Our History

Grove Cottage began in 1966 when a forward looking group of parents found that there was a gap in services for children who had additional needs.

Cool Timeline

1966

1966

1966

The local society started with capital of £35, £25 from Hertfordshire County society and £10 from a parent and with this bank balance arose the valiant band of dedicated people who decided they would unite in their efforts to provide a future for their young people. In the early days the committee meetings were held in church halls or homes and gardens as the group did not have a permanent place to call home.

1968

1968

A car service was introduced to assist families who had to travel long distances and a fortnightly youth club was started.

1971

1971

1971

The local society has £3000 in the bank and an appeal was launched to the people of Bishop’s Stortford toward buying and renovating their own premises. The response from the community was overwhelming many individuals and groups held fundraisers to buy 151 London Road and convert it into a social and recreational centre. During the renovations, the name of the building “Grove Cottage” was revealed and has been retained ever since.

1972

1972

On Saturday 10th June Grove Cottage – the home of Mencap Bishop’s Stortford was officially opened in the presence of the then president, Valerie Hobson and under the chairmanship of Dr Simon Haskell by Professor Jack Tizzard surrounded by so many who had helped make a vision into a reality.

With the new premises Grove Cottage could extend their services and the Tuesday afternoon nursery session became a whole day and the new kitchen enabled them to provide dinners with the aim of helping each child to be as independent as possible and encouraging learning at an early age.

Youth club became a weekly session and activities increased to include pool and snooker and another social club for 15+ age group was started on Wednesday evenings with a bias towards art, craft and cookery.

1975

1975

1975

School holiday play sessions were introduced and run by a different group of volunteers who were aided by local secondary school children

1977

1977

The first club holiday took 7 members to spend a week at Butlin’s in Clacton!

1980's

1980

To help with communication Makaton signing training was provided to staff and families – the early days of our Speech and language Programme!

1989

1989

1989

Our Adult Social Clubs (previously known as ‘Gateway Club’) celebrated its 30th anniversary.

1994

1994

The house next door to Grove Cottage was purchased and we were able to expand further.

2016

2016

We celebrated our 50th anniversary

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