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UK Government urged to add folic acid to flour after new study

A study published in Public Health Reviews has revealed previous data showing the set upper limit of folate was flawed. The experts involved are now urging the Department of Health to approve the fortification of flour with folic acid in order to help reduce neural tube defects (NTD), such as spina bifida, in unborn babies.

This follows the Scottish and Welsh Governments recently writing joint letters to the UK Health Secretary urging him to make the fortification of flour with folic acid mandatory on a UK wide basis.

Make time for folic acid image

Recent figures show folate levels in Scotland are particularly low compared to international standards. In Scotland, 81% of women of childbearing age are more at risk of an NTD affected pregnancy because they don’t have enough folic acid – which is 6% higher than the UK as a whole.

Chief Executive of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland Andy Wynd MBE said; “We welcome this new evidence published in the Public Health Reviews which shows there is no medical reason to stop folic acid being added to flour. As a charity we have long advocated for mandatory flour fortification in order to reduce the number of children born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida. In light of this new evidence, we believe the UK Government should be actively taking steps to introduce legislation to ensure that mandatory fortification of flour becomes a reality in the UK.”

“In Scotland, the issue of flour fortification is particularly relevant as more children are born with spina bifida than anywhere else in the UK. Flour fortification in other countries has resulted in up to 70% reductions in pregnancies according to recent studies and we believe this would produce similar results in Scotland.”

Scotland specific issues

Scotland has more live births per head of population with spina bifida than anywhere else in the UK. Possibly due to religious and cultural differences, only 45% of pregnancies are terminated in Scotland as compared with 80% in the rest of the UK.

Taking daily folic acid supplements, at the correct recommended dose (0.4mg) three months prior to conception, could reduce up to 70% of these pregnancies from being affected and lower both the number of those born with the condition and the number of pregnancies terminated.

Children born with spina bifida often have paralysis in the lower limbs, urological, neurological and orthopedic problems which often become more significant throughout life. Fortification of flour would reduce the number of babies born with this lifelong disability. Find out more about folic acid and flour fortification on the Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland website www.sbhscotland.org.uk/folic-acid

Parents in Scotland are offered impartial and non-judgmental advice by SBH Scotland to enable them to make informed decisions about their pregnancy. Whatever their final decision, SBH Scotland will always be there for support and advice whenever needed. Those affected by any of the issues associated with spina bifida or hydrocephalus, can call the SBH Scotland Family Support Service helpline on 03455 211 300, email: support@sbhscotland.org.uk or visit www.sbhscotland.org.uk

Question of Burns raises record £57K

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland) has raised £57,000, at its annual “A Question of Burns” supper.

Andy Nicol and Margo Whiteford CBE

More than 520 guests gathered to celebrate the life of the famous poet, making it one of the biggest Burns supper to have ever been delivered by the charity since the event launched 27 years ago.

Former Scottish international rugby player and TV sports presenter Andy Nicol hosted the evening at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel, where guests enjoyed poetry, a four-course meal, silent auction and a quiz on all things Rabbie Burns.

Stand-up comedian Bruce Fummey brought humour as he recited the popular Burns’ poem Tam o’ Shanter, while the Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen led a celebration of Burn’s enduring spirit by narrating the Immortal Memory. The evening concluded with an emotional performance of Burn’s Auld Lang by Glasgow-born soprano, Charlotte McKechnie.

Since its launch in 1990 SBH Scotland’s annual event, in honour of the Ayrshire bard, has raised over £1 million, which has been used to support thousands of families across Scotland affected by the lifelong disabilities of spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus.

Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland, said: “We always look forward to ‘A Question of Burns,’ which continues to go from strength to strength in numbers and gives us the opportunity to welcome so many new faces. To sell out the event is a testament to the passion of all our fundraisers who work tirelessly to make the evening as special as possible.

“I would like to thank our headline sponsors, Chisholm Hunter, for their continued support and to all those who attended and donated to our charity. The proceeds will be used to provide a wide range of dedicated services across Scotland to children, young people and their families.”

One lucky guest walked away with a set of exquisite 18ct white gold and diamond flower cluster drop earrings worth £1,500, which were donated by headline sponsor Chisholm Hunter for the Grand Prize Draw. A luxury holiday to Sri Lanka, courtesy of Nisala and a £10,000 advertising package from Exterion Media, were also up for grabs in the auction.

Harry Brown, managing director at Chisholm Hunter, commented: “Chisholm Hunter has been proud to watch our relationship with SBH Scotland progress and develop over our 20 year association. Our pride and faith in this charity stems from the profound positive impact that it has directly on the lives of 3500 families affected by Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus, or related conditions. We hope to continue to show the same commitment to Spina Bifida that they continuously demonstrate to each of their members”

To support SBH Scotland or to find out more about other events happening throughout the year, call 03455 211 600, email fundraising@sbhscotland.org.uk or visit www.sbhscotland.org.uk for more details.

The ILF Scotland Transition Fund is now OPEN

ILF Scotland has now opened the Transition Fund! The new ILF scheme will be a broad discretionary fund, that will provide short term awards, to support disabled people to live independently.

In its first phase, the scheme will focus on supporting young disabled people, aged 16 to 21, who are at an important transitional stage in their lives.

The Fund will provide short term grants (with £5 million of funding available per year) to young disabled people, providing them with opportunities that facilitate their participation and inclusion within their communities, creating a lasting impact on their lives.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said:

“We want everyone in society to have the same quality of life, and providing support to disabled people is one of the areas we have worked on. This Transition Fund will support young disabled people to take up opportunities to contribute to and participate in their communities, to help them live as independently as possible.

“We have worked directly with disabled people to develop this fund and to ensure that we give people choices and treat them with the fairness, dignity and respect they deserve. I would encourage all those who are eligible to apply for funding to do so now.”

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said:

“I’m delighted this fund is now open for application. Our Disability Action Plan lists a number of actions to transform the lives of disabled people in Scotland and that includes actions setting out to tackle the inequalities and barriers faced by disabled young people, including tackling social isolation, employment opportunities and improving lives at points of transition.”

Young disabled people will be able to apply to the Transition Fund for a grant to enable them to participate in activities in their communities they have never had the opportunity to before, such as joining a club or a class."

Ryan Cuzen, an individual looking to apply to the Transition Fund, said:

“I see this fund as a positive step forward and a gate opener for young disabled folk in transition to improve their lifestyle and to get out and about.

“I want to be able to try new adult orientated activities, like mixed martial arts, and applying to the Transition Fund would give me the chance to do this.

“The hope is that the fund will give young disabled people, including myself, more confidence and help to develop community social skills.”

Peter Scott, CEO of ILF Scotland, remarked:

“We are thrilled that our Transition Fund is now open, providing a real opportunity for young disabled people to break down social barriers, and to fully participate in their communities, enhancing their independence.

“Disabled people, their organisations and their carers have been at the heart of developing this fund and its implementation. We will continue to work closely with them to maximise positive outcomes and the impact of the Transition Fund for young disabled people.”

To find out more information about the Transition Fund, the full eligibility criteria and how to apply, please go to the Transition Fund section of their website. If you'd like support from SBH Scotland in applying please contact our Finance Support Workers on 03455 211 300 or email support@sbhscotland.org.uk

Peru Trek 2018 - Your questions answered

We've had a lot of interest in our Peru Trek 2018 with Global Adventures but understandably many of you have questions before signing up. To help you out we've compiled a short list of the most popular questions you have. If you still would like further information please don't hesitate to contact Lynsey, our Peru Trek Co-ordinator or read more on our Peru page.

Machu Picchu Trek 2018

Q: I am interested but I’ve never fundraised before. How can I raise £3,000?

A: There are a wide variety of ways in which you can fundraise. Your designated fundraising staff member will brain storm with you to come up with ideas and be there for support over the year. Some ideas to consider:

 

  • Small community event (e.g. dinner, disco, race night, cinema screening)
  • One off event (hold your own sponsored walk/hike, cycle ride or )
  • Launch a “Just Giving” fundraising page – makes collecting money from friends and family hassle free
  • Bake Sale
  • Bag pack at local supermarket
  • Dress down day at work
  • Raffle

 

Whatever you decide to do, the fundraising team will be there to support you and aid you throughout the fundraising process. It should also be noted that if your employment offer Matched Funding this can be included within the requirement of £3,000.

Q: What support do you provide in the fundraising process?

A: You will have a designated fundraising staff member that will help you from start to finish with your fundraising, helping you turn an idea into a reality. They will be there to help you with your minimum sponsorship requirement and answer any questions you may have.

Q: What exactly does the £3,000 cover? Does it cover the registration fee, the trekking permit and airport taxes and fuel?

A: The £3,000 covers the cost of the trip and makes sure that the charity raises money to support vital support services in Scotland. In addition there is the registration fee (£395), trekking permit (£150), airport taxes (£250), fuel and flight to Heathrow which must also be paid by the participant.

Q. I can’t pay the £395 registration fee upfront. Can I split it over two months?

A: Absolutely, just speak to the SBH Scotland team who can tell you more.

Q: I don’t think I can raise £3,000 but my work provides matched funding. Can I use matched funding for my fundraising?

A: Yes. However the matched funding must have reached our team before your trip.

Q6: What happens if I don’t make the target of £3,000?

A: If you do not hit the target of £3000 you will be required to pay the remainder of the target by yourself. However, given the amount of time given and support from fundraising staff we don’t believe this will be an issue.

Q: Due to Christmas coming up I won’t be able to start fundraising until January. Does this still leave me enough time to reach the target of £3,000?

A: Yes. Work out how many months you have to achieve your target and look at the most cost effective ways in which you can reach the target in that amount of time, your fundraising staff member will discuss this with you. For example, you may decide to host a small event to help you reach a large chunk of your target. In addition to this you may decide to start up a just giving page, host a dress down day in work, ask for a bag pack at a local supermarket or do a sponsored walk to make up the rest of your target.

Q: I have never done anything like this before. Will I need to physically train for the trek?

A: Yes. When you register for your trip you will be sent a pack with training guides and tips on how to prepare for the trek. Moreover, SBH Scotland are hosting a number of walking challenges during 2018 and for those taking part in our Peru Trek you'll be offered free places on our Loch Katrine Walk and a Kiltwalk of your choosing. Participation in these challenges will not only allow you to build upon your walking experience but also enhance your stamina which is crucial for successfully completing the trek in Peru.

We hope this short blog has helped answer your questions but we'd love to talk this exciting opportunity over with you. Please don't hesitate to call Lynsey Hamilton on 03455 211 600 or email her at anytime.

Aberdeenshire School Initiative Wins at National Awards

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland’s work with Dalespark Primary School in Peterhead has seen it crowned winner of the ‘Education Partnership’ Award at the ScottishPower Foundation Awards in Glasgow last night (7 Nov).

Clare Cogan Turner of SBH Scotland is presented with the education award from Elena Sanz of Scottish Power Foundationthe Scott

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland) is working with teachers and students at Dalespark Primary; which has an exceptional approach in working for the inclusion of those with additional support needs. Together, they are producing an educational film that will offer insight into aspects which have worked well for their members affected by spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus.

This film, along with existing SBH Scotland resources, will be promoted by the charity’s support workers to schools across Scotland over the next twelve months. It will serve as a model of how these complex disabilities can be approached by those working in an education setting to help all children reach their full potential.

SBH Scotland was granted £20,000 from the ScottishPower Foundation at the beginning of the year. This funding went towards our Be All You Can Be work. The programme offers specialist early intervention support for 186 children aged 0-8 across Scotland and an estimated 558 carers or siblings.

Representatives from the charity attended the ceremony which took place at the new Glasgow HQ of ScottishPower, funder of the ScottishPower Foundation. SBH Scotland received an additional £5,000 as part of the education award.

Deborah Roe, Director of Fundraising for SBH Scotland, said, “We are very grateful for the continued support of the Scottish Power Foundation and honoured to win this award which will enable our inclusion work in schools to continue into the future. We’d also like to thank Dalespark Primary School for their dedication in working with us on this important project.”

Ann McKechin, Trustee and Executive Officer of the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic to see Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland partner with Dalespark Primary School to improve the lives of young people facing difficulties in our local communities and create best practice tools. The project is a model example of how charities and education services can successfully work together to foster better conditions for children, and a very worthy winner.”

The ScottishPower Foundation was established in 2013 to support charitable projects and reinforce the energy company’s commitment to charitable work throughout the UK. The Awards ceremony is now in its fourth year and has become a yearly platform celebrate the work of the projects which the Foundation has provided funding to during 2017. This year it donated more than £1.8M to 26 organisations.

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Our latest news

UK Government urged to add folic acid to flour after new study
UK Government urged to add folic acid to flour after new studyStudy published reveals previous data showing the set upper limit of folate was flawed.

Question of Burns raises record £57K
520 guests raise a toast to Rabbie Burns at sell-out charity event

The ILF Scotland Transition Fund is now OPEN
Find out more about the new Transition fund for 16-21 year olds

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