Stick ‘n’ Step has transformed Charlie’s life

Four-year-old Charlie Sankey from Wallasey is one of hundreds of youngsters with cerebral palsy to have benefited from the work of the Stick ‘n’ Step charity.

The charity has just been awarded £82,698 from the Community Match Challenge Fund, which will pay for four staff salaries between October 2020 to March 2021 as well as funding important building and renovation work to their Runcorn centre. 

When Charlie was born he wasn’t breathing and spent the first two weeks of his life in intensive care. 

Mum Leanne realised Charlie wasn’t developing at the same rate that his older sister Evie had and eventually he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

At the age of two Charlie and Leanne joined the parent and child group at Stick ‘n’ Step in Wallasey and haven’t looked back.

When Covid struck specialist equipment was delivered to the family home as Charlie’s programme moved to Zoom and he never missed a session. 

Trusts and grants fundraiser Janet Ratcliffe said Charlie is typical of the youngsters who have been using Stick ‘n’ Step for nearly 20 years.

It was set up in Wallasey in 2002 and has gone from strength-to-strength, prompting them to open a second centre in Runcorn three years ago with help from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The charity uses conductive education techniques pioneered in Hungary to help improve young people’s mobility and cognitive learning.

Trusts and grants fundraiser Janet Ratcliffe said: “We teach key life skills that most of us would take for granted; things like learning to walk, talk, dress/undress, use the toilet independently, self-feeding and grasping a pencil etc. 

“Our mission is to enable, inspire and support the  children and young people we work with. We also provide a valuable support network for their families.  We provide all our services free of charge as we believe that a child’s chance of overcoming some of the effects of cerebral palsy should never be linked to whether or not their family can afford to pay.” 

Janet added: “As a result of the pandemic our community, corporate and event fundraising income has been reduced considerably. We receive no government funding and rely totally on voluntary donations to keep our services running.”

She said the £82,698 grant from the Community Match Challenge Fund had given everyone peace of mind.

“Having part of the grant to support the building work at our Runcorn centre means that we can make the fire exit route safer with easier wheelchair access,” she said.

“When lockdown hit, these plans had to be put on the back burner, but this grant has now given us the opportunity to start the project.”

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