Steps is a registered charity (No. 1063143) which provides specialist nursery services and support to children with motor disorders
and their families, enabling them to lead fuller, more active lives.
We provide a unique service that depends upon the financial support of our funders, sponsors and donors.
I have been a parent at Steps now for a year, we first started coming when my daughter was 8 months old. Orlaith was born with four heart defects and at 12 weeks old she had open heart surgery to correct the issues. She has suffered from significant developmental issues since then and has needed a lot of help to achieve milestones.
I’d heard about Steps before, my Mum kept saying I should contact them. I found it hard to get into the headspace of being able to do so. Partly because my concerns had been dismissed by medical people and so I doubted myself, I really wasn’t sure if she’d be entitled to Steps’ help. Also because it was difficult to admit I needed help, to admit I didn’t feel like I was coping. I struggled on for some time longer and honestly started to get into quite a dark place mentally.
One particularly difficult day I wrote it all down in an email and sent it off to Steps, Indila the lead conductor emailed me back that same day. Her email was so full of compassion and understanding and I instantly regretted being so reluctant to contact them. We were invited to go for a taster session the following week to see if we felt Steps was the right fit for us.
My mum came along with me to the taster session; I was nervous and felt very emotional. The second that we stepped through that door our lives changed. We were welcomed literally with open arms; it was clear straight away what a warm friendly place Steps was. We went through to the playroom and got chatting to other parents all of whom were so welcoming and put me at ease. Then we took part in a session. It was all a bit of a blur, but it was wonderful.
When I got home, I just sat and sobbed. It had been an overwhelming afternoon and I was so grateful to have met people who just seemed to get it. They understood what Orlaith needed, they didn’t second guess what I was saying or make me feel like I was an overanxious mum. They understood what I needed and from that day I felt supported.
We continue to attend Steps every week, it is something that we look forward to and has been such a positive move for us. I am convinced were it not for Steps Orlaith would not have hit milestones when she did. Being able to go each week also enables us to see week on week the small steps of progress Orlaith makes which is so reassuring in what can be a very difficult time.
Steps do more than just help the children, and in my view, this is what makes Steps stand out. It is a family full of compassion and support. The other parents you will meet will be so supportive, we understand how hard it is to care for a child with additional needs, I’ve also found out so much useful information from other parents that has really helped. The staff are always there for you, not just in your session but all the time. They are so gracious in giving their help and support whether that be on the phone, email or in person.
I mentioned what a dark place I had found myself in and Steps have helped pull me out of that, having that reliable once a week contact with people who get it has had an overwhelmingly positive influence on my health. It’s so easy to get lost in a sea of hospital appointments, worry, anxiety and trauma. So many of us must be more than just parents – we must play the role of nurse, physio, advocate and so much more. Steps, for me, provides a chance to feel like mum again. Just mum. And that is such a gift.
So, I’m writing this to you, parent to parent.
Please, if you are struggling, if you need help and guidance, if you think that maybe Steps could help you. Please pick up the phone or write an email, you will be greeted with such kindness and compassion, I guarantee you will not regret it.
Being able to come to Steps has totally changed all our lives. I don’t know where we would be without them.
Steps has been described as a lifeline by the families that use the service, which, up until March 2020 had been a face to face service for the last 26 years. We have found ourselves sailing in unchartered waters through unprecedented times due to Covid-19 and we have had to sadly close our doors to families during the pandemic.
The families who attend Steps are reliant on our service so it was never an option to close down our service. We have had to completely change the way we work and develop a bespoke package of online resources for the children and families so we can continue our essential work. This includes support videos, written guidance and we are now running regular online Zoom group sessions.
We have realised the benefits of offering our service in this way are immense and we wish to continue to offer a flexible service in the future so that families have a choice of bringing their child to Steps or staying at home and joining a live streamed session.
We shall open our doors again at Steps and this is where this funding will really help us. The money that we raise will help support the salaries of our much loved and respected staff team members. Without our team of highly qualified professionals Steps just wouldn’t be the Steps families know and trust to help support their child.
This year our charity has lost extensive, much needed funding from the publics fundraising initiatives and this money will help us to remain a viable service for the people who need it most.
Please help us by sharing our appeal far and wide so we can reach our £10,000 target.
We are very grateful to Wooden Spoon the children’s charity of rugby for their grant of £2000 towards costs of remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic
An amazing amount of work has been taking place behind the scenes at Steps to ensure continuity of our service and in the development of our digital sessions. This has been a fantastic achievement and a great success which has been enjoyed by our Steps families.
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