Our Head of Advisory, Robert Hannah, introduces our new Scottish practice charity partnership with Scottish Huntington's Association, as voted for by our people. He explains why the charity means so much to our firm, what we’re doing to support the cause and how partnerships like these provide learning opportunities for our people.

Our people from our Scottish practice have selected Scottish Huntington's Association (SHA) as their new charity partner for the next two years. The SHA provides specialist care for everyone in Scotland whose lives are impacted by Huntington’s disease (HD).

Our Head of Advisory, Robert Hannah, discusses the crucial work the charity does in supporting families like his, what we’re doing as a firm to support this cause and how opportunities like these can teach our people invaluable skills in supporting others.

list item with text on the right

Robert Hannah, Head of Advisory

“I’m proud to be an ambassador for Scottish Huntington’s Association because of the amazing work it does to support families through the challenges of living with Huntington’s disease (HD), and I’m really thankful to our people for choosing to support the cause.My wife suffers from this horrible, incurable and degenerative illness, which robs people of their ability to walk, talk, eat, drink, make rational decisions and care for themselves. Those affected will ultimately require 24-hour care.

“In Scotland, around 1,100 people have the disease, with a further 6,000 at risk of inheriting it. Symptoms typically begin between the ages of 30 and 50, which has a massive impact on working lives and family income - one in three families live below the poverty line. Each child of a person with HD has a 50% chance of inheriting the condition. Our partnership with Scottish Huntington’s Association is an opportunity to transform the lives of families facing this rare and cruel condition. We want to help our people and support families by providing HD specialists, financial wellbeing advisors to manage financial hardship and specialist youth advisors to help young people facing enormous challenges today and in the future.

“The legacy of this partnership is extremely important to our firm. A key foundation of our partnership will be working with the youth service strand of the charity. We can use their work to help our people reflect on the variety of challenges young people with HD face every day, as well as their families and friends, and we can teach people how to cope with challenges in their own lives. We’ll be utilising the skillsets of our people to benefit the youth service, providing a range of access and employability support to young people who need these services. We’re also going to focus on building local awareness and a national set of materials to support our people and also people managers to support anyone in our firm dealing with the challenges of Huntington’s disease, directly or indirectly.”

“This partnership will not only provide support to our colleagues who need it, but it can also help our people better understand some of the challenges faced by colleagues with medical conditions or disability. We can also learn more about how to cope with family illness in our own lives. Each one of us has or will have issues in our families related to health to deal with; this is a great way for us to learn how to cope with that - by helping others.”

Alistair Haw, CEO of the Scottish Huntington’s Association, commented:

“This innovative partnership with Grant Thornton brings great opportunity for us to change lives and attitudes, especially in relation to young people who often become carers for their parents, whilst also dealing with the reality that they too are at risk of inheriting the devastating condition that unfolds in front of their eyes. We look forward to building a strong relationship with Grant Thornton, whose people have already demonstrated great commitment to our families by choosing Scottish Huntington’s Association as a charity partner. We’re hugely grateful and can’t wait to get started!”

Want to find out more about our other charity initiatives? Read more here →