The Ann, Ciara & Niamh Copeland Trust Fund
Welcome to the website of the Copeland Family Charity.
My charity supports a leprosy treatment centre in Koraput, a small town in a remote mountainous area in the state of Odisha, eastern India. This website will give you an honest and straight forward account of what we do, why we do it, what's been happening recently and how you can help if you think what we do is worthwhile.
Just so you know, we are an official charity recognised by the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR), registration number SC04368. We are also accepted as a charity for tax purposes by HMRC and are thus eligible to receive Gift Aid.
Thanks for your visit
Koraput reopens to Patients!
Barry Copeland November 4th 2021
Lepra's planned activities for the area in 2021/22 were to reach over 3,000 people affected by leprosy, both existing and new cases, through outreach activities and care in the community. Despite the COVID-19 related lockdowns and temporary closures of the government health centres to non-urgent care, during the first six months over 1,325 people affected by leprosy have already been reached and supported.
However they are also delighted to report that as the pandemic eased and the demand for services for people affected by leprosy in Koraput District regained momentum, the Koraput Centre re-opened to out-patients at the beginning of September 2021. Patients are now visiting the Centre for services such as management of nerve function impairments (NFI) and reactions, ulcer dressings, physiotherapy, and training in ulcer care.
Even better, the re-opening of the in-patient department (IPD) followed shortly after on 2nd October 2021. The ward currently has five beds to accommodate patients who require ulcer care and reaction management over short term stays (up to 10 days). In due course, people undergoing reconstructive surgery will also be received for pre- and post-operative surgical care which will require longer stays of one month or more. The target for the remainder of 2021/22 is to receive a total of 82 in-patients at the Centre. In 2022/23, the intention is for the facility to increase to 20 beds at 80% occupancy rate in order to provide physiotherapy support for 96 patients undergoing reconstructive surgery per year, plus 60 patients with complex ulcers / reactions.
The total cost of the Koraput Centre for 2021/22 will be £22,207, of which £8,761 (or 39.45%) has been donated by The Ann, Ciara & Niamh Copeland Trust.
The Latest News
Barry Copeland September 9th 2021
The general situation in India has been widely reported over the past few months, including on this website (see below). Suffice to say, India has been in a state of medical emergency caused by the Delta wave of COVID-19 and its healthcare system has, at times, been on the verge of collapse.
With specific regards to leprosy, there is evidence that up to 60 - 80% of new cases in India could be missed this year. Only 8,270 new cases were reported between April & September 2020, compared to about 22,000 in the same period in 2019 – a fall of 63%.
In the Koraput district a similarly difficult scenario has prevailed. As previously described, the project focuses not just on active case finding but also on screening those likely to have had close contact with someone affected by leprosy, with up to 20 households being screened whenever a case is detected. Extensive school screening programmes had also been developed. All of these have virtually ceased, as Lockdowns have been imposed by both the Regional and Federal Governments over several periods, during which the majority of the medical and public health services came to a grinding halt.
The Koraput Centre has not been receiving patients since April 2020 for a variety of reasons, not all Covid related. It is leased from the Indian Government by Lepra, and services are fully integrated into the local Ministry of Health, filling vital gaps where there is no other provision. Currently it houses a laboratory with a lab technician and a footwear facility employing a designated shoe technician, whilst one part-time peripatetic physiotherapist is based there. In April 2021, belatedly recognising the value of the by now closed inpatient ward, the district authorities invited Lepra to submit reopening plans. Even if the response from the Local Government is that they are unable or unwilling to make any financial provision, Lepra intends to reopen the inpatient ward in October 2021 and if necessary will provide the required funding itself.
As things stand Koraput is still open, we are still raising money to fund it and our funding is being used for that purpose. Thus we are complying with our own Trust Deed and the conditions under which we are accepted as a charity. The Koraput Centre Budget for 2021/22 with no inpatient ward costs is £14,574, of which we are providing £8761 or 60%. In just over 7 years of existence we have thus donated over £49,200 to Koraput.
In my report last year I suggested that we could be facing a 20% (£1000) reduction in our income due to the financial effects of Covid. Although UK monthly donations had understandably dropped from £360 per month in 2019/20 to £280 per month at the start of 2020/21, our regular supporters remained remarkably resolute and consequently they didn’t drop any further. This was coupled with an incredible reaction to my sponsored 1000 miles for £1000 cycling in October 2020, as outlined below. Consequently and very unexpectedly this has been an incredibly successful year of fundraising, in fact our most successful one yet!
Currently UK monthly donations are now £290 per month, with a subsequent annual Gift Aid top up of £615. That guarantees us an income of at least £4,100 this year before we also consider funds raised through sponsored events or donations from outside the UK. My hope is that we can always support Lepra with a minimum of £5000 each year, so once again we are well on course to achieve that THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!
Covid Disaster in India UPDATE
Barry Copeland 24th May 2021
Sources: Lepra UK website (www.lepra.org.uk), BBC News website (www.bbc.co.uk)
India is in a state of medical emergency caused by a second wave of COVID-19; its healthcare system is in a state of collapse. Record numbers of cases and deaths are being reported. Day by day COVID-19 infections are growing exponentially across India. Officially India has recorded 26 million cases and more than 300,00 deaths. 102,533 of those fatalities have occurred in the past 26 days!
The second wave has hit with greater force than any other country has seen. Up to 400,000 new cases have been recorded in 24 hour periods Oxygen is in desperately short supply and most hospitals are beyond capacity.
Although we cannot help directly with this emergency, as the Trust's Mission Statement limits our spending specifically to the Koraput Centre, any funds that we provide enables money from other sources to be diverted elsewhere, where it is desperately needed, whilst still allowing Koraput to be fully funded this year.
Fortunately we have had an incredibly successful fundraising year despite initially fearing the worst, having lost 25% of our own regular monthly income as a consequence of Covid19. In particular my October 1,000 Mile Cycle, fuelled I believe by the "Captain Tom Effect", generated sponsorship revenue way beyond my £1,000 target. Consequently we have just sent a donation of over £8,700 to Lepra, our biggest ever annual contribution to the running of Koraput.
Lepra is delivering lifesaving COVID-19 vaccinations. Its vaccination project has begun in three Indian states: Bihar, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh, with those who are most vulnerable in the community already receiving their jabs. The aim is to reach and vaccinate the 10,200 most vulnerable, of which leprosy sufferers account for approximately 80%. As it stands, people affected by leprosy are being side-lined due to logistical and prejudicial issues.
Lepra's COVID-19 testing programme, which has been running out of the Blue Peter Public Health and Research Centre in Hyderaband, India since summer 2020, has been reporting a staggering 40% positive test result rate. 5-10% of all people who are testing positive for COVID-19 are requiring hospitalisation. This statistic implies that the need for medical oxygen is approximately 5,000 - 10,000 people per day, and just as many critical care beds.
Mission Oxygen, a group of concerned individuals who aim to alleviate the current oxygen crisis, have requested Lepra's help in delivering oxygen concentrators to the local hospitals that it works with. Across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Lepra is aiming to deliver 160 oxygen concentrators to 8 different local hospitals.
Update on Barry's "1,000 Miles October Cycle Fest".
THE FINAL FIGURES!
20th January 2021
Miles covered 1177.33 Ascent 100,499 feet Hours in saddle 87.97
Average speed 13.38mph Total funds raised £3,117.83
Click on this link to see his routes
The specific online donation site for this particular fundraising endeavour was closed down at the end of November 2020
BUT it's never too late to DONATE to our charity.
Just click on this link!
Barry is Cycling "1,000 Miles for £1,000" in October
1st October 2020
Today sees me setting off on my first ride, in my bid to plug our funding gap by cycling 1,000 miles during October and hopefully generating at least £1,000 of sponsorship in the process. I will be paying any expenses I incur and every single penny I raise will go to Koraput. I'm getting my backside off the couch and onto my bike seat in the hope that you will put up some money as a result!
The ever changing Covid19 Restrictions have made a grand journey an unfeasible project. Instead I shall be riding mostly in Devon and Cornwall, sticking to day trips and if possible the occasional short local tour. That is no easy option, but instead will set me up nicely for my secondary goal of climbing 100,000 feet at the same time.
You can follow my progress above in "The Journey So Far", which will be updated on a regular basis. Alternatively I will be posting my daily rides on both my Facebook page and my Strava account.
Your support and interest is greatly appreciated.
Take care and best wishes.