We continue to live and work in a time of great uncertainty. We continue to adapt to new regulations, new ways of working and the impact all this has on our day to day lives.
Despite all this, Epilepsy Scotland continues to provide our vital services and those very services are needed now more than ever.
In 2019, we celebrated our 65thanniversary. We celebrated 65 years of being there for anyone affected by epilepsy. That someone might be a person living with the diagnosis, a parent, child, friend, teacher or family member of someone affected.
For those 65 years we have been there for each and every one of them. At that time, I pledged that Epilepsy Scotland would continue to be here for another 65 years and I intend to keep that pledge.
The last two decades have been incredibly challenging for us. With increasing demand on our services and less available income, we had to make some difficult decisions to ensure we were able to continue providing support for those we represent. And here we are facing another and very different challenge.
Last week the Board of Trustees made the difficult, but necessary, decision to place eleven employees, colleagues on furlough under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention scheme.
This decision was made to protect jobs and to reduce the impact this pandemic will have on our income, reserves, and to ensure we will be around for the next 65 years.
Those employees, colleagues on furlough are valued members of our Epilepsy Scotland team. They bring individual and collective skills to the organisation and the work we do.
So be clear, the decision was made because the work they do has been frustrated by the impact of COVID19 but we want to ensure we can retain these roles, and bring back all these people and their skills as soon as we are able to do so.
I am immensely proud of how well my colleagues have adapted to this situation and we will continue to support all of those affected and keep the situation under review.
There are so many unknowns. What is very clear however, Epilepsy Scotland will be hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic.
We have worked quickly to understand how this will impact our income and reforecast to allow us to plan our services. We estimate we will lose over 60% of our income in the next six months. This will be seen in two areas, fundraising and training.
To say we need the generosity of our supporters now more than ever is an understatement.
To ensure we can operate fully again once this crisis is over and we are able to return to normal, whatever that may look like, please continue to donate to us directly, take on a virtual challenge, register for an event later in the year and start seeking sponsors now.
My team and I are doing everything we can and we are asking you to do whatever you can to ensure Epilepsy Scotland is around for the next 65 years and more.
Thank you for your support and understanding. Stay safe.