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At Stick ‘n’ Step we believe in doing one thing and doing it well. And our one thing is supporting children and young people with cerebral palsy and their families.
We offer free weekly conductive education group sessions to children and young people from across the North West. Delivered from our specialised centres in Runcorn and Wallasey, the sessions are designed to help each child to reach their personal potential in terms of their confidence, mobility and independence.
Every child works towards their own set of personalised goals which are all designed to translate into movements, techniques and strategies that will help in real life.
From moving around independently, to improving self-feeding, learning to use the toilet on their own and tying shoelaces – everything we do is designed to reduce each child’s dependency on other people, and to give them the best chances of living a full and independent life.
It costs £5,500 per child, per year to provide access to weekly or twice weekly Conductive Education sessions and in the region of £600,000 to deliver our services annually.
We rely completely on the generosity of local people, grant-making trusts, communities and businesses like those based at Sci-Tech Daresbury to support the work we do.
We want to ensure that all families in the North West of England, regardless of financial position, are able to access the support and services they need.
This is the 3rd year (2022) that we will be partnering with Sci-Tech Daresbury and during this time, we hope to achieve our target of raising £30,000.
To help us reach our target we would like to engage with as many people as possible who work on campus at Sci-Tech Daresbury to take on a team-building activity, challenge or initiative and help raise money on our behalf.
If would like to find out more about events and fundraising opportunities, please contact Joanne Fowler at Stick ‘n Step via email: Joanne@sticknstep.org or by calling 01928 573 777.
If you would like to make a donation of any amount to Stick ‘n’ Step you can do this by visiting the Sci-Tech Daresbury Just Giving page HERE
For more information about the services that Stick ‘n’ Step provide visit our website HERE.
Twelve year old Harley lives in North Wales and has been attending Stick ‘n’ Step for almost 7 years. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged 11 months after his parents, Jonny and Christina realised he was struggling to crawl due to his fist being clenched most of the time. Jonny said “Harley was referred for an MRI scan after we had expressed our initial concerns and it really was a huge bombshell when we were given the news. I think the consultant gave us the worst possible scenario which included telling us that Harley’s growth and social skills might be affected due his type of cerebral palsy, schizencephaly. Thankfully neither of those predications have come to fruition.”
Harley was having physiotherapy at Rhuddlan Children’s centre when his parents first heard about Stick ‘n’ Step and after making some enquiries about the charity and about Conductive Education (CE) generally, they took Harley to the Wallasey centre for an initial assessment when he was 6 years old. At this point Harley was unable to sit up unaided and when asked what his initial expectations were from the CE programme, Jonny said “I just hoped we would be able to get some further help towards strengthening Harley’s muscles so that one day he might be able to become more mobile. The physiotherapy he was getting involved standard exercises but after talking to the team at Stick ‘n’ Step I realised the big difference here is that all the children work towards a personalised programme of activities to suit their own set of individual needs. I was also encouraged by the fact that I felt that CE would provide a better opportunity for Harley to improve his speech and communication skills.”
Harley’s right side is more mobile than his left, and he is unable to use his left hand which affects his balance. Jonny remembers with pride Harley’s first memorable milestone which was when he watched Harley sit up on his own without any support. He said “It was just wonderful to see, especially as Harley was obviously so pleased with himself, which made it even more special.”
Harley has the most amazing and infectious smile ever and other achievements have included him learning to take his own socks and his top off, simple tasks that most people take for granted, but which were huge things for Harley to learn. When he first managed to stand up from a sitting position, the classroom team clearly remembers his beaming smile! He is always such a happy boy, but is even happier when he has achieved another one of his goals. Jonny added “Harley’s speech and confidence have come on massively since he started coming to Stick ‘n’ Step. He now has the confidence to put his hand up in school to answer questions, and is prepared to argue his case if he knows he is right. He wants to have a go at anything and everything. I am just so pleased that we discovered the charity when we did, otherwise I am sure Harley would not have progressed in the way he has without his CE programme. He is a really sociable child who despite his communication difficulties loves meeting people and enjoys being around people all the time.” Being in a class at Stick ‘n’ Step and working alongside his peers to achieve their goals and objectives is one of the things that Harley loves most about coming to Stick ‘n’ Step. He enjoys school too and although coming to Stick ‘n’ Step twice a week involves him missing several lessons of Maths (his favourite subject) but the school are happy to support Harley’s CE programme and have arranged for extra tuition to ensure he doesn’t miss out.
Harleys’ legs are extremely stiff and tight and he has had botox injections in his upper thigh and groin in an effort to prevent his hips moving out of place. However, later this year Harley is due to undergo an operation to realign his hips which will entail a 12-month recovery period. Although he isn’t exactly looking forward it, Harley appreciates it is a necessary procedure to help him in the long term, and in keeping with his personality, is looking at it from a positive perspective. Because he really enjoys using his computer and iPad he’ll now have more time to use the computer and the opportunity to further develop his communication skills using one of the voice command apps that he has installed on his tablet.
Such is Harley’s determination to let nothing stand in the way of him enjoying life and fulfilling his ambitions he told his Dad earlier this year that he would like them to do a Triathlon together. It came as a bit of a shock to Jonny who, although physically fit having previously run the London Marathon, was not a swimmer. Jonny said “I could float but had never swum a full length before so had to learn to swim properly to enable me to agree to my son’s request. To add to the pressure I only had 8 weeks to learn as the Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon in Cheshire in July was the event that Harley had set his heart on us doing.” Having contacted the organisers it was agreed that the two of them could take part with Jonny doing the swim pulling Harley along in an inflatable boat behind him, the 22km cycle part of the challenge was completed with Harley’s specially adapted trike attached with a bar to Jonny’s bike, and for the final 4k run Jonny pushed Harley in his wheelchair. At about 50 yards before the finish line Jonny got Harley out of the wheelchair and he and a colleague Josh helped Harley to walk over the finish line. Jonny said “I was absolutely exhausted, it had been a pretty tough course but the cheer of the crowds and the knowledge that Harley was loving it so much, kept me going. I was extremely emotional at the end but Harley’s beaming smile when he got his medal made it all worth it. Harley said he was ‘super happy’…..and so was I.”
Having set their original target at £4,500 Jonny and Harley eventually raised an amazing £13,500 which will cover the cost of three child places for 12 months.
Harley never lets his disability affect his outlook on life. He is prepared to have a go at most things! He has already told his Dad he wants to start driving, get a car, have his own house and have children…… Harley certainly is a very focused 12 year old! But before all that, he and Jonny are busy planning their next adventure which will probably take place in 2020. They are considering several options, and not being someone that likes to do things by half, one of Harley’s suggestions is to walk a section of the Great Wall of China! Watch this space!
In summing up the impact that Stick ‘n’ Step has made to Harley and the family Jonny said “It’s made a massive difference. Stick ‘n’ Step gave us hope when we didn’t have any. We felt lost walking home from the hospital that day without any support or clear idea of how to cope. Stick ‘n’ Step has already proved that Harley can overcome some of the effects of his disabilities and I know they will continue to support him to achieve his agreed goals and targets, enabling him to reach his full potential and lead a full and happy life. The charity provided us with a vital support network when we needed it most and introduced us other families who have become a whole new group of friends.