Category: HemiHelp

Would you like to hear more about our plans for the year ahead for families living with hemiplegia? Share your views with us and you’ll help us improve our information and advice services for you and other families like yours.

We’re looking for 10 parent carers who care for a child or young person aged 0-18 with hemiplegia to join an online focus group on 9 June where together we’ll review some of our key information about hemiplegia.

By joining us you’ll be helping us make sure we’re supporting our HemiHelp families with the advice and information they need and want. As a parent with a child with hemiplegia, your involvement in this focus group will help us to create content for our website, newsletters and our social media channels that better supports you and other families like yours.

When is it taking place?

The session will take place on Thursday 9 June from 10:00 to 12:00, via Zoom. We’ll provide details on how to join in advance of the session.

Who we are looking for and how to apply

Please consider joining us if you are a parent carer of a child or young person aged 0-18 with hemiplegia. You can apply to join the focus group by filling in this application form.

We want to ensure the focus group includes participants with range of experience and backgrounds including gender, ethnicity, and geographical location. If you have previously provided us with this information (for example if you were a member of our previous survey panel), then this may be used to ensure the group is representative.

What will I do?

What if I’m not selected for the focus group but still want to share my views?

Throughout the year we run surveys about our information and advice services and we’d love you to take part. You can find out more about our surveys through our newsletters and joining our Facebook group.

GB’s first-ever Paralympian badminton champion, Dan Bethell, is determined to use his success to inspire other children with disabilities to embrace the benefits of sport  – and has asked us to help him spread the word!

Dan, who won an incredible silver medal in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games this summer, has right-sided hemiplegia.

He says: “HemiHelp, part of the Contact family, is an amazing charity which gave myself and my family lots of support and information over the years. With their help, I want to get the word out to the next generation of Paralympians: sport has the power to positively change people’s lives, no matter what your circumstances.”

Read Dan’s diary documenting his Paralympic experience.

Need more inspiration?

Take a look at our information about sports and fitness bodies across the UK which provide opportunities for children, young people and adults with disabilities.

If your child has been inspired by Dan’s badminton success, there’s a series of disability Para-badminton festivals taking place across the country  right now – why not try it out?

Find out more about England Badminton Association for Disabled EBAD and Badminton England, and make sure to follow @parabadmintongb, @officialbadmintonengland and @dannybb1996 on social media.

Contact’s guide to play and leisure

Take a look at our Holidays, Play and Leisure parent guide which provides some information about what play, leisure, and short breaks options may be available, and where to find more information. It also  has information about arranging holidays for disabled children and details of organisations which provide grants for these types of activities.

Prizewinner Romana reading her copy of Oti's book
Prizewinner Romana reading her copy of Oti’s book

Well done to the winners of our competition to win a signed copy of BBC Strictly Come Dancing star Oti Mabuse’s new disability-inclusive children’s book, ‘Dance with Oti: The Bird Jive’!

Congratulations to Alexandra, Harry, P James and Romana!

‘Dance with Oti: The Bird Jive’ follows a class of children as they meet at Mrs Oti’s dance studio for the very first time. Some are nervous, some are excited. We follow them as they learn The Bird Jive and are surprised by an unexpected visitor!

Oti worked with our HemiHelp team to research her character Martin, who has hemiplegia, and Naira, who has a cochlear implant.

We were lucky enough to have four signed copies to give away in a raffle. A huge well done to our winners, including Romana above!

Oti says of her book: “I wanted my book to make all children feel included and show that dance is for everyone! I believe my dancer Martin is the first character with hemiplegia in a non-specialist picture book.

“As part of my research, I got in touch with a fantastic charity called Contact, which supports UK families with disabled children – whatever their disability or medical condition – with the vital advice and information they need.

“I was blown away by all the services Contact offers families just like Martin and Naira’s in my story. As well as support for families living with hemiplegia through the charity’s HemiHelp service, Contact also offers a free parent helpline, workshops, parent guides, and the other practical and emotional support which Contact provides to thousands of families every year.”

On Wednesday 7th July, Lizzie from HemiHelp was presented with a giant cheque for £2,281 by members of Wellingborough Prep School’s Year 5 charity committee.

The school has raised an amazing £2,800 in total for Contact’s hemiplegia services over the past year. Events have included a Wheelathon (scooting around the school corridors), pizza night, and Wear Red day during lockdown!

The school decided to support Contact after a student with hemiplegia started there. They received HemiHelp’s Schools Pack, which helps mainstream schools support students with hemiplegia.

The students really enjoyed the opportunity to be creative and come up with new ideas to raise money, and they were delighted to have someone from Contact come to thank them in person. In fact, one actually thanked us for the opportunity to fundraise!

Lizzie said: “It was so great to meet the children and be able to explain what a difference their amazing donation will make to families living with hemiplegia. The fundraising ideas they’d come up with were so creative, and what an incredible total given that they’d been in lockdown for a lot of the year.”

If you or your child’s school are interested in fundraising for Contact, please get in touch with our fundraising team at fundraising@contact.org.uk

Oti with a copy of her book

Oti Mabuse, star of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and ITV’s The Masked Dancer, has released her first children’s book. And working with Contact, Oti has made her book disability inclusive – fantastic news!

‘Dance with Oti: The Bird Jive’ follows a class of children as they meet at Mrs Oti’s dance studio for the very first time. Some are nervous, some are excited. We follow them as they learn The Bird Jive and are surprised by an unexpected visitor!

Oti worked with us to research her character Martin, who has hemiplegia, and Naira, who has a cochlear implant.

Oti says: “I wanted my book to make all children feel included and show that dance is for everyone! I believe my dancer Martin is the first character with hemiplegia in a non-specialist picture book.

“As part of my research, I got in touch with a fantastic charity called Contact, which supports UK families with disabled children – whatever their disability or medical condition – with the vital advice and information they need.

“I was blown away by all the services Contact offers families just like Martin and Naira’s in my story. As well as support for families living with hemiplegia through the charity’s HemiHelp service, Contact also offers a free parent helpline, workshops, parent guides, and the other practical and emotional support which Contact provides to thousands of families every year.”

Win a signed copy of Dance with Oti

We have four signed copies of Dance with Oti to give away, featuring her character Martin, who has hemiplegia!

Visit our competition page to find out more.