Cerebral Palsy body is latest NGO hit by funding crisis

2013-10-30 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg Cerebral Palsy Association (CPASSOC) is the latest organisation in the city to be hit by a funding crisis.

The NGO, which was started 34 years ago, has barely enough funds to carry on until the end of the year. In addition to serving the needs of children and their families affected by cerebral palsy, the organisation runs the Stepping Stones School and the S’khumbuzo Memorial Disability Clinic in Creighton.

Staff have already taken salary cuts to continue to provide all their services.

CPASSOC chairperson Sarah Rule said that the funding crisis this year was a result of the National Lottery’s delay in processing their funding application, which was submitted in December 2012.

Rule said that although the association’s centre in Pietermaritzburg had been registered with the Department of Social Development as a place of care, they had not received any funding support from the government for the past three years, despite having signed service level agreements.

Child Welfare’s Julie Todd had told The Witness earlier this year that government’s non-funding of NGO-run places of care was an issue that the sector was challenging.

Rule said the Cerebral Palsy Association was entirely dependent on donor funding to operate. She said it costs about a R1 million a year to run the organisation.

“Our major donors are the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, the Community Chest and the Ken Collins Charity Trust, in addition to other smaller donors,” said Rule.

“It is a challenge each year to see if we will have enough funds to run the association and this year we are feeling particularly concerned because of the lengthy delay in getting a response from the Lotto.”

She added that should their application be unsuccessful or delayed even further, CPASSOC will only be able to operate until the end of the year.

“It will mean the closure of Stepping Stones School, the S’khumbuzo Zulu Memorial Disability Clinic, our community therapy programme and also our involvement in the cerebral palsy clinic at Edendale Hospital.

“This will have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of over 500 children with disabilities and their caregivers,” said Rule.

Other organisations that faced funding cuts this year included Childline, Rape Crisis and the Child Welfare Society.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

ACCORDING to CPASSOC: Cerebral palsy (CP) is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person’s ability to move. It is a permanent life-long condition, but generally does not worsen over time. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

Cerebral palsy affects people in different ways and can affect body movement, muscle control, muscle co-ordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. People who have cerebral palsy may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairments.

Famous people with cerebral palsy include motor racing star Nicholas Hamilton, comedian Chris Fonseca and Christy Brown, an Irish author, painter and poet. The Academy Award-winning film My Left Foot, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, profiled Brown’s life.

For more information on the Pietermaritzburg Cerebral Palsy Association please contact Sarah Rule by visiting the centre at 320 Prince Alfred Street or calling 033 342 2913, or e-mail:


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