The Bible says “iron sharpens iron”. Similarly, I am a firm believer that good deeds lead to more good deeds. On my travels between London and Edinburgh, I was truly inspired by the good work of the projects behind the grants applications - all of which were worthy of serious consideration. Were we to have a bottomless pot of money, I’d be happy to reciprocate all the good deeds with good deeds in the form of funding. Alas, that isn’t the case, but we continue to support where we can.
Saheliya visit on 16th August, 2017
The first stop was Edinburgh to visit two very different causes, one of which was to present a cheque, the other was to make an assessment. June Devlin, our Senior Sales Support and I visited Saheliya, a specialist mental health and well-being support organisation for black, minority ethnic, asylum seeker, refugee and migrant women and girls in the Edinburgh and Glasgow area. Founded in 1992, the Charity has sought to develop their beneficiaries’ self-esteem and confidence and reduce barriers such as isolation and depression, by using a holistic range of services including counselling, practical support, befriending, complementary therapies, outreach, group work and Young Saheliya. One common issue that Saheliya assists with is FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and its effect on physical and mental wellbeing. Saheliya’s work in this area won it the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations Charity of the Year in 2016.
We met Alison Davis, Chief Executive, Samina Didpal, Company Secretary and a number of women who work for the Charity, who have been affected by mental health issues. Alison informed me that the charity assists over 900 women a year, but given greater resources, they could assist women in need outside of the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas. I was very moved by the harrowing stories of some of the women and how Saheliya had improved their lives.
St Columba’s Hospice visit on 16th August, 2017
On the same day, I visited St Columba’s Hospice and met with met Jackie Stone, Chief Executive, Jon Heggie, Director of Fundraising and Barbara Brockie, Trust and Corporate Fundraiser, to assess a grant application towards specialist palliative care beds. These specialist electrical beds are vital to the Hospice as they ensure that patients are comfortable and medical staff can provide better care. Jon explained that the Hospice was carrying out research with the University of Edinburgh into different aspects of improving palliative care. The Hospital Saturday Fund has given medical elective and research grants to the University of Edinburgh in the past few years.
I was given a tour of Hospice which was partly rebuilt in 2014. The Hospice was very modern and well equipped and most bedrooms had the most amazing view of the Forth Estuary. In the new part of the building a patient’s bed can be wheeled out onto to a patio or balcony. What appears to be a small addition to equipment can make the world of difference to the experience for the patients.
Silverfit visit on 22nd August, 2017
The final leg of my trip brought me back to London to present a cheque in the park. Yes, I met with the recipients in the park! Silverfit were the recipients and they are a charity that encourage wellbeing and fitness for the over 45s – promoting happier, healthier ageing. They organise many events and social activities in a number of locations, encouraging people to take up fitness regardless of ability and background. The charity was one of the successful applicants for the Hospital Saturday Fund’s joint funding project with London Catalyst.
I met with Eddie Brocklesby, who founded Silverfit in 2013. She started running at the age of 50, and in 2015 at the age of 72, she became the oldest British woman to complete an Ironman Triathlon. Having experienced the benefits of exercise herself she is passionate about raising awareness of the benefits of exercise for the over 45s. Through Silverfit she hopes to help the older population to find a way to take regular exercise that they enjoy, thus reducing the costs of Britain's ageing population and helping members to live life to the full; independently and happily.
I met Eddie and Mark Pittaway, Trustee in the middle of a Nordic Walking Session hence presenting the cheque in the park. It was a fun day meeting such a great cause. I would not hesitate in recommending the Silverfit for further funding.