Why We Support the National Bobath Centre for Cerebral Palsy

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Why We Support the National Bobath Centre for Cerebral Palsy

At JMW Solicitors, we have represented countless families affected by cerebral palsy to help them get access to compensation, as well as other forms of support, to ensure that they can live as independently as possible. One of the most important aspects of this involves putting these families in touch with charity partners who can provide them with direct support in managing the day-to-day impact of the condition.

The National Bobath Centre for Cerebral Palsy - one of our closest charity partners- plays a crucial role in supporting children and families with cerebral palsy and similar neurological conditions. An internationally recognised treatment centre for cerebral palsy, the centre is dedicated to empowering people of all ages living with this condition to achieve their health goals and lead fulfilling lives.

Here, we explore the work that the therapists and staff at the Bobath Centre do for these families every single day, and highlight what JMW is doing to support this important work.

What does the National Bobath Centre do?

Based in Watford, the National Bobath Centre is the original home of the Bobath approach, a therapeutic strategy developed by Berta Bobath and Dr Karel Bobath to provide a holistic treatment approach for children and adults with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions.

The Bobath approach is designed to bring together all aspects of therapy and support services to provide individuals with patient-centric care, developed around their specific goals. The key pillars of Bobath therapy are as follows:

  • Family-centred: the method involves the whole family and any associated carers in the treatment and therapy process, enabling the Bobath therapists to work with them as a team to support the individual.
  • Trauma-informed: the method acknowledges that everyone is different. Bobath’s team works with the person as they are, developing a personal understanding of their abilities, limitations and objectives, and devising tailor-made therapies to support those goals.
  • Holistic: Bobath therapy encompasses physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy, providing lifelong care to support the patient at every step of their journey.

In practical terms, this means that people of all ages can attend the Bobath Centre and take part in specific activities and therapy support designed just for them. Their family and carers will join each session, so that they can also learn techniques and strategies to support the patient during their development at home.

Therapy sessions could focus on posture training, sensory and motor skills, or support with speech, language and communication. Therapists will also provide practical advice on adapted equipment and mobility aids, ensuring that the person has everything they need to thrive at home.

Since the Bobath concept was first developed, the therapy continues to evolve in order to keep pace with modern challenges and opportunities. The centre is also committed to passing this knowledge onwards through its purpose-fitted National Training Centre in Watford, which provides training for healthcare professionals, special educational needs coordinators, and anyone else who wishes to improve their skills around cerebral palsy.

Why is the National Bobath Centre’s work so important?

The National Bobath Centre’s work is driven by a strong commitment to therapeutic innovation and care excellence; it is also motivated by an understanding of how desperately families need this kind of support.

Lorraine Kirby, marketing and communications manager at the Bobath Centre, explained to us:

“Families with a new diagnosis of cerebral palsy can find themselves overwhelmed by medical appointments, changes in lifestyle, and other challenges that they simply weren’t expecting; at the same time, they often feel traumatised by the experience of receiving the CP diagnosis, which they find isolating, and are seeking emotional support from those who understand.

“As such, these families require sources of information that they can trust, but often find there is little signposting of any relevant services from the NHS. Many have to rely on word of mouth to gain the information they need to find the right services.”

In November 2023, the centre published a survey of people and families living with cerebral palsy, and the results from this poll underlined the need for better support for this community.

  • A significant percentage of households living with cerebral palsy are experiencing food and fuel insecurity - much worse than the national average. The survey showed that 94.6% of these families have been impacted financially by the cost of living crisis, and 73% were financially worse off compared to November 2022. 
  • 80% of people and families living with cerebral palsy were shown to have had difficulties accessing therapy on the NHS.

This aligns with research from the disability charity Scope, which estimates the “Disability Price Tag” - the extra cost of being disabled - to be almost £1,000 per month. According to Lorraine, these findings underline how important it is for these families to be provided with all the support they need to alleviate their hardships - including access to legal services when required. She said:

“Legal advice may not be something families have in their scope of experience. They may anticipate that it will be emotionally draining or time-consuming.”

JMW’s partnership with the National Bobath Centre

At JMW Solicitors, our clinical negligence team has long been dedicated to ensuring that families who have been affected by cerebral palsy due to medical errors are able to access legal support when they need it. By making a medical negligence claim, we can help them to obtain compensation settlements that can ease their financial burdens, and pay for the support and care their loved ones will require throughout their lives.

As such, our goals align closely with those of the National Bobath Centre. We have been supporting their work since 2018, signposting our clients to access their services, as well as organising regular fundraising events to support their work. In 2022, we organised a coast-to-coast cycling event, raising more than £4,000 for the charity, and we continue to dedicate ourselves to helping the charity raise its profile and attract more funds to safeguard the future of its incredible services.

The centre has also recognised JMW’s industry-leading specialist expertise in cerebral palsy cases; we are one of only a small number of law firms that have been selected to sit on the Bobath Centre legal panel, due to our proven credentials in cerebral palsy cases, and the nationwide availability of our services.

Find out more

You can find out more about the National Bobath Centre for Cerebral Palsy here:

If you are looking instead for legal advice on making a cerebral palsy compensation claim, visit our cerebral palsy claims page, or check out our Cerebral Palsy Hub for more guides and information about living with the condition.

For more information about starting a cerebral palsy claim, call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.