Motivated by her daughter Gaelle, Linlithgow lady Magali Redding founded the charity Eczema Outreach Scotland (EOS) back in 2011. Here, Magali tells us how the charity supports families with eczema, how it’s grown and what she loves about Linlithgow.
“My daughter Gaelle developed severe eczema as a baby. One day she asked “why am I the only scratchy girl?” Of course she wasn’t, but I realised there were no support groups in Scotland for us to meet other children living with the condition, and their parents. I decided to set something up myself, to help other families struggling to cope with the impact of eczema on life.”
Originally the goal of the charity was to simply meet others, provide information and emotional support. Now Eczema Outreach Scotland have a much wider range of services, all aiming at empowering families through building their knowledge and confidence to deal with the underestimated burden of eczema on day-to-day life. Through their personalised support service, the team of 4 part-time family support workers mostly deal with parents’ feelings of frustration and isolation, children’s low self-esteem, treatments during schools hours, bullying and many other aspects of the condition that are often misunderstood by others. An Outreach Worker also delivers eczema training to Health Visitors and workshops in classrooms.
Magali says of the charity “Since 2012, we’ve been running a programme of events throughout the year to bring families together; they can listen to dermatologists, share tips and create new bonds. Meanwhile, the kids meet other kids with eczema and who can relate to their struggles and hopes.”
EOS started out with a board of three trustees from Linlithgow, who wanted to help get the charity off the ground. Soon, they recruited externally to bring some new skills and expertise in healthcare, finance, family services and marketing. Originally based above the Language Room on the High Street, the team grew to meet the increasing demand for the group’s unique service (currently helping more than 640 families across Scotland) and moved to bigger premises at the Bryerton House. “It was important to us to stay in Linlithgow, because it promotes the town when professionals come to meet us and the community here has been so supportive of the charity since its inception. However, we are under increasing pressure with funding so any help from local businesses or benefactors would make a big difference.”
Magali is passionate about living in Linlithgow too. “I’ve lived here for 13 years. As I am raising my 3 daughters in this town, I find it very family-friendly; it has everything we need. With the loch, the palace and the canal on our door step, we’re spoiled here!”
For Gaelle, now 11, it’s about the parks, strolling to her guitar lesson at the other side of Linlithgow and meeting friends at the leisure centre. Magali added: “The network of friends we have made over the years in Linlithgow has become our extended family; there is a real sense of community here.”
Article first published in Konect February 2017
Author: Louise Taylor