TV star and Strictly Come Dancing finalist, Emma Barton, has this week been announced as the Patron of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People’s (QEF) Survive and Thrive emergency appeal.
Emma, who has lived in the Guildford area for more than 20 years, marked the occasion with a socially distanced visit to the Leatherhead charity’s new Care and Rehabilitation Centre last week. She was welcomed by staff and several clients; each of whom is relying on QEF’s expert Neuro Rehabilitation Service to help rebuild their lives after an acquired brain injury, stroke or neurological illness.
In normal times, the charity provides expert advice and life-changing services to more than 6,000 disabled children and adults every year, enabling people to develop key life skills, increase mobility and maximise their independence.
The pandemic has significantly impacted QEF’s funding though, with a predicted shortfall of £1million. After exploring all options for self-help, it launched an emergency ‘Survive and Thrive’ fundraising appeal in June. This appeal needs to raise £500,000 by the end of September to ensure its services can survive, so it can continue to enable disabled people to thrive.
“As a Surrey resident for more than 20 years, I was honoured to be asked to support QEF’s emergency ‘Survive and Thrive’ appeal. Their work enables children and adults with disabilities to be as independent as possible – helping each person to live the life they choose. They change peoples’ lives. Any one of us could find ourselves relying on their expertise, whether it be after a stroke or a road accident that results in a brain injury. And today QEF are also supporting people who have suffered a neurological complication from COVID-19, so it’s vitally important that their services continue to be there for the people who rely on them.”
Thanks to the support of lots of generous donors the appeal has so far raised £126,000 towards its £500,000 goal, but there is still a way to go to ensure its expert services can survive.
The actress is also putting her money where her mouth is by taking part in the charity’s upcoming fundraising event, ‘Reach the Peak – The Big Climb’ which asks participants to take on the challenge of climbing the height of their chosen mountain, either by climbing their stairs several times or climbing local hills. This will take place during the last two weeks of September and will help the charity reach the peak of its fundraising goal.
QEF Chief Executive, Karen Deacon said:
“We are so grateful to Emma for coming on board as Patron of our ‘Survive and Thrive’ appeal. The support of Surrey residents has always been important to QEF, but never more so than now. We really appreciate Emma giving her time at the weekend when she has such a busy filming schedule, to raise awareness of our emergency appeal and her visit to the new Care and Rehabilitation Centre was a highlight for both staff and our clients.
“Our care and therapy staff have been at the frontline throughout this pandemic and we continue to work very hard to keep everyone safe. We are slowly re-opening some of our mobility assessment services, but this is a phased process with significantly reduced capacity to ensure safety for everyone. And whilst our fantastic new Care and Rehabilitation Centre is open, the first floor remains closed until funding can be secured to finish equipping it. So, whilst we hope to be in a position to support many more people in the not too distant future, today we really need support so our expert services can survive.”
To find out more and support QEF’s Survive and Thrive appeal visit qef.org.uk/surviveandthrive