Harry’s Pals was inspired by Harry and his family’s struggles to get the emotional support that they needed when Harry was born back in 2015. At birth Harry suffered two strokes on both sides of his brain resulting in catastrophic brain damage.
Now age eight Harry has very complex needs; he has cerebral palsy which has left him with no functional use of his body, he’s tube fed is non verbal and is cognitively around the age of a three month old.
Harry is however an inspiring little smiler that Hayley and her family (and the trustees of Harry’s Pals) have learnt so many lessons from. Harry is a little fighter and he has taught us so many things; resilience, strength, courage and determination and with that Hayley and the trustees decided to set up Harry’s Pals.
At Harry’s Pals we appreciate how hard it is physically, practically and emotionally to care for your severely ill or disabled child.
Knowing first hand the impact this can have on your mental health we decided to set up Harry’s Pals so that parents don’t feel so alone in what may feel like a minefield that they could never have anticipated.
It’s easy to put yourself amongst the bottom of the pile and put your needs last but we think it’s so counter intuitive – after all, how can you care for others when you are not functioning properly yourself.
We offer respite breaks and counselling/ therapy services that are right for families to help them to take time out to re-energise, refocus and relax. Having something to look forward to can make all of the difference when you are really in the thick of it all.
Harry’s Pals also feel passionately about trying to inspire change by using past experiences to inspire change for disabled people and their careers. An example of a very successful campaign being Harry’s Pledge.. a nationwide social housing commitment to do more to support carers and disabled people living and working in social housing.
Picture above: Harry with his family just before he was meant to go home from hospital for the first time.
“We are doing our best to look happy but inside we were devastated and scared to leave the security net of the hospital.” – Hayley Charlesworth.
Picture above: Harry and his family in 2022; the smiles are real.
“With emotional support we have found coping mechanisms to be better equipped for any challenges we may face.”