Sheffield charity Paces receives £10,000 from the National Lottery Fund

A Sheffield charity for children and adults with Cerebral Palsy and other motor disorders has received a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

During the lockdown, Sheffield Paces has been largely reliant on charitable grants to keep them afloat.

In an interview with JUS News, Julie Booth, Head of Fundraising at Paces, said: “Fundraising, due to Coronavirus, it’s virtually dried up at the moment.”

The National Lottery Fund grant comes after Paces was also awarded a £3000 grant from the Sheffield Town Trust last week.

Ms Booth said: “The funds will be used to support us so we can continue to provide sessions over Zoom.”

The charity offers conductive education to children and adults with motor disorders, which teaches and re-teaches them skills such as eating, sitting, standing, walking, and self-care.

Paces’ Head of Fundraising said these skills could be easily forgotten after a long period of time without the education the charity offers.

The charity is also helping families with financial issues and those who are struggling mentally and emotionally under the lockdown.

Ms Booth also spoke of the challenges that all charities have experienced since the outbreak.

She said: “In terms of fundraising it’s a tricky time for charities. A lot of companies who we would have worked with from a corporate fundraising point of view might be struggling, a lot of staff have been furloughed, so it’s quite difficult.”

Many of Paces’ upcoming fundraising events and opportunities have been cancelled. The Paces annual ball, the Sheffield 10K in September, the Yorkshire three peaks challenge in May, and a sponsored Machu Picchu climb in November, have all been called off.

The coronavirus has also posed a challenge to charities like Paces, as the NHS has received much of the public’s charitable focus.

Ms Booth said: “The NHS are fantastic in what they do, and very deservingly, every penny that’s raised is fantastic for them. But, it does leave smaller charities not receiving as much income.”

Along with day-to-day funding, these constraints have put pressure on the ‘A New Home for Paces’ campaign.

The £3.5 million appeal was launched just before the coronavirus outbreak, to fund a new Paces school in the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe, Rotherham.

Two Paces pupils, Tobias, 9, and Lennie, 8, have been working hard to raise money for the campaign despite the lockdown conditions.

Tobias on his fundraising walk [Photo courtesy of Julie Booth]

Tobias, who has Cerebral Palsy and Autism, has raised £23,000 so far in his challenge to walk the distance of a marathon by walking up and down his street every day.

The money will be split between the Sheffield Paces campaign and the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Lennie, meanwhile, who has Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus, has challenged himself to play up to 100 songs on the piano over May, and has so far raised £3500 for A New Home for Paces.

Lennie at the piano [Photo courtesy of Julie Booth]

Despite the challenges of the lockdown, Sheffield Paces is keen to find ways to support people and families, and to continue their ambitious campaign.