Volunteers Needed for Research Study

EU-AIMS study

EU-AIMS study

European Autism Interventions – A Multicentre Study for Developing New Medications (EU-AIMS) are looking for volunteers to take part in exciting new research.

Their latest study will be looking at brain development and behaviour in both the general population and in people with autism spectrum disorder.

They are looking for children, young people and adults aged 12 – 30 years old to take part in their research.

The study will involve online questionnaires as well as two half-day visits to the Institute of Psychiatry in London. The visits would include in-person tasks and tests , a brain scan and a blood or saliva sample.

If you would like any further information, please contact eu-aims@kcl.ac.uk or 02078480844.

You can also visit their website here: www.eu-aims.eu

Toddle, Waddle, Run with Team Cerebra!

You may have already started following Cerebra mascot Sir E. Bear’s progress as he trains for the Swansea Mascot Race. Now, he is being joined by two new team mates making up team Toddle, Waddle, Run! as part of Cerebra’s Cardiff Half Marathon effort.

This year’s Cardiff Half Marathon is made up of several smaller events as well as the half marathon itself including a toddler race and the mascot run during which Sir E. Bear will be doing his best to waddle to victory!

Lucy getting ready to run

Lucy getting ready to run

Our team toddle entrant is 20 month – old Lucy from Cardiff. This toddling princess is getting ready to toddle the 100 metre in style and is aiming to be the best dressed toddler on the day!

Our runner who will be completing the whole 13.1 miles is Sarah Robey – Cerebra’s very own Trust Fundraiser. Sarah is no stranger to running long distances having just completed the Severn Bridge and  Chippenham half marathons within seven days. She will now be taking a rest to get herself ready to represent Cerebra and Team Toddle, Waddle, Run.

Sir E. Bear gearing up for the mascot run

Sir E. Bear gearing up for the mascot run

Finally, Sir E. Bear will be representing Team Waddle. What Sir E. Bear lacks in waddling skill, he makes up for in enthusiasm and has set himself the admirable goal of not coming last this year!

Team Toddle, Waddle, Run would appreciate your support ahead of race weekend. The toddler and mascot races take place on 3rd October and the half marathon itself is on the 4th October. Everyone is welcome to come down and cheer them on!


If you would like to sponsor the team you can do so by texting CERE12 and the amount you would like to donate to 70070, by calling 01267 244221 or donating through Just Giving using the button below.

Donate with JustGiving


Families join us for ThinkTank day out

Holly, Poppy and Amber with mum Katherine

Holly, Poppy and Amber with mum Katherine

Over 200 families recently enjoyed an exciting day out to Birmingham’s ThinkTank with Cerebra and Regional Officer Jenny Maher. Parents of children with brain conditions were given free entry to the award-winning science museum, as well as tickets to the planetarium cinema.

Families were able to interact with over 200 hands-on exhibitions from steam engines and talking robots through to the human body and a chocolate wrapping machine. The attraction was chosen for its accessibility and appeal for children with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties.

Cerebra staff were on hand to give out tickets and ensure fast-track access to ThinkTank. They were also helped by ThinkTank staff who gave out maps and directions, as well as recommending different attractions based to suit all tastes.

Some of the feedback from the day:

“Once we arrived the Cerebra Staff were very friendly and professional.”

“We all had a fabulous day out.”

“We had a marvelous day. No queuing and straight into the planetarium. Very impressive and we are ever so grateful. Free parking too with a blue badge and access was fab.”

“We found it to be well organised once we arrived.  We appreciated the information given and found it to be well sign posted. ThinkTank itself was large enough to hold the kids attention but not so big that it tired out our son as he finds walking long distances difficult.  We are definitely planning to visit again.”

“We had a really good day. Staff had time to talk to parents regarding other issues as well. I would recommend your services to others.”

“I wanted to say a big thank you: myself, my son and our friends had a great day at ThinkTank and want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to go. Everyone was helpful.”

Families have fun at Eureka day out

Child playing in giant mouthOn the 27th of August, the sun was shining and 55 parents, carers and children had a fantastic day trip to Eureka interactive science museum in Halifax. The trip was organised by Cerebra Regional Officer Laura Murphy.

Families arrived for 10am, when they were able to explore the museum at their own pace, enjoying different rooms such as ‘all about me’ where families were able to interactively learn more about their senses, their bodies and also measure how far they can stretch and jump. There were also plenty of sensory areas with bubble tubes, dark rooms with star lights twinkling, and plenty of things to touch and play with!

There were plenty of opportunities for the kids to role play, with a very lifelike M&S where children could pretend to be shopkeepers, a bank and a post office where children could deliver letters!

After a fun filled couple of hours, everyone was able to sit and have a buffet lunch. This was a great time for everyone to meet and get to know each other. There was also plenty of food including cakes and biscuits.

Once everyone had finished lunch, it was back to the museum for more exploring. As it was a beautiful sunny day some families also chose to enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine whilst children played in the large sandpit outdoors.

At 2pm came our organised activities, exclusively for Cerebra members! This was a great opportunity for families to enjoy themselves in a much less crowded environment. In the conservatory there was den building (which got quite competitive!) and there were some fantastic looking dens. There was also face painting, which Regional Officer Laura couldn’t help but join in with and ended up painting 4 or 5 children’s faces!

In the imagination space there were arts and crafts for Cerebra families. There were loads of crafty activities laid out plus plenty of sensory fun including a tub of jelly water, shapeable foam and a very strange type of play doh that turned to liquid! Families could make their own snow, paint paper stuck to the walls and get as messy as they wanted!

Families were able to wander between both these activities aswell as enjoying the museum if they didn’t fancy either of these. The fun activities lasted until 3:30, so gave everyone plenty of time to enjoy everything.

Speaking to some of the families during the day everyone said how wonderful a day it was. As the day went on the museum got quieter, which allowed some families to enjoy the museum that couldn’t when it was too busy. One family said ‘with his attention being very short and him not able to focus any length of time nor wait, it was perfect, as it was quiet as he flitted from one thing to another. He really liked it it was nice to see him smile.’

Another parent commented ‘Just want to say thank you for today the kid’s absolutely enjoyed themselves’

Another parent said: ‘A well planned day, well thought out with the extra activities that were put on, especially the Sensory play was a great hit! Educating, interactive and fun day!’

Mother and Daughter take part in Colour Run

Laura and Diane after they completed the colour run

Laura and Diane after they completed the colour run

Mother and daughter team Diane and Laura Hamilton recently took part in the 5k Colour Run in Belfast in order to raise money for two charities – New Hope and Cerebra.

The pair heard about Cerebra through the work of Jean Wilson who is one of our ambassadors and wanted to do what they could to raise our profile in Northern Ireland.

They trained hard in the run up to the big day with Diane upping her walking to include walking with her sister in law and their lively spaniel!

Diane was both excited and nervous about taking part in the Colour Run as she has done sponsored walks in the past but never anything quite like this!

She needn’t have worried though because even the weather cleared up on the day, making conditions perfect for both women to give it their all!

“We were amazed by the number of people there, the atmosphere was fantastic and even some of the members of the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) got a little bit covered as people passed them on the way to the finish line!” Laura said.

We are still waiting for a final total but they have so far raised over £100 for each charity, with more to come. If you would like to support them, you can do so through their Just Giving page.

If you would like to hear about how you can get involved and raise money for Cerebra, take a look at our Community Fundraising page or contact 01267 244221.

Follow Sir E. Bear’s training progress

Cerebra’s mascot Sir E. Bear is always ready to fly the flag for us.

In the last few years this brave bear has risen to the challenge and taken part in the Swansea and Cardiff mascot races. He’s done his very best but bears are not built for running and he came last.

This year he has started his training early and we’re going to be following his progress in a series of videos.

We hope you enjoy!

The Swansea mascot race is Sir E. Bear’s first challenge and takes place on 20th September. The Cardiff mascot race a couple of weeks later on 3rd October.

Sir E. Bear needs your help! He’s trying to raise money for Cerebra through his challenges and needs you to sponsor him! Sponsoring is quick and easy, just:

Text CERE12 and the amount you would like to donate to 70070.

Thank you!

Ellie gets her new garden!

Ellie and Nicola in their new garden

Ellie and Nicola in their new garden

A little while ago, we told the story of Ellie who was hoping to win a competition from website MyBuilder.com to have a garden makeover.

Winning the competition would mean that wheelchair user Ellie, who has Cerebral Palsy, would be able to get out into her garden and enjoy the benefits of being in the great outdoors!

As part of the competition, MyBuilder searched high and low for Britain’s Worst Garden and receiving hundreds of entries. Each was as deserving as the next, detailing woes of gardens forgotten and neglected in the face of tragic life events from nearly fatal heart attacks, terminal illnesses and life‐limiting disabilities to divorces and financial difficulties.

Mum Nicola Machin entered the competition hoping to give her daughter Ellie, who suffers from cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and epilepsy, a safe place to play outside. She had no idea that a month later she would beat over 200 other entries and receive nearly 1,400 votes to win a £1,000 prize towards a new garden.

“I had an email in my inbox saying ‘would you like to win a £1,000 towards your garden’? I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try. I took Ellie outside to take a picture and entered it on the website. The response was phenomenal, I didn’t expect to get that many votes, I was expecting something like 50‐60 votes, not a 1,000 plus! Ellie obviously struck a chord but there were loads of other entries that deserved to win, we’re just really lucky to be chosen. She has been so excited to have a garden where she can go out and play ‘dirt’ as she calls it, and to pot her flowers,” Nicola said.

Ellie’s story really did strike a chord with the voters. She couldn’t move around her garden because the slabs weren’t wide enough to accommodate her wheelchair. Local parks or the gardens of friends weren’t options either, as they weren’t always disability‐accessible. Playing outside, something crucial to a child’s development and happiness, was something Ellie was greatly missing out on.

The garden took five days to create and was no easy task, but with the help of MyBuilder tradesman Chris Gilbert and many other generous local businesses, the project came together.

Ryan Notz, CEO and Founder MyBuilder.com said: “The aim of the Grand for your Garden competition was to transform someone’s life, not just create a beautiful new garden. Selecting a winner was extremely difficult as there were so many touching stories that deserved to win. In the end we chose Nicola and Ellie because they had so much public support, and it was a chance to improve the lives of a single parent family who have to live with a significant disability everyday.”

Below are some photos of the garden before, during and after.