‘Early start club’ planned for children with cleft lip and palate

Roz McMullam (centre), chairman of the James McGowan Scholarship charity for cleft lip and palate, accepting a cheque for £300 from Neil Mullan, project manager with Adman Construction, raised through the site safety scheme and £500 from brothers Nathan and Jimmy McCombe with their mother Andrenna McCombe, presented on behalf of their Grandfather Stanley McCombe (right), who collected the money through donations from his 70th birthday celebrations. Included (from left) are charity committee member Gerry Rankin, his son Jack, Ed Fitzgerald, with ESBI, Charlie Roper, Adman construction. (2806SL02)
Roz McMullam (centre), chairman of the James McGowan Scholarship charity for cleft lip and palate, accepting a cheque for £300 from Neil Mullan, project manager with Adman Construction, raised through the site safety scheme and £500 from brothers Nathan and Jimmy McCombe with their mother Andrenna McCombe, presented on behalf of their Grandfather Stanley McCombe (right), who collected the money through donations from his 70th birthday celebrations. Included (from left) are charity committee member Gerry Rankin, his son Jack, Ed Fitzgerald, with ESBI, Charlie Roper, Adman construction. (2806SL02)

A new club is being set up in the North West to support families with young children born with cleft lip and palate.

The club is being organised by local representatives of the James McGowan Scholarship which was established under the auspices of the Cleft Lip and Palate Association UK (CLAPA) in May 2008, at the request of the family and many friends of James, who died suddenly in 2007.

The Scholarship was made possible by a donation of £6,100 from the family and friends of James and has been added to since that date. It is managed in Derry by a committee with professional and patient representation.

The purpose of the scholarship is to constantly strive for excellence in the care of patients born with cleft lip and palate in Northern Ireland. The scholarship helps fund non-medical professionals in Northern Ireland such as midwives, nurses and speech therapists who are involved in the care of children born with cleft lip and palate, attend conferences and courses to further and share their knowledge.

Plans are now underway for an “early start club” to be run on two Saturday mornings this autumn and all families in the Derry, Limavady, Dungiven and Strabane catchment area with children age 5 and under and born with a cleft, will be invited.

The club will allow parents, as well as brothers and sisters of young children with cleft lip and palate, come together to share their experiences and have an opportunity to support each other in a relaxed and family atmosphere.

The committee hopes that feedback received from the sessions will allow them to focus future support to what is beneficial to the children and their families.

Earlier this week Stanley McCombe presented the committee with a cheque for £500.00 to mark the occasion of his 70th birthday and Adman, Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, the civil engineering firm involved in the construction of the wind farm at Gortmallon Road, Cullion, Donemana, presented a cheque for £300.00 as part of their “site safety initiative” scheme.

A committee spokesperson said: “The donations will go a long way to allowing us to continue our work for these children in NI, especially in the North West.”