Mairi O’Keefe, CEO of the charity respite care facility Leuchie House, is a finalist in the STV Finding Scotland’s Real Heroes competition and will be featured in an STV programme to be broadcast at 8pm on Friday (25 October).
One of three finalists in the category Community Champion of the Year, Mairi was nominated for her resilience in keeping Leuchie House open in 2011 after it was earmarked for closure following the withdrawal of funding by the MS Society.
Following a high-profile ‘Save Leuchie’ campaign, Mairi’s rescue plan ensured Leuchie House was able to reopen as a new independent charity, offering respite care for people with a variety of long-term conditions as well as those with Multiple Sclerosis.
Since then, Leuchie House has gone from strength to strength and won praise at a recent parliamentary reception in Holyrood from MSPs and the Health Secretary Alex Neil for its role in promoting the integration of health and social care through caring respite breaks in a non-clinical environment, with the reassurance of 24-hour expert nursing care. It also gives the opportunity to assess guests’ physical and emotional well-being.
Viewers will get the chance to vote for their choice of community champion after the programme is broadcast and the winner of the awards will be announced at a ceremony on 7 November, which will be shown on STV on Friday 15 November.
Mairi said: “The nomination it is a chance to spread the word about Leuchie House and the vital role carried out by the staff and supporters who have kept it going through incredibly challenging times.
“The real heroes are our guests. People and their carers who cope on a day-today basis with the loss of independence and mobility that a long-term degenerative condition can bring – and not just coping but doing so with grace and humour.
“At Leuchie we are all dedicated to bringing these exceptional people the peace of mind of knowing there is a place they can go to recharge their batteries where they will be cared for in a stimulating and uplifting environment.”
To register to vote for Community Champion of the Year, go to shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting
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. Find out more at www.leuchiehouse.org.uk