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17 September 2014

Epilepsy Society increases spending on services

Epilepsy Society's  expenditure on its charitable activities is up by almost 10 per cent, according to the charity's recently published accounts. The increased spend across all its service areas, including medical research, information and its helpline, is a result of the charity's stronger financial position.

Increased spending

Spending on the charity's information, support and helpline services increased by £223,000 to £978,000.

Bridget Gardiner, director of fundraising and marketing at  Epilepsy Society said:  'These are our 'front line' services, and we know how important they are to people with epilepsy and their families.  For example, in a recent survey of our helpline more than 60 percent of callers said they valued being given time to talk and 85 percent said they valued the written information they received as a result of that call - hence our increased  investment in  information.

In turn, the value people place on those services has resulted in  significant  donations. Eight per cent of our donors  have given as a result of a call to the helpline  and  we know that a number of legacies have  been as a direct result of contact with the helpline.

More than half a million people in the last year have accessed information from the charity - and for the first time a number of resources have been translated into a range of languages.

Bridget Gardiner said:  'The demand for foreign language resources was identified as a result of a Department of Health funded three year pilot project promoting early interventions for people with epilepsy amongst hard to reach groups.'

Epilepsy research

The charity increased spending on epilepsy research - building on its reputation as a world leader in the field, particularly in the area of genetics.  Thanks to a generous donation  from the Katy Baggott Foundation, the charity  has  been able to establish an innovative epilepsy tissue and brain bank based at the Institute of Neurology, one of its collaborative research partners.

The improved health of the charity's finances is mainly due to the sale of  land surplus to requirements, enabling the Society to strengthen its free reserves. The charity's trustees have determined that an appropriate, prudent level of free reserves is the equivalent of three months' unrestricted expenditure. The Society is now within £600,000 of reaching this target.

Strategic review

Since the appointment of a new chief executive, Angela Geer, in April, the charity has been undergoing a strategic review.

Bridget Gardiner said: 'We are looking closely at external influences as we develop our new strategic vision and priorities. We have made good financial progress during the last three years but we need to stay focused on maintaining this good work to secure the future of Epilepsy Society.'

Download Epilepsy Society's recently published accounts (pdf)