Leuchie Campaign Highlights Carers’ Rights

leuchie houseLeuchie House has launched its Who Cares? fundraising appeal with a powerful personal account by a carer, highlighting the role taken on by around 1 in 8 adults in the UK who can find their task overwhelming without the right support.

Ann Butterfield from Paisley cared for her husband Jim and she is now on the Board of Trustees at Leuchie House, which is the only respite care centre in Scotland offering breaks with 24-hour nursing care to people with long-term physical conditions, such as Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and spinal injuries.

It is estimated that carers contribute £7.6bn to the Scottish economy, but they also lose out more than most – on income, pensions, health, friends, social opportunities and time to themselves. As part of Leuchie’s Spring appeal, Ann Butterfield poses the question “If Leuchie isn’t here … who cares?”, saying that Leuchie was a lifeline to her family, offering peace of mind for carers.

Her husband Jim was diagnosed with primary progressive MS – an aggressive form of the condition with rapid degenerative deterioration – soon after the birth of their first son. They went on to have another son and the family took regular breaks at Leuchie over the years before Jim died in March last year.

Explaining the way her life changed after she became a carer to her husband, Ann said: “We had three breaks a year. I would go with Jim to Leuchie for one holiday a year so we could enjoy quality time together, allowing Leuchie staff to look after Jim’s care.

“The other times I knew I could leave Jim there and it gave me a chance to do something with the boys, so they didn’t miss out. It made it easier to manage family life knowing that I had the breaks to look forward to. I would never have said I couldn’t cope and have my husband put in a home, but I needed to know those breaks were coming up in order to carry on.”

Ann has kept up her links with Leuchie by being an active member of the Board of Trustees and she decided to tell her personal story in a bid to ensure enough money is raised through the Who Cares? appeal to allow other carers access to Leuchie’s unique blend of health and social care.

Leuchie House’s CEO, Mairi O’Keefe, feels very strongly that anyone with a long-term physical condition should have access to quality respite breaks. She said: “It is vital that carers get regular breaks and Leuchie is the only place of its kind in Scotland where carers can have the peace of mind that their loved-one is being cared for while they get some crucial time to themselves.

“There should be no restriction on this in terms of location or financial means and we are hoping this appeal will highlight to all healthcare professionals the need to offer funding where necessary to ensure this level of care is available to all who need it.”

To make a donation to the Who Cares appeal, go to www.lecuhiehouse.org.uk

Leuchie House is an independent charity providing high quality respite breaks for individuals and their families affected by long-term degenerative conditions with complex care needs. Set in an 18th Century mansion in the stunning East Lothian countryside near North Berwick, LH welcomes guests from Scotland and further afield who live with debilitating conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and spinal injuries. It is the only facility of its kind in Scotland. Around 400,000 people in the UK will be affected by one of the conditions supported by LH at some stage in their lives. LH provides guests with services including 24-hour specialist nursing care, physiotherapy sessions, complementary therapies, outings and activities. Leuchie House is the family home of the Hamilton-Dalrymple family. In 1970, it was established as a respite centre for individuals affected by MS. In 1998 the MS Society took on the management of LH, but withdrew funding in 2010. Following a nationwide Save Leuchie campaign, Leuchie was set up as an independent charity on July 4 2011. Find out more at www.leuchiehouse.org.uk

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