One in a million: Katie Cooke

Katie Cooke is one in a million. 

The 11-year-old is one of the one million people already helped by the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund since it was launched in March 2020. Here’s his story:

Katie Cooke never had a friend of her own until she went to Central Cheshire Buddy Scheme (CCBS), which was founded in 2004 and has grown from 10 children and one club to supporting 136 children and running nine clubs.

The 11-year-old from Crewe has a range of learning difficulties, including autism, epilepsy and global developmental delay (GDD).

Her mum Rebecca said her youngest daughter used to tag along with her older sisters Holly, 14, and Charlotte, 13, but never got invited to a friend’s house on her own.

“Katie goes to a special school in Crewe and it was through them that I found out about the Central Cheshire Buddy Scheme,” she said. “We went to an open day and immediately found it really helpful.

“The Cheshire Buddy Scheme gave Katie her independence and she formed her own friends. It’s given her confidence and she’s developed new hobbies. It’s been life-changing.”

Before Covid-19 she used to attend the charity twice a week to go swimming and take part in a monthly club where they would do activities and go on excursions in a Steve Morgan Foundation Smiley Bus.

When Covid-19 struck the charity applied to the Steve Morgan Foundation and were awarded £7,340 to fund a support worker to maintain links with families during coronavirus.

Rebecca said: “It’s made such a difference. Cheshire Buddies have been coming round and bringing activity packs for all three girls while observing the rules on social distancing.

“They also referred us to a food bank which has made such a difference. They’re the best charity to ever help us.”

Philanthropist and businessman Steve Morgan announced in March he would be giving up to £1m a week to charities in Merseyside, North Wales and Cheshire faced with a cashflow crisis as a result of Covid-19.

In the first eight weeks the Covid-19 Emergency Fund has made more than 400 awards to frontline charities – including the Central Cheshire Buddy Scheme – helping over one million people in the process.

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