I would like to acknowledge and thank all of the members of our Council of Management, the trustees who make up the governing body of the charity, for their dedicated time and effort during the year and for their support and confidence in electing me for a third consecutive year as their Chair. I would especially like to thank Richard Chapman (vice Chair of Council) and Jane Riley (Honorary Treasurer) for their outstanding contributions as Officers of the Council.
It was tremendous to welcome four new members of Council in 2018. Matt Jelfs and Ellie Wilmshurst were both co-opted at the start of the year. Etienne Dutoy and Sarah Lawson were both elected in June. All four have helped to enhance the diversity and representativeness of Council and they have each brought valuable experience and great commitment to the work of the charity. During the year, Jon Barnes decided to step down from Council and he departed with the charity’s thanks and good wishes.
Providing people with the best possible advice and information about epilepsy has always been a major part of the work of the charity. More people than ever before made use of this service in 2018 through our multiple outlets. For example, there were 1.17 million unique visits to the advice and information section of our website.
Our online e-learning programmes were similarly popular. These were visited 72,575 times last year. This resulted in 8,944 course registrations and 4,769 people completed one of our courses during 2018.
Using technology to enhance our services and make them even more available is really important. But we don’t forget the unique value of face-to-face contact with people. Last year, through our local community services, we managed to reach 18,270 people in person. This scale of connection is only possible because of the hundreds of volunteers who support the charity. They run groups and branches, put on events, raise money, raise awareness and support people with epilepsy where they live.
Epilepsy Action is at the heart of the epilepsy community. We are proud to represent the interests of everyone affected by the condition and we accept that responsibility as a privilege. Whether it is getting access to appropriate healthcare services, care and treatment or combatting the prejudice and discrimination that often follows from a lack of public knowledge and understanding about the condition - there has never been so much need for Epilepsy Action.
2018 was a year of outstanding achievement. This sort of success is only possible because of the team of people who come together to make it happen - all our staff, our volunteers, fundraisers, donors, advisers and supporters. Thank you to everyone for such a memorable year.
Ian Walker, Chair, Council of Management
9 April 2019