"Was it something I said?” Whistleblowing during the pandemic
Natasha Forman (née Koshnitsky)
I was delighted to attend the CPotential Constellation Event, held at the Mercers’ Hall in the City of London. We were welcomed by CEO Jo Honigmann, who explained that the London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy has changed its name to CPotential.
I think this is the perfect name for this organisation, which sets about fearlessly supporting disabled children to achieve their potential. With Conductive Education at its core, CPotential offers a range of services for children with movement disorders due to conditions such as cerebral palsy or acquired brain injury.
Kingsley Napley are proud to be associated with this inspirational organisation, which has as its aims “educating, enabling, exciting”. Unsurprisingly, the Constellation event was true to all those aims.
The wonderful guest speaker was Sophie Christiansen CBE, described as “equestrian extraordinaire”, having competed in three successive Paralympic games and won eight gold medals in Para Dressage. At the age of 16 she was the youngest athlete for Great Britain at the 2004 Paralympics in Beijing and, since then, she has gone from dizzy height to dizzy height (not just Olympic medals but also a first class degree in maths and a busy job in the City). All of this after having had to first overcome the challenges of being born with cerebral palsy.
Sophie’s talk was educating us about the relationship between the equestrian and the horse, the excitement and pressure of competing in Olympic Games and the highs and lows along the way.
Her talk was enabling because Sophie’s achievements illustrated that the sky is really the limit if you concentrate on ability rather than disability. Her story inspired us all. Her life- changing experience of learning to ride as a young girl also brought home to me the importance of sport for disabled people and gave a timely context for Kingsley Napley’s decision to sponsor the Riding for the Disabled Association National Championships, which will be held in Gloucestershire from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th July.
Sophie Christiansen CBE and Jo Honigmann, CEO, CPotential
And the event was Exciting because CPotential is an organisation that helps disabled people live exciting and fulfilled lives.
I was particularly delighted to have a long conversation with fellow guest and former CPotential pupil Raisa Hassan, who has just secured a 2:1 from the University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. As part of her degree, she’s also published her first book Spotlight – A way forward, which includes an article about her time at CPotential and the positive impact that the charity has had on her life, an extract of a novel, a screenplay and a poem. As soon as I got home I ordered a copy and can’t wait to read it!
We also heard from Kinga, one of the Conductors at CPotential. Having trained in Conductive Education at the Peto Institute in Budapest, she now works with babies and very young children at the Centre, teaching them to develop their mobility, practical everyday skills and, above all, their confidence. She explained that Conductive Education is not a therapy or a treatment but rather it works from the belief that everyone, whatever their starting point, has the ability to learn and grow in confidence, skills and independence. She also talked passionately about the importance of music in the classes of CPotential and we were treated to a video of her singing to a child to help them keep step in their Conductive Education session.
Kinga with a child and her mum at CPotential
CPotential not only provides vital support to the children who come to sessions or attend its Woodstar School and Nursery but also does so much more as a thriving extended community.
At Kingsley Napley we are proud of the work that we have done with this inspirational organisation over the years, raising funds to support its services. Most recently, we’ve helped develop its new Parents’ Information and Support Hub, including providing advice and guidance on making clinical negligence claims in a free vodcast.
If you are interested to read our other blogs about the activities we have undertaken with CPotential please click on the links below:
You can also visit the CPotential website.
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