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Devastated as Medway children's charity CPC Kent closes after 30 years

By Lynn Cox

A charity that has helped children with cerebral palsy for almost 30 years closed at the weekend because it has run out of cash.

CPC Kent held its last sessions for youngsters at the weekend. The charity has provided conductive education sessions for disabled children since 1988.

Joe Pasquale opening the CPC charity shop in Rainham
Joe Pasquale opening the CPC charity shop in Rainham

Over the years, it has been supported by various celebrities and even royalty.

The Countess of Wessex visited in 2006 and in 2004, comedian Joe Pasquale gave £175,000 to the charity from the money he raised by taking part in the ITV show I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!

Others supporters have included Dame Vera Lynn, actor Chris Simmons, who played DC Micky Webb and local singer Matthew Crane.

Staff held the last session at the Smiley Steps Centre, in Hopewell Drive, Chatham, where the charity has been based for the past year, on Saturday.

The last session at CPC Kent
The last session at CPC Kent

Four specialist education conductors and the fundraising staff are now without jobs.

Conductor Agie Burley, 40, claimed they were left in the dark about the charity’s situation.

She said: “The manager resigned in December and then our chairman, Jan Dennis, left in January.

“We continued to work and got paid that month, but then during the first week in February we got an email from trustees to say there was no more work.

“It’s the children who are going to miss out. No one had told the parents. We had to tell them what had happened, they were devastated. We have received so many heartbreaking letters.”

The Countess of Wessex visited Cerebral Palsy Care in 2006
The Countess of Wessex visited Cerebral Palsy Care in 2006

Mrs Burley and her colleagues have vowed to try to provide some sessions for youngsters during the summer holidays and on Saturdays if they can find another building to operate from.

Mrs Burley said: “We provide a unique service of conductive education, which is sought after all over the world.

“We would love to continue our work, but we will need to find a place for free or for a moderate charge for Saturdays and school holiday times to start with and get some funds to cover the charge of the conductors.

“This would allow us to continue helping our families.”

  • If you know a suitable venue the staff can use for free or a minimal cost, call Mrs Burley on 07837562633.

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