12 August 2013
Freemasons donate £50k to Surrey children's charity
The Freemasons Grand Charity has helped Lingfield-based Young Epilepsy, by donating £50,000 towards its Epilepsy Education for Schools programme.
On average one child in every primary school and five in every secondary school is diagnosed with epilepsy, and 50% of these children are thought to underachieve at school. Most epilepsy drugs have side effects which can affect mood, concentration, learning, memory, can cause fatigue and mean children often miss out on classes. Understandably, this can make educational attainment challenging without the right support, which is why Young Epilepsy launched a national programme to help schools.
Epilepsy Education for Schools delivers training to staff and students to improve the lives of young people living with epilepsy. The programme seeks to bring epilepsy into the open and pave the way for teachers to start a dialogue with pupils, reducing bullying and stigma. Staff training enables teachers and support staff to understand epilepsy from a child’s point of view, including side effects of medication, and enables them to address the needs of the individual. The Freemasons generous donation will be used to target schools in Merseyside later this year.
Michael Kirilloff, Trustee at Young Epilepsy, said: “We greatly appreciate the generous support of the Freemasons Grand Charity. Young people with epilepsy are often treated differently from their peers at school; for example they may be routinely excluded from classes, trips and activities due to misguided attempts to protect them, leading to them missing vital parts of their education. All of this affects their confidence, self esteem, learning potential and frequently leads to underachievement.
"Schools receive no formal epilepsy training and are often unaware that these young people are underachieving, ‘falling through the gaps’ and having to cope with complex problems alone. Teachers strive to do their best for all children in their care and we are committed to providing them with the tools and resources that will enable them to fully understand the learning needs of pupils with epilepsy.
“The generous support of the Freemasons Grand Charity will make it possible for Young Epilepsy to run the Epilepsy for School training in some 80 schools in Merseyside reaching out to some 80 schools and involving some 1000 teachers and some 5000 young children. A great cause and one which we and our donors are very proud to be associated with".
At a cheque presentation in Surrey on behalf of the Freemasons Grand Charity, Eric Stuart-Bamford, the Provincial Grand Master of Surrey, said: “Working with the wider school community Young Epilepsy is challenging many of the long held myths and stigma associated with the condition by providing teachers and peers with the knowledge and tools they need to support young people in schools. We are proud to fund this programme and hope that it will assist many children to move on with their education.”