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Footprints Is A Very Happy Place

28th October 2020

by National Lottery Good Causes

Over the lockdown period, teenager Joseph Rutherford from West Bridgford, near Nottingham decided to do something special to help others.

Keen to support the disability charity that helped him as a child, Joseph began posting videos of himself dancing online to lift the spirits of other families like his own.

As a child, Joseph was born with Down’s Syndrome and autism and he was also recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Yet, during the pandemic his first thought was to find a way to help Footprints, the Nottingham charity that supported him as a child, and that supports babies and pre-school children with disabilities, improving their motor skills and communication.

Joseph’s campaign singlehandedly helped to boost the morale of other Footprint families as he shared videos of himself dancing along to uplifting tunes on social media, such as Monty Python’s ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’.

But he didn’t stop there.

He also completed a 26km tandem bike ride raising £4,300 for the charity as well as selflessly giving his own birthday money too.

Joseph, who gives his age as 15 and three quarters, says: “Footprints is a very happy place. You get support not only from the people that work there, but also from everybody in the same situation as you as well.

He says: “The bike ride was amazing everyone was cheering me on, I was really excited about it and lots of people came out on the streets, waved at me and cheered me on.

“I even gave my birthday money to Footprints instead of keeping it. We all just wanted to try and support them in any way we can.

“During lockdown we’ve also used Zoom a lot and my mum who is a speech therapist at Footprints, was teaching younger and smaller kids.”

With many families feeling isolated in lockdown, Joseph’s bright idea proved a good way of keeping up contact.

The charity was supported by funding from the National Lottery provided to community projects to help tackle the impact of Coronavirus. It also receives more regular support as one of the many charities supported by The National Lottery whose players contribute around £30 million a week to good causes.

Joseph said: “The highlight of the year was definitely the bike ride on the tandem with my Dad. It was one of the most amazing bike rides I’ve ever been on.”

“So many people have been amazing at Footprints - it did a lot for me, and now it’s my turn to give something back to them and to say thank you.”

Joseph says he also can’t wait to see his bench. He says: “I’m planning on everybody sitting on this bench and then signing autographs!”