‘We’re here for you’: Dame Vera Lynn charity’s call to Kent families as it expands its reach across the region
Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity has been supporting families and children aged under five with cerebral palsy and other motor learning difficulties since 2001, and has now embarked on an exciting new chapter in its history by moving to a new home.
Its new HQ – the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Centre – has opened as the Charity celebrates the veteran entertainer’s centenary year. From their new base in neighbouring Sussex, staff aim to make their services more accessible to a wider geographic area of families – including those in Kent.
The Charity, which supports children from across the South East, uses conductive education at the core of its service – a pioneering holistic approach to physiotherapy, teaching and learning that aims to give children better control over their movements and posture.
Youngsters learn through play and supportive physical techniques to unlock their inner strengths and these practices can then be applied in the home environment. This early intervention builds confidence and self-esteem for both parent and child.
Pilar Cloud, Executive Manager of the Charity, said: “Early intervention gives children with cerebral palsy a brilliant base from which to develop skills that will help them in later life, as well as self-belief and motivation.
“These kind of services are not widely available across Kent so we are calling on families across the county to take advantage of our new home and come and see us to find out how we can help them.
“Less than 10 per cent of our families currently come from Kent but we know there are more out there that would benefit from our support. Our message to them is: we are here for you.”
Alongside early intervention sessions, the new centre will provide other services such as Saturday and holiday clubs, outreach help in the home, and access to a parent support network.
Children will also have access to assistive interactive technology, such as white boards, tablets and ‘magic carpets’ – which project games and images onto floors – and help and support will be offered to parents on hiring equipment and toys.
Pilar added: “We are establishing a facility that will act as a beacon of support and reassurance to our families.
“We are on hand to help any parent that may have questions or concerns about their child’s development. Children and their families are at the fore of everything we do, and we are here to show everything they can achieve.”
The Charity’s new centre is now open, after staff moved in at the end of December, and will be offering Monday and Friday sessions from 13th February, from 10am – 1pm, with outreach services available by appointment.
Dame Vera, President of the Charity, will be celebrating her 100th birthday in March and staff are also helping community groups to organise fundraising events to celebrate her milestone year.
They are also looking for volunteers to help them at the new centre, in Cuckfield, West Sussex, with reception duties, book-keeping and bucket collections. If you have a few hours to spare and would like to help, the team would love to hear from you.