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National Disability Sport Organisation Cerebral Palsy Sport (CP Sport) is celebrating its 20th year this March, the anniversary coinciding with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.

‘Twenty Miles This March’ is a new Facebook fundraising campaign created to mark the 20th year of the charity and with the ambition to reach a new audience of fundraisers in support of the charities work, which is as important as ever during this pandemic.

Why this fundraising is important

Research by the Activity Alliance shows disabled people’s lives have been the hardest hit by COVID-19. Accounting for two-thirds of the deaths from coronavirus, this is a national crisis for public health and one that is being felt most sharply by disabled people. It has led to many disabled people, who count for one in five of the population, feeling more fearful and ignored. *

Exercise is great for maintaining a healthy body and mind whether we are disabled or not, however it’s the barriers that disabled people face that mean they are often less likely to be active. CP Sport strive to improve the health and emotional wellbeing of people with cerebral palsy through physical activity, and engaging the community in a number of programmes and intervention.

During lockdown CP Sport have continued to work hard to help keep people with cp active and connected through free virtual cafes, virtual challenges with expert coaches and speakers and equipment rental services with ongoing support.

One Mum said of her daughter who has cp

“From attending the first lockdown cafe she got to know the other participants, found her voice, joined the Superhero event and wanted to take part in the virtual challenge.  She found her smile again and gained confidence from being part of an organisation that cares. As her Mum I am so very grateful to you all, you helped her through what has been a very hard time.”

It is important that everyone has access to sport and physical activities and that everyone has the choice to take part in any sport or activity they are interested in. Research has shown that the majority of disabled people want to be active but don’t know how to get started or where the opportunities are. CP Sport are working to break down these barriers through education and training.

How to get involved

CP Sport are encouraging all members of the public to get involved in ‘Twenty Miles This March’ and help CP Sport reach and encourage more children and young people with cerebral palsy into being physically active.

Anyone can take part. 20 miles of running is the challenge for the month of March, however participants can tailor it to suit them whether that’s walking, pushing or a going for a different distance. And there is the whole month to complete it.

For those people who are on Facebook they can simply join our Facebook group and follow the steps to start fundraising. Alternatively for those not on Facebook it’s easy to set up a Just Giving page or simply make a donation to CP Sport.   You can also find our ‘club’ on Strava here if you use that app.

Once participants have set up a fundraising page they can register for a t-shirt. CP Sport will send a medal to those who raise more than £200.

Reflecting on the 20 year milestone CP Sport COO Adi Fawcett said: 

“Since the Paralympics in 2000 there has been a higher profile of disabled people doing sport at the highest level and there have been some great role models from the performance pathway.  For example athletics has seen the growth of the Parallel events calendar that has grown significantly over the last 20 years and during the season there are a lot of events being delivered.  Another example is the sport of boccia starting with CP Sport and has now become a national governing body in its own right.  We have seen the range of sports increase offering some good choice and opportunities such as; swimming, table cricket, frame running, athletics, football, bowls, tennis, boccia.  We have also seen this year the change to virtual events and activities which are continuing to grow and will continue into the future.  There is still a significant amount of work to do to support everyone with cerebral palsy to be active and we look forward to the next 20 years providing the opportunity for everyone to play, participate and enjoy sport”.

Developing links with other CP organisations is crucial to the work of the charity in ensuring more people are reached in the work that we do. We are delivering this event in parallel with the Bobath Centre.  Both organisations will be encouraging their networks to get moving and get active and complete 20 miles during March – CP Awareness Month.

Adi continues:

“We have worked together to develop this fundraising event and will work together during the month to encourage people to take part and also to showcase the stories of people who are taking up the challenge.  We feel it is important that organisations who support people with cerebral palsy should work in collaboration to raise awareness of cerebral palsy.”

About CP Sport

Cerebral Palsy Sport is the country’s leading national disability sports organisation improving the health and emotional wellbeing of people with cerebral palsy through physical activity, and engaging the community in a number of programmes and interventions.

About the Bobath Centre

The National Bobath Cerebral Palsy Centre is a charity that has been operating for over 60 years. At it’s core, it is a training and therapy centre, specialising in the Bobath approach for cerebral palsy (CP) and other neurological conditions. The pioneering Bobath approach is a holistic method, which looks at the body as a whole. A dedicated team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists work closely together to provide a joined up approach and maximise potential.

*Activity Alliance 2021 http://www.activityalliance.org.uk/news/6002-research-reveals-pandemics-true-impact-on-disabled-peoples-activity

For further information about the event contact info@cpsport.org