THROUGH June we focus on Birchwood-based Brainwave as our charity of the month.

Helping children and their families with delays to their development, it celebrates its fifth birthday this year.

WHEN national charity Brainwave decided to open a base in the north west five years ago, Warrington was chosen as the location.

Centrally based for families who travel from as far as Scotland and Hull, the arrival was certainly Birchwood’s gain.

When the centre, close to Birchwood Train Station, opened in 2009 some 66 families were helped, that figure has more than doubled now.

Twelve part time and full time staff now work at the centre, helping children with conditions ranging from cerebral palsy to Downs Syndrome.

Joanne Freeman, community fundraising manager, takes up the story.

She said: “When families come to us, they get real benefits.

“So we see them for a full day and we can then work out a programme with them which will help.

“They then come back in and we are always at the end of a phone if they need advice.

“There is nobody else offering what we do. And the fact we can help so many different children with so many different conditions is a testament to the work we do.”

Although a national charity, around 40 per cent of the children helped at Brainwave are from Warrington.

And that has helped the centre with fundraising towards the costs of paying for the treatment of the children and keeping the centre open.

Joanne, aged 42, from Grappenhall, added: “Everyone in Warrington has been so generous and supportive of us over the past five years.

“I think people know the charities which make a real difference and go out of their way to support them.”

NEXT WEEK: We meet the team at Brainwave and hear how they help.