Cerebral palsy charity prepares to reopen its centres

A charity which supports children with cerebral palsy is preparing to reopen its centres after receiving a second grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Stick ‘n’ Step was set up in Wallasey in 2002 and became so popular they opened a second centre in Runcorn three years ago with help from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Cerebral palsy is a group of permanent movement disorders and symptoms often include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles and tremors.

The charity, which uses conductive education techniques pioneered in Hungary to help improve young people’s mobility and cognitive learning skills, was forced to put a halt to their one-to-one sessions because of Covid-19.

Stick ‘n’ Step doesn’t receive any government funding and needs to raise £660,000 year to cover its costs but found its fundraising badly hit by the pandemic.

The Steve Morgan Foundation awarded the charity £21,000 in April to allow their conductors to carry out virtual remote sessions through video tutorials and phone consultations.

“We didn’t want to undermine the progress the children had made and the virtual sessions have been vital in maintaining contact,” said Janet Ratcliffe, Trusts and Grants Fundraiser at Stick ‘n’ Step.

The charity plans to reopen its centres in Wallasey and Runcorn in September and was awarded a second grant of £17,788 from the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund.

Janet said: “We can’t begin to thank the Steve Morgan Foundation enough. We provide all our services for free and Covid-19 really squeezed our ability to fundraise.

“The bulk of our funding received in the last four months has come from emergency grants like the two from the Steve Morgan Foundation and we’re indebted to their generosity.

“A number of the parents have stepped in to do some fundraising. One Mum raised £4,000 by shaving her head while another one ran the equivalent of a half marathon around her garden after the Chester half marathon was cancelled.

“Throughout the pandemic we’ve managed to maintain our connections with the children and we’ve really missed seeing them. Instead of face-to-face sessions we’ve been able to run one-on-one sessions online and group classes via Facebook Live.

“The classes run in term time so we’re now making plans to re-open in September but we’ll be following the educational setting guidelines regarding social distancing and we’ll be introducing additional precautionary measures because our children are vulnerable.”

Jane Harris, regional fundraising director at the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “We have a long association with Stick ‘n’ Step and it’s absolutely vital that they’re able to carry on supporting the young people they help.”

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