Ladies Circle is a networking organisation for women aged between 18 and 45, founded in 1936. The friendship group runs around 120 different clubs nationwide, and is all about having fun, making new friends and giving something back to the community. In 2016, The Ladies Circle GBI (Great Britain & Ireland) appointed Alex Bennett as president. She encouraged their 1100 members to ‘jump on board’ with her for an exciting year ahead. Alex felt compelled to fundraise for epilepsy as her mum and cousin are both living with the condition. The impact of epilepsy on the whole family has been life-changing.
“There were a lot of epilepsy charities out there,” Sarah Mackenzie-Briggs, National Charity Liaison, explains. “But we chose Epilepsy Action due to the service, knowledge and commitment it offers everyone who has a connection with epilepsy. This could be people affected directly or more indirectly, including families, care workers and schools. Our mission as a group was not only to fundraise, but also to raise awareness.”
With a captured audience of Ladies Circle and Round Table, the team got started distributing Epilepsy Action first aid kits to all current and newly joined members. In July 2016 their challenge was a ‘Virtual Race’, with supporters committing to running, walking, cycling or swimming a minimum of 10k throughout the month of July. Sarah Caine and Vicky Parker ran the virtual race. “This was such fun and turned into a regional competition, raising a staggering £4,000,” says Sarah.
Ladies Circle next took on RideLondon, as well as running challenges including the Great North Run, the Royal Parks Half Marathon and Epilepsy Action’s own Reindeer Stampede. In March 2017, they pushed on with ten of the team running the Epilepsy Action Bradford 10k. They celebrated Purple Day with collective activities being organised in workplaces and schools. The team then supported co-member Angela Hook at the London Marathon and took over cheering points along the way to boost dozens more Epilepsy Action runners.
With the charity’s help, Ladies Circle also manned supermarket bag packs from Aberdeen to Cornwall. Several Circles across the UK held raffles and charity afternoon teas, all of which were promoted widely on social media.
In May 2017, Ladies Circle were very proud to present a cheque to Epilepsy Action of £20,000. The money is still coming is from further fundraising and the team continue to support the charity and raise awareness with boundless energy and commitment.