This year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge has proved to be one of the biggest yet for us. We have smashed the £50,000 target for donations through the festive online match funding campaign, thanks to a dedicated group of supporters. We're also delighted to announce we'll be launching a new service to help young people with juvenile Batten disease (JBD) in 2018.   

SeeAbility provides extraordinary support and champions better eye care for people with learning disabilities and autism, many of whom have sight loss. Every penny of the £56,000 raised by the charity during the Christmas Challenge will fund a brand-new service offering vital support to young people and families affected by JBD, a rare and life-limiting disease affecting the nervous system.  

Symptoms of JBD usually begin to show in children aged between five and eight and, because the earliest signs involve deteriorating vision, it is often first suspected during a routine eye test. As the disease progresses the young person will experience loss of muscle control, sight loss and early dementia; a diagnosis can be devastating for the child, their family and friends. 

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and match funders Candis, the new Juvenile Batten Disease Outreach Service will launch in 2018. The service will bring together a range of skilled medical professionals, enabling them to share and use their expertise and understanding of the disease to improve quality of life for young people with JBD.  Families affected will also receive much-needed support to help them to cope with the impact of this challenging disease.

The Outreach Service will be based at Heather House, SeeAbility’s world-leading specialist nursing care home in Hampshire for young people with JBD, and will be delivered in partnership with the Batten Disease Family Association. 

Lisa Hopkins, Chief Executive of SeeAbility, says:

The impact of JBD on children and young people, and the toll it takes on their families, is huge. With no cure available, it is vital we use our expertise to give everyone affected by this disease the best possible quality of life. The money raised for SeeAbility by this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge will help us to transform lives through our new outreach service; we are extremely grateful to every one of our supporters who has made this possible.  Thank you for this extraordinary gift this Christmas!