Page 1

a warm welcome A warm welcome from the Chair of Trustees, Kevin Davis

We are very proud to be celebrating our 50th Anniversary in 2016 and could not have reached this incredible milestone without the invaluable support of the local community, the dedication, commitment and passion of our staff and volunteers and the support of people like you.

“Thank you all very much for getting involved and supporting Grove Cottage – the home of Bishop’s Stortford Mencap over the last 50 years.”

Our eldest and youngest members together in 2016 – planning for the future.

Grove Cottage provides social and educational activities for people of all ages with learning disabilities; to develop potential, help avoid social isolation by supporting lifelong friendships and to provide respite for families.

It costs over £250,000pa to run Grove Cottage and we rely on the support and generosity of the local community as we receive no funding from Mencap.

We currently run a wide range of clubs and services including an OFSTED regulated Special Needs Nursery, a Performing Arts Club for over 14s, a Youth Club and a Get Active Club for over 12s, Adult Social Clubs, a Stay and Play Group for parents/carers and pre-school children, 3 different Saturday Clubs for different ages and abilities, School Holiday Clubs and an innovative Speech and Language Programme, tailored to the needs of each child.

Your support helps make a real difference to local people of all ages with learning disabilities. Thank you so much for your support and thank you for celebrating our 50th Anniversary with us. Kevin Davis - Chair of Trustees


heartfelt congratulations A word

the influential and durable contributions of Dr. David Scott for his enduring endeavours for Grove Cottage.

from our Patron,

It seems I am the last of the Mohicans that embarked upon this stirring mission and as the former Chairman of the Grove Cottage I am “surprised by joy” (in C.S. Lewis’s words) to live to witness and share in this event.

Prof. Simon Haskell I am overwhelmed with exhilaration and pleasure to know Grove Cottage has reached the astonishing age of 50. I wish to honour each and every one of the dedicated individuals who have contributed so much to promote for the better the lives of our members. It would be difficult for me to name all those who gave their time, energy and commitment to sustain the remarkable work for our esteemed family. I am not persuaded to single out a particular individual that has made an enormous impact for the success of Grove Cottage. However, I feel obliged to pay a special tribute to two individuals that are worthy of mention. Foremost of them is the late Edna Halnon, a wise and compassionate lady possessed with the all the gentle skills and self-effacing modesty which carried our efforts to the top. I owe a special thanks to

If I may in closing mention that the fact of individual differences is not in dispute. What is an issue is that everybody has a soul and a mind and that each individual has the ability, aptitude and need to learn how to use his or her mind. In my view when everything is said and done the ultimate reason for providing the best care, training and education for our people is that everybody deserves the chance to be human. Unless all our people become more fulfilled and honoured, we must renounce our claim to be civilised, and the lot of our disabled will be bread and circuses. To settle for anything less would be shameful. Please accept my heartfelt congratulations for this Birthday celebration. Prof. Simon Haskell - Patron of Grove Cottage


the past... The story of how Grove Cottage began in 1966

and physiotherapists who all freely gave their time. In 1968 a car service was introduced to assist families who had to travel long distances.

“The Bishop’s Stortford and district society for mentally handicapped children” was formed following a public meeting on 1st March 1966 with the aims “to provide some relief for the mother of the preschool child, whilst bearing in mind the needs of the older handicapped, and wherever necessary and possible to exert pressure on local authorities in order to increase awareness of the problems facing their families.”

In 1968 a fortnightly youth club was started and led by Mr Maurice Rollnick. The club quickly grew from the original 11 members when the catchment area was increased to include Sawbridgeworth, Buntingford and surrounding villages.

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 prepared to accept responsibility for creating a sure foundation for ‘a place of our own’. “Before any organisation was formed there was just a group of parents and friends who decided they would unite in their efforts to provide a future for their young people.” George Hale co-founder. In late 1971 the local society had £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 and individuals: The Rotary Club, Round Table, local schools and many other groups all held fundraisers and helped 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. 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. The crèche was originally held in a church hall where the aim was to support both babies and younger children to learn through play and this soon evolved into a nursery-playgroup. Many helpers were needed to give the individual attention required and many volunteers came forward including teachers, nurses, speech therapists 4

On Saturday 10th June 1972 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 Tizard.

with a bias towards art, craft and cookery, led by Mrs Deborah Hunt. In 1975 school holiday play sessions were introduced and run by a different group of volunteers who were aided by local secondary school children. In 1977 the first club holiday was taken with 7 members spending a week at Butlin’s in Clacton!

With the new premises Grove Cottage could extend their services. 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. The nursery provided trips into the country, picnics, visits to the farm and zoo. The youth club became a weekly session and activities increased to include pool and snooker. Another social club for 15+ age group was started on Wednesday evenings

In the 1980s to help with communication Makaton signing training was provided to staff and families – the early days of our Speech and language Programme! In 1994 the house next door was purchased and Grove Cottage was able to expand further and in the following years has been able to offer many more groups and sessions building on the foundations carefully laid 50 years ago through the on-going donations which they rely on to survive.


the present... Grove Cottage is the home of Bishop’s Stortford Mencap. We provide social and educational activities for people of all ages with learning disabilities; to develop potential, to help avoid social isolation by supporting lifelong friendships and to provide respite to 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. We run a wide range of clubs and services including: Special Needs Nursery We offer a fully inclusive educational and care setting for children with special needs providing: • • • •

One to one provision, subject to need Weekly extracurricular activities Fully qualified staff with access to special needs support therapists Extensive parental support

The children follow the same Early Years curriculum as in other Ofsted regulated nurseries but in an environment dedicated to special needs. We encourage a parent/key person partnership to improve communication between the home and nursery. The key person will support the child’s development and learning through both independent and adult led activities by encouraging participation in all activities, including snack and meal times. To ensure a high standard of care, Grove Cottage works with other national and local organisations such as Ofsted, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator, Specialist Teachers team and the Country Special Services Group. The nursery also has links with other nurseries and local mainstream and special schools. We were rated as GOOD in our 2015 OFSTED inspection. Grove Cottage Special Needs Nursery meets every Monday to Thursday 9.30am - 2.30pm. Performing Arts Club If you are over 14 and love to sing, act and dance then the Performing Arts Club is for you. Grove Cottage Performing Arts Club meets every Monday 6 – 7.15pm during term time. Youth Club This is a safe, Friendly place for young people 12 – 25 years to meet. As well as meeting and chatting with friends there are opportunities for cooking, making smoothies, karaoke, listening to music, discos, barn dancing, keep fit, painting, photography, virtual games, watching movies and much more. Grove Cottage Youth Club meets every Tuesday 6.30 - 8.30pm during term time. Adult Social Clubs Adults meet on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in a fun, caring and supportive environment. There is a choice of individual and group activities. The centre is well supplied with puzzles, games and craft equipment. We also have darts, TV, video and karaoke! There are discos to celebrate special occasions, occasional treats such as fish and chip suppers, pizza evenings, BBQs, 10-pin bowling and outings to local events. Grove Cottage Adult Clubs meet every Wednesday and Thursday 7 – 9pm. Get Active Club We believe that it is important to promote a healthy lifestyle and Get Active is open to anyone over 12 who would like to get involved, regardless of ability. 6

Grove Cottage Get Active Club meets every Thursday 6.30–8.30pm, during term time. Stay and Play Group Stay & Play session for parents / carers and their pre-school children with special needs. Siblings welcome. Here you can come and have a cuppa, meet other parents and let your children have a play using our wonderful facilities, including our sensory room & sensory garden. We provide different activities each week and also offer support and can help you access other professionals and advice as required. Grove Cottage Stay and Play group meets every Friday 10.00 – 11.30am during term time. Saturday Clubs We run a number of different Saturday Clubs for school age children. The emphasis is on fun, play, maintaining a local friendship group and offering respite to families. There are frequent outings using our own minibus to places like Willow Farm, Paradise Wildlife Park and everybody’s favourite, our trip to the seaside. Grove Cottage Saturday Clubs meet every Saturday during term time. School Holiday Clubs We offer clubs over the school holidays offering respite to families and great days out to the seaside, Colchester Zoo, Paradise Wildlife Park, Hatfield Forest and much more. Speech and Language Therapy Programme Improving communication is one of the greatest gifts we can offer a child with a learning disability and Grove Cottage understands the difficulty faced by many parents finding Speech & Language Therapy for their child. To help, we run a Speech and Language Therapy programme tailor made for each child. You and your child will have an initial review meeting with our qualified Speech and Language Therapist who will then develop a programme specific for your child. This programme will be implemented by a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant who will meet with you, at a setting of your choice, once a week during term time. Every 8 to 10 weeks you will all meet with the Speech and Language Therapist to review your child’s progress and to adapt the programme where required. We are very proud to be celebrating our 50th Anniversary in 2016 We have grown considerably over the last 50 years and continue to expand to meet the needs of local people with learning disability. In 2014 we carried out a survey of our members, their families / carers, our staff, volunteers and supporters. 100% said they would recommend Grove Cottage to someone they know who has a family member with special needs. They asked us to do more of what we already do and to start new clubs, especially focusing on providing life skills and opportunities for adults with learning disability, especially as they leave the education system – turn to page 25 to find out more about the Future at Grove Cottage. If you would like to get involved in any of our clubs or to find out more information, please contact or go to


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meetthe thetrustees... trustees meet Kevin Davis Chair of Trustees

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.”

Former Metropolitan Police Detective who has been on the board of Trustees for 7+ years, becoming chair in 2016.

Patrick Draper Trustee Former Headmaster, Bentfield Primary School with SEN experience who has been on the board of Trustees for 5+ years.

Kevin says, “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 wonderful volunteers and the support of the wider community and I feel fortunate to be part of a fantastic organisation.”

Patrick says, “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.”

Richard Smith Treasurer Former Banker with RBS and Trustee and treasurer for a number of national charities who joined the board at Grove Cottage in 2014.

Phil Morgan Trustee MD of Hard Soft Computers who has been a Grove Cottage Trustee for 5+ years.

Richard says, “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 am delighted to have become 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

Phil says, “II am so proud to be involved at Grove Cottage and I feel privileged to have been welcomed into Grove Cottage and the team of staff, trustees and most importantly our volunteers do an amazing job to help the community and specifically our members.”


Duncan Murdoch Trustee Chartered

Kerry Chaney Weller Trustee

Surveyor and

Parent of

Partner at

Grove Cottage

Moult Walker

member, Trustee


for 3+ months.

Surveyors who has

Grove Kerry says, “Grove

been a Grove Cottage

Cottage came into our lives in 2013, after

Trustee for 2 years.

entering the world of “special needs”. My son Frank became a member of the

Duncan says, “I have lived locally for many

nursery. Frank was born with learning

years and I am aware of what a vital link

difficulties and mobility problems and was

Grove Cottage provides to the community

diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3. The

which it serves. I hope my professional

prospect of having a “different” child was

experience, will help the Trustees in the

scary, what I had become used to as being

future growth of Grove Cottage.”

“normal” was about to change. Well all I can say is that Grove Cottage was our rock and I had nothing to be scared of, they

Tracy Fisher Trustee

embraced us as a family, we have made so many new friends.

Corporate Lawyer and

Grove Cottage transformed our lives as

Tax advisor

a family, it offered a learning, caring and

who has been

stimulating environment for Frank. He

on the board of

became a different child whilst at Grove

Grove Cottage for

Cottage, becoming more social and he was

18+ months.

able to participate in so many activities including Saturday club and holiday club. I

Tracy says, “I leapt at the chance to

now want to give something back to Grove

become involved with Grove Cottage. The

cottage and I feel being on that special

help and support it provides to its members

needs journey I have an understanding

and working with the amazing team that

from the parent/carers point of view.

work so hard to make it happen is an

We are eternally grateful to all of the staff

absolute pleasure and I am privileged to be

at Grove Cottage.”

a part of it. It really is a fantastic charity.”


meet some of the team 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.

as we plan to expand our services and look for new premises and I'm really looking forward to the fundraising challenges this will bring. Thank you to everyone who gets involved and helps with fundraising for Grove Cottage - you are helping make a real difference to local people with learning disability and making my job lots of fun!

Esme Willcocks

Andrea Charity

Administrator Involved with Grove Cottage since 2004

Operations Manager Worked with Grove Cottage since 2013

Esme says “I got involved with Grove Cottage when my daughter Rose, who has a unique genetic disorder, autism and is non verbal, became a member of the Nursery. From the moment we walked into the Nursery, we knew it would be the right place for Rose. It was bright, stimulating, all of the children were so happy and above all, you could just tell that all of the staff really enjoyed working with the children. Within a few weeks of Rose being at the Nursery, I joined the Board as a Trustee. After eight years as a Trustee and watching Grove Cottage grow an adminstrator role became available and I jumped at the chance. I haven’t looked back. I am privileged to work alongside a dedicated team of staff & 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.”

Andrea says “I love working at Grove cottage and since my first visit I have never looked back - the feeling of been part of a very special family is the best way to describe it, helping children along the first important path of their maybe complicated life. It is great to work with staff and volunteers as one important team. I was the Nursery Manager and I’m now the Operations Manager and work closely with members, families, staff and volunteers to make sure we deliver what is needed and provide the best service possible.

Maria Sims Special Needs Nursery Leader, joined in January 2016 Maria says “I was very excited when the opportunity came along for me to join the fantastic team at Grove Cottage. I have been aware of the wonderful things they have achieved and I am proud to be part of the team. It’s been great 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.”

Natalie Trapmore Fundraiser Grove Cottage Fundraiser, part time, since September 2012 Natalie says “I’m involved in all aspects of fundraising at Grove Cottage. I love doing my job and I consider myself a very lucky person to be part of the great team at Grove Cottage - the home of Bishop's Stortford Mencap.

Holly Cox Saturday Small Play Club Leader and Nursery Key worker since 2013 Holly said “I started

The future looks very exciting at Grove Cottage 12

volunteering in the Nursery one day a week. As soon as I started I knew this was the new career path I wanted to take. I have wanted to work with children with additional needs from a young age and feel very lucky to have found Grove Cottage when I did.”

Sid says “I got involved with Grove Cottage

Kat Kehoe

life. It is much more than a job, more of a way

Small Play Holiday Club

of life! I have met wonderful people, members,

Leader and Nursery Key

families, staff and volunteers and I would

Worker since 2014

certainly recommend anyone to give 'Grove

firstly as a volunteer as my Nephew had been attending. I knew how important the respite service was to my Sister, and how much my Nephew enjoyed going to Grove Cottage. Grove Cottage has made a massive difference to my

a go' whether they are thinking of becoming

Kat says “I started as a

a member, or working/volunteering at Grove

volunteer in the Nursery and quickly realised I wanted to be more involved. I


have met truly wonderful staff and volunteers

Lynne Andrews

and am aware of how much of a difference that

Wednesday Club Leader

Grove Cottage can make to a member and their

involved with Grove

family’s life. I absolutely cherish my job and

Cottage since 1990’s

feel very privileged to be involved with Grove

Lynne says “I have

Cottage, our members and their families.”

been involved with Grove Cottage for over

Lizzie Hannington

20 years and feel very proud to be part

Saturday Big Play and

of an organisation that provides so many

Cottage Crew Club Leader

opportunities for so many people. It is a magical

since 2016

feeling when you see so many happy faces and

Lizzie says “All my life;

it is very humbling to know that I have helped

as a child, volunteering

to make that happen. Grove Cottage is a vital

as a teenager and later,

resource for so many people and their families,

all of my working life, has been in the world

being part of that is a real privilege.”

of learning difficulties. I have always been

Remy Orchin

aware of the work Grove Cottage does and love

Youth Club Leader since

the diversity that each day brings, the fun we have - nothing beats it. The teams I work with


are fantastic and so dedicated. I genuinely

Remy says “After caring

cannot wait to get to work and see what we can

for young adults with

achieve together.”

learning disabilities for the

Sid Perry

majority of my working life,

Performing Arts and

I was delighted to find Grove Cottage when I

Thursday Club Leader,

moved to Bishop’s Stortford. In the short time

involved with Grove

I've been here, I'm loving every minute and

Cottage since 2013

looking forward to the years to come!”


get involved... There are lots of ways you can get involved at Grove Cottage and help make a real difference to local people with learning disability.

Fundraise The specialist & 1:1 care we provide is very expensive and it costs over £250,000pa to run Grove Cottage. We do not receive any funding centrally from Mencap and we simply could not exist without the support of the local community.

Volunteer Grove Cottage could not run without volunteers.

There are many ways in which you can help us fundraise.

Whilst helping to improve life for others, you’ll get something out of the experience yourself.

Donate No matter how large or small, your donation means so much to the local families with learning disabilities who need us. Your donation means we can make a real difference now and in the years to come. Thank you for your support.

If you volunteer at Grove Cottage you will make a real difference to people with learning disability in your local community and have fun at the same time! People volunteer for lots of good reasons: • Gain useful experiences & new skills (good for the CV too!) • Try out something new

Cash or Cheque

• Build confidence & self esteem

To donate by cash or cheque please send your donations to Fundraising, Grove Cottage 151 London Road, and Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 3JX. Please make cheques payable to ‘Bishop’s Stortford Mencap’.

• Take on new challenges • Share your skills to help others • Make more effective life & career plans and give something back to the community do something that’s important to you

Shop Online

We need volunteers in a wide variety of roles including:

If you shop online at the Giving Machine you can raise money for Grove Cottage at NO extra cost to you. Retailers donate to Grove Cottage on your behalf as a thank you for shopping with them.

• Mini Bus Drivers

Organise an Event

• Have fun • Meet new people

• Club Support Workers

or come to one of ours!

• Admin Roles

Holding your own event can be really rewarding for everyone who takes part and it's easy to do.

• E-Bay Selling • Trustees and more If you have time and skills we will find the right volunteering role for you. At Grove Cottage we understand that volunteering must work both ways so feel free to come along and try us out.

Fundraising events come in all shapes and sizes. All you need is a great idea and plenty of enthusiasm. There are many creative and fun ways to raise money for Grove Cottage. You can find inspiration from our A-Z of

You've got nothing to lose & maybe lots to gain!


knowing you are supporting Grove Cottage and local people with learning disabilities.

fundraising ideas via our website. Why not host your own tea party or coffee morning and support Grove Cottage. It’s always great to invite friends and family over for a nice cuppa and it’s even better when you know you are making a real difference in your local community.

Skydive for Grove Cottage If you want extreme, if you want extraordinary, and a breath taking, intoxicating experience of a lifetime – this is the thrill for you!

We have a selection of Vintage crockery which we are happy to loan out to people hosting fundraising events for Grove Cottage.

If jumping out of an aircraft at 13,000ft and plunging down to earth at speeds of over 120mph is the challenge you are looking for call UK Parachuting on 01502 476131 – Quote Grove Cottage.

Our Fundraising Team is here to help you make your event as successful as possible and can offer as much support and guidance as you need, as well as fundraising materials such as posters, leaflets, balloons, banners and collection tins. To find out about our events go to and sign up for our emails.

Leave a Gift in your Will Leaving a gift to Grove Cottage in your Will is a wonderful way to make a real and lasting difference to a good cause that was important to you during your lifetime.

Personal Sponsorship This can be a great way to fundraise with your family and friends to supporting your activities. The easiest way to raise sponsorship is by setting up an online JustGiving or VirginMoney giving page.

Gifts in Wills are a vital source of funding for Grove Cottage. Any amount, no matter the size, will help us to provide our services and support to local families for generations to come.

Collect Loose Change Collect your loose change and watch it grow. Either use a jam jar or contact us for a collection pot.

To make the most of your page Personalise your page by uploading a photo of yourself and a short biography explaining why you have decided to fundraise for Grove Cottage.

WE NEED YOUR HELP Our fundraising team are always happy to help you in your fundraising endeavours. We are also happy to come in and talk to you and your group about what we do and how your support really does make a difference.

Challenge Events Whether you're summiting Kilimanjaro, walking 100km overnight, cycling to Paris, or walking 50km or 25km - there's a challenge out there for you. Grove Cottage are partners with Action Challenge and they have an incredible range of challenge to suit everyone.

All contributions to Grove Cottage, no matter how big or small make a real difference to people with learning disability in the local community. To find out more and to donate go to:

The challenges will all push you, you'll find out more about yourself, experience great camaraderie, and a fantastic sense of achievement as you reach that summit, finish line, or the end of an adventure – together

Thank you to everyone who has got involved and supported grove cottage in the past, present and in the future! 15

a volunteers view

Rosie Dyball

Yolanda Wintle

Rosie Dyball

over these

“I started volunteering for Grove Cottage 3

three years, going from days out, meeting

years ago and I haven’t looked back. I found

some incredible individuals and going on

out about Grove Cottage and how helpful it

different courses which will help me in

was via the volunteer open day. Volunteers

what I do later on in life. Grove Cottage has

are really important to the club and after my

made me very passionate about working

time working here it has become apparent

with children with a range of Special Needs

how difficult it is to find new volunteers. Over

and maybe even become a teacher. I can’t

my time being here I have progressed to the

thank Grove Cottage enough for what they

roles of deputy club leader and becoming

have taught and shown me over the years.

a member of staff. I really recommend

One day, I hope I can show people exactly

volunteering at Grove Cottage because it not

the same. Thank you Grove Cottage.”

only provides you with a valuable experience

Yolanda Wintle

to put on your CV but it also help you gain

Grove Cottage volunteer of the year 2014

more understanding of people with learning

and winner of Hertfordshire Young Person

difficulties. This will help people to know

of the year award 2015 said “Grove Cottage

more about special needs and how vital it

is an amazing place and I love volunteering

is to have a place like Grove Cottage so the

here. I have met some fantastic people and

adults and the children can socialise with

got so much personally from my volunteering

their friends and prevent them from being

experience. Volunteering at Grove Cottage

isolated at home.

has transformed my life and given me such incredible experiences and opportunities.

I love working at Grove Cottage because I

Why not give it a go?”

find the smiles on the children’s and adults faces so rewarding when they come into our

Dylan O’Leary

care and making sure that the parents just

“I first started volunteering one year ago,

have a few hours respite which they are so

for my work experience, and I have never

thankful for. This makes me proud of what

looked back. Even though my intention is not

I do. I have had some amazing experiences

to go into care in the future volunteering at


Dylan O’Leary

James Catton

Grove Cottage was the best decision I ever

years ago, I had been looking for a short

made. Although there are many reasons

term volunteering position to complete

for my continued volunteering the single

my Duke of Edinburgh Award. I completed

most important one is the people. Every

the required period and loved it so much

single volunteer, club leader and member of

that I wanted to stay on as a volunteer. I

staff has an unbelievably strong personality

enjoy every part of the experience at Grove

and work ethic. From the first day you will

Cottage, the friends that I have made and

be made welcome, by everyone, and they

the laughs I have had, have given it a special

will all show you the respect and trust

place in my heart. I feel I get more out of

that you deserve. Thanks to this I feel that

my time at Grove Cottage than I give and

Grove Cottage is - and always will be - my

I will miss it terribly once I start University.

second family. Personally, I believe that you

When I get a smile or a laugh from one of

should volunteer because you will never

the members it is truly rewarding and I think

find something that satisfies you more.

everyone should experience that feeling and

The feeling you get when a member gives

give Grove Cottage a try as a volunteer.”

you a simple hug, that could melt even the strongest of hearts, or the overwhelming

Mike Coppins

emotion that rushes through you when

Volunteer of the year 2015 and Volunteer

someone gives you a little smile can be found

at Grove Cottage since 1998 said “I’ve been

nowhere else. Thanks to volunteering my life

volunteering at Grove Cottage for nearly

will never be the same again. Every day that I

20 years and I love it. I’ve met so many

walk out of Grove Cottage I leave with a piece

interesting people and made some great

of everyone that I had helped. The friends I

lifelong friends. Volunteering at Grove

have made will never leave my side and they

Cottage has become a family affair as my

will be there for me whenever I need them.

wife Val also volunteers regularly and my son

How can you turn an offer like that down?”

and granddaughter help when required! If

James Catton

you have time Grove Cottage is a great place

“I started volunteering at Grove Cottage two

to spend it!”


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what our members say Mina Mina joined the Wednesday club first when she was 15 years old and said, “I enjoy meeting my friends, I like the things we do down there, and look forward to going on holiday with them. Everyone is friendly and the staff are brilliant.”

Hannah Hannah said, “I have cerebral palsy and oral dyspraxia and have been coming to Grove Cottage for the last 2 ½ years. I used to be bullied but since coming to Grove Cottage, it has helped me enormously to build my self-esteem and I’ve become a much more confident and sociable person”.

Josh “Hi I'm Josh. I am 19 I would just like to tell you about Grove Cottage which I started when I was 13, I always look forward to Tuesday night club as all the staff and volunteers treat me as my appropriate age they are all very kind and if it wasn't for Grove Cottage I feel I wouldn't have anywhere to meet up for social time and to have a good chat as it’s nice to have catch up time together. I think it is important for all of us regarding our disabilities to help each other and be happy.”

Brian Brian has been attending Grove Cottage for 50 years and is one of the founding members and he told us that he likes coming to Grove Cottage as we pick him up on Thursdays and we are always on time and help him onto the bus. He likes doing Jigsaw puzzles and having a chat with his friends over a cup of tea and a biscuit. He loves going to visit Trevenion house in Cornwall with Grove Cottage and has been going for more than 15 years and he is looking forward to going to Great Yarmouth this year as Grove Cottage looks after him very, very well. Brian says he is very grateful for all the kindness and support all the staff and other members give him and he would be very sad if he didn’t have Grove Cottage in his life.

Susan “I started club at Grove Cottage over 30 years ago and I loved it very much. I like the company here and all the staff are very kind and helpful. I do have fun, laughing and talking to my friends. We play cards and do craft work and jigsaws. I enjoy going on holiday with my club, it also gives my sister a break, as she is also my carer.”


inspiring stories Rose

worry has always been our middle child, Izzy.

Rose has an unbalanced translocation between chromosomes 4 & 10; she is the only person in the world known to suffer from this particular genetic abnormality. It results in severe learning difficulties and developmental delay. Rose is also diagnosed with Autism.

Izzy is our 8-year-old daughter. She has severe learning difficulties and epilepsy caused by structural issues in her brain as well as being on the ASD spectrum. She is a lovely little girl but does get very anxious being away from home and in any situations she is not comfortable with and needs constant supervision. She is a very physically able child and this “anxiety” can at times be difficult to deal with. The Saturday small play club has been fantastic in providing us time to spend with our other children, without some of the pressures that Izzy can exert on the family dynamic. The staff have always been incredibly patient with Izzy and I am thrilled to say she generally bounds into the building on Saturday mornings and on the last visit did not actually want to leave.

We became members of Grove Cottage when we moved to Bishop’s Stortford back in 2004. Rose was just 14 months old. From the moment we walked into the Nursery we knew it would be the right environment for Rose. It was bright, stimulating, all of the children were so happy and above all, every single member of staff just oozed passion for the children.

The Grove Cottage team are always so welcoming and kind. It has not been an easy journey to get Izzy comfortable anywhere other than home but their patience and perseverance has reaped rewards, and we are incredibly grateful for this outlet on Saturdays. It provides Izzy with a safe, caring environment which she enjoys and us with some much needed respite.

There’s no denying that raising a child with special needs is very demanding and extremely exhausting. Just to have a few hours respite knowing that Rose is safe & secure and having a fantastic time is priceless. It also gives my husband and I some precious time with Rose’s sister, Ruby. There are many places that we can’t take both Rose & Ruby as Rose just can’t tolerate them or she becomes so agitated that we have to leave and Ruby doesn’t get to play.

Connor Connor was born in May 2014 and his life has been a rollercoaster journey that I couldn’t have got through without Grove Cottage. I got the surprise of my life when Connor was born and the doctors diagnosed him with Trisomy 21, also known as downs syndrome. I took the diagnosis very hard and found it difficult to accept and if I’m honest I had my head stuck in the sand.

Grove Cottage also offers many support groups for parents with disabled children and this has become our lifeline. We have met some amazing families with similar issues to us and the support we gain from one another is invaluable. Just to know that you are not alone is again priceless. We have made what we truly believe to be some fantastic lifelong friends. Thank you to everyone at Grove Cottage - Happy 50th Anniversary!

Grove Cottage has been a fantastic support and Connor is thriving. Without Grove Cottage my son, and my family would not be where they are today. Connor has a long journey ahead of him,

Izzy We have 5 children, the oldest of whom is 10, so life is never quiet. That said one of our biggest 20

but with Grove Cottage by his side, the future doesn’t seem so scary anymore and I know they will do everything they can to support us.

It’s a great opportunity for Ronnie to meet up with friends and get to know different people; there is so much that goes on at Grove Cottage and ‘club’ is only part of this. Wishing you all the best in your celebrations.

Thank you to everyone at Grove Cottage for showing me the light and the end of the tunnel and the future looks good with you in our life.



Oli is a teenager, he has learning difficulties and physical problems, he is a highly sociable chap who wants and needs what all young people want and need - a social life. Young people with special needs can find it very difficult to socialise and can feel isolated - but thanks to Grove Cottage Oli has a very full and varied social life.

Grove Cottage has been our saving grace, Josh was welcomed with open arms and despite his often difficult behaviour, he soon settled. Grove Cottage has given Josh the space to learn and play at his own pace.

Oli had a very turbulent start to life, he spent his first year in intensive care and he came home when he was 17 months old on oxygen, a continuous feeding pump and numerous drugs. Grove cottage nursery was the only local nursery able to meet his needs when he started there at about 2 years old. I will never forget how much I appreciated those precious hours to get normal things done, jobs you just can’t do with a chronically ill child.

Josh’s behaviour can be very difficult and hard to manage at times and I found myself exhausted. Grove Cottage has given my husband and I some much needed respite and gave us time to spend with Josh’s sister so that we could do things with her that we couldn't do if Josh was with us like bike rides and trips to the cinema etc. He has grown up with Grove Cottage. He is accepted and liked, it has helped build his confidence and self-esteem. I cannot see a time in Josh’s life when he won’t be going to the clubs that are run by Grove cottage.

Oli’s social life is Grove Cottage, he goes to youth club, Saturday club, performing arts club and holiday club, it gives him the independence to just be himself. Although he loves his family very much, Oli (like all teenagers) wants some time away from us! Grove cottage gives Oli the chance to just be Oli, he’s not a son, a brother, or a grandson when he’s there, he’s an individual choosing and making his own friends.

We have no family support locally and Grove has become our family. Thank you Grove Cottage for helping our family and many more like us over the last 50 years!

Ronnie Ronnie first came to Grove Cottage in the 1980’s when he started having short breaks at Apton Road. Ronnie eventually moved to Apton Road and since this time has regularly attended both the Wednesday and Thursday evening clubs at Grove Cottage.

The amazing staff and volunteers nurture, care and interact with the members to fulfil both practical and fun activities. Grove Cottage is a community that supports and enriches the lives of the members and their families, so thank you for supporting Grove Cottage.


Wishing Grove Cottage a very happy 50th birthday! We are proud Supporters Tel: 01371 830 294

Gates Ford Supporters of the

50th Anniversary of Grove Cottage

• New & Used Car Sales • Parts & Accessories • Low Rate Finance • Service & MOT



01438 366000 HERTFORD

01279 421166 STORTFORD

01992 821000

01279 652214








01992 572281 ST ALBANS 01727 791300

Calls may be recorded for training purposes.


Where the Cake magic begins!

Ordering your perfect cake has never been easier



the future In 2014 we carried out a survey of our members, their families / carers, our staff, volunteers and supporters. 100% said they would recommend Grove Cottage to someone they know who has a family member with special needs.

adults. We have some very exciting ideas and plans are being developed in partnership with Thirst, another local charity, to open a cafe staffed by people with learning disabilities, for people with learning disabilities and the wider community.

We were asked us to do more of what we already do and to start new clubs, especially focusing on providing life skills and opportunities for adults with learning disability, especially as they leave the education system.

We own our building at 151 London Road but we are bursting at the seams. We are looking at how we can develop our site, or identify a new site, to enable us to grow and continue to provide support to people of all ages with learning disabilities and their families for another 50 years and beyond!

From this survey we have developed a ‘Big Idea’ and our strategy for Grove Cottage.

The future looks exciting and with your continued support we can help to make our dreams a reality, continuing to support local people with learning disabilities for many more years...

We plan to continue and expand what we currently offer and we plan to provide new life skills programmes and opportunities for GC@Thirst sticker_draft1.qxp 08/08/2016 16:48 Page 1


a and Enjoy a cupp ends, fri ith w ke ca , and help share a smile difference al re a e ak m le with to local peop bilities. sa di ng ni ar le


3AG shire CM23 rd, Hertford fo rt o St ’s p reet, Bisho 76 South St

ays and Thursd s y a d s e n d e Open on W . m p 10am – 2


Please come and support

E V R G E G A T T C @

76 South Street, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 3AG.


We will be opening every Wednesday and Thursday, 10am – 2pm to provide a safe, friendly welcoming place for everyone to come and meet and make friends, offering a wide range of hot and cold drinks, cakes, snacks and healthy platters.

If you or someone you know like to make cakes we would love to hear from you. We are looking to get a wide range of cakes donated to Grove Cottage at Thirst to help us raise funds. If you can help please do let us know.

Grove Cottage at Thirst will also provide life skills training programmes for adults with learning disabilities to help them gain new skills and experiences on their path to greater independence and employment in the local community.

INTERSTED IN LEARNING NEW SKILLS? If you or someone you know are over 18 and have a learning disability and would like to be considered for a place as a Trainee on our life skills training programme please contact grovecottagebishopsstortfordmencap @GrovecottageBS


Registered Charity Number 1122298

We wont be able to run without customers – so if you are looking to meet up with friends, why not come and try out Grove Cottage at Thirst? A warm welcome is guaranteed and you will be making a real difference to local people with learning disabilities.

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS To run Grove Cottage at Thirst we need Volunteers – if you have time available and would like to get involved – please contact or call 07939 480567 or talk to the staff in Grove Cottage at Thirst.






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At the heart of your community

Lorraine, Danielle and all at CM Connections

would like to congratulate Grove Cottage on their 50th anniversary!

stand out from the crowd 01279 657769



Standing Order instruction

To become a FRIEND OF GROVE COTTAGE please complete the following Standing Order instruction and Gift Aid declaration.

Instruction to:

 Please make a monthly payment of:

Bank name Bank address

   (please tick)

Three Pounds (£3) Five Pounds (£5) Ten Pounds (£10)

Other amount (please specify) £ to BISHOP’S STORTFORD MENCAP

Customer details:

(Sort Code 20-36-98 Account 10175609)

Account Name

on the 5th day of every month starting on

Account Number


Sort Code




until further notice.



 Please make a one-off payment of: Signed


Gift Aid declaration


on DD / MM / YY

Donor’s details:

for past, present & future donations By signing a Gift Aid declaration, every £1 you give, Grove Cottage – the home of Bishops Stortford Mencap – can claim an additional 25p back in tax, so you can make your donation go much further at NO extra cost to you. Most people in the UK are eligible to sign a Gift Aid declaration. Even if you are retired you may be paying more than enough tax on your private pension or on your savings to qualify. All you need to do is complete the declaration form below and send it back to us at the address provided.


Boost your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate. Gift Aid is reclaimed by the charity from the tax you pay for the current tax year. Your address is needed to identify you as a current UK taxpayer.

Name Address

Telephone Email



Please notify the charity or CASC if you:

Please treat as Gift Aid all qualifying gifts of money made to Grove Cottage – the home of Bishops Stortford Mencap – Please tick box. in the past 4 years and in the future.

• Want to cancel this declaration • Change your name or home address • No longer pay sufficient tax on your income and/or capital gains.

I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains tax in the current tax year than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all of my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference.

If you pay Income Tax at the higher or additional rate and want to receive the additional tax relief due to you, you must include all your Gift Aid donations on your Self Assessment tax return or ask HM Revenue and Customs to adjust your tax code.

When completed, please send this form to: Fundraising, Grove Cottage, 151 London Road, Bishop’s Stortford, Herts CM23 3JX. grove cottage bishops stortford mencap @GrovecottageBS


Registered Charity Number 1122298

• Grove Cottage will look after the information that you give us and keep it private and will not share it with any 3rd parties. • If you would like to receive information from Grove Cottage please tick here

Please cut this out and return to us or go to to print a copy off - thank you!

Kindly produced by CM Connection Magazines

Grove Cottage 50th Anniversary Year Book  
Grove Cottage 50th Anniversary Year Book