Leuchie House awarded funding support to elevate its services


In June 2023, Leuchie House received a grant of £11,862.90 in support of our Guest Engagement Programme.  

Previously operating as the MS Society, Leuchie House became an independent charity in 2011. Leuchie House are dedicated to supporting people living with the long-term effects of a wide range of neurological conditions including; Parkinson’s, Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Stroke. They provide individualised short respite breaks with personalised 24-hour care in a homely and fun environment, easing the strain on carers who, in many cases are at or nearing breaking point.

Unlike many clinical respite settings, Leuchie House aim to have a transformational impact on every one of the people who come for a stay, ensuring the care we provide has a legacy well after our guests have returned home. They work tirelessly to give people a new lease of life, encourage them to build friendships and support networks, reduce their social isolation and in some cases reintroduce them to a hobby or passion that they had given up due to the progression of their condition. There is a real sense of community between the guests and staff and everyone who visits is made to feel not only welcome but a priority.

Whilst living with a neurological condition or caring for a loved one in these circumstances can be one of the most socially isolating things that can happen to a family, at Leuchie they make sure that isolation is not an option for the people who stay with them (unless requested!). They have regular in-house entertainment and outings, including to the cinema, theatre, beach, pub lunches and even the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

As there is always going to be a limit to how many people Leuchie can accommodate at the house and their current strategic direction is to investigate how to can get their services out to more people in a wider context ‘beyond the walls’ of Leuchie. This has manifested itself in a few exciting ways, including:

  • Fully accessible self-catering holiday homes that afford families and groups of friends to enjoy the rare opportunity to holiday together. Doddie Weir House in Direlton, which Leuchie are currently working towards renovating and upgrading, and Glen View Caravan at Thurston Manor just outside Dunbar, which have both proved very popular due to the scarcity of such options.
  • The Leuchie at Home service, provides invaluable, regular company and support to people with neurological conditions for at least 2 hours a week in their own home and at the same time giving their carer the chance to have some vital time to themselves. The North Berwick Trust kindly supported Leuchie at Home with a grant of £13,200. Read Andrews Story to find out how important this service is to individuals and their families
  • Leuchie’s Enabling Technology team work to support guests to tackle digital exclusion, online security, device updating and enjoy as much independence as possible during their break at Leuchie, as well as when they return home. In addition to all bedrooms, Leuchie also has a Smart Kitchen and guests are encouraged to acquaint themselves with assistive technology that could help make life a little easier at home. From Amazon Alexas to height-adjustable kitchen worktops, many of the guests go on to install these products and find them to be transformative for them and their carers. 
  • Leuchie takes a more guest-centred and forward-thinking Physiotherapy approach which has inspired several exciting new approaches to providing support. Some of the more unique treatments offered include: virtual reality with Motomed movement therapy bikes, standing-singing as a respiratory exercise for a guest who used to sing in a choir, one-handed knitting lessons with guests who had given up due to the progression of their condition and we’ve accompanied a guest to assist in the use of a golf wheelchair for a round at a local course. Louise is a qualified acupuncturist and a number of guests now receive regular sessions during their stay, which can help with a range of issues including joint/muscle and chronic pain. This year already there have been more than 300 physio sessions, and this area continues to grow in popularity due to the variety of activities and recovery options offered. And thanks to an online exercise prescription software package called Giraffe, programmes can be created and accessed from home. Guests can therefore maintain a link with Louise beyond the end of their holiday, share their activity and request changes and additions to their exercise regime for no charge.
  • Partnership working. Together with the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and Blackwood Homes and Care Leuchie House are working to enable wellbeing and prevent death by spotting and identifying early indicators of urinary tract infections (UTIs). The aim is to develop a user-centred system for early recognition of UTIs. In July 2023, several of Leuchie’s guests, care and nursing staff took part in a focus group, which is the first phase of user-centred design. Bioliberty are developing a robotic glove which could strengthen hand grip for stroke patients. CET are coordinating the trial of the Lifeglov prototype in Leuchie.

Also, a spin-off from the National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt University, Robobrico are developing a service-robot and a few of the guests gave input to the requirements specification in 2022. The robot looks to fill a gap in the health and social care assistive technology market, by providing an affordable and highly customisable platform catered to customer needs through co-design.

Guest Engagement Programme Key Outcomes 

  • Reducing social isolation
  • Improving confidence and mental wellbeing
  • Enable independence
  • Carers rest assured know that their loved ones are able to enjoy themselves in a safe and supportive environment
  • Support local businesses, organisations and musicians
  • Provide opportunities for volunteering

Guest Engagement Programme at Leuchie House

The Guest Engagement Programme at Leuchie House continues to be one of the most popular elements of our respite breaks and makes a vital contribution to our guests’ wellbeing, sense of fulfilment and their ability to return home and continue to face the challenges of everyday life. The programme also gives guests the opportunity to socialise and make friends with other guests.

The programme features in-house activities including craft sessions, games, quizzes and regular live entertainment which ranges from piano playing to an Elvis impersonator. Guests can enjoy beautiful woodland walks in the grounds and they have also been helping to grow raspberries, strawberries and vegetables in the garden.

Guests also have the opportunity to go on trips in one of Leuchie’s wheelchair accessible vehicles. In July 22, North Berwick Trust awarded funds of £14,100 for a trishaw for Leuchie House. Local outings include coastal drives, taking in the beautiful coastline in East Lothian, or a visit to North Berwick Beach to use the beach wheelchairs which is popular in the good weather. Other outings include going to Dunbar Garden Centre; shopping at Fort Kinnaird; enjoying a pub lunch; visits to The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and The National Museum of Flight; and a tour of the local Glenkinchie Distillery. Additional, special trips can be arranged and in recent months have included a microlight flight and a trip to the Royal Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.

Leuchie House give thanks to North Berwick Trust for their support, ‘Your support is invaluable in helping to make Leuchie a very unique organisation, where our Guest Engagement Team can continue to provide guests with the type of activities synonymous with happy and fun holidays, enabling them to make memories they can cherish.’

Quotes from guests

“My holidays at Leuchie are truly memorable. The complete package of great care, fun activities and wellbeing support are wonderful and leave me feeling happy and refreshed after a break. I try to come at least three times a year if I can.”

“Enjoyed the relaxation class and would like to do more of that. There are some techniques she’s taught us that have been good.”

“I’ve loved the music nights, the movies and the pub quizzes. It’s all been fun.”

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