergency den. …”

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/news/2711122573/building-low-impact-den-multiple-chemical-sensitivity

The above link has the most recent updates

Gillian McCarthy

If you live in the area, please consider volunteering. Otherwise please donate something if you can.

Helen Deeming has set up a new online account. It is with the Coventry Building Society sort no. 40-63-01, account no. 59239807.

This account will be used exclusively for expenses and materials for the building of Gillian McCarthy’s Den.

Cheques made out to  “Gillian McCarthy Rescue Fund” can also be sent to Helen Deeming, 10 Innox Hill, Frome, Somerset BA11 2LW.

If you have a Paypal account you can use it to make a personal donation to gilliansden@gmail.com.
There may be a very small charge for payments from overseas or from credit/debit card.  (she is in the UK)

Please help Gillian however you can, by donation or sharing this information widely.

For more information about her and the den, check out the following links:

Gillian McCarthy Den
https://www.facebook.com/groups/294018037381751/

Gillian McCarthy New Home at Keinton Mandeville
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BSekxRyHP8

News Gillian McCarthy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFpuyeOc5D0

Gillian McCarthy replies to Council
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiOISphjxmU

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS): Gillian McCarthy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF8eWp39eLw

Here is a long bio:

http://www.mcs-international.org/about_us/meet_the_team/uk/gillian_mccarthy.html

Let’s send Gillian some love and make sure she has safe housing ♥

December 23

I am posting an update from Tony Wrench (also posted to the comments):

“This is an attempt to be clear about money. A few people are assuming that all the work is being done by ‘volunteers’ so no money should go to them. I have attempted in my posts consistently to refer to helpers in this project as ‘workers’ because we were asked in the first place to build a den for Gillian and be paid for it.

When I asked the original team to help it was on the understanding that if donations came in to cover it we would be paid for it. Usually volunteers take part in a project of natural building because they are giving some of their time in exchange for knowledge and skills. Food is provided, as is adequate accommodation and spare time etc. The organiser or owner ends up with a new capital asset.

This case is completely different. Those few hardy souls who have put themselves forward have done so not for money nor to learn new skills but because they know that if they do not do this nobody else will.

We were asked to do this in the dead of winter and are fighting against severe cold, driving winds, the wettest winter for years, and deep clay that prevents anyone moving at any speed.

There is no working space other than that we have carved out for the den itself, there is no workshop to prepare things in, there are no beds in the evening, food has had to be bought by us and cooked in primitive circumstances. Warmth has been eked out of damp wood in a donor’s front room, with one chair to share.

You wouldn’t get workers on contract to do this on double pay. There are very few readers of this who could work in these conditions for more than a few minutes, let alone day after day. Am I making myself clear?

We are not doing this for the money, but neither are we simple minded charity workers with a masochistic streak.

We need to finish this project so that Gillian can walk up to a proper front door, turn a door handle and walk in to a new den that is warm and will keep her in a state where she can recover from years of survival mode.

This will take more money and a lot more time. At the end we may be able to demonstrate that yes, it is possible to build a custom designed den for an MCS sufferer for less than £20,000, rather than whatever the previous attempt was at ten times the price. But if this is to be a valid model, we have realistically to cost in the hard work put in by people selecting materials, dragging materials around and putting them together.

This is not a dream played out on a screen. It is happening for real, in the mud, and any future ones will be, too.”

My sincere gratitude goes to Tony and the team for their dedication.

I have made a small donation, as I am on a limited fixed income. I hope those of you who are reading this, and have even coffee money to spare, can contribute something.

Thank you.

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6 responses to “Gillian’s Den

  1. Tony Wrench says thank you Linda for this blog. We will try to keep you updated on progress. We are working this week in very cold conditions to make the building frame. We have most of the materials we need except windows. We have the use of the ground floor and outhouse of a nearby house which is good as a base to eat and sleep tho less than most people’s picture of ideal. Later this week or over the weekend or next week will still be good times to volunteer. You will be building with straw bales, mud and slate. Please bring sleeping bag, very warm non-perfumed clothes and good hat, gloves and boots. If you are coming please phone our logistics guy Dave 07808147822.

    • Thank YOU Tony for taking this on.
      I will be praying for good weather and perfect conditions for getting this project completed quickly, easily, without any obstacles!
      Safe housing makes such a difference for those of us with MCS/ES.
      Thank you again for what you are doing for Gillian.

  2. Cool! I am in the same shape as Gillian MCS sufferer. I am living outisde the Osgood Hall Law Courts Building in the SMOG as I have no other choise. For 2 months the housing workers for the CITY OF TORONTO have found me ZERO housing. I continue to live outdoors on the street and my MCS is getting worse. WHATEVER! I plan to freeze in the cold seeing as there are no “SAFE” housing solutions for people with MCS. ITS CALLED premeditated MURDER! YEP … I GET IT!!! LOL to y’all!
    http://beyond-toxicity.blogspot.ca/

    • Hi Olga, sorry for the delay in posting your comment, it landed in the spam folder and I didn’t see it until now.

      I’m also sad that the great City of Toronto has done so little to have safe enough housing for people with MCS, it’s not as if they haven’t been well informed about the needs. There are people at SSHA who know a great deal about what is required.

      I suspect, like everywhere, there’s no political will to do anything that will cost any money if it isn’t going to go to corporations.
      I think it does amount to Ecocide. Like so many other things, they are aware, yet they do nothing. It isn’t right.

      For us, it comes down to groups of individual people who care enough to act, like those who are helping Gillian now after her suffering atrocious conditions for so many years, and those in the church here, who created this small building of 7 safe(R) units.

  3. I am posting an update from Tony Wrench:

    “This is an attempt to be clear about money. A few people are assuming that all the work is being done by ‘volunteers’ so no money should go to them. I have attempted in my posts consistently to refer to helpers in this project as ‘workers’ because we were asked in the first place to build a den for Gillian and be paid for it.

    When I asked the original team to help it was on the understanding that if donations came in to cover it we would be paid for it. Usually volunteers take part in a project of natural building because they are giving some of their time in exchange for knowledge and skills. Food is provided, as is adequate accommodation and spare time etc. The organiser or owner ends up with a new capital asset.

    This case is completely different. Those few hardy souls who have put themselves forward have done so not for money nor to learn new skills but because they know that if they do not do this nobody else will.

    We were asked to do this in the dead of winter and are fighting against severe cold, driving winds, the wettest winter for years, and deep clay that prevents anyone moving at any speed.

    There is no working space other than that we have carved out for the den itself, there is no workshop to prepare things in, there are no beds in the evening, food has had to be bought by us and cooked in primitive circumstances. Warmth has been eked out of damp wood in a donor’s front room, with one chair to share.

    You wouldn’t get workers on contract to do this on double pay. There are very few readers of this who could work in these conditions for more than a few minutes, let alone day after day. Am I making myself clear?

    We are not doing this for the money, but neither are we simple minded charity workers with a masochistic streak.

    We need to finish this project so that Gillian can walk up to a proper front door, turn a door handle and walk in to a new den that is warm and will keep her in a state where she can recover from years of survival mode.

    This will take more money and a lot more time. At the end we may be able to demonstrate that yes, it is possible to build a custom designed den for an MCS sufferer for less than £20,000, rather than whatever the previous attempt was at ten times the price. But if this is to be a valid model, we have realistically to cost in the hard work put in by people selecting materials, dragging materials around and putting them together.

    This is not a dream played out on a screen. It is happening for real, in the mud, and any future ones will be, too.”

  4. Here is an updated video:

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