About us

Every Smile Tells a Story

The Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA) is the national charity supporting people born with a cleft and their families in the UK

We bring together people affected by cleft to help them connect with others who share their experiences, welcoming them into a supportive community for life.

We have a small office in Bethnal Green, London, but our staff are based around the UK.

Our Vision

No one affected by cleft lip and palate in the United Kingdom will go through their journey alone.

Our Purpose

CLAPA is the national charity for people affected by cleft lip and palate in the United Kingdom. We support people to take control of their journey, connect with others, and use their voices to impact the future of care.


Read about our strategy for 2022-25

Services include:

  • Vibrant social Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles which promote positivity, bust myths and celebrate differences with regular content created by and for the cleft community.
  • Online support groups moderated by trained volunteers provide an instant connection for those looking for an informal support network.
  • Regular events give people the chance to talk about their experiences and worries and hear from others at all stages of the cleft journey.
  • Confidential one-to-one support provided by trained volunteer patients and parents who reassure those most in need that they can cope with whatever lies ahead.
  • Accredited information on cleft led by our community, reflecting their experiences and emotional needs as well as medical facts.
  • An Advocacy Service that provides tailored information and signposting to those with complex enquiries.
  • A Children and Young People’s Council made up of 9-17-year-olds who meet to share their thoughts and experiences, helping to improve our support services as well as cleft research and NHS care.
  • A consultancy service for researchers which connects their work with our community.
  • A feeding service that supplies 15,000 subsidised items of specialist equipment for babies born with a cleft each year, including free of charge items for new and vulnerable families.



Everyone affected by cleft in the UK, regardless of background, identity or socioeconomic status, should be able to find a warm and welcoming community with CLAPA. We value all voices and want everyone to see themselves reflected in our work.


We passionately believe in doing what is best for the UK cleft community. Their needs and voices are at the front and centre of everything we do. We take responsibility for our mistakes and use them as chances to learn.


We seek authentic feedback to help us raise the bar in everything we do. We don’t stay stuck in our ways. We follow the evidence, try new things, and change with the times.


We work best when we work together, whether this is as a staff team, as a community, or in partnership with others.

Read more about our history, what we do, and our commitment to safeguarding.


CLAPA holds the SAFE Award for excellence in safeguarding practices

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We rely on the kindness and generosity of the community to help us make sure everyone born with a cleft can smile inside and out. Can you help us be there for every child, adult and family in need?

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