Celebrating One Year of @JollyJosh…
The idea of ‘#JollyJosh ‘a year ago was ‘pure imagination’. A chain of events would lead me to realise that there was a gap in the system; the solution would become Joshua’s legacy.
Jolly Josh is a lifeline for families who want to access the service. In the early years when you realise that things are not ‘normal’ and that your child is not meeting milestones it can be extremely difficult. It is incredibly hard to accept that your child has a disability, complex/additional need and during these early years of realisation life can be very difficult and quite dark. Due to confidentiality policies professionals cannot direct you to others in similar situations and it can be an isolating period. Now professionals are able to recommend Jolly Josh and encourage them to #ConnectSupportThrive.
During the past year we a proud to say that Jolly Josh has welcomed 63 families to our weekly #stayandplay sessions. In addition, we have had 22 professionals/services who have attended these sessions; demonstrating the moto we stand by ‘#ConnectSupportThrive.’
We have been incredibly supported, not only by the public and our families but also by some extra special people who make Jolly Josh work. Our weekly volunteers, Emma and Ann and of course my Mum Gill are at the heart of Jolly Josh, they give their time and efforts each week in to running the sessions, supporting families and without them Jolly Josh would not function.
We of course thank Mrs Fierro at @SpringsideSchool, the governors and staff, who supported the concept of Jolly Josh from the moment I explained my thoughts and provided us with a venue during our 1st year. Thankfully @HamerSchool has continued this support so far and our venue has been ideal.
We also thank our trustees who are backbone of Jolly Josh, they give up their own time to help to not only achieve charity status but to continue to drive the charity forward, to develop Jolly Josh and further our goals to #InspireInclusion, helping families to #ConnectSupportThrive. Our Patron #ConsultantPediatrician Dr. Levy, our trustees, Anna Oddy #SpecialistComplexNeedsNurse and #PalliativeNurse, Janine Parry #PediatricNursePractitioner, Alex Laidler #HealthVisitor, Louise Winterbottom (Project Manager) and Carol Noble (Contract/Legal Manager) are the driving force behind the scenes.
We have also been given lots of support from the professionals, services and charities that visit and attend the Jolly Josh sessions.
In addition, this year we have had so many people choosing to raise funds and awareness of Jolly Josh, we could not have reached this stage without such support, it is essential and we hope that people continue to choose to support Jolly Josh in this way. This year’s fundraising events have been so much fun and extremely successful so thank you to everyone who supported them!
I’m not sure that when I started Jolly Josh that I ever realised just how much the service was needed by other families, I knew of course that I needed it for me and for my children. I wanted Josh to meet other children with tube feeds, etc. and for Sophie to meet other young carers. I wanted to be able to talk to other families who also recognised the strains, stresses and upset that we faced in the unknown, diagnosis, hospital stays etc.
Jolly Josh, if anything, became a distraction from my reality. I spent my 1st year as a grieving Mummy throwing myself ‘full throttle’ into Jolly Josh. It keeps me extremely busy, sometimes too busy but it has given me some focus. I read somewhere that often charities are set up after the most upsetting circumstances because parents of children who have passed want them to live on; we want their name to be spoken. When I first started Jolly Josh I was thrilled to have helped one family and for Josh’s legacy to have made just that small impact. Now, one year on, I am so very proud of the fact that Jolly Josh has continued to have made a positive impact on numerous families and that we plan to strengthen and develop the charity to #InspireInclusion and #ConnectSupportThrive.
Here’s to our second year… XxX