Richmond charity Small Steps calls for support as Covid-19 threatens funding

By Francesca Williams
March 29 2020, 19.30

A Richmond charity supporting families with physically disabled children has set up a funding campaign as it faces financial challenges amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

Small Steps has supported more than 700 families in south west London and beyond by providing therapy for disabled children and emotional support for parents since it first opened in 1998.

The current ban on social gatherings led to the cancellation of many future fundraising events which play a vital role in the organisation’s annual income.  

Marketing and communications manager Ruth Evans said: “As a small charity, this is a real threat.

“We rely totally on fundraising and donations to continue to operate.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up appealing to anyone who was considering either attending or contributing to Small Step’s upcoming fundraising ball or bake sales, or running the London Marathon or a 10k, to continue in their donations.

Ms Evans said these donations will be vital in helping the charity maintain its finances and supporting families in need.

Charlie and Milly Lort-Philips, whose daughter Louisa, 3 (pictured above), has cerebral palsy, have been going to Small Steps for three and a half years and have found it an essential support network for their whole family. 

Mr Lort-Philips, 39, described the importance of evening sessions as a working parent for whom daily medical appointments and interaction can be inaccessible.

He said: “It’s easy to feel detached from your child’s treatment, so having the ability to join your other half and actually engage with your child’s treatment in a social and less formal way makes a huge difference.”

The couple expressed the importance of supporting charities like Small Steps, especially in the current climate and called to anyone who might be thinking about donating.

Mr Lort-Philips said: “I would be extremely grateful to anyone who contributed to maintaining an invaluable service at a time when perhaps everyone else’s minds are elsewhere.

“Hopefully what people will remember is that when we come out the other end of this crisis, we don’t want to have forgotten all the things that make life special.”

In these trying times, the Small Steps community remains strong with online support services up and running and an upcoming virtual pub quiz for the parents.  

Visit the Small Steps GoFundMe page here.

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