Who We Are

We are the home of Bishop's Stortford Mencap

We provide social and educational activities for people of all ages with learning disability: to develop their potential, avoid social isolation by supporting lifelong friendships and to provide respite for their families.

We accept members from all over Hertfordshire, Essex and surrounding counties. If you can get to Grove Cottage you are welcome to come along.

Grove Cottage is a registered charity managed by a board of Trustees with a wealth of experience of special needs and education.

Meet the Trustees

kevin Davis

Kevin Davis
Chair of Trustees

I was introduced to Grove Cottage several years ago and invited to become a Trustee. My instinct was to become involved with fundraising as I had experience in other charities. However, as time progressed and I gained a greater understanding of learning disability I have become more involved in helping deliver the aims and objectives of the charity. Grove Cottage is an amazing place that delivers a valuable service to both individuals and families. Grove Cottage is blessed with having the help of so many amazing volunteers and the support of the wider community.

Richard Smith

Richard Smith

I have been involved with a number of national charities over the last 15 years and have always enjoyed using my business and commercial experience to help develop and grow the depth, breadth and reach of the respective charities. For some time now I wanted to get involved in a local charity and you cannot live in Bishop's Stortford and have not come across Grove Cottage! I was delighted therefore when an opportunity came up for me to join as a Trustee, especially at such an exciting time as the charity embarks on some ambitious projects to widen its reach and secure its future for the next 50 years. Whilst I have only been involved for a short period the difference this amazing charity makes is clear to see, as is the passion and dedication of all involved and it is a privilege to be part of the team.

Patrick Draper

Patrick Draper

I have been involved with Grove Cottage as a Trustee for over five years. Previously I was the Head teacher at Benfield Primary school for 15 years. I gained lots of experience in Special needs education and wanted to get involved with Grove Cottage and help support their special needs Nursery.

I am now involved in all areas of Grove Cottage in my role as a Trustee and find it very rewarding and wonderful to give back and help the local community.

Duncan Murdoch

Duncan Murdoch

Grove Cottage has had 50 amazing years and the next 50 will see a huge change and step forward in its development. Grove Cottage provides a vital link to the community which it serves. Joining Grove Cottage as a Trustee is a huge honour and I share the passion and dedication of its staff, volunteers and members. I am a Chartered Surveyor, with my own company specialising in planning and development, and I hope I help the Trustees with property expertise in their future growth. There are exciting times ahead with the property requirements for the 'Big Idea'.

I have lived locally for many years and hope my community knowledge and expertise will help aid the development of Grove Cottage into the future.

Phil Morgan

Phil Morgan

Over eight years ago, responding to a Parish Magazine Article, I met with the then Chairman, David Scott, and was impressed with what Grove Cottage did. This was my first role in volunteering with a charity and it has been highly rewarding both personally and to see the charity grow allowing us to help more members and families.

I get involved in quite a lot of fundraising events to help bring in money to expand Grove Cottage and in spreading the word of the work we do and the people we help. I love attending the clubs we run and feel privileged to be involved with our hard-working staff and volunteers to help a small, but hugely important, part of the local community who really need the help that Grove Cottage can offer.

Tracy Fisher

Tracy Fisher

I had wanted to volunteer with a local charity for some time and so when Richard Smith mentioned Grove Cottage, I leapt at the chance to become involved. I had moved to Bishop's Stortford about 10 years ago and having seen and heard a lot about Grove Cottage, I knew it was a fantastic charity. But it is from seeing first-hand the invaluable help and support it provides to its members and getting to know the amazing team that all work so hard to make it happen that I have come to appreciate how truly fantastic it is. It is an absolute pleasure and privilege to be a part of it.

I am a corporate lawyer by trade and I am hopeful that I can contribute something of use to Grove Cottage and its work and growth going forward.

Meet the Team


Jocelin Warren
Operations Manager

Having grown up in Bishop's Stortford I have been aware of the wonderful work that Grove Cottage does in the local community for many years. Since graduating with a business degree and then specialising in Human Resource Management, I have worked in the business and educational sectors. When the opportunity arose to join Grove Cottage as their Operations Manager I jumped at the chance. It is an absolute honour to work with the Trustees, staff, volunteers and members, all of whom offer so much to make Grove Cottage the uniquely special place that it is.

The future looks exciting for Grove Cottage with plans to develop and expand the site and services we can offer our members. As the Operations Manager I am responsible for making sure that all of our clubs work together to achieve Grove Cottage's aim of offering our members a safe environment which allows each individual to maximise their potential. We always ensure that our members are at the heart of every decision and I intend to work closely with staff, members and their families to ensure that we continue to offer an engaging range of activities which offer social opportunities and develops life skills.


Rosie Wren
Fundraising Manager

I joined Grove Cottage in March 2017 and I feel that I have joined at a very exciting time. There are plans on the horizon for Grove Cottage to expand their services and potentially re-build and I am not only excited by the prospect of how this could change our members' lives, but also by the fundraising challenges that this will bring.

I am involved with all aspects of fundraising including working on our community events, working with the local community to support them in organising events for us, working with local companies and schools and applying for Grants. Joining was one of the best things that I could have done; I work with a great team of people and everyone is so dedicated. I love my job because it is so varied and because I know that at the end of a hard day that I am contributing to a great cause.


Esme Willcocks

I have been involved with Grove Cottage since 2004, when my daughter Rose became a member of the Nursery. Rose was born with learning difficulties as two of her chromosomes are unbalanced. She was only 14 months at the time and from the moment we walked into the Nursery, we knew it would be the right place for her. It was bright, stimulating, all the children were so happy, and above all, you could just tell that all the staff really enjoyed working with the children.

Within just a few weeks of Rose being at the Nursery, I joined the Board as a Trustee and became very involved with the day to day running of Grove Cottage. After eight years as a Trustee and watching Grove Cottage grow and flourish, the need for an administrator became necessary which I jumped at the chance. I haven't looked back. I am privileged to work alongside a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, all of whom bring so much passion and energy to Grove Cottage thus making a real difference to many people in our local community.


Jean Cooke
Finance Manager

I was first introduced to Grove Cottage at a Networking Event in 2014 and when the Finance Manager position became available in October 2014, I was approached by the Fundraising Manager and joined Grove one day a week. I am a Chartered Accountant by trade and hope that I provide Grove Cottage with stable financial information it requires to thrive. Grove Cottage is such a wonderful warm place and I enjoy being part of the extended team.


Maria Sims
Special Needs Nursery Manager

I have lived in the Bishop's Stortford area for the last 20 years, most of which I have worked at pre-schools. Over the years I enjoyed the challenge and progressed from being an assistant to a full-time manager of a pre-school. I was very excited when the opportunity came along for me to join the fantastic team at Grove Cottage as Nursery Manager. I had been aware of the wonderful things they have achieved and I am proud to be part of the team. I enjoy getting to know all of the children and their families and helping and assisting them in any way that I can, on their very important start at Grove Cottage.

We run all our clubs with a mix of part time staff and volunteers.

Without their amazing dedication and commitment, Grove Cottage would not exist.

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