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GDPR is finally here!

Unless you've been lucky enough to have been away for the past couple of months in some exotic location, the chances are you have not only heard about GDPR but are, by now, very tired of hearing about it!

Today, it's finally here - Friday 25th May 2018!

The new General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") replaces the previous Data Protection Act. We at SBH Scotland take our responsibilities under all data regulations very seriously and we ensure the personal information we obtain is held, used, transferred and otherwise processed in accordance with the new regulations and all other applicable data protection laws and regulations including, but not limited to, the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR).

For more details about how we process your data and keep it safe please read our updated Privacy Policy.

Global's Make Some Noise campaign donates £80,000 to SBH Scotland

SBH Scotland are delighted to announce that Global's Make Some Noise Campaign have generously donated £80,000 to our Be All You Can Be Project. We are truly overwhelmed and can't thank everyone who took part in the campaign enough for their amazing support.

The Be All You Can Be project was set up by SBH Scotland to promote independence in children, providing more intensive support through sensory play and finding innovative ways to make learning fun and accessible for each individual child affected by the conditions. Des Clarke, Amy Irons and Steven Wills from the Capital Scotland breakfast show all made a visit to one of the Be All You Can Be after school groups recently to share the great news.

Deborah Roe, Director of Fundraising for SBH Scotland said,

"Wow, we simply can’t thank Global’s Make Some Noise campaign enough! For over fifty years, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland) have offered a lifetime commitment of support to all those affected by the lifelong, complex disabilities of spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus and we are almost solely self-funded. To provide our extensive levels of support and information each year we need to raise £1 million so every penny really does makes a difference. We are incredibly grateful to the Global Make Some Noise Campaign and all those who have taken the time to support it. This generous grant which will play a critical part in our early years work with children aged 0-11 across Scotland for the next two years through our Be All You Can Be project .

The grant will allow us to provide dedicated Early Years Support Workers who offer weekly one-to-one home, nursery, school and hospital support sessions as well as regular Be All You Can Be play groups and family support groups.

Thank you.”

New stats reveal 91% of UK women have insufficient folate levels to support a reduction in neural tube defects

A study carried out on behalf of Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency which has been published today (16 March 2018), has revealed as many as 91% of women of childbearing age (16 – 49) in the UK are at increased risk of a neural tube defect (NTD) affected pregnancy due to a folic acid deficiency.

image of flour and wheatFolic acid has been found to be essential in the reduction of NTDs such as spina bifida in unborn babies. The report, which assessed the diet, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the general population, supports this by stating that increased folic acid intake through supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of pregnancies affected by NTDs, if taken before birth.

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland) has long advocated for the fortification of flour with folic acid to help reduce the number of NTDs. The charity welcomes the findings and calls on the UK Government to take steps to introduce legislation which makes fortification of flour with folic acid mandatory.

Chief Executive of Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland Andy Wynd MBE said; “With this report finding there’s a further increase (91%) in the number of women in the UK not receiving the adequate levels of folic acid, it again supports our ongoing calls for the mandatory fortification of flour.

“Foods such as lentils and dark green vegetables produce naturally high levels of folate, and it is already added to some foods, including breakfast cereals. However, it is through the fortification of flour where the real benefits are seen, with other countries recording up to 70% reduction in NTD pregnancies following the mandatory fortification process.

“We believe flour fortification would produce similar results in the UK and with overwhelming evidence to support it, we, once again, ask the UK Government to make fortification of flour a reality.”

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 around 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

*Some females have an increased risk of a pregnancy being affected by an NTD and should be taking a higher dosage of folic Acid

Find out more about our flour fortification campaign

Summary of results from National Diet and Nutrition Survey Rolling Programme.

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 or email them.

Scottish Wit launched in time for World Book Day

Billy Connolly, Ewan McGregor and Lorraine Kelly are just some of the iconic Scots featuring in a new book of Scottish humour.

people reading Scottish Wit book

‘Scottish Wit’, written by author Aubrey Malone, includes a collection of quotes, jokes and pearls of wisdom from some of Scotland’s most well-known figures. From insights into parenthood, to quips about Scottish football and advice on love and marriage, the book is not only funny and insightful, it is raising funds for a very important cause.

Launching just ahead of World Book Day (Thursday 1 March) all proceeds from the sale of Scottish Wit will be donated to specialist charity Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland). Funds will be used specifically to help the charity provide personalised support to families across Scotland affected by complex and lifelong conditions of spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus. Services provided by SBH Scotland include support groups, home visits by dedicated support workers, financial advice and a helpline.

Scottish Wit is the last instalment in a trilogy written by Aubrey Malone, which include the books Irish Wit and Welsh Wit. An author of 30 years, Malone compiled the entire collection using a traditional type-writer and without using the internet. He was inspired to raise funds for SBH Scotland after hearing of the daily struggles endured by a young pupil who has the conditions, from his wife, a teaching assistant in Ireland.

Aubrey Malone said; “Humour is a powerful tool and I wrote this book to give people a solace from everyday stresses. Scotland is renowned world-wide for its sense of humour and hopefully these one-liners will bring a smile to people’s faces.

“SBH Scotland does fantastic work, helping support those with spina bifida and hydrocephalus through every stage of their lives. Writing is my passion in life, and I am glad that I was able to give back to the organisation by simply doing what I love.”

Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland said; “We are hugely grateful to Aubrey for dedicating this book to our cause. Scotland has more live births per head of population with spina bifida than anywhere else in the UK and almost every week one pregnancy is affected by the complex conditions.

“We are always looking for new inventive ways to fundraise and we have a host of exciting activities planned for 2018, including our first trek through Peru, an abseil down the Northern Lights Tower in Aberdeen and a zip-line across the River Clyde. For those unable to take on the adrenaline fuelled challenges, Scottish Wit gives people another way to offer their support.”

Scottish Wit costs £9.99 and is available to purchase NOW online or by calling 03455 211 600.

Support for Mortgage Interest benefit changes April 2018 - What you need to know

SBH Scotland has received many calls regarding letters from the DWP about Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) benefit. The wording of the letter is causing much confusion and uncertainty so we’ve put together a brief overview.

What is Support for Mortgage Interest?

SMI is a tax relief based on the amount of interest that you pay in a tax year on a qualifying mortgage loan.

You can claim SMI on interest paid by you on a loan used to purchase, repair, develop or improve the home. This relief can be claimed up to 31 December 2020.

SBH Scotland Financial Support Worker offering advice

Who is Eligible?

You qualify for relief if you’re eligible for any income based benefits and, between the years 2004 and 2012 inclusive, you took out a loan to purchase, repair, develop or improve:

  • your home
  • the home of your former or separated spouse or civil partner
  • the home of a dependent relative for whom you are claiming a dependent relative tax credit.

A home includes a house, flat or mobile home which is fixed on a permanent site and which has water or other services supplied to it.

What’s happening with the benefit?

As of April 2018 SMI is changing and the mortgage relief will now be considered as a secured loan which will have to be paid back on the sale of the property, transitioning the property to someone else or the death of the person.

If you are already in receipt of this benefit you will be receiving a letter from the DWP explaining this, after which you’ll receive a phone call from SERCO asking if you’re still happy to continue with the benefit as a secured loan. If you are, further paperwork will then be sent out to you.

You should be aware that you are allowed to ask for a financial advisor to explain the documentation to you.

What should I do now?

If you’re a member of SBH Scotland and you’re worried or want to know how this change will affect you, please contact our Financial Support Service directly on 03455 211 300 or email support@sbhscotland.org.uk. Every individual will have a variety of questions based on their own personal circumstances and we’re happy to help you navigate your way through this change.

Non-members of SBH Scotland should contact DWP directly for further clarification on your own situation.

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