A WIRRAL charity helping children with cerebral palsy needs Globe readers' support for its 10th anniversary fundraising campaign.
Formed in 2002 by parents of children with the condition, Stick’n’Step opened in New Ferry and moved to its current home, a former doctors’ surgery in Liscard, two years ago.
The organisaton helps children through a programme of intensive, individualised therapy known as conductive education.
Annual running costs are £250,000 and its Sparkle Appeal will be launched later this month in a bid to reach this year’s target.
The campaign opens with a Stick’n’Step Sparkle Challenge, when children will dress up in sparkly clothing.
A Big Band concert, featuring Wirral Schools Big Band at Oldershaw Academy in Wallasey, takes place on January 21. Other events, including wine tasting and a fashion show are also planned.
Kerry Roe-Ely, the centre’s fundraising manager, told the Globe: "We want to do something special, because it’s quite an achievement to have been going for 10 years.
“We wanted a name that would stand out and Sparkle is appropriate; because we bring Sparkle into children’s lives and they give it back.”
While taking part in the programme children learn to sit up, some learn to walk, others learn to run. All gain in self esteem. The charity provides its services free of charge.
The group chose the name Stick’n’Step, because as Kerry explained: “When a child learns to use walking aids, they are told to ‘stick, then step’.
“We help them with mobility, but it’s much more than that. It looks at the child as a whole; their communication, balance, co-ordination and interaction with friends.
“One thing for a child with cerebral palsy is that they can be quite isolated and can have difficulty speaking.
“If they’re in a wheelchair they might not be able to play with other kids, so we’re trying to help them not only walk but interact with others. It’s so rewarding to work here and see the progress that they make. These kids work so hard and it’s so hard not to be affected by it.
“We started with seven children and now have 70. Our oldest children are getting ready to leave us and go off to university or do other things. We take them up to the age of 18.
“These children have been with us since they were tiny and we’ve watched them grow over the years, so it’s quite emotional to see them leave. We’ve got new children coming in.”
The group gets no government or NHS funding, so relies on charitable grants and public donations. Celebrity supporters include Liverpool captain Stephen Gerrard, who donated £5,000 during the summer.
In July, the organisation was awarded a £6,000 grant from high street bank NatWest’s "CommunityForce". It is also charity of the year for Sainsbury’s in Prenton.
Tickets for the Big Band concert at Oldershaw Academy, which starts at 7.30pm, are from Kerry Roe-Ely on 0151 638 0888.
For more details on the planned fundraising events visit www.sticknstep.org