Update from Chief Executive, Lesslie Young

 

In our fourth week of lockdown we are now settled into our new living and working environments, despite the challenges this brings us as individuals, families, organisations and of course people living with epilepsy.

I am enormously proud of every member of my Epilepsy Scotland team who through their hard work and flexible approach continue to provide our services in these incredibly challenging times.

The dedication of those working to ensure continued funding through application and donation is also much appreciated.  It would be wrong if we were to forget those on furlough, as they too are playing a very important role in ensuring the organisation and the work we do continues.

We received almost £1,000 in donations via our website last week and our Facebook appeal has raised over £750 to support our work in this difficult time. We are grateful to everyone who has donated or shared our appeal, thank you.

Epilepsy Scotland has faced challenging times in the past. We have adapted and diversified each time, learning lessons from each challenge and coming back stronger.

Urgent appeal

We have also been lucky in recent years, benefiting from legacy donations from generous supporters who so kindly left us a gift in their will.  With the very clear aim to ensure we are able to continue our existing services, expand upon them and be around for years to come we have made very difficult strategic decisions.

Patently, we do not shy from challenge but who could have anticipated anything this challenging?

Each year we operate at a loss in excess of £250,000 (excluding legacy donations), despite the generosity of donors, an increase in fundraised income and training revenue in recent years.

It is these generous, thoughtful gifts in wills which enable us to continue operating all our services despite the financial shortfall.

 

Third Sector Resilience Fund

We were incredibly disheartened to hear this week Epilepsy Scotland’s application to the Scottish Government’s Third Sector Resilience Fund, funding for Scottish charities to survive the COVID19 pandemic, was unsuccessful.

The reason our request for financial support was unsuccessful is, because of good business practice, we have enough free reserves to continue operating for six months. Six months.

With no fundraising events, no bucket collections, premises that hold our collecting cans closed, our income is limited, reduced by at least 60%, meaning we will be forced to use these reserves in the next six months. Then what?

It has always been an aim of the organisation, the Board of Trustees and me to “sustain an effective, supportive and financially secure organisation” to ensure we survive challenging times.

We appreciate others through no fault of their own have no reserves and others who have not curated well will benefit and we wish them well. We also appreciate there is a huge demand on the funds.

We are, none the less disappointed we are penalised, essentially for acting responsibly. It does beg the question; what support, money will be available to us when all the others have theirs and we have used ours?

Despite placing eleven colleagues on furlough and limiting expenditure, we still need to raise £1,200 per day simply to stand still in the current circumstances.

To ensure we are financially stable to continue our services when the pandemic is over and our services are in even greater demand as a result of it, we need to raise even more.

Please donate if you can, share our appeal and help us to be there for those who need us most, now and in the future.

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