16 April 2024

  • Charities

Our 2023 Charity Award is supporting CLAPA’s Cleft++ Mentoring Service

Our 2023 Charity Award finished in November 2023, and we announced that Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA) were our 2nd place winners, taking away a donation of £1,500 after being nominated earlier on in the year and going through three months of public voting.

We were lucky enough to have a visit from Mikaela, Head of Income at CLAPA, who kindly told us all about the charity, what they do and where the donation will be utilised.

CLAPA are the only UK cleft support charity who help those with and affected by cleft lip and palate. They support anyone, at any age right through their life from before birth all the way through adulthood.

They have various support paths for all ages. They provide support for families who may have found out their baby has a cleft during their 20-week scan. They provide welcome packs for these families which include two bottles, a set of specialised teats to help babies feed, medical information, ‘Callie and her Cleft’ picture book which are supplied to help siblings understand and other relevant flyers. Additionally, they run Babble / Baby Sign sessions which help with speech and communication using various techniques for children from 0 up to 5 years old.

They run Activity Weekends for children and young people which is a great opportunity to meet people their age who also have a cleft, and alongside that they have their Children and Young People’s Council (CYPC). There are services for adults too which provide support for various areas such as returning to treatment, confidence building, and improving mental health.

Mikaela told us where the donation would be utilised:
“The money will go to our central funds but one of our current projects we are piloting is called Cleft++, which is one-to-one support for young people born with a cleft.

The Cleft++ Mentoring Service uses a specialist online platform to safely connect 12-17 year-olds born with a cleft to a trained mentor. These mentors are young adults born with a cleft, so they can draw on their experiences to offer personalised support.”

The project was created in honor of Will Helstrip, a valued former member of CLAPA’s CYPC, who tragically passed away in 2022.

“On behalf of The Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA), I wanted to thank everyone who voted for us in the 2023 Sheffield Mutual Charity Awards!

CLAPA is a small charity that is proud to never settle for ‘good enough.’ We recognise the importance of our work for the thousands of people in the UK affected by cleft, and we’ll never stop pushing ourselves to provide the best support and services possible for the cleft community. I see every day at CLAPA how valuable our life-changing services are to people affected by cleft in the UK.

CLAPA receives no government or NHS funding and as cleft isn’t going anywhere – there will always be a need for the services CLAPA provides, from the special bottles that feed hundreds of newborns every year to the life-changing emotional support for all ages.

Thank you so much to the Sheffield Mutual Charity Award for your support.”

Claire Cunniffe - Chief Executive

To learn more about Cleft++ Mentoring Service, which our donation will be used to help fund the software for, you can do so here.

By Rebecca Levers

Marketing and Communications Specialist

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