EMBARGOED: Monday 14 December 2020
Stars, Jools Holland and Rufus Wainwright, join eight-year-old ‘s musical fundraising mission.
An 8-year-old boy has defied the odds to help raise funds for a new home for Paces, a special school in Sheffield.
Lennie Street, who lives in Leeds, has become a social media sensation thanks to his posts playing the piano through lockdown.
Lennie has Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus. He isn’t able to stand or walk independently and requires support with most tasks. Despite these challenges, Lennie loves playing the piano every day. His optimistic tweets and song snippets have inspired many.
‘Lennie’s Tunes’ twitter feed has attracted fans from all over the world as well as an enviable celebrity fan-base. His tweets are followed by Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old war veteran and record-breaking fundraiser, media broadcasters Jeremy Vine and Channel 4’s Jon Snow, China’s superstar pianist Lang Lang, Russell ‘The Voice’ Watson, Gary Barlow and Craig David.
Lennie is using his social media influence to help raise money for a £3.5m appeal for ‘A New Home for Paces’ which would support children and adults with neurological conditions, just like Lennie.
Paces is a life-transforming special school, as well as a bespoke centre supporting an estimated 80 children and adults living with Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, MS and other complex brain injuries.
Lennie is launching his version of Leonard Cohen’s classic, Hallelujah. The hope is the film becomes a viral hit to help raise further funds for Paces. Over 50 Paces school children have taken part in the film, as well as staff from Paces and amazing disabled musicians who have shown their talent through innovative technology alongside some famous faces including Jools Holland ( arranged by Nitin Sawhney) and Rufus Wainwright.
Cause UK, a leading agency in Yorkshire, provided pro-bono support to create the fundraising film for social media with their associate film-maker, Gary Lawson. Cause UK helped bring in celebrity support and donations and even secured a brand-new piano for Paces, donated by Besbrode Pianos.
Clair Challenor-Chadwick, MD of Cause UK, said: “'Paces believes in supporting its students to be as independent as possible, that there is no limit to their achievements and to live life to the full. Through Conductive Education, Lennie and his school friends are encouraged every day to push their capabilities and to develop their personality and identity. Lennie is the epitome of that and he has brightened all our days during the pandemic. It was a pleasure to gift our time and work on this project.”
Sally Street, a former mental health social worker and Lennie’s mum, gave up her job to care for Lennie full-time. She said: “The support for Lennie’s fundraising campaign has been miraculous. He has raised over £17,000 with donations from all over the world. The pandemic has provided an opportunity for Lennie and so many other disabled children to show the world who they are, what they are capable of and that there are no limits to what they can achieve. We are hoping our social media film will take off and raise even more, as well as spread some much-needed joy this Christmas.”
The demand for Paces services continues to grow and there is currently more demand for its care and support than it can provide. The charity’s ambition with its new home is that it should never have to turn anyone away.
Sally added: “Not only is there a need for Paces, the current building is in such a state of disrepair, the roof leaks! We want to raise funds to move the school into a better and bigger facility.”
Julie Booth, Head of Fundraising at Paces, said: “Everyone here at Paces is incredibly proud of Lennie for his amazing efforts to help us with our fundraising campaign, #NewHomeForPaces. He is an inspiration to us all and we are so grateful to Lennie and his whole family. The video is a must-watch and underlines how music is so important in schools, particularly for children with disabilities. It’s heart-warming to see so many people come together to support our charity.”
Watch the Video
Download link to master file
To donate https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Lenniestunes #NewHomeForPaces @TunesLennie
The film was made possible by the amazing Sally Street and the families and children of Paces. Cause UK and Gary Lawson Media donated their time for free.
Photo shows: Lennie Street, photographer credit: Paces School
Celebrities and well -known musicians who have taken part in the film include:
• Rufus Wainwright
• Jools Holland
• Ed Cosens from Reverend and the Makers
• Sam Potter from Apollo Junction
• Kevin James
• Andrew Edwards, Lennie's piano teacher and the Northern Ballet's pianist
Paces, based at High Green in North Sheffield, was founded by parents of children with Cerebral Palsy in 1997 and has worked ever since to support those families, children and adults who are living with neurological conditions. They offer innovative conductive education programmes to help transform their lives. Charity number. 1104356.
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