Dame Vera Lynn has called for people to support smaller charities during the Coronavirus crisis, after her own Children’s Charity announced it was struggling due to dwindling donations.
The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity (DVLCC) recently launched an emergency fundraising appeal to ensure it can continue to provide its essential services during the global pandemic.
“Like the rest of the country, I was so inspired by Captain Tom Moore’s incredible achievement just a few weeks ago,” said Dame Vera. “These are very difficult times for everyone, whether it be personally, professionally or financially and small charities are no exception.
“If at all possible, I ask people to follow the wonderful example of Captain Moore and support smaller charities like my own that are not on the front line of the Coronavirus crisis but still provide vital services to vulnerable people across the country.”
In recent weeks, the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity has had to temporarily close its centre in Cuckfield, West Sussex but continues to support young families with cerebral palsy and other motor impairments.
“We are now providing one-to-one video support to families as well as general activities and advice to keep the children as active as possible,” said Deborah Hay, Chairman of DVLCC. “Much of our work is to help them build motor control, so it is important we maintain that progress.”
In order to so, however, the Charity is in desperate need of more funds. “Unfortunately, we are facing a financial crisis even as we try to maintain a vital lifeline to the families we help,” Deborah continues. “Our services are free-of-charge, but we don’t receive any statutory funding, and we aren’t eligible for any of the Government’s Coronavirus Small Business Grants or Business Interruption Loan Scheme.”
Fortunately, there are signs of hope for the Charity as supporters rally together to raise funds. Britain’s Got Talent winner, Colin Thackery, has pledged support to the Charity’s ‘Keep Smiling Through’ appeal as an ambassador, while supporters taking part in the #twopointsixchallenge – aimed at helping charities who would have benefitted from the London Marathon on Sunday – have pledged over £4,500 so far.
Even the Charity’s Chair of Trustees took part in the 2.6 Challenge and baked 26 cakes in 26 hours, which went to workers in the emergency services.
“I would like to wish Captain Moore a very happy birthday,” Dame Vera added. “He is a clear example of the best of Britain and I am delighted to see the way people have rallied around him. These are very challenging times but the community spirit and generosity on display across the United Kingdom gives me real hope that the future is bright.”
To donate to the ‘Keep Smiling Through’ campaign, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/keepsmilingthrough
Note to Editors
Since the Charity was established in 2001 by Dame Vera Lynn, it has helped more than 600 families who have children with cerebral palsy and other motor learning impairments.
Over the last year, the Charity has provided 1,200 hours of hands-on support to families and 275 hours of outreach support.
Each year in the UK, 1,800 children are born with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy is a physical disability that affects movement, balance and posture as well as cognitive, social and communication skills and is often caused by an injury to the brain. Early intervention is important to enable children to learn and develop physically, socially and emotionally, forming the bedrock of the independence that they can achieve later in life.
The Charity’s story began in late 2000 with the announcement by the national charity Scope, that it would no longer be able to fund its network of School for Parents, facilities providing early intervention services based on the principles of Conductive Education to support parents in raising a pre-school aged child with cerebral palsy or other neurological condition.
Understanding the importance of early intervention, and determined not to see the School For Parents at Ingfield Manor, West Sussex close, Dame Vera and her friends launched the ‘Bluebird Appeal’ and raised enough awareness and considerable funds to save the school. If it were not for her efforts, many children would have lost out on an amazing start.
Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity continued to provide for the early intervention service at Ingfield Manor in collaboration with Scope, until late 2016, when the Charity took a number of decisions to ensure a more sustainable future. This included formally terminating its collaboration with Scope at Ingfield Manor.
In 2017, the Charity embarked on an exciting new chapter in its history by moving to a new home in Cuckfield, West Sussex, where it is able to continue offering early intervention services as well as providing more services, activities and help to families.
The Charity receives no statutory funding and is entirely reliant upon the donations it receives from individuals, community groups, companies and charitable trusts.
Dame Vera, our President, said: “Early intervention is key to helping young children with cerebral palsy and other motor learning conditions gain a solid base from which they can develop their independence and self-esteem in later life. This is why I was determined to ensure this service could continue in my home county of West Sussex and support families from across the South East.
“I am so proud of how far the Charity has come and all the work it does to support our families. It makes it all worthwhile when the children we have helped get in touch to tell us what they are doing and achieving as adults.”
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