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Cerebral palsy charity The Bobath Center calls for funding

The work of a Watford-based cerebral palsy charity is so vital to one family that they travel nearly an hour to access its services.

Marlon Van Grevelynghe, aged 2, was diagnosed with the condition last year.

The toddler’s family struggled to find services that supported his development where they live in Leighton Buzzard, so they had to look further afield.

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His mother Nicola Brassington described how The National Bobath Center for Cerebral Palsy, which provides physical therapy, has helped Marlon’s development.

She said: “The equipment that they have, the skillset their practitioners have; their support has been incredible.

“Every session that we had with them has probably been three or four times more valuable than what we have had through the NHS.”

Marlon Van Grevelynghe benefits from the Bobath centre. Picture: Nicola Brassington

Marlon’s development has improved since he attended physiotherapy sessions with the charity since last October.

Nicola, 37, said: “He really looks forward to going.

“And they manage the session in a productive way whereby it’s not a physio treatment, it’s a fun play session.

“He is always gaining new skills.”

Marlon attends a one-hour session a day, for eight days, every quarter.

Watford Observer: The family makes a two-hour round trip for Marlon's treatment.  Picture: Nicola BrassingtonThe family makes a two-hour round trip for Marlon’s treatment. Picture: Nicola Brassington

Services closer to home would be invaluable to Nicola and her husband who make a two-hour round trip for Marlon’s physiotherapy.

The mum of one said: “We have really struggled to access the right services in our area and that’s why we go to Bobath.

“I know I am in a privileged position where I have flexible working hours and can travel and my husband and I can pay, but not everyone has that.”

Sessions at Bobath are means tested, but not all families across England necessarily have access to this option.

Watford Observer: The family struggled to find services close to their home.  Picture: Nicola BrassingtonThe family struggled to find services close to their home. Picture: Nicola Brassington

To make access easier for people with cerebral palsy the charity has launched a petition calling for the Government to provide free specialist therapy for people living with the condition.

A spokesperson from The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it is committed to helping people with cerebral palsy.

The DHSC added: “We’ve set out principles to guide the transition of young people with cerebral palsy into adulthood in health, social care and education systems, helping to improve outcomes and reduce health inequalities.”

An investment of 1.3 billion will be made in employment to support disabled people in work over the next three years, said the DHSC.

To sign the petition, click here https://www.change.org/p/free-specialist-therapy-for-people-with-cerebral-palsy-throughout-their-lives.

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