After the wretched few days of enduring the harsh weather dubbed “the Beast from the East”, I braved a trip to one of the colder parts of the UK - Bonnie Scotland. It was a whistle stop trip to Edinburgh to bring good news to three charities.
University of Edinburgh visit on 28 March 2018
The first stop on my trip was to the University of Edinburgh. I had made two previous visits, however this was the first to present a cheque specifically for research. On this occasion I am happy to say The Hospital Saturday Fund donated £5000 towards a research Project into Endometriosis.
The University of Edinburgh Medical School is part of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. It was established in 1726, during the Scottish Enlightenment, and soon attracted students from across Britain and the American colonies. It is one of the oldest medical schools in the English-speaking world and is widely regarded as one of the best medical schools in the UK.
I met Neil Burns, Senior Philanthropy Officer and Professor Andrew Horne, who gave me a presentation on his research into finding a cure for Endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition which affects two million women in the UK. The condition is chronic and debilitating and there is currently no cure. The major symptom of endometriosis is severe pelvic pain which can become excruciating during menstruation - some women pass out due to pain and many require urgent medical attention. Endometriosis is also associated with difficulties getting pregnant. Endometriosis is treated by surgery or medical management with hormones. Recurrence rates after surgery are as high as 40-50% after five years, and medical management via contraceptive, is often ineffective and has many side effects. The focus is on finding drugs which will alleviate symptoms using patient focused research. Endometriosis acts in a very similar way to cancer, so the researchers are testing different used cancer drugs to see if these reduce Endometriosis lesions. The early signs are good but the drugs need to be given in lower doses than used for cancer patients as Endometriosis patients will take the drugs for a longer period.
U-Evolve visit on 28 March 2018
I visited U-Evolve, at Feltor Youth Club in Edinburgh to present a cheque for £7,933 towards mental health counselling for young people. The Charity was founded in 2015, to support children with complex needs who live in North East Edinburgh, one of the most deprived areas of Scotland.
U-Evolve supports children who feel vulnerable, lack confidence or present with behavioural problems, helping them to develop a strong sense of self-worth, confidence and resilience. It teaches them strategies to move away from defensive behaviours towards learning how to be in the world in order to reach their potential. The Charity works with Spartans, the local football club, and schools to encourage children to attend counselling sessions at the Feltor Youth Club.
U-Evolve delivers therapeutic coaching and personal skills development. Many children experience life changing events or have chaotic lives and the Charity enables these children to evolve and become resilient, secure and confident. This develops positive mental and emotional health and the ability to remain in education, and to then move on to gain an apprenticeship, job or further education.
I met Eilidh Macdonald-Harte, Chairman and a certified Neuro Linguistic Programming Trainer and life coach, Lorna Hudson, Trustee and Tolga Kuyucuoglu, Project Manager. The Club is the oldest youth centre in Scotland, but was rebuilt by Feltor two years ago. Eilidh explained that the brain has three parts and children who suffered poor life experiences such as abuse, mainly use the limbic area, the second part of the brain, which controls emotions such as “fight or flight”. Tolga and Eilidh work with the children to encourage them through reassurance to use the neocortex part of the brain which is the most sophisticated area and controls things such as learning. The project is currently assisting 80 children and the Hospital Saturday Fund grant means that U-Evolve is able to extend the project.
Down’s Syndrome Scotland visit on 28 March 2018
The final stage of my trip to Edinburgh was to Down’s Syndrome Scotland. I presented a cheque for £2,000 towards their Family Support Service in Central and South East Scotland. Down’s Syndrome Scotland is a parent led charity which was established in 1982. The Charity is the only organisation in Scotland dedicated solely to supporting people with Down’s syndrome and their carers. Down’s Syndrome Scotland provides “all through life” support, nationally, across the country.
Down’s Syndrome Scotland works to help people with Down’s syndrome reach their full potential by providing information and support to them, their families, carers and professionals at whatever age and stage of life. The Charity also works to influence government policy to ensure that the society in which we all live reflects the needs of people with Down’s syndrome.
I met Mairi Printie, Trusts & Fundraising Administrator, who gave me a tour of the charity’s new building and children’s facilities. Mairi explained that their Family Support Service is delivered by four highly-trained Support Workers. The service helps from the pre-natal screening stage to old age. The Charity also covers all of Scotland, including the Scottish Islands.
The Support Workers help parents with their children’s developmental milestones and, very importantly, attend school meetings with parents.