Dear CLAPA Community,
We need your help. CLAPA will not survive without you.
The coronavirus pandemic is the greatest challenge CLAPA and many other charities have ever faced.
Right now, we’re reaching out to funders around the UK for their help to keep our services going. We’re closely monitoring the government’s offer of support to charities at this time, but we fear our work will not meet their requirements. We’ve also cut our costs wherever we can and furloughed any staff whose roles focus on events and in-person activities which aren’t possible at the moment.
We’re doing everything we can to keep CLAPA operating for as long as possible, but the stark reality is that – despite heroic efforts so far from you and our staff – we will run out of money before this crisis is over.
In the face of the huge obstacles we continue to serve you, our community. We’re responding to an increased number of urgent enquiries every day, keeping online support groups open 24/7, and maintaining one-to-one support for people in need from trained volunteers. We’re working on adapting services to bring our community together even though we’re apart. We’re continuing to run the feeding service, which sent out over 1,000 bottles and teats to families and hospitals in the first two weeks of the lockdown.
CLAPA was set up by volunteers and has been supporting children, adults and families affected by cleft for 40 years. It receives no government or NHS income and relies hugely on funding raised by you; from coffee mornings and bake sales to school events and challenges by people pushing beyond their comfort zones to raise money and awareness.
The pandemic has put a halt to all of these activities. As a result, we’re expecting to lose more than half of our income over the next six months.
At a time when things are so difficult for so many, this may feel like an impossible challenge to rise to. But CLAPA was founded by people who believed if we only worked together, a brighter future was possible for babies born with a cleft. If everyone reading this letter donated just £5 each month, we could not only survive this crisis, we’d be able to be there for everyone who needs us for years to come.
For the price of two coffees or pints in the pub each month, we could keep CLAPA going through this year and beyond. We know things are financially difficult for many and, with that in mind, this is not an easy letter to write. We would like nothing more than to be able to support you, our community, without asking for help in return. But without this help, we won’t survive the next year. Anything you can give, anything you can do, will help to buy us more time.
You tell us on a daily basis how great an impact CLAPA has had on your lives. We’re proud and honoured to serve such a kind, encouraging community of people, and prouder still of the difference we’ve been able to make. We’ll do all we can to carry on for the next month, the next year, and far into the future. But right now, this future is in your hands.
Anything you can give will help us continue to offer support for as long as the cleft community might need us.
Chair of CLAPA Trustee Board
Consultant Cleft and Plastic Surgeon (retired), West Midlands Cleft Service
P.S. To do my part to help CLAPA keep going, I’m taking part in the 2.6 Challenge by asking friends, family and former colleagues to sponsor me to row 26 miles on a rowing machine. However much I manage to raise, I’ll be proud to know I’m helping CLAPA continue its vital work.