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Learning Disability Week: Support Grove Cottage, the home of Mencap in Bishop's Stortford, by going purple

Grove Cottage is appealing to the community for support in Learning Disability Week.

From Monday (June 14) the London Road-based home of Mencap in Bishop’s Stortford will be championing 2021’s theme of art and creativity.

Kevin Davis, chair of the charity's trustees, said: “Learning Disability Week provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the past year, raise awareness for Grove Cottage and learning disabilities in general, as well as generating much-needed funds to ensure we continue to be there for all those who need us.

Vicki Washington, mother of Toby, 9: “Grove Cottage will always have a special place in our hearts for all they've done and still do for Toby.”
Vicki Washington, mother of Toby, 9: “Grove Cottage will always have a special place in our hearts for all they've done and still do for Toby.”

“We are therefore asking the local community to support us this Learning Disability Week by going purple: wear something purple for the day and make a donation; get creative – make some purple cakes for a cake sale and give – donate to support our Learning Disability Week campaign.

“It costs approximately £400,000 per year to run Grove Cottage, and although we are affiliated with the Royal Mencap Society, we run independently and we receive no funding from the national body.”

The charity provides social and educational activities for people who have a learning disability and other complex needs. From nursery age through to adulthood, Grove Cottage helps individuals develop their potential and experience new things. It also offers respite to families and carers and supports lifelong friendships.

Vicki Washington and her son Toby are typical of the families who benefit. Toby has multiple varying additional needs: severe sight impairment, global development and speech delay, multiple mobility difficulties, feeding difficulties including multiple allergies and sensory processing disorder.

He needs one-to-one support for day-to-day activities, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.

Vicki says: “As a family we were relatively new to the world of special educational needs (SEN) but soon realised that Toby required specialist support to navigate his road map in life and to be able to adapt and overcome any obstacles he faced. This is how we discovered Grove Cottage.

“Toby started at the special needs nursery when he was three. We were very apprehensive and unsure if we'd made the right decision, but it turned out to be the best decision of our lives. The smiles and happy faces we would see daily, not only from the staff but also the other children, were so heart-warming, let alone the smiles, happiness and progress Toby made each day.

“Toby is now nine and attends the Cottage Kids Club on Saturdays and the school holiday clubs. Grove Cottage supported us fully, even during the difficult lockdowns, by safely delivering activity packs to our home and reassuring us we were not alone and were still a part of this amazing organisation.

“This Learning Disability Week, Grove Cottage is asking the community for support to help them achieve a brighter future for more people like Toby. Donating to Grove Cottage will ensure that they can continue to help the hundreds of people with a learning disability – like Toby – whose lives have been changed for the better because of them.

“Grove Cottage will always have a special place in our hearts for all they've done and still do for Toby, and I cannot thank enough all those who support this amazing charity.”

To support Grove Cottage, see https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/grovecottageLDW.

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