Youth taking the Initiative to help Purple Caffe
11 February, 2018

Youth taking the Initiative to help Purple Caffe

/ 5 years ago

We were delighted to welcome Felicity Johnston and her family along to our February meeting at Rothes Halls in Glenrothes.  Felicity, a second-year pupil at St. Columba’s High School in Dunfermline is part of a team taking part in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative project.

Felicity told us about the background to the initiative, and why her group chose Purple Caffe Fife:

It’s an annual competition for S2 pupils. The prize is £3,000 for the winning team’s chosen charity.

My group chose the Purple Caffe because the little sister of one of our team members has epilepsy and Purple Caffe helped her and her family. We thought we’d do something to repay their help, kindness and generosity.

During the course of the project, I made a picture quiz and sold them to the teachers in the school at £1 a go. It went well and we raised £30. Despite the quiz being about cakes the quiz wasn’t won by a Home Economics teacher! It was one by one of the French teachers – quelle surprise!

We created leaflets and during our presentation we showed people what to do if someone had an epileptic seizure. It helped us to win our class final. As a result we will now go forward to the overall final near the end of February.

I came to the Purple Caffe’s pop-up meeting at the Rothes Hall on Thursday 1 February and presented the cheque to the trustees on behalf of my team.

During the meeting, Felicity took time out to ask Niall Shaw, Chair of Purple Caffe Fife some questions about the charity.


Felicity: How many children and young people do you help?
Niall: Initially, the charity was set up to assist children living in Fife with epilepsy.  Our understanding was that there were about 400 children diagnosed with the condition.  However, we are now looking to offer support to children and families in Fife living with ALL neurological conditions, and so we obviously anticipate a significant increase.
Felicity: The Youth Philanthropy Initiative is giving a prize of £3,000 for the charity they choose from all the school entries. If you won, what would you spend the money on?
Niall:  One of our first commitments as a charity was to raise enough money to provide every child in Fife with an epilepsy diagnosis, with a free anti-suffocation pillow.  These pillows help minimise the risk of SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death through Epilepsy), which causes around 600 deaths in the UK each year, around half of the total of all annual UK epilepsy-related deaths.  Should we be fortunate enough to receive this money, this would be one of the projects funded.
Felicity: How do you help the families you work with?
Niall: At the moment, we provide information, and the chance to meet up with other families every month.  We are now reaching out to other epilepsy groups and charities, both locally and nationally.  We are also engaging with groups supporting other neurological conditions, as there are many similarities with epilepsy.
Felicity: Why did you set up the charity and why was it founded?
The charity was set up as there was virtually no support for families in Fife, despite it being estimated that instances of paediatric epilepsy in the region are around double the national average.  Some families got together to discuss the needs and a vision, and the group was born!
Felicity: What made you come up with the name Purple Caffe?
Niall:  We wanted a name that would capture the relaxed ethos of the charity, and something that had a positive focus, rather than the struggle that many people face when dealing with the condition.  Purple is a colour associated with epilepsy, and ‘Caffe’ is an acronym for ‘Children and Families in Fife with Epilepsy’
Felicity: What is the message you want to give to people about epilepsy?
Niall:  Everyone’s experience of epilepsy is different.  Some people can’t be treated by medication, some are house-bound by their condition, some people are largely unaffected, and can go for long spells without any problems.  Our message to families is that they are not alone, and should feel confident to reach out to Purple Caffe, even if it’s just for a chat.
Felicity: How many people volunteer at the charity?
Niall:  At the moment, our 5 Trustees make up our volunteer ‘workforce’.  We are actively seeking another 7 Trustees, but as with any small charity, any offer of help is gladly received.
Felicity: Do you get any funding from the government or is it all donations and grants?
Niall:  Currently, we do not receive any funding from the government, but we will be increasing our focus on fundraising and funding applications in 2018.
Felicity:  I’ve really enjoyed the evening, which was full of interesting information (and I visited the pop-up tuck shop on the way out!)  We hope we do the Purple Caffe proud and win the £3,000 for you.
Niall:  Thank you so much for coming along tonight, and for your interest in, and support of, Purple Caffe Fife.
You can find out more about the Youth Project Initiative here.



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.