The Blackwood team has helped a six-year-old with cerebral palsy climb Pen y Fan for the first time while raising awareness of a local children’s charity’s work.

Support for Imogen

Imogen Ashwell-Lewis, from Caldicot, reached the top of Wales’ highest peak in a four-wheel bike designed and modified for her. She was supported by more than 40 people, including the Blackwood Specsavers team, her family, army soldiers, other Specsavers staff and charity workers.

The challenge aimed to raise awareness for the Carmarthen-headquartered charity and its work with families who have children with brain conditions.

Imogen’s mum, Catherine, says: ‘Imogen is so thrilled and excited to have completed this climb. It’s only thanks to the team at Cerebra that she’s been able to have this adventure - she’s never been able to do anything like this before because of her cerebral palsy. There have been so many times that she hasn’t been able to join in with physical activities, which leaves her feeling left out. Being able to do things like this is a real boost to her confidence and self-esteem. She really is over the moon.’

The Specsavers store in Blackwood, and 39 other Specsavers stores in South and Mid Wales, are fundraising for Cerebra as part of a year-long partnership. The charity supports 4,500 families in Wales, and thousands more have access to its online services.

‘Proud of our staff’

Vincent Welsh, store director at Specsavers Blackwood, says: ‘Imogen and her family are an inspiration to us all, as are the services and support Cerebra provides to them and many other families across Wales. I’m proud of our staff for giving up their time to help Imogen and the charity achieve something so special.

‘We are thrilled to have been able to help raise awareness of the charity’s work, and hope it will lead to more young children with brain conditions discovering ways to live a better life with their families.’

Cerebra also operates an Innovation Centre at the University of Wales Trinity St David, Swansea, where bespoke equipment is designed and created, free of charge, to make children’s lives easier.

Imogen’s bike was created by Calvin Williams of Project ENDURO – a collaboration between experts at Swansea University, Gower College Swansea and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Project ENDURO was supported by AgorIP, based at Swansea University’s School of Management, who are part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

Terry Osborn, acting Head of Corporates, Trusts and Legacies at Cerebra, says: ‘We’re delighted to have joined the Specsavers team for the Pen y Fan climb. To be able to take Imogen with is us was a privilege and really does demonstrate that we don’t believe there is any challenge that can’t be overcome.

‘The invaluable fundraising support from Specsavers means that our Innovation Centre will be able to help more children to overcome their challenges and discover the world around them’.

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