Over a third of the 149 services across England and Wales run by private care-provider Regard are planning local fundraisers for Purple Day (Sunday 26 March) in aid of Epilepsy Action, the UK’s leading epilepsy organisation, with some of them already ahead of the action.
This year sees the ninth celebration of Purple Day, an international annual theme day aimed at dispelling the myths surrounding epilepsy and raising awareness in a positive manner.
Members of Regard’s OWL Town Farm Workshop in Sixpenny Handley, Dorset, raised nearly £70 through a variety of fun craft-based activities.
Workshop manager, Helen Ritson, said: “Lots of people tried their hand at hula hoop weaving and added some purple fabric to our still-to-be-completed community collage.
“We decorated cakes with purple icing – then scoffed them, obviously!
“It was great to see everyone in their purple clothes, faces were painted and – most importantly – we raised money for a great cause and had lots of fun at the same time.”
OWL Town Farm Workshop provides craft, drama, IT, photography sessions and literary classes for 36 people with learning disabilities, and sells their products at craft markets and festivals across the country. OWL stands for Outcomes With Learning.
Meanwhile in Dyffryn Ardudwy, North Wales, the people who live at Regard’s Llwyngwian Fawr service organised a sheep race, starring Wilma and Daisy, two sheep who first arrived at the service as ‘rescued lambs’ in 2015 and have been firm favourites with the people who live there ever since.
Service users and staff raised £12 betting on the sheep, who were adorned with purple ribbons. Daisy was the winner.
Regard’s CEO Sandie Foxall-Smith said: “A significant number of the people with learning disability and mental health issues we support nationwide have epilepsy as an additional health challenge, so we welcome the opportunity to contribute to awareness-raising and fundraising for Epilepsy Action.
“There are purple tea parties with face-painting and themed food at a many of our services, and even a purple talent show. Wherever possible the events are being run with the involvement of the local community, because community involvement is so important to the people we support.
“We recognise that the social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on a person’s overall psychological well-being, so we try to ensure that everyone we support has the opportunity to be involved in charity fundraising like this.
“Our final tally for funds raised is still awaited – many of the activities aren’t taking place until next week.”
Phillip Lee, chief executive of Epilepsy Action, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people nationwide turning their world purple to raise funds for Epilepsy Action. We couldn’t do what we do without the help of people like this.”
Epilepsy affects around one in every 100 people in the UK and 87 people are diagnosed with the condition every day.