Family Feedback

We understand that taking the first step to ask for help can be difficult, so we wanted to share some stories of the families who have done just that and how we have helped.

Family Feedback

Grace House has been able to help disabled children and their families and we share some stories of some individuals that we’ve been a lifeline to.

If you need some signposting about how we can help you, please get in touch with us. We are compassionate and care about you and the situations that you may be struggling with.

Beneficiary voices have also been collected in the form of case studies. Amongst the countless stories two have been chosen to illustrate impact within this evaluation (Names have been changed for confidentiality)

Lisa’s Story
Lisa is a single mother with two children, Emma a disabled child and Carly a Sibling. Lisa has been involved in Grace House for under a year and feels the charity has made a “Massive difference” to the lives of her and her children saying, “It’s been really good for us”.

Lisa got involved in Grace following advice from Emma’s speech therapist and SIPS workers. Lisa called the charity and “they took us in” and made the family “feel welcome from day one”.

Emma had been out of school for 3 months. She had been suffering from anxiety due to her autism and felt very isolated and alone at school. Lisa spoke of how she felt there “was nowhere to go” with “long waiting list to get to see any specialists”. This was stressful not just for her and Emma but the whole family as the household stresses were affecting Carly too. Emma was introduced to the Youth Group at Grace House which made a “dramatic difference” to how she felt – “her confidence is flying”. This also helped Emma to access counselling through OPYS which has helped her cope with her anxiety and raise her self-confidence. Carly has also received counselling as a Sibling and Lisa as a parent/carer – the whole family are now in a much better place. Emma is back to school full time and thriving. Lisa expressed how this is a “weight of her shoulders” due to the worry she faced around legal implications of Emma not being in school.

Lisa describes being part of OPYS also gave her access to other activities at Grace House – e.g., school holiday activities She spoke fondly of the parents groups delivered via the You are Not Alone project and how it was a life “for those two hours I get to slow down, sit, stop and think”. She talked about how the parents support each other and share ideas, tips, advice etc. She said that while she has a wider circle of friends, they don’t understand the challenges she faces as a mother of a disabled child in the same was as other parents do – the power of peer-to-peer connections was clear here. Lisa also said that other parents often shared “ideas for other support” etc which helped to navigate the daily challenges in her life.

For Lisa the biggest thing Grace House offered her was acceptance – “yes there’s loads of stuff happening elsewhere, but the difference is at here if your child has a meltdown .. its ok” – she said people at Grace House accepted these challenges and would help. – “don’t feel like an alien”.

Mandy’s Story
Mandy is a disabled young person in her early twenties. She attends Grace House for social activities and work experience placements. She enjoys coming to Grace House as she has made lots of friends and shows great affection for the Grace House staff who have supported her.

Mandy wants to get on in life, find a job and make her way – however she also acknowledges the barriers of her disability and showed frustration with her situation, that caused her emotional distress. Her situation was complex. Mandy lives in Supported Accommodation, where she faced some challenges with other people living there, which made day to day life difficult for her. She also faced challenges at college which affected her educational and training opportunities, making it hard for her to look forward and enjoy her experience. §

To address this Mandy engaged in the counselling aspects of OPYS to help her overcome some of her anxieties around education and her housing situation. Her counsellor (who she describes as the “best counsellor in the world”) brokered a meeting with staff from the supported accommodation complex in which she lived and helped her to articulate the issues and concerns she had there. This has helped her to be happier at home and reduce her anxiety. This also helped her to cope at college and continue in her education.

Mandy says she used the techniques that her counsellor Shaun gave her to try when things get tough and sees Grace House as her “happy place”.