Inspiring stories

Why Josh is now helping other Grove Cottage members dream big and fulfil their potential

Earlier this year, Josh reached out to our fundraising team, eager to contribute his ideas and efforts to raise funds for Grove Cottage and sustain the incredible support the charity provides.

Grove Cottage, where our members are always at the heart of everything we do, enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to involve Josh. We were compelled to share his inspiring story, presented in his own words with the assistance of his sister, Mel.

“I’m Josh, and I’m 26 and a half years old. I have Down Syndrome and special needs, and I have been part of the wonderful Grove Cottage family since I was just three years old. I still look forward to attending our clubs every week.” Josh expressed. “Grove Cottage means the world to me. It’s not just a charity; it’s a place that has always had my back. They’ve been there to support me, to care for me, and to be like a second family to me. I can’t thank them enough”.

Josh took centre stage as the Grove Cottage Elf extraordinaire at this year’s Reindeer Run. Not only did he kick off the festivities alongside The Mayor, Cllr Richard Townsend, and present awards to the 1st Family to Finish and the largest participating family, but Josh, joined by Grove Cottage friends Annette and Mina, also challenged himself to complete the full 5k.

His journey holds particular significance, as Josh revealed, “During the tough days of the COVID-19 lockdowns, my mental health took a hit, and it left me with anxiety that I still deal with today. My mum gave me some advice in 2021, telling me to be more of a helper to others. I took that to heart.

With the love and support of Grove Cottage, I get the chance to try new things and rebuild my confidence. Now when I’m at Grove Cottage clubs, it’s not just about what I learn; it’s about how I can support others with my knowledge and my positive personality. I have introduced and led meditation sessions within our groups which are a safe space, surrounded by friends who make me feel at home. It’s my way of helping others find peace and comfort and it calms my anxiety too.”

Looking ahead, Josh has ambitious plans. “I have big dreams. I want to own my own house and make my family proud. With the support of Grove Cottage, I believe I can achieve these goals.”

When asked what he would like people to do upon reading his story, Josh quickly replied “I want to ask for their help. To donate to Grove Cottage to support people like me who live with learning disabilities and special additional needs, as well as their families. Even £1 helps. It means a lot to us who go to Grove Cottage.”

To contribute to Grove Cottage, please visit and brighten Josh’s day.


For more information about Grove Cottage and the services offered, please take a look at the rest of our website and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @grovecottagemencap for updates and more inspiring stories.


Mina is 52 and has been attending Grove Cottage since she was 15. She says, “Every week I go to Grove Cottage’s Wednesday and Thursday Adult Social Clubs. I very much enjoy both these clubs and for the past few years I’ve also attended the Performing Arts Club on a Monday night.

“I get on very well with the other club members and the staff – many of them are now good friends that I have known for years.

“I live in a flat on my own during the week and without the clubs to go to I would be very lonely as I find watching TV boring. We are very lucky to have Grove Cottage in Bishop’s Stortford.”


Harry is 21 and has a genetic condition which causes developmental delay. He has been coming to Grove Cottage since he was a young child and now attends our Get Active Club and Music Man Project.

Harry’s favourite thing to do at Grove Cottage however is volunteering as a minibus chaperone! Harry’s dad Graham drives the minibus for our Cottage Kids Club and Harry enjoys helping him out and loves operating the tail lift! Harry’s future dream for when he is older is to be a minibus driver for Grove Cottage.

For Harry, Grove Cottage is all about having fun and seeing his friends as without these weekly clubs there would be no opportunity to meet with them. When asked if he would recommend Grove Cottage he said he would because it’s so much fun.


Ruth has been attending Grove Cottage for 11 years. She first joined the Nursery when she was only one and moved onto the Saturday and Holiday clubs once she went to school full time. Ruth’s mum, Kate, says, “Ruth has Down’s Syndrome, with its inherent developmental delay. Although now at secondary school, Ruth is more akin to a reception age child in terms of interest and ability.

“Grove Cottage has been a lifeline for her. She has always been incredibly independent and likes the feeling of being able to do things by herself. Attending Grove Cottage gives her this opportunity and gives her the chance to make friends in her own right.

“Everyone at Grove Cottage has the most welcoming smile and it’s fantastic to be part of such a wonderful community.”


Abbey attends our Cottage Crew Club and Holiday Clubs. She loves Grove Cottage, meeting with friends and all the staff. Her favourite activities are baking, creative crafts and trips.

Her mum Corinne said “Abbey always feels safe and welcome and the opportunity to mix with friends of different abilities is a great advantage.

“She celebrated her 21st birthday during the first Covid-19 lockdown and I was worried about making this a special day to remember. Yet again Grove Cottage staff stepped in to bring some friends together on a video call to make her day.”

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