Parents' plea for charity under threat

A SUFFOLK couple once told their daughter was unlikely to survive are today desperately trying to save the charity that helped give her another chance.

A SUFFOLK couple once told their daughter was unlikely to survive are today desperately trying to save the charity that helped give her another chance.

Hannah Mitchell was born with a severe seizure disorder and quadriplegic cerebral palsy and her parents, John and Alison, were warned to expect the worse by doctors at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Now, the three-year-old's condition has transformed and, thanks to the support from Sproughton-based charity Suffolk School for Parents, she can do things no one ever imagined.

Mrs Mitchell, 35, said: “The work they have done is amazing.

“Each time Hannah makes an improvement like being able to hold a rattle it is a big step forward, and the school has helped so much by showing us how to look after her.”

A lack of funds could force the school to close next year and the concerned Mitchell family, who live at Paper Mill Lane, Bramford, are leading the bid to raise cash to save it.

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Mr Mitchell, 36, who has two other children, Finlay and Rhys, said: “At the age of two when other children were running round, talking and laughing, Hannah lay on her back unable to hold a toy, communicate in any way, or even scratch an itch.

“Suffolk School for Parents provided a life changing facility to our family which has means Hannah now enjoys a far greater quality of life.

“But unfortunately it doesn't have enough money, and even though Hannah will leave next year it is vital that it carries on, there is no other facility like this in our area.

“I am really hoping a business will come forward to offer support to such a good cause.”

Debbie Buckingham, team leader of the charity which provides specialist care to children with motor learning difficulties, explained that they were struggling to find more cash.

She said: “The money we had from a Big Lottery grant has run out and if we don't get some from somewhere else our funds will run out in April and we will close.

“We have applied for more grants but it is hard to get more money.

“It would be great to get a large donation but I am a realist and understand we can't rely on that.”

n To support Suffolk School for Parents call 01473 652880.

n Has Suffolk School for Parents helped your child? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Weblink:

www.ssfp.org.uk

Provides early education for pre-school children with motor learning difficulties.

Aims to develop children's abilities and confidence to prepare for life at home and for the next stage in their education.

Uses holistic methods inspired by the Peto Andras Institute of Conductive Education in Budapest, Hungary, which are designed to stimulate and awaken the senses and encourage self-awareness.

Specially trained staff work together in groups of up to six children with their parents or carers during weekly sessions.