Inspiring stories

Harry

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

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.”

Mina

Mina is 51 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.”

Abbey

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.”

Sally-Anne and Ruben

Sally-Anne is mum to Ruben, five, who used to attend our Ofsted Regulated Special Needs Nursery. He now attends our Saturday Cottage Kids Club and Holiday Clubs.

Sally-Anne first took Ruben to the doctors in December 2016, but it wasn’t until 2017 that a diagnosis was made. He has a complex condition which affects his development. Sally-Anne said: “Receiving this news about Ruben was horrendous and completely debilitating. I knew I needed to get help.” Fortunately, Sally-Anne was told about Grove Cottage by a friend who thought we might be able to help. Sally-Anne says: “Ruben is stimulated and enjoys the social side of attending Grove Cottage. He is always beaming from ear to ear when I pick him up and I see small differences in him every day.

Grove Cottage gave Sally-Anne a lifeline at a time when she needed it most. Whilst Ruben attends Grove Cottage she is able to concentrate on her own work, studies and charity projects which would not have been possible otherwise.

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