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Issue: July at  25 July 2013

Big Lottery Fund Grant gives young adults a taste of independence

5 teenage girls who regularly attend the centre run by cerebral palsy charity, Stick 'n' Step, enjoyed a weekend of independent living recently when they had an overnight stay at Barnstondale Centre on the Wirral.

Funded by a grant from the Big Lottery, Stick 'n' Step will be organising four of these weekends away for different participants who attend the centre. This was the first of the four weekends and the teenagers were in control. Each of the five were accompanied by an able-bodied worker from the centre, but it was the teenagers, working together as a team, who were responsible for everything from budgeting, choosing and ordering their shopping, through to the food preparation and clearing away afterwards.

In addition to the benefits gained from a weekend of independence and life skills, the group also enjoyed a range of activities offered by Barnstondale including archery, wall climbing and abseiling.

Sam Tebb one of the conductors from Stick 'n' Step explained:- "This was such a fantastic experience for both us and the girls. At the centre we only have an hour a week so we use this time to focus on helping them develop certain skills for specific functions. However, over this weekend we had the time to let them explore their own capabilities, with us there to support them. They were able to push themselves to try something new, but also to relax and enjoy interacting with their fellow team members. What was really inspiring was the way they played and laughed together and looked out for each other, even though some of them hadn't met properly before this weekend. The weekend offered positive challenges for us too. We all had to be able to adapt to whatever situation we found ourselves in. The highlight for me was perhaps the archery though, as regardless of everyone's ability, we could all have a go."

The next away weekend takes place in September and Stick 'n' Step is looking forward to enabling a different group to benefit from the experience.

Seventy children from across North West England and North Wales come to Stick 'n' Step's centre in Wallasey every week to learn new skills and ways of adapting to everyday tasks. These new skills can be as simple as head control, sitting unaided to walking, dressing or as challenging as running and playing football. By providing this essential support, the children are able to feel more positive about their future and their ability to lead independent, fulfilled lives.

For further information about Stick 'n' Step and how you can help, please visit:- or alternatively contact Sarah Smithson, Operations Manager on:- 0151 638 0888.

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