An inspiring eight-year old charity fundraiser from East Kilbride has scooped the Charity Champion Award at this year’s ScottishPower Foundation Awards, leading a Scottish trio of success at the annual charity celebration.
Laila McRae was crowned this year’s ScottishPower Foundation Charity Champion for her incredible fundraising efforts for us at Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBH Scotland), which supports her baby sister, Amber, who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and has been through many surgeries in the first year of her life.
Laila herself was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis – which only affects one in 1,000 children – when she was three, but she has battled through the pain to make a real difference for Amber and others supported by SBH Scotland – raising more than £2,000 in the last year alone. Laila’s fundraising efforts included drawing rainbows of hope and displaying them around her local community with a JustGiving link to SBH Scotland; taking part in the 2.6 challenge during lockdown; and completing the Kiltwalk in April this year – an incredible achievement given her arthritis.
Laila’s success gives an incredible funding boost of £5,000 to SBH Scotland, which her Mum, Leanne, says has made a huge difference for her family.
Deborah Roe, Director of Fundraising at Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland said: “The past twelve months have been hugely challenging for the voluntary sector and for the families we support. Almost overnight, we had to write off about 50 per cent of our fundraising income. However, thanks to the selfless support of individuals like Laila, we are able to continue supporting families across Scotland affected by spina bifida/hydrocephalus. Laila is a wee star and we can't think of anyone more deserving of the Charity Champion award.”
Laila’s mum Leanne said: “SBH Scotland has supported our family and Amber all the way through her journey. It’s been hard for us, but there was no stopping Laila when she decided she wanted to help! We’re so proud of what she has achieved for Amber and everyone supported by the charity – it was no mean feat, but she did it. She is real inspiration to everyone around her and we’re so chuffed the ScottishPower Foundation has recognised that.”
Also taking a winner’s spot and £5,000 at the 2021 Foundation Awards was Dundee Heritage Trust, which picked up the Community Engagement Award and Paisley-based Street League completes the Scots Awards line-up, receiving £2,500 as runner-up in the Innovation Award category.
The ScottishPower Foundation Awards showcase projects that make a positive impact on people and communities across the country. The successful projects – which support individuals, families and young people from across the UK – range from developing skills for employment, arts programmes and support for mental health to helping homeless people.
They are open to recipients of this year’s ScottishPower Foundation funding, which saw almost £1.2 million awarded to a wide range of outstanding charities. The projects are judged in four categories: Innovation Award, Education Award, Community Engagement Award, and Charity Champion Award – which gives special recognition to the outstanding contribution made by an exceptional employee or volunteer who exemplifies what their organisation stands for.
Melanie Hill, Executive Officer and Trustee of the ScottishPower Foundation, said: “Huge congratulations to this year’s Foundation Award winners and runners-up, who all help improve lives and change lives. It’s so rewarding to be able to honour the amazing work of our Foundation-funded charities through our Awards celebration and, as always, it was an almost impossible task to choose between the finalists.
“However, Laila and her efforts for SBH Scotland and the work of Dundee Heritage Trust and Street League – alongside our other worthy winners from across the UK – all stood out from the crowd in how they went above and beyond to make a difference for others. They epitomise what the ScottishPower Foundation stands for and they are incredible charity ambassadors – not just for their own organisations, but for the whole of Scotland.
“I can’t wait to see how they put their prize money to use and continue their incredible charitable work across the country.”
The full list of winners and runners-up is available on the ScottishPower Foundation website: www.scottishpowerfoundation.com.
If you've been inspired by Laila to Fundraise for SBH Scotland why not contact our Fundraising Team or take a look at our Treks and Challenges pages? Fundraising has never meant more than it does right now - you can make a big difference today.
A Glasgow family has raised more than £21,000 for Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland, in memory of their brother who had spina bifida.
Michael McGill (pictured below), would have been 50 years old on 10 February, but sadly passed away last April.
To celebrate his life, Michael’s brother, Paul McGill, organised an event at Glencairn Social Club, which was attended by more than 300 people, including close friends, family members and people from the local community.
As well as paying tribute to Michael, the family raised funds for SBH Scotland, an organisation providing personalised support to children, young people and their families affected by the lifelong conditions of spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus.
With the support of a number of local businesses, the McGill family held a silent auction and raffle, where one lucky attendee won a round trip to New York and another picked up a signed Celtic football shirt.
Paul said: “Michael’s life was full of love, joy and laughter, and I know he would have had a ball at his 50th birthday party. It was a really special evening, and to have all his friends and family together would have put a big smile on his face.
“While Michael was born with spina bifida, he remained very independent and mobile. With a big family support network, he didn’t require the services of SBH Scotland but was aware of the great work the organisation carried out in the community.
“To honour his memory, we’ve made it a family mission to raise as much as possible for the charity. Last year we were able to donate £6,000 bringing the total amount raised so far to £21,600. But we’re not stopping there - some of the family will be doing the SBH Scotland Skydive this summer.”
Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland, said: “By all accounts Michael was a kind-hearted, fun-loving and inspirational individual, who proved every day that spina bifida doesn’t need to stop you living a full and happy life.
“For his family to take on so many ventures to help others affected by the conditions is incredible, and I would like to thank them for what they have done for our organisation.”
To donate to the McGill family fundraising efforts please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-mcgill4
Find out more about supporting SBH Scotland