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I founded Calmer Therapy just over 9 years ago, I have 3 children, all who have additional needs, and saw what little support was available for families like us. I worked in the care industry, mainly working with young people with complex behavior’s and learning disabilities in care, and saw first hand how important early interventions and family support was. I was starting to struggle to work full time, due to raising 3 disabled children, but didn’t want to loose all the qualifications and knowledge I had gained working in care, so Calmer Therapy was born.
Calmer Therapy is a registered non profit community group which supports children, young people and adults who have additional needs, disabilities and mental health needs, and their families. We started as a small parent support group, but quickly grew, we now cover all of the North East England and have over 800 active members. We provide after school and half term activities to our young members, social activities, advice, support and sign post to other organisations to our adult members. We also provide clothes, toys, equipment and food bank services to our members, as well as furniture and white goods, to help alleviate food and child poverty. We provide training to our members, and offer job opportunities and work experience to adults and young members who have additional needs or disabilities. We started offering community work, catering and childcare experience at our centre in Stobhill, Northumberland, but quickly realised how great the need was for work experience placements. Last year we opened a community cafe, so that we could offer more work experience and jobs, we also work with our local special need schools and colleges providing work experience placements. 98% of our employees have a disability, and we currently provide employment and work experience to over 80 young people/adults who have a learning disability. Last year I received my MBE from King Charles for my services to children with special educational needs and their families. To date I have helped 220 children and young people receive EHCP’s and 391 children, young people and adults receive DLA or PIP.
In the past 5 years, my health has been declining, more so since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, I have continued to work with Calmer Therapy and volunteer over 50 hours a week, despite my health issues, my volunteering helps keep me going and meeting remarkable children and young people, knowing how well they manage their health difficulties keeps me going, without complaint.