CP Teens UK (Registered Charity 1172105) was set up by Ellie Simpson, who has Quadriplegic Athetoid Cerebral Palsy, in October 2013 when she was 18-years-old.
As Ellie progressed through secondary school, she realised how 'peers' slowly moved away from her, leaving her socially isolated. This came to a peak during the Sixth Form when her 'peers' were given a lot more freedom. They were allowed to leave the school grounds during breaks and lunchtimes, they were able to go around bars and clubs drinking as they all turned 18, and they were
no longer having a lot of parental input meaning that they were allowed to do what they wanted, when they wanted, often leaving Ellie out. Ellie really wanted to be included in the activities that her peers were doing, even if it was only leaving the school grounds during a lunchtime, but she found that her 'peers' were not open to including her.
At the time, Ellie didn't realise the true extent of the problem as she was putting all of her energy into her A Levels. However, once she had left school and her 'peers' quickly moved on with their lives, she realised how socially isolated she had become. Ellie saw a pattern emerging in that teenagers & young people with Cerebral Palsy and physical disabilities were often left out by able-bodied peers as they were physically unable to keep up and fend for themselves.
Ellie took a gap year and in addition to feeling socially isolated, she was frustrated at the lack of opportunities and support out there for physically disabled teenagers & young people. She found that some people thought she'd be more than capable of getting a full time job, whereas other people thought it would be okay to put her in a daycare centre, singing '10 green bottles' day-in, day-out. There appeared to be absolutely nothing for people who were 'switched on' but had a physical disability, both for support and opportunities.
However, this was when 'CP Teens UK' was born!
Ellie felt frustrated and wanted to see if there were any other teenagers and young people in a similar position and if she could help them in some way. Through the use of Twitter, Ellie set up an account with the name ‘CP Teens UK’ to see if 'anyone was interested’.
To Ellie’s great surprise, she woke up the following morning to 100 followers, including Hannah Cockroft and Francesca Martinez.
Since then, Ellie used her gap year (September 2013 - September 2014) to develop CP Teens UK and it just grew and grew! It has continued to flourish. Between September 2014 & April 2017, Ellie ran CP Teens UK around her degree at Sheffield Hallam University and achieved charitable status, as well as being recognised by the Prime Minister with a 'Point Of Light' Award for CP Teens UK during this time. CP Teens UK is now based in the Community Hub at Chesterfield FC and Ellie runs the charity full time on a voluntary basis.
The main aims of CP Teens UK are:
The promotion of social inclusion among people with physical disabilities who are socially excluded from society, or parts of society, as a result of their disability by:
- Providing connections & friendships for people with a range of physical disabilities as part of a monitored and supportive community
- Providing help, support & advice for people with physical disabilities, and their families
- Providing workshops, forums, advocacy and general support
- Providing recreational facilities and opportunities for people with physical disabilities
Ellie works hard to put on social events and opportunities, in particular Disability Sport events where users can have a go at different sports and meet new people. In October 2015, Ellie put on the CP Teens UK inaugural Ball, which attracted Sophie Christiansen CBE (now Patron of CP Teens UK), World Dressage Paralympic Champion as the Celebrity Guest. 150 guests attended and an incredible £7,613 was raised for CP Teens UK. It is now an annual event in the CP Teens UK calendar. The CP Teens UK Ball has two aims:
- To give teenagers & young people with Cerebral Palsy and similar disabilities, and their families, a unforgettable social night
- To raise as much money as possible for CP Teens UK
CP Teens UK has gone from strength to strength and it continues to thrive. When Ellie set it up in 2013, she said, "If it only helps one person out there, I've done my job!"; through Ellie's hard work, CP Teens UK has certainly done this, in fact, it has, and continues to, help hundreds of people both in the UK. It is the only website and organisation of it's kind in the UK.
CP Teens UK has no one on the pay roll. It is mainly ran and coordinated by Ellie herself with help from the Trustees, the Ambassadors and a small team of family & friends. All of these people dedicate their time completely free of charge as they're passionate about helping youngsters with Cerebral Palsy/physical disabilities. All of the money donated and raised goes straight to helping children & young people with Cerebral Palsy and similar disabilities.
CP Teens UK - the story so far...
The idea 'sparks'
17th October 2013
18th October 2013
November 2013 - October 2014
The first 'in-person' event - The Sponsored Wobble
The first annual Ball
Having just completed her A-Levels and entering a gap year feeling very socially isolated, as well as frustrated at the lack of opportunities out there for physically disabled young people, Ellie Simpson decides to do something about it and the idea 'CP Teens UK' is born.
After a month and a half of designing a website, Ellie launches www.cpteensuk.org, along with a Twitter page and a Facebook page to "see how it goes"!
The following morning after launching, CP Teens UK is inundated with followers & messages from young people around the UK with Cerebral Palsy/similar physical disabilities feeling alone and wanting to connect.
Between November 2013 & October 2014, CP Teens UK grew a well-established network of young people online who had Cerebral Palsy/similar physical disabilities. Ellie worked hard in her gap year to run the new online network and she couldn't believe the number of youngsters like her out there who were experiencing and feeling the same things.
Ellie felt it would be a great thing to do to bring these online friendships together in-person. This was when the 'Sponsored Wobble' was born - an accessible 5k walk, wheel or 'wobble' through Chatsworth Park in Derbyshire. Youngsters came together from all over the country for the inaugural Wobble and over £1,000 was raised for future meet-ups & events. The Sponsored Wobble is now an annual favourite!
After another year of a growing network & friendships, the inaugural CP Teens UK Ball was held with Special Guest, Sophie Christiansen, Paralympian. The aim of the Ball was/is to give the youngsters & their families a glittering night, and to raise money for CP Teens UK. Ellie decided to go for charity status for CP Teens UK and this was announced at the 2015 Ball.