Category Archives: Events

Cerebra Sleep Conference – Sleep in children with brain conditions

Our one day conference on sleep in children with brain conditions will disseminate the findings of recent sleep research and consider the implications for parents, carers and professionals.

Date: Wednesday 28th June 2017
Time: 9.30am – 4pm
Location: Copthorne Hotel Birmingham, Paradise Circus, Paradise Place, Birmingham B3 3HJ
Cost: £20



Keynote Speaker:

  • Dr Cathy Hill. Dr Cathy Hill is an Associate Professor in Child Health at the University of Southampton and Honorary Consultant in Sleep Medicine at Southampton Children’s Hospital where she has built up a multi-disciplinary children’s sleep disorder service. The Southampton service provides diagnostic and therapeutic services across the south of England and further afield for rarer conditions

Other Speakers:

  • Dr Andy Bagshaw, Reader in Imagining Neuroscience at the University of Birmingham and Scientific Director of the Birmingham University Imaging Centre. His main interest is in developing and applying non-invasive brain imaging methods to clinical and behavioural neuroscience, with particular emphasis on understanding how the brain is affected by sleep and epilepsy.
  • Dr Anna Joyce, Research Associate in Psychology at Coventry University. Dr Anna Joyce is interested in the effects of sleep on learning and cognition and what can be done to enhance sleep in order to improve educational attainment for children. She is also interested in cognitive development in children with developmental disorders and whether sleep problems, which are common in these children, could be at least partly responsible for some of the cognitive difficulties that they face.
  • Dr Caroline Richards who is leading Cerebra funded research at the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders – University of Birmingham. The Centre focuses on the problems experienced by children who have intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders and genetic syndromes that are associated with developmental delay. Cerebra funded sleep research is trying to understand why sleep problems occur and help families find solutions to them.
  • Claire Varey, one of Cerebra’s Sleep Practitioner. Claire is a trained nurse and as a Cerebra Sleep Practitioner, supports parents with common sleep disturbances such as difficulty settling; waking early in the morning or during the night and not being able to return to sleep; sleep-walking/sleep terrors and nightmares; sleeping alone.

The conference will launch new information resources that the our Sleep Team, together with the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders – University of Birmingham, have developed to assist parents to manage their child’s sleep disturbance.

All of our information resources are covered by The Information Standard, a recognised quality mark which indicates that our information is accurate, accessible, impartial, balanced, based on evidence and well-written.

Poppy to Take on Second Triathlon Challenge

Rob and Poppy

Rob and Poppy

Last year, eleven year old Poppy Jones realised her dream of competing in the Cardiff Triathlon. This was particularly challenging for Poppy as she has chronic lung disease and quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. This means she can’t sit, stand, roll or support herself and life is a daily challenge for her, but having a life-limiting condition doesn’t stop her having fun.

Poppy’s Dad Rob helped make her dream come true by pushing/pulling her around the course using custom made equipment specially designed by our Innovation Centre (CIC).

The father and daughter team will be once again rising to the challenge, taking part in the Swansea Triathlon on 28th May.

Rob’s motivation for doing this is simply to help his daughter: “taking part in this triathlon is so exciting for her and psychologically it will really benefit her. She gets so frustrated at the limits her condition puts on her and this will really focus her mind on what she can do. Poppy doesn’t think ‘I can’t’ but rather ‘with a little help I can’. I’ve got my work cut out though as Poppy doesn’t want to just take part – she wants to win!”

The team at team at the Innovation Centre, who designed the equipment that allowed Poppy to take part in the Triathlon last year,  took this opportunity to re-design some of the equipment to allow Poppy to compete on an even larger scale.

“Last year, we designed a chair and boat in Poppy’s favourite colour – yellow,” says Dr Ross Head from the CIC.

“For this year’s challenge, we’ve modified both products to make them more efficient; to make them faster – and to change the look to match Poppy’s new favourite colour, orange!

“Poppy’s also grown a lot since last year’s triathlon and the boat we built last year was too small. So I redesigned the boat to be bigger, however this meant it would be heavier, so I started from scratch using everything I had learnt about hydrodynamics to ensure the boat would be fast, efficient and create the minimum resistance so that Rob could swim the course. This year’s boat uses a V-shaped tri- hull. This allows speed through the water but is given stability by the two smaller outrigger hulls.

“Poppy’s Triathlon Chair has also been upgraded to make it faster and more comfortable. The guys at V-Trak very kindly donated some high quality wheels to help them roll to the finish line. It has upgraded bespoke components which will ensure efficiency, a speedy transition from cycling to running and ensure Poppy’s safety.“

The CIC team recently tested the boat out on the water (see below for photos).

You can sponsor Rob and Poppy through their Just Giving page.



Parent’s Information Seminar – Managing Sleep

We would like to invite you to our parent’s information seminar on managing sleep.


Wednesday 10th May 2017, 10.30am – 1.30pm.


The Hamworthy Club, Canford Magna, Wimbourne, Dorset BH21 3AP.

Event description

Our Sleep Practitioner Sarah Coldrey will give a talk on managing sleep. The talk will give advice on tackling various sleep issues such as difficulty settling, early rising and night terrors.

There will be a break for teas/ coffees and biscuits at 11.45am.

There is plenty of parking available at the venue.

You can book your place using the form below or by contacting Lilly Fahey on or 07920 106216.

Working Wonders Awards 2017!

Do you know someone who deserves an award? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Our Working Wonders Awards 2017 are designed to celebrate some of the amazing achievements of children with brain conditions. They’ll also recognise the tireless support of the professionals who help families discover a better life together.

We will be presenting our winners with their award at a prestigious ceremony on Wednesday 12th July 2017 at The Mansion House in London (7pm to 11pm).

All you have to do is use the form below to tell us about the person you are nominating and why you think they deserve a Working Wonders Award. There are six categories to choose from.

The Awards Categories:

  • Child of Courage
  • Brilliant Brother or Sister
  • Sporting Achievement
  • Exceptional Health Professional
  • Terrific Teacher /LSA
  • Outstanding Achievement
  • Innovation –an award for a company or manufacturer that designs and makes products that transform the lives of children with brain conditions and their families.

How to Enter:

To enter please download and complete the form below telling us all about the person you are nominating and to read the terms and conditions.

Download the Nomination Form PDF

Download the Nomination Form WORD

If you would prefer a hard copy of the form please just let us know.

You can return it to us by e-mail to or by post to:

Cerebra Awards,
Lyric Buildings,
5 King Street,
SA31 1BH.

You can also enter using the form at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can contact or call us on 01267 244216.

The closing date has been extended to 31st May 2017. Good luck!


We’d also love to hear from you if your company would like to sponsor the event. For full details of the packages available please contact 01267 244216.

Nomination Form - Working Wonders Awards 2017

Your Details

Your details

Details of the Person you are Nominating

Drop a file here or click to upload Choose File
Maximum upload size: 10.24MB
Drop a file here or click to upload Choose File
Maximum upload size: 10.24MB


Problem Solving Toolkit Workshops

nav-toolkitOur Problem Solving Toolkit Workshops are designed to help families access the services that their children need, and are entitled to.

Our popular Toolkit aims to support disabled people and carers, as well as their families and advisers, who are encountering difficulties with the statutory agencies in relation to the provision of health, social care and education support services. The toolkit aims to unpick these problems and to develop effective strategies for resolving them. You can download the Toolkit here.

These free workshops will use the information and resources in our Problem Solving Toolkit to help parents and carers, and the professionals who support them, to access the services that their children need. They will be delivered by a Cerebra professional together with a parent/carer who has first hand experience.

Each workshop lasts for around 3-4 hours and includes a presentation on the toolkit and case studies for group work. There will also be the opportunity to discuss and share experiences. The workshops are provided free of charge.

Workshop dates and locations

20th May – Café Chaos, Truro, TR1 1RN
25th May – Maesteg Sports Centre, CF34 9EB
5th June – Ysgol Pendalar, Ffordd Bethel Caernarfon Gwynedd LL55 1DU
7th June – Rawmarsh High Street Centre, Rotherham, S62 6LN
26th June – New Directions, South Reading Centre, 330  Northumberland  Avenue   Whitley   RG2 8DH
27th June – Bayston Hill Methodist Church hall, Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury SY3 0HY
5th July – Calthorpe School, Life Skill Centre, Darwin St, Birmingham B12 0TP
6th July – Coventry – Limbrick Wood Centre, Thomas Naul Croft, Tile Hill, Coventry, CV4 9QX
10th July – The Mix, 127 Ipswich St, Stowmarket IP14 1BB
12th July – Halton – venue to be confirmed
14th September – North Somerset – venue to be confirmed
20th September – The Carers Centre, 24-26 George Street, Croydon, CR0 1PB
8th November – Carers Gloucestershire – venue to be confirmed
10th November – Cardiff – venue to be confirmed

If you would like to book a place at any of the above workshops please contact Beverley Hitchcock at

Coming soon:

We’ll bring you more details of these workshops as soon as they are confirmed:

Lincoln – St Francis Community Special School
Somerset – ASD/ PDA Support Group, Crewkerne
Nottinghamshire  – Particpation Hub
Afasic Cymru

Swansea – NAS
Gwynedd / Ynys Mon – X5
Rotherham – Parents Forum
East Grinstead – Special Families Support Group
Reading / Bracknell – Autism Berkshire
Cardiff – Autism Puzzles
Birmingham / West Midlands – Birmingham Carers Support Programme
Warwickshire – The Ups of Downs

We are currently looking for groups to host our Problem-solving Toolkit workshops. All we would ask is that the group cover the hire of a venue (preferably with an overhead projector and wifi access), refreshments, publicity and bookings.
If you are interested in holding a workshop, then please contact Beverley Hitchcock at

Cerebra’s Christmas Dash!

We recently celebrated our 15th birthday with a festive fancy dress dash in Carmarthen! We had lots of fun meeting local families and supporters who loved joining in with the Christmas fun.

There were three fancy dress races on the day starting with a Toddler Run for the little ones, a 100m Sprint for the more athletic and a Family Fun Run for everyone to get involved in. The costumes were great with some runners bedecked in tinsel, some festive superheroes and even a family of reindeer! The cast from the local panto also joined in the fun – with great rivalry between the Dame and King Rat!

The town’s Mayor, Cllr Wyn Thomas, presented prize hampers for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each race along with one for the best fancy dress.  The hampers were made up of goodies donated by local shops and businesses.

Families could also visit Father Christmas and his elf in his grotto and enjoy mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies, kindly donated by the local Co-Op store.

Our Event’s Co-ordinator, Cecilia Bufton, said: “we wanted to make this a lovely festive fun event that the whole community could get involved in, while raising awareness and funds for the great work that we do and celebrating our 15th birthday”.

We’d like to thank all the local businesses for their sponsorship and support, the Town and County Councils for their assistance, the Town Mayor for giving his time and students from the University of Wales Trinity St David for their photography skills.

Thanks to everyone who joined in the fun and made this event such a great success – we’ll see you all again next year!

Cerebra at the House of Lords

12189901_loresOn 26th October we held a Charity Reception at the House of Lords in London. This prestigious event was a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of the work that we do to help families with children with brain conditions discover a better life together.

The two hour programme was packed full of speakers to showcase the work that we do and to highlight why that support is needed.

The event began with a celebration of Rob and Poppy’s triathlon success earlier this year. Cerebra’s Innovation Centre take pride in designing cool products for cool kids, helping children with brain conditions to take part in activities that others take for granted. This year the team designed all of the equipment needed to take 11 year old Poppy Jones, and her dad Rob, to the finish line of the Cardiff Triathlon.

We also heard passionate and inspirational speeches from two young people. Mair Elliott was diagnosed with autism aged 15 after experiencing severe mental health problems. She is passionate about promoting a better understanding of the condition and spoke powerfully about her experiences. Sixteen year old Eve Hamilton helps care for her brother Cole who has a rare genetic condition. She spoke movingly about what it’s like to have a family member with a disability and about being a young carer.

Dr Nigel Simpson is Cerebra’s Academic Chair at the University of Leeds. Nigel explained to guests about the pioneering work of his research team who are aiming to reduce the number of premature births by improving the prediction of mums at risk of early delivery, so that fewer babies suffer the complications of being born too soon. He was followed by Tor Goodman, who is a Cerebra Ambassador and mum to two daughters, Alice and Hannah. Both girls were born prematurely and Tor spoke about her family’s experiences of premature birth and the impact it has had.

Lynn and BettyA special award was made to Lynn Palfreyman and Betty Blyth who run a small shop on a campsite in Burton Constable in Yorkshire. They have had a Cerebra collection box since 2000 and to date have collected an incredible £27,469 in spare change. Brothers Dylan and Ryan Hooper presented them with an award to recognise this incredible achievement and thank them for their support.

Isaac with the 50 Schools Challenge trophy

The event was also an opportunity to thank the Cathedral School in Cardiff who were the winners of our recent 50 Schools Challenge, raising £1421.43 for Cerebra. Isaac Taylor, who had suggested his school took part in the challenge, attended the event to received the winners trophy.

We would like to thank our event host Lord Kamlesh Patel and also Matthew Price who was our MC for the day. Thanks also to the Angelicus Chorale from the Hywel Girls’ Choir & Hywel Boy Singers, who provided the musical entertainment for the event – the group are proud to be Ambassadors for Cerebra.

We are also grateful to the Lottery Fund for sponsoring the event and to our corporate partners: Hyphen Law, Deloitte, Leigh Day and

hyphen law



The Earl of Wessex to officially open UWTSD’s ALEX Building

The ALEX Building

The ALEX Building

Cerebra and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will welcome The Earl of Wessex to the University’s Swansea College of Art and Design ALEX Building on Thursday, September 29, to officially open the Building.

The Earl of Wessex will be greeted and welcomed by Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, UWTSD Vice-Chancellor, before embarking on a tour of the building, where he will meet staff and students.

His Royal Highness will also visit The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), which was established in 2004 as a partnership between the University and Cerebra, a charity working with brain injured children. From its base in ALEX, the centre designs and manufactures individual products to assist children living with serious life-limiting conditions. Profits from commercialised products are fed back into CIC’s R&D activities.

The visit will conclude with the unveiling of a plaque by The Earl of Wessex to officially open the ALEX Building.

Dr Ian Walsh, Dean of UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art and Design said: “The visit by The Earl of Wessex to the ALEX Building marks the end of a journey which started in 2006. Over the last 10-years this magnificent historic building has been transformed. Its original vision as a beacon of excellence has been restored and once again it occupies centre stage as a seat of creative learning in the heart of Swansea.”

Chris Jones, CEO of Cerebra, said: “The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) based within the ALEX building is an initiative created from Cerebra’s partnership with the University.  We created the centre in order to provide high quality, innovative product solutions to help the families of children with a variety of brain conditions. Cerebra is a national charity for brain injured children and the CIC forms an extremely important part of our work.  Innovative product solutions are all about discovery. There is a certain magic in that and Cerebra is all about joining with families in order to take that journey of discovery. We listen to families, face up to their challenges, believe that for every challenge there is a solution and then discover that solution together. The Cerebra Innovation Centre epitomises that philosophy. It truly is a great innovation in itself.”

CIC full mainThe ALEX Building plays host to a number of important centres of excellence. It provides state-of-the-art accommodation for Wales’ oldest Art Foundation Programme. UWTSD is the only University in Wales still running its own in-house art foundation which remains a key point of entry to Swansea College of Art.

Swansea Bay has the largest cluster of independent architectural glass practitioners in Europe. The Architectural Glass department at UWTSD, which celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2016/17, is unique in the UK and has a truly international reputation. Supporting the creative industries is fundamental to Swansea College of Art’s mission. Within the ALEX Building this is seen clearly in the work of the innovative 3D Computer Animation and Creative Computer Games programmes.

The ALEX building is also home to the University’s Industrial Design department, which include the only Automotive and Transport Design programmes in Wales plus the award winning Product Design programmes.

Be Head Aware with us this July!

Cerebra Head Awareness Week

3rd – 8th July 2017

flower-crownFamilies where a child has a brain condition face challenges every day. Just to learn, play, make friends, enjoy and experience the world can feel difficult, even impossible. But we don’t believe there’s any challenge that can’t be overcome.

So we listen to families, we learn from them, we work with them. We carry out research, we design and innovate, we make and share. From new equipment to new learning resources, to new ways to play and support each other, everything we discover together makes life better. It opens doors to discovering the world.

It’s an incredibly rewarding journey for everyone involved. Why not be part of it? You never know what we’ll discover together.
Head Aware Make a Donation Now

Go on – be head aware!

blue wigTake part in our Head Awareness week from 3rd – 8th July 2017. All we’re asking is that sometime during the week you, your friends and colleagues wear some form of headwear and make a donation to Cerebra.

It can be any form of headwear you fancy – a hat, a wig, colour spray, fascinator, crazy hairstyle or a creation of your own making!

Share the finished result on social media : #CerebraHeadAware

For every challenge, there’s an answer out there. Let’s discover it together.
Contact us at or call 01267 244216.

Need inspiration?

Cerebra Annual Quiz Night

Cerebra team

Cerebra team

On 9th June we held our second annual quiz evening at Carmarthen Town AFC’s clubhouse.

The evening was a huge success with teams competing for the coveted title of ‘Cerebra Quiz Champions’ under the watchful eye of estate agent and temporary quiz master Gerald Vaughan.

All of the quizzing subject favourites were covered from sport to entertainment. Some of the rounds had a special twist with one round asking teams to ‘guess the branded product’ and another asking them to guess the Musical from a short piece of music.

It was a closely fought contest with ‘The Red Kite Hot Trivia Peppers’ eventually claiming victory ahead of ‘Let’s Get Quizzical Carmarthen Round Table’.

A delicious supper of pie and mash was followed by a raffle draw and an auction with a huge array of prizes kindly donated by local businesses.

The winning team from Red Kite Solicitors

The winning team from Red Kite Solicitors

The event raised a fantastic £1,800 for Cerebra and the winning team, “The Red Kite Red Hot Trivia Peppers” even donated their £300 winnings back to the charity.

We are really grateful to the local businesses who donated raffle and auction prizes and those who entered teams into the contest. We are also grateful to Gerald Vaughan for giving his time as quiz master and auctioneer for the evening.

Feeling inspired to hold your own quiz? Get in touch with Jess Thomas on 01267 244222 or for tips and fundraising materials. She might even let you have a peek at our questions.