10 June 2016
B P Collins’ “unique” support for Epilepsy Society
Epilepsy Society is a long-standing client of B P Collins LLP, with a relationship dating back almost 20 years.
During that time, the firm has provided professional advice and expertise on a range of legal issues and supported the charity through a series of fundraising activities.
In addition, individual employees have helped to raise hundreds of pounds for Epilepsy Society by participating in various sporting events.
Epilepsy Society’s philanthropy manager Jo Wengler says the two organisations have a “fairly unique” partnership, one which she especially values because of the ongoing challenges of attracting support from the corporate sector.
“Epilepsy isn’t a widely talked about subject, it’s not something everyone wants to be associated with and it can be difficult to find supporters and ambassadors, which is why we really appreciate the support which B P Collins has given us over many years,” said Jo.
“While organisations are often keen to give us volunteer time, which we greatly appreciate, we also need financial support and, by sponsoring many of our activities, the practice has helped us fund cutting edge research and awareness campaigns.”
The pioneering work of the charity is made clear when Jo explains how its experts are currently researching structural images of the brain, studying the genetic architecture of epilepsy and undertaking family DNA testing, which one day could help to determine the genetic mutations that cause epilepsy.
“This is quite phenomenal research and, while it we don’t currently have the answers in terms of treatment, it does mean for example that for parents who have children with complex epilepsy, they will be able to understand why their child's epilepsy has arisen and know there is nothing they did to cause it,” continued Jo.
“We were the first to introduce MRI scanning in the mid-90s for people with epilepsy and today that is part of a routine diagnosis. Right now, we’re at another breakthrough point in terms of trying to characterise epilepsy genetically and in turn, this will lead to more personalised medicine and new drug treatments in the future.”
Research has always been a key mandate of the Chalfont St Peter-based charity, which was founded in 1892 and is recognised as the UK’s leading provider of epilepsy services. It is the only epilepsy charity to deliver a full programme of medical research in epilepsy alongside expert advice, care and information services.
Its relationship with B P Collins began in 1997, when the charity decided it would benefit from working with a local law firm, rather than its previous City-based lawyers. What originally began as providing advice on property matters has now expanded into areas including corporate, employment, litigation, private client and charity advice.
In recent years, the practice has provided specialist expertise to help the charity sell part of its land to generate funds for investment and improvements to its facilities. The deals provided a valuable financial boost and the property team continues to provide support on other property-related issues.
Vicky Holland, partner in the corporate and commercial practice, who has worked with Epilepsy Society, said: “The charity does a fantastic job in raising awareness of the issues around epilepsy and its pioneering research, which is helping to change the lives of many people. At the same time, it plays a vital role in giving support and advice to patients, their families and the professional community.
“We are delighted to be able to support the charity and to play our own small part in its ongoing successes.”
Epilepsy Society’s remit is to reach out to more people affected by epilepsy and help fulfil its vision of “a full life for everyone affected by epilepsy”.
In a recent development, funding by the Department of Health and the Wellcome Trust has enabled Epilepsy Society’s research team to press ahead with its Epilepsy Navigator programme.
Described as “smart surgery” and a “SatNav for the brain”, it is an interactive 3D-neuronavigation system that simultaneously displays critical brain functions, enabling neurosurgeons to plan the best operative approach for inserting recording electrodes into the brain and for removing the parts of the brain that give rise to seizures.
It is hoped the project, which is undergoing trials in the US and at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, will lead to safer surgery, improved seizure freedom and reduced risk of damage to language, memory, movement and vision.
More than 500,000 people in the UK have the condition, and although figures show that epilepsy carries with it a greater risk of premature death, over a third (39 per cent) of those deaths are avoidable through better care, treatments and services.
Thanks to its campaigning programme, Epilepsy Society now has more than 2,000 members, 43,000 followers on Facebook and a further 14,000 on Twitter, demonstrating that with loyal supporters such as B P Collins, it is truly making a difference to those who struggle with epilepsy.
Highlights of B P Collins’ fundraising and sponsorship support for Epilepsy Society includes:
- Hosting two art exhibitions featuring work by Art Therapy Centre residents
- Provision of a three year bursary for the Art Therapy Centre
- Sponsorship of charity fundraising dinners and events
- Providing free meeting facilities
- Employees raising funds by running the London Marathon and undertaking charity cycling event RideLondon100
- Providing funding for the charity’s participation in The Patron’s Lunch street party, one of this summer’s 90th birthday celebrations for Her Majesty The Queen, and supporting its campaign to find five “Epilepsy Heroes” at attend the event