04 Jun 2020
Cerebral Palsy Cymru, formerly known as Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales, has outgrown its current premises in Whitchurch. In 2017 the charity was invited to apply for a £1.5 million grant from The Moondance Foundation’s Big Give; £750,000 of which was for a capital project. As the application was successful, they subsequently applied for a further £1.5 million grant from the Welsh Government in 2019, to secure a suitable building to adapt so that they could grow and offer their services to even more children and their families.
At its current Centre, the charity struggles with just five therapy rooms which also have to double up for courses, meetings and family support, so is in dire need of a new building.
The 13,461 sq. ft. new building in Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, which was previously office accommodation, needs to be renovated but is twice the size of the current centre. When complete, it will provide 8 much-needed, therapy rooms, an Independent Living Suite and crucially, a dedicated family support room. The upstairs area will provide office space and teaching facilities.
With help from Harding Evans Solicitors, who acted on their behalf, Cerebral Palsy Cymru bought the new building in The Courtyard, and completed on it just days before the UK went into lockdown.
Since then, the charity, which employs over 50 staff in its therapy centre and charity shops and supports over 600 families across Wales, has continued to deliver its vital services via online video consultations – but has had to close the centre and all five shops across south Wales, furlough 70 percent of its staff and cancel all of its upcoming fundraising events, including its Superhero Fun Run and Birthday Ball, resulting in a major loss in revenue.
As Jennifer Carroll, Cerebral Palsy Cymru’s Centre Director, explains, at a time which should have been a real milestone for the charity, the celebrations have been much more muted.
“These are very strange times for us, as you can imagine. We were thrilled to finally be able to afford and find new premises after being based in our existing building for almost thirty years. The move to a new centre was meant to signal the start of our exciting new expansion plans as it will see us being able to offer vital therapy to even more children from across Wales, in newly refurbished, attractive, comfortable surroundings, without constantly having to battle over available space. The building gives us huge potential for growth so we were obviously excited about what the future would hold for us as a charity.
“The purchase of the new building went very smoothly but literally as we completed, Covid-19 hit the UK and we were in lockdown, which saw our revenue nose-dive almost overnight. Ordinarily, donations and fundraising provide 80% of the funds that are needed to run the Centre and deliver our services but all the usual activities have had to be cancelled so we are really worried about the effect that this will inevitably have on our children and families in the future as our services are reduced.
“We have sold our current Centre and will move into the new premises by November, as planned, but depending on funding, it looks likely that we will only be able to afford a partial refurbishment initially.
“We are currently running an emergency appeal to help us through these worrying times and hope that people are able to support us so that we can continue to help children and families living with cerebral palsy.”
Mike Jenkins, head of commercial property at Harding Evans, who acted on behalf of Cerebral Palsy Cymru in the purchase of the property, said:
“At Harding Evans, we have had an ongoing relationship with this important charity for over 15 years and always support them in any way we can, so we were really pleased to be able to assist them with the legal aspects of the purchase of their new premises. It really is the perfect site for them and we know that the team were all really looking forward to the move to start the next chapter in their growth.
“Like many other charities across Wales, Covid-19 has clearly had a significant effect on Cerebral Palsy Cymru. Its services are so vitally needed by the families of children with cerebral palsy who live here in Wales and would otherwise have to travel to London for their treatment, so they really need everyone’s continued donations and support. We wish them all the very best and will continue to support them in any way we can.”
Anyone wishing to support Cerebral Palsy Cymru’s emergency Coronavirus appeal can donate by visiting www.cerebralpalsycymru.org/donate-to-help or calling 029 20522600.
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