AbleStay Raising Money To Fund New Bungalow
The parents of a teenager from Harrogate living with cerebral palsy have founded a charity which aims to give disabled people a comfortable place to stay while experiencing the bright lights of London.
Kit Van Berckel, 13, suffered a brain injury at birth in May 2008 and was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy affecting his mobility and speech.
Following his diagnosis, Kit’s parents Jo and Charles instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care at birth and help secure Kit a settlement which ensures he has access to the specialist therapies and equipment required to meet his needs for the rest of his life.
Despite the challenges he faces, Kit enjoys a full and active life. Proud of his progress and development, Jo and Charles set up registered charity AbleStay to help others like their son enjoy life. Now, AbleStay is launching its first fully accessible holiday home in London. It will enable people with complex physical disabilities and their families the chance to visit the capital and have somewhere suitable and comfortable to stay. The charity purchased a bungalow earlier this year and is now crowdfunding to pay for adaptations and buy essential disability equipment.
Expert Opinion“Kit is such an inspirational young man, and it’s not difficult to see where he gets his bravery and drive from.
Jo and Charles have always worked hard so that Kit can experience everything, whether that’s skiing with his family or visiting our capital city. As a result they recognise the challenges that people face without the benefit of truly accessible accommodation for complex needs. They are keen to give others like him the opportunity to live life to the full. By setting up AbleStay, they hope to do this, and are now raising money to fund the charity’s first fully accessible bungalow in London.
I’m looking forward to seeing where the charity will grow to because there is such a huge demand for this type of accommodation.”
Rachelle Mahapatra - Partner
AbleStay London is a few minutes walk from an accessible train station into Waterloo. It sleeps six people, has an accessible kitchen, two accessible bedrooms, two profiling beds, a ceiling track hoist, a fully accessible bathroom and off-street parking, all in a contemporary single storey home.
Jo said: “We are so excited to have launched AbleStay and aim to raise £55,000 by the end of this month to fund our new bungalow in London. We hope it will encourage families to enjoy staycations in the city without having to worry about a place to stay that suits their needs.
“We know all too well the challenges families face when searching for accessible accommodation, which is why we set up the charity. We wouldn’t want Kit or others like him to miss out.”
Jo also administrates three Facebook groups to help those affected by cerebral palsy. She added: “Kit is now 13 and continues to flourish. He is healthy and has a wonderful care team to support him throughout the day. He also loves secondary school and is thriving, both academically and socially.
“He communicates via an iPad and he also enjoys gaming and playing Fifa on his PS5. As an avid football supporter, he also now has a season ticket for Manchester City for the first time. The Etihad Stadium is very accessible and we are all looked after very well by the access team.”
Visit www.ablestay.co.uk to sign up for updates.