Our charity has had its fair share of challenges over the past few years. Tough decisions were taken and the charity went through a difficult time of redundancies, relocation and restructuring to become a leaner and more responsive charity.
Just as our charity seemed to have begun emerging with a stronger strategy and improved operations, our recovery has been hampered by the pandemic.
We remain focused on supporting people with Cerebral Palsy and we have endeavoured to continue to offer support during lockdown. I want to thank everyone who has supported us through this time and our team members for going above and beyond in their efforts to reach so many children and adults with Cerebral Palsy.
But despite all your amazing work, COVID-19 has placed a huge strain on our income. We are having to change our plans for the next few years to adapt to a changed world, so that we can focus on improving the lives of those we treat.
How has the pandemic has impacted on our charity?
The pandemic has had a severe impact on our ability to provide in-person therapy, making our ambition to provide treatment to babies, children and adults with Cerebral Palsy very difficult. Our centre closed to visitors in March and in four months we haven’t been able to provide our usual Bobath therapy.
- Babies with developmental delay have not access Early Intervention support
- Children have not been able to receive their routine therapy and won’t have made the physical progress their families had hoped
- Adults have experienced physical decline and increased pain through not being able to access their therapy
We also had to cancel all our in-person training courses, so we’ve been unable to train another cohort of therapists who specialise in Cerebral Palsy treatment.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has also hit our fundraising and income generation. We’re predicting a drop in income of £350k this year, which is 50% of our income. We anticipate this will also impact our income streams in 2021/2022, because of the postponement of our Bobath training courses and fundraising activities.
Our response to the pandemic
Immediately we did what we could to continue to support people with Cerebral Palsy by offering virtual therapy services and we ensured our therapists were available for all those in need by offering online and telephone consultations. We launched an online weekly BoBaby webinar of music and exercise for families with young babies. Adults with Cerebral Palsy were offered a monthly virtual meet-up, for advice on coping during the pandemic, including dealing with fatigue, sleeplessness and pain.
As our in-person training courses were cancelled, we have developed some online courses as a way of continuing to inspire and influence therapists in their care for those with Cerebral Palsy.
We took action to cut costs by furloughing the majority of our staff and suspending projects to save us money. We’re continuing to restructure to decrease our cost base and keep costs low, while also investing in strengthening our fundraising team.
Having taken these measures, we are now working on finalising our plan for the next three years with a new strategy to regroup and rebuild our charity.
New plans - Rebuild
The Bobath Centre is an amazing charity because of our brilliant people and we are all committed to working hard to rebuild the organisation.
We are now emerging from lockdown and have begun to invite people with Cerebral Palsy back into our centre for in-person therapy. While some people are continuing to shield, we will continue to offer our virtual services because of the very positive feedback we have received.
Our plans include recommencing in-person treatment and training soon, but will continue to offer virtual services in response to on-going demand.
We will continue to strengthen our internal operations to learn and improve our relationships with all those who need our help.
We will engage with greater numbers of people with Cerebral Palsy, to develop our services in response to their needs.
We are looking to introduce a new research programme to provide an evidence base for the Bobath Concept.
We shall focus on reaching more beneficiaries, by encouraging greater support for our fundraising activities and by expanding our supporter base.
As they say, the future has not been written, but what’s for certain is that this challenging time will pass. We won’t give up and we want to be here to meet the needs of everyone with Cerebral Palsy who need us.
I believe completely in the potential of the Bobath Centre, our amazing team, our supporters and all the people with whom we work in our treatment sessions and training courses.
But I also know we can’t do it alone. We need your support more than ever so that together we will change the future and maximise the potential for those we support. Help us to reduce the barriers that Cerebral Palsy constructs.