Monthly Archives: April 2016

Charity of the Week – Freddie Farmer Foundation

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The Freddie Farmer Physiotherapy Centre is one of only a few independent UK therapy centres that offers special equipment and therapeutic exercises. It supports children from all over London and the South East. Their first assessment was on 20 April 2015 their doors were opened to the first children on 11 May 2015. They currently have the capacity to help up to 100 children per year.

The inspiration behind the centre is Freddie Farmer who was born early (28 weeks into the pregnancy) and with cerebral palsy; he weighed just 2Ibs 12oz.

Freddie’s family had been taking him for intensive therapy three times a year to use a piece of equipment called the “spider” (which is why there is a spider as their logo) but the centre was 100 miles away. Freddie made great progress but it became clear that a centre closer to home where he would get treatment more often would be even better.

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The ‘Ready, Freddie, GO!’ campaign was set up in 2011 to fund a specialised physiotherapy centre and the driving force behind the campaign was quite simply Freddie and other children like him.

The campaign, which raised over £400,000 saw hundreds of people take to climbing mountains, walking and running marathons, cycling to Paris, jumping out of aeroplanes and generally having a ball at raising the cash!

Not only does the charity have to raise £150,000 a year to cover their costs, they’re also embarking on a drive to raise money for a “game-changing” piece of equipment. The LokoHelp gait-trainer looks like a sophisticated treadmill – the child is suspended from a harness, and their legs enclosed in robotic boots, on top of the conveyor belt. It does the work of two physiotherapists – holding the child’s legs in an upright position to enable the children to walk in the correct walking pattern, to build their muscles. The Freddie Farmer Foundation has one on loan, but they’ll have to raise £55,000 to keep it.

“I really like the fact that the Freddie Farmer therapy centre is not too clinical for the children, we feel at home and very cosy”

Providing a fun, child-friendly ‘home from home’ environment combining specialist equipment and therapeutic exercises is the approach of the Freddie Farmer Foundation and they help a wide range of children who have cerebral palsy, developmental delay, acquired brain injuries, strokes, dyskinesia: ataxia, athetosis and dystonia and other non-progressive neurological disorders and syndromes.

“Our aim is to help the children we care for to become more mobile and independent”

We provide 2-3 hours per day of intensive physiotherapy over a 2 or 4 week block session. Block session dates for 2017 will be released later this year and we anticipate the places filling very quickly due to the demand we have already experienced.

The home programmes are specially tailored for each child and are given to parents so that they can continue the important exercises at home.

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The Freddie Farmer Foundation raises the fund for the Freddie Farmer Physiotherapy Centre and it can be found in Elliott Road, Bromley.

So how can you help?

If you’re a business then you may like to think about becoming a corporate sponsor. For example, Bromley Football Club recently presented a cheque to the foundation for £2,000 which came from their share of the FA Cup Pool prize money after they got through to the first round of last season’s FA cup.

As an individual you could

  • make a one-off gift or set up a regular payment
  • go along to one of the local events
  • organise your own event
  • take a collection box for your home or workplace
  • get your club, pub, employer or community group to support the foundation
  • choose Freddie Farmer Foundation as your benefiting charity
  • take part in a challenge event
  • make a gift to the Freddie Farmer Foundation in your Will
  • your time and skills can really help our work, why not consider volunteering

Freddie Farmer is an unusual charity, not because of it’s field of work but because, “All the money we raise go 100% back to fund the centre; there are no paid executives or fund-raisers, everyone, except the staff that administer treatment, are volunteers.”

You can find the Freddie Farmer Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and, of course, their website!

Charity of the Week – LATCH Project

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Bromley Churches’ Housing Action (BCHA) is a charity that was set up in 1988 to work to relieve poverty amongst the homeless of the Borough of Bromley particularly providing grants and short-term accommodation. BCHA currently devote their resources to the LATCH (Living Amicably Together in Caring Homes) Project.

Being homeless is a desperate situation to be in. You feel as though your whole world has shifted beneath your feet and, in an ideal world, it’s a rock bottom that people shouldn’t hit. When it happens to a young person the situation is more dire as they are less able to cope and the speed with which homelessness can happen is dizzying.

“Life for me got so difficult and unbearable that I didn’t know what to do any more. Sitting on a bench, no home, no clothes, no shelter, no certain future, all my dreams shattered, I remembered my grandma’s saying, ‘No matter how hard it gets for you in life, never give up on education’. I told my teacher Helen Hall about my situation and she immediately referred me to her colleague who happened to know about Latch Project.”

LATCH is a caring, nurturing charity who understand perfectly the depression and sense of worthlessness that young people feel and work with them to regain their self-confidence and self-esteem in an unusual way.

“That’s when I first met Nici, a happy big smile on her face, kindness washing from her, loving and caring person, was the first impression I got from her. She gave me a form and I filled it up and she told me to wait to hear from her if she’s got a place for me to stay for the night. My luck and my good references got me place literally the same day. It was unusual thing at Latch due to shortage of hosts. By 8 o’clock that night I was already lying on a bed for the first time in three weeks.”

LATCH matches young homeless people with hosts who welcome them into their own homes and both hosts and staff support them. Many of these young people return to education or gain employment. For some the stay is just a few months, for others it can be more than a year and some relationships between the host and the client become close and trusting.

“My new life began. I was determined, focused, and knew what I was doing. I don’t know where I would’ve been if charities like Latch didn’t exist. Not only me but hundreds of other young people that are out there, homeless, desperate and needy. It is hard. Now two years down the road and I am about to leave for University. One of the top 20 Universities in Britain.”

There is a desperate need for new hosts as there is a waiting list of clients and in winter the number of those seeking homes increases.

If you or someone you know has an interest in becoming a host then you can ring the LATCH office on 020 8460 0042 or email info@latch-project.co.uk to talk or read this page on their website to get more information. This doesn’t commit you to anything and if you choose not to go further then that’s fine. If you find yourself in a different position in the future it’s simple enough to get back in touch with the team!

“Latch gave me my lost confidence back. It showed me that there are people out there who aren’t cruel and want to destroy your life. It reminded me to stay kind.

For everyone out there who are struggling and confused, just remember there’s always a way out only if you REALLY want it. Life doesn’t become sunshine and rainbows by itself but you have to make it like that by hard work, determination, sacrifice and focus.”

You can check out LATCH on their website, follow their Twitter account or like their Facebook page.

LATCH has a number of supporters but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need more – see their website for ways to donate!

The quotes are from Isaac – please read the whole of his story.