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 became increasingly socially isolated by able-bodied peers. When Ellie was 14-years-old, she started her GCSE's and this is when things began to 'shift'.
By the time Ellie started in the Sixth Form, able-bodied peers were leaving her out of the majority of social activities - both in & out of school.
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.
As well as feeling very socially isolated, Ellie didn’t know what I wanted to do beyond school. She was academically capable of going to University and she had the grades to do so, however at that stage Ellie had no idea what I would want to study, let alone if University was right for her & what it would look like with her extra support needs. Ellie took a gap year away from education to regroup, recharge and work out my path.
Ellie was hoping to obtain opportunities to help her with this, as well as to build confidence & relationships to help with her sense of isolation, such as volunteering. However, she found herself extremely frustrated at the lack of opportunities and support out there for physically disabled teenagers & young people.
"I was virtually told to go home and watch daytime television. I was so frustrated & disappointed at the lack of opportunities out there for me as a physically disabled young person, and I couldn’t believe that the system would allow me to sit on my sofa forever more because I was disabled."
There appeared to be absolutely nothing for people who were 'switched on' but had a physical disability - socially, general support nor occupational or recreational 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.
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. In 2017, CP Teens UK moved into its first home in the Community Hub at Chesterfield FC. In 2023, CP Teens UK moved to the Northern Gateway to accommodate its growth.
CP Teens UK has no one on the pay roll. It is mainly ran and coordinated by Ellie herself with help from Ellie's own personal team of PA's, 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 people with Cerebral Palsy/physical disabilities. All of the money donated and raised goes straight to helping children, young people & beyond with Cerebral Palsy and similar disabilities.