Carmarthen Mayor Cllr Jeff Thomas visited on 24th July to open the charity’s new offices and draw the winning tickets in the Summer Raffle Draw.
Founded in 2001 and covering the whole of the UK, Cerebra has maintained its headquarters in Carmarthen. Cerebra moved to its new premises at the MacGregor Office Suite last month.
The event was a chance to celebrate the charity’s new headquarters as well as to hold their annual Summer Raffle Draw. The lucky prize winning tickets were drawn by Councillor Thomas.
Guests included local businesses, supporters of the charity and
colleagues as well as some of the families that the charity support.
Chris Jones, CEO of Cerebra said: “We are excited to announce the opening of our new offices which marks an exciting new time for Cerebra. The new offices are also significantly cheaper to lease, saving the charity a substantial amount of money in rent and running costs”.
Cerebra is a charity that supports children with brain conditions and their families. Families where a child has a brain condition face challenges every day. Just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy and experience the world can feel difficult, even impossible. But Cerebra believes there is no challenge that can’t be overcome.
Staff at Specsavers opticians have helped donate nearly £20,000 to us, following a year of fundraising.
39 Specsavers stores across south and mid Wales joined forces to raise as much as possible in one year for children with brain conditions, and their families.
By organising an array of activities, including bake sales, fancy dress days, cycle-thons and a climb to the top of South Wales’ highest peak, Pen y Fan, Specsavers has donated an impressive £19,121.54 to us.
Neil Robinson, West Wales regional chair for Specsavers said: ‘The support provided by Cerebra is, sadly, much-needed by many families across Wales. During our time working with Cerebra, we’ve learnt the advice and information it provides to families goes far beyond leaflet sharing. It offers practical help and guidance to families to get the financial and social support they so desperately need when raising a child with a brain condition.’
Since its creation in 2001,
provided support for families, including Imogen Ashwell-Lewis, a six-year-old
with cerebral palsy, who Specsavers helped reach the top of Pen y Fan for the first time during the charity
In addition to its support services and research work, Cerebra also has an Innovation Centre based within the University of Wales Trinity St David, where bespoke equipment is designed and created, free of charge, to make children’s lives easier.
During the partnership, Specsavers worked with the team at the Innovation Centre to help six-year-old Imogen Ashwell-Lewis, who has cerebral palsy, to climb Pen y Fan for the first time. A group of more than 40 people, including Specsavers staff, army staff and charity workers, helped Imogen summit south Wales’ highest peak.
Neil adds: ‘We’re proud to not only have donated money to Cerebra but create a lasting memory for Imogen and her family. It goes without saying that none of this would have been possible without the commitment of our staff, who have continued to fundraise for Cerebra, and the generosity of our local community for supporting our efforts.’
Terry Osborn, Income Generation at Cerebra, says: ‘It’s been brilliant to have the support of a national brand like Specsavers, and we are very grateful for the help stores across Wales have given to Cerebra over the past 12 months. Caring for children with brain injuries can put an immense amount of pressure on families, but the £20,000 raised will ensure life can be made just that bit easier for those we support.’
Christine Bunting, a lawyer from specialist Court of Protection law firm Hyphen Law, is about to take on the biggest challenge of her life as she prepares to trek to the world-famous Mount Everest Base Camp to fundraise for Cerebra.
The tough trek will involve climbing
the legendary Everest Trail to Base Camp a (literally) breath-taking 5,360
metres above sea level. To put this into perspective, the highest mountain in
the British Isles is Ben Nevis in Scotland stands at just 1,345 metres!
As a lawyer who has worked with many families of children with acquired brain injuries and other brain conditions over the years, Christine is passionate about raising awareness and much-needed funds for us.
Christine is delighted and
honoured to have received advice and support from renowned adventurer Sir David
Hempleman-Adams, the first person in history to reach the Geographic and
Magnetic North and South Poles as well as climb the highest peaks in all seven
continents, the ‘Adventurers’ Grand Slam’.
Christine will start her trek
from the southern side of Everest, putting more than 12 months of training into
practice to take on the epic hike. Her training regime has included borrowing a
Hypoxic Training Machine from the Altitude Centre to improve her fitness and to
help her adjust to the altitude she will be facing.
Christine is flying to
Kathmandu, Nepal to prepare for the adventure on 4 April and after a short
flight to Lukla Airport, rated the most dangerous airport in the world due to
its high terrain and steep drops, she will start her 13-day trek with fellow
climbers in the heart of the Himalayas.
She will begin a two-day walk to
the village of Namche Bazaar to begin acclimatising to the high altitude and
then trek for another two days to Dingboche to acclimatise further before
starting her four-day ascent to Everest Base Camp.
Christine said: “I love to get
out of my comfort zone for charity and in recent years I’ve skydived over
Salisbury Plain and wing walked on a 1940s Boeing Stearman biplane doing heart-stopping aerobatics to raise money for
Cerebra; but this is my biggest challenge to date!
“I can’t say I am looking
forward to the possibility of getting altitude sickness or the extreme cold – rumour
has it that it can reach minus 15 degrees at night – but while the trek will be
a significant physical and mental test for me, it’s nothing compared to the
challenges that families with children living with brain conditions deal with every
day of their lives.
“The climb to Everest Base Camp
will be an experience of a lifetime and to be able to do it while raising funds
for Cerebra’s tremendous work supporting children with brain conditions and
their families is a fantastic opportunity.”
Chris Jones, Chief Executive at
Cerebra said: “Families where a child has a brain condition face challenges
every day. Just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy and experience the world
can feel difficult, even impossible. But we don’t believe there’s any challenge
that can’t be overcome. We rely on the generosity of our supporters to fund our
work and so we are so very grateful to Christine for taking on yet another
challenge of her own and wish her a safe and successful trip”.
Christine is director of Hyphen Law,
a team of highly experienced specialist lawyers and support staff working
solely on Court of Protection cases relating to property and affairs and the
creation and management of personal injury trusts. The team works with clients,
case managers, solicitors, families and support teams to deliver services
tailored to their clients’ needs.
Our Innovation Centre and the work they do to help children take part in and enjoy life alongside their friends has been given a boost, thanks to a generous donation of £38,749 by South Wales Freemasons.
One of the many ways we support
children with brain conditions and their families is through our (CIC). At the
CIC, a small team of innovators design and build bespoke products to help
children overcome the challenges they inevitably face when taking part in
activities that non-disabled children may take for granted.
The generous grant will
contribute significantly to the salary costs for the Centre’s talented design
team for one year, ensuring that the Centre can continue to make a difference
to the lives of children across south Wales, and beyond.
Representatives from the
South Wales Province visited the Cerebra Innovation Centre on Monday 28th
January 2019 to learn more about the Centre’s innovative work and some of the
children who will directly benefit from their support.
One of the children they
met was two year old Amelie from Swansea who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy.
Before Christmas the team made a Bouncer for Amelie which has made a huge
difference to her daily life. The
Bouncer allows Amelie to move independently, something that she would otherwise
be unable to do. She loves the swinging sensation and can enjoy this while the
seating gives her all the postural support she needs. Mum Lucy explained that
Amelie loves her Bouncer as it allows her to move on her own and have fun. The
Bouncer also strengthens Amelie’s legs and core muscles so it’s great exercise
for her too.
Ten year old Bailey is
also from Swansea and has been enjoying the Spinning Pod that the Innovation
Centre designed and made for him. Bailey has a life threatening brain
condition, is blind and autistic. Bailey has a great love of music and really
enjoys bouncing and spinning – so the new chair is perfect for him. In the
chair Bailey feels safe and cocooned and can spin it himself which is great for
his independence and also for him to self-soothe when he feels frustrated. His
mum Charlie explained that that the chair is his new safe place and he spends a
lot of time in it playing the piano and with his toys. She added that it’s
‘Bailey proof’ – very sturdy and unbreakable!
and pupils from Ysgol Crug Las, a special needs school in Swansea taking pupils
from ages 3 – 19, also attended the event. Head teacher Clare Hobson explained that the
school has a close and long standing relationship with the Innovation Centre.
Terry Osborn, Cerebra’s Head of Income Generation, said “We’re very grateful to South Wales Freemasons for their generous grant, which will allow us to help hundreds of young people with cerebral palsy, autism and similar conditions to enjoy everyday life in the same way as everyone else.”
Rob Payne from South Wales Freemasons, said:
“I’m delighted we’re able to support
Cerebra, who do outstanding work helping some of the most vulnerable people in
our community to have access to the same opportunities and lifestyle as the
rest of us.”
You can find out more about the Cerebra Innovation Centre and view their whole product portfolio here.
CIC is a partnership
project with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and is based within
its Swansea College of Art.
This year we have been chosen to benefit from the Co-op Local Community Fund.
At a time when funds for charitable organisations are becoming more difficult to access, we are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to make real difference.
We are raising funds so that we can continue our work to help
families who have a child with a brain condition to discover a better life
together. Families who
have a child with a brain condition such as autism, cerebral palsy or Down’s
Syndrome face challenges every day. Just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy
and experience the world can feel difficult, even impossible. But we don’t
believe there’s any challenge that can’t be overcome.
Support from the Co-op Community Fund will help us to carry on supporting families like the Hoopers from Kidwelly. For seven-year-old Ryan Hooper and his family, getting a good night’s sleep was a constant struggle until they discovered Cerebra.
Ryan has Down’s syndrome and the
condition often causes poor or disturbed sleep, something that affected him and
had a knock-on effect on the whole family. When his mum, Vanessa, heard a
representative from Cerebra speak four years ago at a local Down’s syndrome
support group, she was keen to find out more about how the charity could help
her son. Helping him to get a better night’s sleep was at the top of her
Vanessa says “Cerebra’s sleep service
was invaluable to us. Whenever I called they’d answer my questions and reassure
me I could cope. The sleep practitioners helped us countless times and were
able to get us into a routine, which gave some normality to our daily life”.
To help raise the vital funds, we’ll be relying on Co-op
shoppers. Every time they buy Co-op own brand products they get a 5% reward for
themselves, and a further 1% goes to local causes like ours. Co-op members can
decide which local group they would like to back by going on-line at www.coop.co.uk/membership. We really
hope that people will visit the website and choose to support us.
If you’re not a member and would like to support us, you can
join at your local store or online at www.coop.co.uk.
When a community comes together we’re able to achieve great things, so we hope you can help promote our project.
Watch Vanessa explain what it’s like to have a child with a brain condition who doesn’t sleep well:
We held our Christmas raffle draw on Wednesday 19th December and had a very special guest do the honours.
Seven year-old Imogen has had an impressive year having climbed Pen y Fan with a little help from our Innovation Centre and it only seemed right that she should help us with this very important job!
We were also joined by Neil Robinson from Specsavers, who named us as their charity of the year in south and mid Wales and have done amazing for us over the course of the year.
We had our giant tombola filled with over 100,000 Christmas raffle tickets that our generous supporters had purchased and Imogen dived right in, choosing the three top prize winners and ten runners up.
The top three winning tickets are below and the rest will be available here soon. Check your tickets!
#Giving Tuesday is on November 27th and this year we’re celebrating the amazing work our Innovation Centre do to help children achieve their dreams, however big or small. Children like Imogen, who we helped to achieve her dream of making it to the top of south Wales’ highest peak. You can help us make even more children’s dreams a reality. A gift from you, whether large or small, will make a positive difference to a young person’s life. You can either text WISH07 £5 to 70070 to donate £5, or use the form at the bottom of this page to donate online. Thank you.
Six year old Imogen was born with cerebral palsy and needs a wheelchair to get about. She often can’t take part in activities that her friends take for granted. She wasn’t even allowed to take part in her school sports day. Like most children her age Imogen is lively and adventurous and her inability to get involved makes her feel frustrated, sad and lonely.
At Cerebra, we don’t believe there is any challenge that can’t be overcome. When our friends at Specsavers arranged a sponsored walk to the top of Pen-y-Fan, we thought ‘let’s see if we can take Imogen with us’.
Help us work wonders for children this #GivingTuesday
Our Innovation centre adapted a special four-wheeled mountain bike and, with support from a team of volunteers, Imogen showed grit, determination and stamina to make it to the top. The smile on her face says it all.
With your help we can make more children’s dream become a reality
Imogen’s mum, Catherine told us: “Imogen is thrilled and excited to have had this adventure. She’s never been able to do anything like this before because of her cerebral palsy. There have been so many times that she hasn’t been able to join in with physical activities which leaves her feeling left out. Being given the opportunity to do things a child her age should be able to do is a real boost to her confidence and self-esteem. she really is over the moon.
If they can dream big, they can do big – never accept it’s not possible!
Imogen’s next dream? To become a Paralympian. Watch this space!
#GivingTuesday is on 27th November and you can follow our conversation on our social media – we will be using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #Cerebra. We would also love to hear if you will be taking part in any fundraising – be sure to tag us! Please help us to make even more children’s dreams come true this #GivingTuesday.
Specsavers directors, team members and Cerebra staff with Imogen at the Pen y Fan summit
Six year old Imogen Ashwell-Lewis, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, reached the top of South Wales’ highest peak on Sunday 7 October in a specially-modified four-wheeled mountain bike.
She was joined by more than 40 people – including Specsavers staff from South and Mid Wales, charity workers and even army soldiers – some of whom were harnessed to her to help pull and push her along.
Imogen’s mum, Catherine, says: ‘Imogen is so thrilled and excited to have completed this climb. It’s only thanks to the team at Cerebra that she’s been able to have this adventure – she’s never been able to do anything like this before because of her cerebral palsy. There have been so many times that she hasn’t been able to join in with physical activities which leaves her feeling left out. Being able to do things like this is a real boost to her confidence and self-esteem. She really is over the moon.’
The Pen y Fan challenge was co-organised by Cerebra and staff at Specsavers stores in South and Mid Wales, as part of their year-long charity partnership. The opticians are raising funds for the Carmarthen-headquartered charity, which currently supports 4,500 families across Wales.
Neil Robinson, West Wales regional chair for Specsavers, says: ‘Imogen and her family are an inspiration to us all, as are the services and support Cerebra provides to them and many other families across Wales. Watching Imogen complete this challenge is something I won’t forget in a hurry. I’m proud of our staff for giving up their time to help Imogen and the charity achieve something wonderful.
Everyone who took part at the top of Pen y Fan
‘I’m thrilled we have been able to help raise awareness of the charity’s work, and hope it will lead to more young children with brain conditions discovering ways to live a better life with their families.’
In addition to our support services and research work, we also have an Innovation Centre based within the University of Wales Trinity St David, where bespoke equipment is designed and created, free of charge, to make children’s lives easier.
Imogen’s bike was a specially-modified four wheeled downhill mountain bike, designed and made predominantly for use by disabled people. It was created by Calvin Williams of Project ENDURO – a collaboration between experts at Swansea University, Gower College Swansea and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Project ENDURO kindly loaned the bike to Imogen for the climb and designers at our Innovation Centre made modifications to give Imogen the support she needed. Project ENDURO was supported by AgorIP, based at Swansea University’s School of Management, who are part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Terry Osborn, acting Head of Corporates, Trusts and Legacies at Cerebra, says: ‘We’re delighted to have joined the Specsavers team for the Pen y Fan climb. To be able to take Imogen with is us was a privilege and really does demonstrate that we don’t believe there is any challenge that can’t be overcome.
‘The invaluable fundraising support from Specsavers means that our Innovation Centre will be able to help more children to overcome their challenges and discover the world around them.’
This video shows Imogen reaching the top of Pen y Fan:
We would like to say a huge thank you to Cheryl Phillips, the Store Manager at TKMaxx Carmarthen. She applied for a TKMaxx community fund grant for Cerebra and we were given a fantastic donation of £1,000!
Cheryl said: “I’m delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile local charity!”
The cheque was presented to Terry Osborn, our Acting Head of Corporates, Trusts and Legacies and Amanda Tapp, one of our Fundraisers.