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Cerebral Palsy: Exclusive interview with CPTeens founder Ellie Simpson

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We’ve been lucky enough to exclusively interview the founder of CP Teens, the only site of it’s kind in the UK which helps support young people with Cerebral Palsy. Find out more about this unique non-profit organisation as we speak to Ellie Simpson, founder of CP Teens UK.

What is Cerebral Palsy and how does it affect those with the condition?

“Cerebral Palsy is a physical disability caused by damage to the brain, either before, during or just after birth. No two cases of Cerebral Palsy are the same and the disability can range from extremely mild, e.g. effecting one hand, through to severe, confining people to wheelchairs.”
CP teens cover 1

What is CP Teens UK and why did you set it up?

“CP Teens UK is the charity I set up during my gap year and it is the only non-profit organisation of its kind in the UK. It enables friendships, it connects people, it offers a community, help, support & advice, and it promotes, distributes and organises events for teenagers & young people with Cerebral Palsy and similar disabilities.

CP teens girlsI set up CP Teens UK as I was shocked at the lack of support out there, both socially and opportunity wise. I have always been in mainstream education as Cerebral Palsy is a physical disabilitybuy bouncy castles, so I am the same as everybody else mentally. As I went through secondary school, my ‘peers’ slowly began to drop me and leave me out as I physically couldn’t keep up. In addition to this, when I left school, even though I had A Levels and qualifications behind me, I was left to go home and watch Jeremy Kyle on my sofa day-in, day-out. It frustrated me that young people like myself were left to struggle like this, so this was when CP Teens UK was born! Although CP Teens UK is aimed at teenagers & young people, it helps anyone of any age with Cerebral Palsy or a similar disability and their families.”

Why is there so little support out there for young people with Cerebral Palsy?

“I think that there has been so little support as I think there’s a lack of understanding out there. So many people can’t understand that even though I have many physical problems, mentally I am just like everyone else. Personally, I just want the same as your average girl out there, yet nine times out of ten, I will need support to gain these wants, for example, I am currently a University student and for me to be a student, I need a notetaker and a Personal Assistant, but I want that degree like everybody else. Lots of people just wrongly assume that because I need help for the ‘basics’ in life, I am ‘stupid’.”

How is CP Teens UK funded?

“CP Teens UK is completely funded by fundraising and donations. All of the money goes straight to helping teenagers & young people with Cerebral Palsy and similar disabilities, as all of the promotional items such as the CP Teens UK logo, the leaflets, the website etc. CP teens group pic

I fund out of my own personal money. When I first set up CP Teens UK, obviously there was no money in the ‘pot’, so I had no choice other than to invest my own money into it. Even though CP Teens UK now does have a ‘pot’, I’ve continued to keep putting my own money towards items that aren’t going to directly help the teenagers & young people, e.g. leaflets & stickers, as nothing winds me up more than charities plowing money into promotional items that won’t help the cause they’re meant to be helping.”

What events have you got scheduled or running at the moment?

“CP Teens UK has just held a RaceRunning Taster Day in Sheffield alongside CP Sport. RaceRunning is a sport that enables people with Cerebral Palsy & similar disabilities to sprint/run, and a RaceRunner looks like a big tricycle without pedals. CP teens race running

I am a Sport Development student and along with CP Teens UK, sport really did transform my life for the better during my gap year, so I am passionate about getting other people with Cerebral Palsy and disabilities in general into sport. I am hoping to organise another ‘Sponsored Wobble’ for the Autumn. The Sponsored Wobble was CP Teens UK’s first ever fundraising event in October 2014. The 5k walk, wheel or ‘wobble’ through Chatsworth Park was a huge success last year and it raised an amazing £1,550 for CP Teens UK!”

We’ve heard about the CP Teens UK Ball, it sounds fab! Tell us more about it?

“The CP Teens UK Ball is the first ‘big’ event for CP Teens UK and is on Saturday 17th October. Sophie Christiansen OBE, World Paralympic Champion is attending as the Celebrity Guest! It is set to be a very special night and it has 2 aims, which are 1) to give teenagers & young people with Cerebral Palsy a night to remember, and 2) to hopefully raise lots of money for CP Teens UK! An auction will be held on the night of the Ball, and if anyone knows of anyone who is in a position to donate an auction prize, this would be greatly, greatly appreciated!”

How can people help or get involved with CP Teens UK?

If anyone wants to help or get involved with CP Teens UK, they can do this by contacting myself on [email protected] Alternatively, you can find CP Teens UK on Facebook (www.facebook.com/CPTeensUK), or Twitter (www.twitter.com/CPTeensUK). You can also use the Contact Form on the website (www.cpteensuk.org)
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About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

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