Neil Jaffrey Initiative
Sadly on 7th September 2014 the Gathimba Edwards Foundation lost one of our most loyal supporters in Neil Jaffrey when he was tragically killed whilst cycling in Aberdeen. Neil, more commonly known as 'Eddie', really was one of a kind. He had a unique ability to take an interest in everyone he met and help them wherever possible.
Constantly inspired and driven on by Neil's memory we as a foundation wanted to keep his memory alive in as many ways as possible. The Neil Jaffrey Initiative was born in 2015 and has since enabled us to fund raise £37,500 to support children with disabilities living in Scotland.
Although our main purpose is to provide support and create opportunities for children and families in Kenya, we also work hard to make an impact in Scotland. We do this through the purchase of specialist equipment and service support for children and their families.
Families in need of support are either introduced to us through schools, support workers or other charities or they get in touch themselves through our application process. If you know of a child who would benefit from support through the Neil Jaffrey Initiative please send a request via the form below and a member of the team will get back to you to discuss the request in more detail.
Meet some of the children we have been able to help
MJ sadly passed away aged 11 in October 2023, but throughout his life he smiled in the face of pain and adversity. He was strong, sweet, positive and determined and lit up every room he was in with his beautiful smile.
MJ was born in 2011 with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. This meant that he was unable to sit up unaided and was completely. His cerebral palsy affected his co-ordination, vision, ability to communicate and move his own body. This in turn lead to various health complications, including problems with his hips and spine and towards the end of his life, intestinal failure.
His parents Mel and Luke inspired so many people with their love and determination to support their son. Witnessing how they face challenges together, researched MJ's condition and worked tirelessly to ensure their son had the best possible care, gave us huge inspiration and made it a pleasure to support them.
There was limited easy and fun activities available for them to do as a family, and so we did what we could do increase those opportunities. MJ was measured for and supplied with a specialist tricycle and buggy which gave them the chance to be outdoors together. Adaptations were made to their home in Aberdeen so that MJ had proper access, a bedroom and wet room suitable for his needs. We were also able to provide funding for MJ to attend therapy sessions at the Craighalbert Centre in Cumbernauld. The centre provides therapy and support for young people affected by cerebral palsy and motor impairments. MJ has had huge benefit from the sessions and as a family they met and shared experiences with other families who were in similar situations - something which was a big comfort. MJ will be forever missed, we will always remember his smile and be inspired by his memory.
Tyler is an inspirational young boy in Aberdeenshire who suffers from spina bifida. So far we have supported Tyler with a specialised bath seat and up seat/walker thanks to sponsorship from the Westhill and District Roundtable group. In addition to this we have been able to purchase the below custom built bicycle for him to whizz around as well as new motorised wheelchair in November 2o22.
Little Evie sadly left us and heaven gained an angel on 28th November 2021. Evie suffered from cerebral palsy, severe dystonia and resistant epilepsy which brought huge challenges to her and her family. We have had the pleasure of getting to know them since first meeting in 2018. The love, patience, happiness and reluctance to ask anyone for help humbled and inspired us to do something to make their lives a little easier.
We focused our support on areas of Evie’s life that we could make an immediate positive impact on. With support from Westhill and District Roundtable funds were provided for a walking harness, therapeutic bath and materials and equipment that Evie's dad Craig used to build an outdoor play facility at their home in Aberdeenshire. Not only Evie loved this play facility but so does her little brother Jake. It was so important to the family as getting out and about was extremely difficult due to Evie’s seating and feeding challenges and the fact it took both Craig and her mum Lynne to travel for safety. Being able to have fun in their own home and garden without having to travel was crucial. We will never forget Evie and the impact she had on this world and our thoughts are always with Craig, Lynne and Jake.
10-year-old Oscar lives with severe autism and learning difficulties. He stays in Aberdeenshire with his mum, Valerie and younger brother, Kyle. Oscar is non-verbal and has the mindset of a toddler, which unfortunately means he has no awareness of danger and requires constant supervision. Oscar uses a mobility pushchair to get around safely but he had grown too big for it. He was having to use a harness as a temporary substitute to enable outings, but this led to regularly violent outburst. As Oscar gets older, these outburst are harder for his mum to control and she has been hurt on numerous occasions. Thanks to Neil Jaffrey Initiative funds received through the Tesco Community Fund, we were able to purchase Oscar a new mobility chair. The chair allows the family to get out safely for walks to local parks, woods and the beach in the knowledge that Oscar is comfortable.
A legacy of love
Neil Jaffrey's family gave us the incredible honour of donations from his funeral going to the children we are supporting in Kenya and thanks to the generosity of everyone who came to say goodbye to Neil, over £1,800 was raised. This enabled us to buy some of the materials for our volunteers to build a house for the Gathigia family in Iruri, Kenya in October 2015.
A road leading up to the Pavilion Village children's home in Karatina, Kenya has been named in memory of Neil. This was thanks to the children and staff at the home being so touched by the Jaffrey family's support.