Paces School's mission to raise £3.5m for new Sheffield home
"Paces School in Sheffield is a wonderful place – filled with light and laughter,” says Julie Booth.
"The work being done here is so important – yet not many people actually know that it’s here.”
Tucked away from the main road, in High Green, the leading specialist centre, for children with Cerebral Palsy and other motor disorders, is one of the city’s best kept secrets.
But for over 70 families in the region, the support they receive there each year is something to shout about.
"Paces school has been in the city for 20 years,” explains Julie, the charity’s head of fundraising.
"It was established by a small group of parents back in the 90s, who recognised the benefits of Conductive Education for their children with cerebral palsy.”
Developed in Hungary, Conductive Education is a holistic approach in meeting the learning needs of children and young people who have trouble with movement.
It is based on a simple concept of human potential; meaning that everyone has the capability to learn and develop irrespective of their starting point.
Today, Paces offers an Outreach service for children aged 0-4 – funded by Children In Need – an SEN school for pupils aged 4-18, and a range of adults services.
Julie adds: “Here at Paces, we teach skills such as standing, walking, and methods of communication, using Conductive Education.
"Our adults services include baking, cooking, and lots of arts and crafts, which help with fine motor skills.
"We also hold sessions for adults with Parkinsons, and those recovering from strokes or brain injuries, to re-teach them skills lost due to their illnesses, such as walking and talking.”
Earlier this year, Paces launched an exciting appeal to raise £3.5 million to build the centre a new home within the city, after two decades at its current base.
“We don’t own this building, we rent it, and it’s not in the best shape,” says Julie.
"Our kids and adults deserve better, so we’ve launched a capital appeal to help fund a new permanent home for Paces in the city.”
The new centre will enable Paces to support three times as many children and adults, and with almost 100 families having to be turned away in the last three years, this is something the team is incredibly excited about.
"The centre will feature classrooms, an adult life skills room, therapy room, sensory room, and a big sports hall.
"There will also be a cafe, as we want the children and adults who come to Paces to feel they’re part of the bigger community of the area, so we want a place to be able to invite the community in to.”
And despite the unfortunate timing of the appeal being launched just as the country went into lockdown, the fundraising is going surprisingly well.
"That’s in no small part to our incredible fundraising superstar pupils – ‘Captain’ Tobias Weller, Jack Mitchell, and Lennie Street – who between them have raised £100,000 towards the new facility.
"We’re so proud of them, and it just goes to show that our children and their families want this new school as much as we do.”
If you would like to support Paces on their journey to building a new home, contact Julie at [email protected]