Tag Archives: Specsavers

Caldicot girl with cerebral palsy climbs South Wales’ highest peak

Specsavers directors, team members and Cerebra staff with Imogen at the Pen y Fan summit

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

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:

 

Ryan’s story

Ryan and Taran Hooper at our Specsavers partnership launch event

Ryan and Taran Hooper at our Specsavers partnership launch event

We are extremely excited to have been named Specsavers’ charity of the year for Wales this year. As part of this, we are looking at the stories of some of the families that we have helped in Wales.

For six-year-old Ryan Hooper and his family, getting a good night’s sleep was a constant struggle until they discovered UK charity Cerebra.

Ryan, from Kidwelly, 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 wish-list.

‘Cerebra’s sleep service was invaluable to us,’ she says. ‘Whenever I would call 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.’

Vanessa is keen to promote awareness, and reduce the stigma, of Down’s syndrome and other brain conditions. As part of a larger group, Vanessa even climbed Pen y Fan at night to raise awareness and funds for the charity, and has since become an ambassador for Cerebra.

‘It’s thanks to businesses such as Specsavers, in addition to others that help raise funds and awareness, that Cerebra is able to help so many families like it has mine,’ she says. ‘It’s hard to think what life would be like had we not received the support from Cerebra, it would be a lot more hectic to say the least.

‘I’m proactive in raising awareness about Cerebra and its services, as well as awareness about brain conditions like Ryan’s. I want to remind the world that Ryan isn’t a lovely little boy with Down’s syndrome, he’s just a lovely little boy.’

You can find out more about our Specsavers partnership here.

Specsavers Name Cerebra as their Charity of the Year for Wales

Imogen

Specsavers has donated £10,000 to Cerebra to mark the start of a year-long fundraising partnership.

The optician’s 39 stores across south and mid Wales are joining forces to raise additional funds for Cerebra’s support services and research work, with plans afoot for fancy dress days and a 220-mile cycle-thon.

The donation was presented to our chief executive, Chris Jones, on 15 February when Specsavers staff from across the region visited Cerebra’s Innovation Centre in Swansea. During the visit, staff saw products the team have designed to make life easier, more inclusive and fun for children with brain conditions and also met with three families we support to see first-hand how its services are positively impacting on families in Wales and the rest of the UK. You can read their stories here:

A spokesperson from Specsavers said: ‘Cerebra is a remarkable charity that does incredible work to improve the lives of children with brain conditions, which we saw first-hand at the launch of this partnership.

‘The advice and information it provides to families goes far beyond leaflet sharing, with the charity giving practical help and guidance to families to help them get the financial and social support they need. It empowers families with the information they need to make their own decisions and solve any problems and issues they face.

‘We’re always striving to support organisations making a positive impact on our community and Cerebra is doing just that. We always enjoy raising money for charity and can’t wait to build on that initial £10,000 donation with our neighbouring Specsavers stores”.

Chris Jones, chief executive of Cerebra, says: ‘Families where a child has a brain condition face challenges every day – just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy and experience the world can be difficult, even impossible. But we don’t believe there is any challenge that can’t be overcome, and we are dedicated to helping families discover a better life together. We are very grateful to Specsavers for their generous support and are excited that they joining us on this rewarding journey to work wonders for children with brain conditions.’