Disability Equipment for Mexican Children

by Rotary Club of Cannock
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Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Disability Equipment for Mexican Children
Sergio with his winning medals
Sergio with his winning medals

Catrin’s Penguins

We re-started the sessions in March 2021 with new Covid-19 safe measures. We have had to introduce strict policies for the sessions and limit the numbers attending but slowly the team has built the service back up. We have two groups running once a week one after the other; one for children and one for adults. We have around 10 attend each session. Nadia, Laura and Mariano run both sessions. We were very fortunate to receive a £1000 grant from Audley Rotary Club which was spent to help re-start and improve the sessions. We spent the money on new equipment, uniforms and two Aquatic Therapy training courses for the staff which have been really valuable. One of the main aims of the past 12 months was to focus on staff training so this funding was really essential. It has been very effective in not only upskilling the team but giving them a boost as the pandemic has been really difficult and challenging for them.

We recently asked our Mums for some feedback of how the sessions were going and what was helping them and we had this wonderful response;

“The sessions have helped her to have self-confidence, to be sociable, to have more movement in her legs, she learned to stroke and breathe correctly in the water; for both of us it is a benefit since the session also relaxes us and it also distracts us.”

One of our regular attendees, Iris, who lost her leg in an accident three years ago, is now hosting her own radio

show about individuals living with disabilities in Mexico. She has improved so much physically and mentally from attending the sessions and finds the group so supportive. It really is like one big family.

 We had some incredible news in October, Sergio our original swimmer and one of our first penguins got into to the PARANACIONALES CONADE CANCUN 2021, and won 3 gold and 2 silver medals in his races. This was after he had Covid and had not had the chance to train properly. We are super proud to be part of his journey and really excited to see where he is going to go next, hopefully Paris 2024!

So, for 2022 we will be focusing on securing some more grants to hopefully try and expand so that we can offer more sessions. We would also like to fund some more training for staff and I will be doing some informal training whilst I am there in March as well.

Catrin’s Clinic

The clinic also re-opened in March but again with restrictions due to Covid-19. We moved to a new, larger premises where we can store the equipment and also complete assessments and have the workshop too.

The team have done really well in light of not having support from Catrin (our volunteer who was due to set up the clinic in 2020 and spend 8 months in PV) and no visits from me since 2019! We are really hoping that this year we can start to set up the clinic more formally as a ‘Posture Care’ centre but first the staff need some more training and we need to make some space and donate lots of the equipment.

The team are seeing people weekly and slowly working their way through the list of those most in need. The aim is to have the clinic set up to complete annual reviews of those with complex postures and provide equipment where possible as well as run educational workshops for parents/carers and professionals.

We will hopefully have an APT (paper technology) specialist come out in March to do some further training with the team in moulded seating, as this is where there is the most need.

Keele University and the Catrin Pickles Scholarship.

We have been working with Keele University and Santander to set up an Internship Program. Currently, we have 6 students completing projects for us in various areas focusing on health promotion, barriers in accessing rehab services for people with disabilities, the impact of Covid-19 on the disabled community in Mexico and exploring the challenges for UK registered charities raising funds during Covid-19 Pandemic. It has been a great experience so far as the students are very enthusiastic and creative, working hard to produce guidance, reports, materials and research which will really help us support and develop our services in Mexico. It is great for them too as they are learning lots of new skills and also get paid for their time as well as receiving money towards any relevant training or courses. We are hoping this is just the start of a long partnership with Santander.

We had the unfortunate news just before Christmas that the Catrin Pickles Keele Physio placement in Mexico had been cancelled for 2022. We had 5 incredible students who had been interviewed and selected to go. This is the third year running it has been cancelled but we are hoping that the placement will run next year and that these students will get a chance to come to Mexico at some point. The placement has been such a success and benefited over 22 students over the 10 years it has been running. We have had such lovely feedback about how much this placement has impacted on the students’ lives in so many ways, personally and professionally and we hope it will continue for many years to come.

Mexico Bound…(fingers crossed!)

I am planning a three-week trip at the end of March with one of the ex-Keele students who was due to come out in 2020 and a physio volunteer. We will mainly be focused on evaluating the current services, running training for the staff (posture management and aquatic therapy), running equipment donation clinics and re-connecting with the local Government and services that support individuals living with disabilities in Puerto Vallarta. I cannot wait to get back out there after three long years of not being able to go. The Mexican Team have been so resilient, dedicated and resourceful and I cannot wait to see them and our wonderful service users.

Catrin's Costal Challenge

The incredible Catrin completed 870 miles of the Welsh Coast Path in 10 weeks over the summer. She raised a massive £4543 for Therapies Unite which basically prevented us from shutting down in 2021. Catrin was a clinical educator and volunteer for us in 2018 and had planned to be in Mexico in 2020 for 6 months, helping us to set up our equipment and posture clinic. Unfortunately Covid-19 cut her trip way too short but we are hoping that Catrin will get out to Mexico again soon. She is such as asset to Therapies Unite and we are so very proud of her.  

A Final Plea

Like most charities we are encountering financial issues following the last two years of Covid restrictions and lack of fund-raising opportunities. We have had to spend significantly more on

delivering our therapy provision than we have raised from our fundraising and small donations combined. Despite our very best efforts to reverse our fortunes, and even with the continued generosity of our incredible supporters, we were still facing a real threat to the future of the charity. The reality is that we are in dire need of support with our projections showing we could well be out of funds by April 2022. Those that have been out to Mexico and seen first-hand the impact of our work will know that closing our services would be catastrophic for the disabled community in Puerto Vallarta. We appreciate that this is such a difficult time for everyone financially but if you can support us in any way with a regular donation, no matter how small, we would greatly appreciate this. Please share our charity with your family and friends and get in touch if you would like to support us.

Many thanks and best wishes

Laura

Therapies Unite Director

 

 

Catrin completing the Welsh Costal Path
Catrin completing the Welsh Costal Path
All of our wonderful equipment
All of our wonderful equipment
Andreas receiving a new wheelchair
Andreas receiving a new wheelchair
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Kenya receiving a new wheelchair
Kenya receiving a new wheelchair

We had to put the brakes on our services again in August following an increase in cases of Covid-19 in Puerto Vallarta. We felt that it would be best for our staff to switch back to remote working and take advantage of some extra time to focus on non-clinical work, which is equally as important for us in developing and moving our services forward. Unfortunately, opening and closing our services is the reality we are facing at the moment. Thankfully, our team is so resilient and resourceful this is not having too much of an impact. 


So during this break from clinical work they have been planning on re-organising the equipment and system for loaning, which should make things a lot easier in terms of seeing what we have and where it is. We have some fantastic pieces of equipment and rather than donate it, we loan it so that when it is no longer in use, it can be returned, serviced and used by someone else.


We have built up a long list of clients who are eagerly awaiting their equipment review. Thankfully we have now re-opened our clinic, with Covid-19 safety measures in place. I have been receiving some great reports from our first few clinics and it is lovely to see some familiar faces in the photos I have been sent from the Team. The aim of what we are trying to do with our Posture Care Service in Puerto Vallarta is assess and review indivduals on an annual basis. This way we can check for any changes in their posture, check their equipment is still suitable and then update and change this if not. We can also update their Posture Care plans and guidance and this can be shared with their support networks. We are a long way off being able to do this for everyone that needs it, due to not having the time or resources, but this is our aim one day. 


In the UK we have been planning a big return trip to Puerto Vallarta in March 2022. All being well with Covid-19 and global travel, there should be a large group of around 15 volunteers heading to Mexico to help give our team a much needed hand with tackling our waiting list as well as an overhaul of our services. We have a group of 5 students from Keele University who will be completing a 4 week credit bearing placement, as well as some ex-students who did not get the opportunity to go to Mexico in 2020/2021 as a result of Covid-19. We have lots of plans for Catrin’s Clinic. This will include sorting all the equipment, specialist training for our team and training sessions for physios/local support workers as well as running lots of posture clinics so we can review and support as many people as possible. We have been working hard to develop the service we run so that we can have more of an impact but the best thing for this is to be in Puerto Vallarta and work alongside the team. They are absolutely incredible and despite having very little face to face support over the past 2 years (due to Covid-19), they show such initiative and resourcefulness.


So I wanted to say a big thank you to them…Nadia our wonderful Physiotherapist and Therapies Unite Mexico Director and our incredible husband and wife duo, Oscar (Technician) and Laura (Physiotherapist). We would not be able to do what we do without them, they are so valuable and we are really looking forwards to investing more in their skills and development and hopefully in the future growing our team.


To ‘meet’ our team and learn more about Catrin’s Centre please head over to our website.


Thanks to you again to you for your continued support. We are hoping that by this time next year things will be well and truly up and running and we cannot wait to get back out to Mexico and really get stuck in.

Andres returning for a new wheelchair
Andres returning for a new wheelchair
Nadia
Nadia
Oscar
Oscar
Laura
Laura

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Receiving a new self propel wheelchair
Receiving a new self propel wheelchair

The team have been slowly re-opening our services and part of this has included the launch of our new clinic at Catrin's Centre. We recieved a large amount of medical equipment donated from the UK which arrived in the summer last year. This included specialist wheelchairs and seating, standing frames and mobility equipment. All of this wonderful equipment gives us the ability to help individuals who otherwise would not have access to or be able to afford the equipment they need. The impact this can have have is huge and can often mean isolation and a loss of indpendence and function. 

We have been running equipment clinics for years, since we had our fisrt shipment in 2013. However this is the first year we have had our own clinic space which is suitable for our needs. The clinic is run by our team headed by Nadia, our physiotherapist and Therapies Unite Mexico Lead and Laura (physio) and Oscar who is our Technician. The service provided includes professional evaluation and provision, where possible, of specialist equipment for people with disabilities. The clinic is run twice a week and on average 3 people are seen a week. We focus on seating for children and adults with specialised postural needs; however it also caters for children, adults and their families who need advice, education, support and specialist equipment such as crutches, walking frames and occupational therapy equipment. In addition, families are able to attend for up to 4 sessions with the physiotherapist and receive a personal home exercise program and advice for working with their child.

Once the family has finished with the equipment it can be returned, cleaned and checked and then is ready to re-donate again. Appropriate Paper Technology (APT) is also used at the clinic, which a cost-effective way to produce various specialist seating and therapy items out of paper and cardboard. Items such as a moulded or modular seats that fit onto a normal wheelchair, tables for wheelchairs, standing frames, sleep support systems, therapy equipment, booster seats and splints can all be made from cardboard. These are all very important pieces of equipment that can be given to children from a young age that will greatly reduce the risk of them developing deformities and aid with physical, mental and sensory development. The majority of families cannot afford to buy these pieces of equipment and Therapies Unite are unable to fund them for every child. Using APT keeps costs to a minimum as specialist equipment is not required and materials are cheap/free and available locally.

Our clinic team are also able to visit local centres, schools and organisations that look after children and adults with disabilities to assist them with postural management. They work directly with staff and parents to provide education as well as run satellite clinics to repair wheelchairs and seating equipment as well as provide new equipment where needed.

The team have really enjoyed re-opening the clinic and getting back to what they do best. We are taking things slowly and ensuring that we are operating in a Covid-19 Safe environment. This, of course impacts on the numbers of people we can see and outreach work we can do but the main thing is we have made a start and we are seeing people, donating equipment and making that difference. 

We need to raise more funds so that we can build our clinic, get more staff, see more people and fund equipment. There are hundreds of families that need our support and we can only do so much. If you can donate today, please do consider supporting us, the impact it can make is life changing. 

New walking stick to assist with mobility
New walking stick to assist with mobility
Special knee brace to support mobility
Special knee brace to support mobility

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Giving out equipment in the new clinic
Giving out equipment in the new clinic

2020 has been an extremely challenging year for all of us in so many ways. Covid-19 placed huge restrictions on our services in Mexico, as well as having a devastating impact on the health care system and economy in Mexico. What has shone more than ever this year is the resilience, adaptability and solidarity of our team and the local community. I am so proud of Nadia, Oscar, Laura and Mariano as well as all of the other volunteers and organisations that have supported us this year.

"WHAT HAS SHONE MORE THAN EVER THIS YEAR IS THE RESILIENCE, ADAPTABILITY AND SOLIDARITY OF OUR TEAM"

We started the year planning our annual trip to Mexico, which was to take place in April, alongside the Keele University Physiotherapy Student placement, which sadly had to be cancelled. Catrin Wynn-Davies, our clinical educator, spent two weeks of a 6-month placement prepping for this, before she too had to return to the UK. Unfortunately, the placement for next year, which was due to take place in March, has also been cancelled. We had 3 fantastic students who interviewed for the placement. Interests grows every year and it is such a shame the placements have been cancelled, but I hope that the students will come out to Mexico and support our projects in the future. 

This year we had also planned to run a Health Promotion Project, which was part of a grant awarded by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. This has now also been postponed to next year. We were fortunate to be awarded a £500 Covid 19 Grant from ADAPT to help us in our response to the global pandemic. Throughout lockdown, our team worked hard to connect with our services users, making welfare phone calls, assisting with onward referral to local services, providing information booklets for postural care and home exercises and completing urgent home visits when needed.

Our shipment managed to leave the UK before the ports closed, however it was a long, difficult (and expensive!) process to get the equipment released from customs. We eventually did this with the help of our good friends, Pasitos de Luz. The equipment is now safely stored in our brand new clinic, Catrin’s Centre! We moved there last month and finally have a base to start developing our Posture Care Service.

Unfortunately, our swimming sessions, Catrins’ Penguins, have been cancelled until the new year. However we have big plans to re-develop these sessions with the help of a £1,000 grant from Audley Rotary Club, which is going to be used for training, equipment and publicity of the service.

Visit our new Website!So whilst it has been far from the year we had planned, overall so much has been achieved. Next year is going to be our biggest year yet and as we approach our 10 year Anniversary we hope to see our services and projects continue to develop.

As always, we could not do all of this without your support. We would like to thank some very special organisations that have assisted us this year. These include Rotary International Clubs of Audley, Cannock, Burntwood and Marina Vallarta, Cruz Roja Puerto Vallarta, Pasitos de Luz, Physionet, Keele University Physiotherapy Department and Catrin Pickles family and friends. There are also many Individuals that consistently help us whether this be donating or helping organise events, publicity or connecting us with other organisations. We are eternally grateful for your support.

 

I WANT TO WISH EVERYONE THE VERY BEST FOR 2021, STAY SAFE AND LOOK AFTER EACH OTHER.

 

LAURA

Our team delivering training
Our team delivering training
Equipment ready to be donated
Equipment ready to be donated

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The New Clinic
The New Clinic

 It has been a very busy few weeks in Mexico and despite our clinics being put on hold due to the global pandemic, our team have continued to work behind the scenes. We have finally achieved one of our major goals, which was to find a suitable clinic space to launch our Posture Care Project, Catrin's Centre. Last week we got the keys to our new clinic and the team wasted no time in moving all of our donated UK equipment out of storage and into the new premises. We will be renting this space for a year initially with a view to extending this for the foreseeable future. It is in a great location, easily accessible and is large enough to house a reception, a clinic area, a workshop area as well as have some space for the storage of equipment.

This is a very exciting time for us and feels like a really positive step forwards. Guided by local Government advice, we are planning on opening our clinic soon. Of course this will be thoroughly risk assessed and we will be doing everything possible to ensure a safe working environment for our staff and for those that attend our clinic. 

For now our team are working hard to prepare for the opening of the new clinic. This includes getting the working areas ready as well as starting to schedule the first appointments. The team have been contacting local organisations and charities that work with individuals with disabilities and updating them about the types of equipment we have and what services will be on offer. There is a lot of interest already and they are currently completing telephone assessments to start planning who needs what equipment and prioritising when they need to be seen. This work is being supported by the local Rotary Club, Marina Puerto Vallarta who have been incredibly supportive.

I have managed to complete some on-training on line with our physiotherapists as well as with the therapy team at a large local Mexican charity, called Pasitos de Luz, which supports local children with disabilities. Our plan is to train the therapy staff in postural management so that the team can complete assessments on site and prescribe equipment when needed. We have donated a large amount of the shipped UK equipment to them and we are currently in the process of completing competency training for them to be able to prescribe and use this specialist equipment. This is such a great partnership not only because it facilities the education of local therapists but also because the centre is the largest in the area for providing care to children with severe physical disabilities. We are so grateful for their support and excited to see how much we will be able to achieve together.  

As always your support means so much to us so thank you for being part of this journey and helping us take one step closer to our goal. In order for us to continue to grow and reach so many more people, we are asking for your continued support. If you can consider a monthly donation, no matter how small, this really would make a huge difference. Sharing this wonderful project with family and friends or anyone else who you feel may be able to support us will also really help.

I am incredibly proud of our team in Mexico and everything they have achieved over the past few months, it just shows how determined and resilient they are. I cannot wait to share all of the stories of the people they will be helping and see the impact that Catrin's Centre will have.  

I really look forwards to updating you all again soon. 

Filled with equipment ready to be donated
Filled with equipment ready to be donated

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Organization Information

Rotary Club of Cannock

Location: CANNOCK - United Kingdom
Website:
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Project Leader:
David Marklew
CANNOCK, United Kingdom
$4,151 raised of $30,000 goal
 
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