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0808 800 2200

Our History

We have been supporting people with epilepsy for almost 60 years

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The Scottish Epilepsy Association had its inaugural meeting on 1 November 1954 in the City Chambers, Glasgow. The Association emerged from the expansion of the work of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch of the British Epilepsy Association. With agreement of the B.E.A. monies held by the Branch were transferred to the new Scottish Association. Offices were opened at 24 St Vincent Place, Glasgow, not only for administrative purposes, but also to provide an information and advisory centre for people with epilepsy and their carers.


A new branch of the Scottish Epilepsy Association is established in Edinburgh in December.


The workshop opened in 1957 with six women repairing Post Office switchboard.


A branch of Scottish Epilepsy Association is established in Dundee in September.

Important social clubs for people with epilepsy are setup, in Edinburgh the Torch Club, and in Dundee the Progress Club.


Epilepsy Association negotiates with The Church of Scotland to provide residential places for people with epilepsy.

The hostel opens in December and was the first of its kind in Scotland.


Mrs Christina Kilgour's services to community officially recognised and honoured when the M.B.E was conferred on her by Her Majesty the Queen.


Urban development forces the Association to seek alternative premises for the Workshop. A scheme was worked out to convert the adjacent building at 1 Marine Street formerly the Smith and McLean canteen into a work centre and later new offices for the Association. An appeal was launched for funds and by the end of September 1969, £85,000 had been raised.


The official opening ceremony was performed by Sir Hugh Fraser Bt on 24 September 1970.


The Association Headquarters offices were moved from St Vincent Place to 48 Govan Road where they remain today.

A Medical Advisory Panel set up with specialists in epileptology, neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and related fields.

A new library opened at Govan Road thanks to a generous donation from the Commonwealth Fund of the Trades House, Glasgow.


The organisation undergoes a constitutional re-organisation and the name was changed to The Epilepsy Association of Scotland. The Executive Committee saw the need for distinguished patrons who would lend their name and moral support to the work of the Association. Many eminent Scots became patrons and National Epilepsy Weeks throughout this period saw people like Rikki Fulton, Jimmy Reid, Arthur Montford, Donald Dewar, Robin Cook and many more manning information stands in various parts of the country.


The Branch and Group network continued to grow under the stewardship of Vivien Cairnie. Vivien’s enthusiasm and empathy for people with epilepsy was recognised by members throughout Scotland. Her passion and drive saw the start of Resource Centres being set up and the employment of the first Field Worker. Grampian was the first Resource Centre to be opened at Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen. The front of the premises became a craft shop stocking Scottish made goods and the rear and downstairs became the office and drop in centre. The Project expanded to include a Youth Group and a crèche.


Original buildings at Govan Road are demolished to make way for the Glasgow Garden Festival.  


As a result the association acquired the new building at 48 Govan Road which is formally opened by H.R.H. The Duchess of Gloucester on 17th May, 1988.


In September 1992, the Association hosted a major European Conference in the S.E.C.C., Glasgow. The Conference succeeded in attracting over 1700 delegates from all over the world. It was notable not only by the numbers attending, but because it aimed to make it financially possible for people with epilepsy and their families to come to Glasgow. 


As a result of the successful work which had been ongoing at the Livingston and District Epilepsy Group, the demands for further services could only be met by increasing the facilities. Bloom House in Livingston Village was purchased for the Group. Major renovations and an extension to the Children’s Centre were required and an appeal was launched by the Minister of State, Lord Fraser. The Queen formally opened Bloom House in June 1994. 


Changes began to take place in our Day Centre. The key aim was social inclusion, and in line with Glasgow City Council’s Social Work Department, the Association entered into a contract with them to provide a new model of support for adults with epilepsy and learning difficulties based in the community. The move was not without its critics and many of the service users were initially unhappy with the changes. However with patience and understanding on the part of the staff, personal plans were developed and positive benefits were soon apparent. One outstanding success story is Alan Walsh who won a gold medal at the Special Olympics in South Carolina for cycling. 


We  were determined that the Helpline should become a free service to enable people with epilepsy to access support free of charge no matter where they lived in Scotland. The new service was launched with the help of Alen Orman, Hibs footballer in May 2003 with the special freephone number 0808 800 2 200.


Looking towards the future

We are all living and working in the most difficult and challenging economic climate for a generation. Epilepsy Scotland chose to see this as a positive not a negative and used the challenge to focus our minds and our purse strings.  This comes at a time when the organisation is busier than it has ever been with all services in greater demand.  We needed to think innovatively in order to sustain existing services, look at the possibility of expansion of those services as well as the introduction of new ideas for when the economy recovers.  As a result we have established a Community Interest Company, CharityClear ( to furnish us with a consistent income stream to support our plans.