Sheffield United U23s visit Paces

We were delighted to welcome Sheffield United’s U23 Academy Team to Paces today (Tuesday, 1 May).

They visited Paces School to meet some of our children, hear from our headteacher Gabor and parent Vicki about what we do and watched a video all about Paces.

We’re really grateful for all the support of Sheffield United as one of their partners for the current season – and it was great to be able to host them at Paces today.

Paces receives £43,000 donation from Irwin Mitchell

We were delighted to welcome some of the team from Irwin Mitchell to Paces on Thursday (29 March) as they presented us with the £43,000 they had raised during their year supporting the charity.

Paces were voted for by staff at the law firm’s Sheffield office to be their Charity of the Year for 2017 as part of a nationwide initiative with the Irwin Mitchell Charities Foundation (IMCF).

Established in 1997, the IMCF is an independent registered charity set up by the firm which has donated more than £1.6 million to third sector organisations.

Following 12 months of fundraising activities, including a campaign to raise £20,000 in a month to celebrate IMCF’s 20th anniversary, nationally, the law firm raised a £180,000 during 2017 – a record for Irwin Mitchell.

Staff in Sheffield raised funds for Paces in a variety of ways which included holding weekly dress down days, taking part in a sponsored obstacle course and by holding a festive market.

The huge donation will help the charity in their mission to improve the lives of their patrons by providing conductive education to children and adults living with motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy.

Niall Baker, Regional Managing Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office, said: “It’s an honour to be able to provide this donation to a truly fantastic cause in our local community.

“Last year we celebrated 20 years of the IMCF and I am delighted that thanks to the creativity and generosity of Irwin Mitchell employees, we made our anniversary year a record breaking one nationally.

“Everyone at Irwin Mitchell is passionate about giving back to the communities we operate in and making a real difference to the lives of those supported by our Charities of the Year.

“We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved last year. Hearing how this donation is going to benefit local people, who are supported by Paces, is spurring on our staff to think of bigger and better ways to fundraise for this year’s good cause.”

Dr Spencer Pitfield, Chief Executive of Paces, added: “We can only do what we do at Paces thanks to the amazing work of fundraisers who provide the money to allow us to support as many people as possible.

“On behalf of the team here, and the children, adults and families we help, I would like to thank Irwin Mitchell for their year of support.”

BLOG: Exploring the transition into adulthood through the principles of Conductive Education

by Ruth Liu, Assistant Headteacher of Paces School

Last week myself, our Headmaster Gabor Fellner and fellow Conductor Emma Parker visited Munich in Germany for the second meeting of the TrACE project.

TrACE is an EU funded project tasked to explore transition into adulthood through the principles of Conductive Education.

Following the successful launch of the project in Sheffield back in October, it was great to catch up with our colleagues from the Komit Institute in Vienna and from the Pfennigparade Institute in Munich.

All three settings are similar in that they are working with adults using the principles of Conductive Education. As this is unique, it is important that we can work together to share best practice and to encourage others to do the same.

Our brief is to produce a handbook that will provide other settings with guidance regarding the use of Conductive Education with adults.

During our visit it was most interesting to visit the various facilities in Germany and to look at the provision for both children and adults with physical disabilities.

It was also useful to participate in working sessions, engage in professional dialogue and create a framework for our handbook.

We now need to begin creating the handbook in preparation for our visit to Vienna in June where our collaboration will continue to take place.

New Chief Executive for Paces

Paces has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer.

Dr Spencer Pitfield OBE, currently a senior teacher and leader at Sheffield’s Birkdale School, will take up the permanent role on 1 September 2018.

The 48-year old has been a Trustee of Paces since 2010 and has served as Interim Chief Executive Officer of the charity since July last year. He was appointed following a competitive recruitment process by the charity’s Trustees.

He has today outlined his vision for the future of the organisation. In a letter to staff and teachers, he said:

“It is a huge honour to be named as the Chief Executive Officer of Paces Sheffield.

“I have been involved in Paces for the past eight years… through those years, I have seen the challenges we face as an organisation, but also the potential to make a difference to so many people’s lives.

“I hope in those roles you have seen my passion and drive to always fight for the best for Paces – to support everyone involved with this great organisation. Our amazing children and their inspirational families, our determined adults and our dedicated teachers and staff.”

Dr Pitfield, who has three children and lives in Sheffield, is a professional musician who has held a number of influential roles across the community, including as a Magistrate and Governor of Sheffield NHS Foundation Trust.

He has previously stood as a Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party and been involved in the voluntary party speaking up for party members for a number of years.

Announcing the appointment, Chair of Trustees Ann Menzies-Blythe, said:

“Spencer, with his wide educational experience, allied with strong management expertise and a clear vision for the future, had dedicated himself to consolidate and develop Paces Sheffield with his colleagues at Paces.

“Paces was established 21 years ago by parents who, dissatisfied with the support offer for their children with Cerebral Palsy, searched across Europe until they came across The Peto Institute, a centre for the development of Conductive Education. From there they raised funding and established Paces in High Green, Sheffield. 21 years later, Paces has grown to the Outstanding OFSTED School and charity it is today.

“We look forward to seeing Paces consolidating its best practice and strengths, honouring its history, yet moving forward positively to its next phase of development and expansion under Spencer’s leadership.”

Read the letters from Ann Menzies-Blythe and Dr Spencer Pitfield in full >>