Cleft lip and palate Association
The also known as CLAPA is a charity registered in England and is the only UK-wide voluntary organisation specifically helping those with, and affected by, cleft lip and palate.
CLAPA was established in 1979 as a partnership between health professionals and parents of children with cleft lip and palate. It provides support for new parents, for people with the condition and their families, from infancy through to adulthood.
The organisations head office is in London and there are 26 CLAPA branches (all run by volunteers) throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, each providing support to families affected by cleft lip and/or palate. The branches are run by people who have themselves benefited from the organisation, often working in partnership with local health professionals.
The main aims of CLAPA are:
- To organise local parent-to-parent support through its nation-wide network of branches
- To run a specialist service for parents and health professionals seeking help feeding babies with clefts
- To develop support for children and adolescents affected by clefts at school and in social settings through such activities as confidence-building camps
- To encourage and support research into causes and treatment of cleft lip and palate
- To represent the interests of patients and parents, influencing policy on future treatment of cleft lip and palate
- to raise funds in the community for equipment, literature and services
- To publish and distribute a range of information leaflets to increase public awareness of the condition
- To support projects in countries where cleft treatment is limited or unavailable
At BAFTA Television Awards at the London Palladium Theatre in London on 20 May 2007, when presenting Ricky Gervais with the award for best comedy performance Joan Rivers made a joke referring to the statuette as a "Jew with a harelip". CLAPA Chief Executive Gareth Davies wrote directly to BAFTA to express his "serious disappointment" at the incident and he said that "many people found the old-fashioned term "harelip" highly offensive and that "making the condition the subject of a cheap joke was simply hurtful"
Rivers said that she was extremely sorry for any offence caused as this had certainly not been her intention. Amanda Berry, BAFTA Chief Executive, stated that the Academy would "never set out to offend nor make fun of anyone".
On their website CLAPA said it was pleased to receive the apologies but is aware that too many people are still ill-informed about what cleft lip and palate is and what it is not. They added that this ignorance can often feed into prejudice and the media and those in the public eye have a key role in helping us de-stigmatise the condition.