Leuchie receives £117,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund

Leuchie House, Scotland’s only national respite centre for people with neurological conditions, has received a £117,000 award from The National Lottery Community Fund, which will empower guests to use life-enhancing technology.

Thanks to National Lottery Players, this award will allow the North Berwick-based charity to fund the post of an Occupational Therapist (OT) for three years and part-fund a Digital Skills Co-ordinator for one year.

Both roles will enable people to try out digital and assistive technologies when they visit Leuchie, which offers short holiday breaks of up to 11 nights, and also provides respite for day guests.

The OT will introduce guests to the technology best suited to their condition, while the Digital Skills Co-ordinator will support guests throughout their stay with setting up and using technology.

The OT will provide an assessment of each person’s physical abilities and what they hope to achieve, and then will demonstrate the technology that will best help the guest to overcome any barriers, including when their condition means they are unable to use their hands or voice to control technology.

With more than 50 years’ experience providing breaks for people with neurological conditions including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and stroke, together with the people who care for them, the Lottery award will further enhance the work of Leuchie’s Centre for Enabling Technology.

At Leuchie House, guests are introduced to affordable ‘off the shelf’ technology which they can use at home. This enables people to better self-manage and to feel more independent and less isolated. Leuchie has now introduced integrated smart technology into all of its bedrooms, enabling guests to independently control lighting, TVs, Alexas, power points and curtains, as well as an additional smart flat with specialist assistive technology.

Mark Bevan, CEO at Leuchie House, said: “The experience of the pandemic has shown that the need for digital connectivity to enable better self-management at home through the use of smart technologies and environmental controls has never been greater for our guests and carers.

“Not only do these life-enhancing tools support people with disabilities to live more independently, they also provide their carer with greater opportunity for quality time together rather than focusing on the caring role.

“We are delighted here at Leuchie House that this award, thanks to the National Lottery Players, will enable people enjoying a respite break at Leuchie to access these technologies with the help of our Occupational Therapist and Digital Skills Co-ordinator.”

Kate Still, Scotland chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “National Lottery funding can make amazing things happen in local communities across the country. This project delivered by Leuchie House is a great example of community activity in action, showing just what can be achieved when people come together for a common cause or to help others. National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is helping to support this vital work and to help communities thrive.”