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It was a year ago today (12 March 2020) that we made our first announcements about COVID-19, cancelling and postponing events and behind the scenes the team moving out of the offices in Nottingham and starting to work from home. Over the last year we have learnt so much and changed so much but in essence still with the aspiration we have always had of providing more opportunities and choice for people with cerebral palsy to be active and enjoy sport.

Personally, I am proud to lead an organisation that has adapted so well to the very challenging circumstances that we and our community have found ourselves in. We have delivered a brand new virtual programme from scratch, worked with new partners, developed new relationships and renewed those relationships we already had.

But what I feel is our greatest achievement over the last year is our ability to listen to our community and as a result really started to understand what they want and need from us. The catalyst for this has been the virtual cafes, initiated and led by Sandy Drummond. Through the cafes we have been able to provide a service for people with cp to stay socially connected and a safe space to discuss the challenges they are facing, not only through the pandemic but in everyday life – we have had conversations about modelling, sport, activity, language, clothing, school, poetry and much more and we have had some fantastic guests telling their story and sharing their journey. From the cafes has come an opportunity for us to get to know our beneficiaries better and have conversations we wouldn’t usually have. It is what we have heard in these conversations that has led to the insight and stories that we have been sharing during CP Awareness month and has led to us continuing to develop new programmes because we have been told directly by our community this is what they want and need.

This past year has provided us with the opportunity to really start to listen and understand what our community needs in order to do the things they want to do. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, and start to look forward to the next 20 years, we pledge to continue listening and working tirelessly so that everyone with cerebral palsy is able to access and enjoy being physically active throughout their lives.

Thank you to our Board of Trustees for their support, advice and good humour during an unprecedented year. Thank you to the fantastic CP Sport team who have been so positive and motivated throughout. Finally the biggest thanks goes to our beneficiaries and their families, volunteers, supporters and fundraisers for their continued support – we look forward to seeing you soon.

Adi Fawcett, COO Cerebral Palsy Sport