Dr and Mrs Bobath
Dr and Mrs Bobath had pioneered the specialist Bobath therapy that children received in London in the 1950’s. Dr Bobath was a neurologist and Mrs Bobath was a physiotherapist. Together they began their pioneering work to help treat children with cerebral palsy.
In the late 1980’s Paul & Yvonne Lubas and Bob & Glenys Evans, who both have children with cerebral palsy, Claire and Thomas, had been regular attendees at the Bobath Centre in London. In 1990 Paul saw an increasing need for a Bobath centre to be established in Wales. Paul and Glenys decided to hold talks with the London centre to see what response the idea of a centre in Wales would receive. After an initial meeting with over fifty other families, a steering group was set up to begin work on making the idea a reality. The dream to provide more specialist therapy for every child in Wales who had cerebral palsy was launched.
Early in 1991 we were offered the original premises at a peppercorn rent by the local health authority. Having an actual building meant that the project could really begin. The building needed total renovation and refurbishment but the commitment from families was solid. The work was all guided by the commitment of Chris Loyn, one of the fathers who had joined us who also happens to be an architect.
Children in Need Grant
An application to Children In Need was made to try and secure revenue costs. Much to everyone’s surprise we were awarded a grant of nearly a quarter of a million pounds. The grant allowed us to employ our therapy staff and it spurred on the building programme to new levels.
Also at this time Viscount Tonypandy, George Thomas became our President, until his death in 1997. In 1999 Sir Julian Hodge, as a great friend of George Thomas, was delighted to take over as our new President, sadly for us he passed away in 2004 and is very much missed.
The Centre Opens
By June 1992 we were ready to open our centre and were known as Bobath Cymru. The dream that we had been told was unrealistic and not achievable was, two years from the start, welcoming its first children. Those two years were tremendous hard work considering most people involved had a child with cerebral palsy to care for, as well as take on this project, but we all achieved so much.
The Centre Grows and a New Name
Since our opening in 1992 the centre has grown, developed and changed in many ways. In 1999 we purchased our building and changed our name to Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales. In 2002, thanks to major funding from The Community Fund and a number of other trusts, we were able to complete the building of our annexe which doubled the number of therapy rooms to six and gave us a new kitchen furnished with low level units for the children to practise independent life skills in, as well as nicer general facilities throughout.
Over the past twenty three years we have provided thousands of therapy sessions to the many children who have attended with their families. Ongoing training demands are met to maintain the highest level of therapy provision to the children, as well as developing good working practises, implementing procedures and developing long term strategy plans for the future of the charity.