Portsmouth parents with disabled kids set up support group for others

MUM'S THE WORD A new support group has been set up in Copnor by mums who have disabled children. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122606-4917)
MUM'S THE WORD A new support group has been set up in Copnor by mums who have disabled children. Picture: Malcolm Wells (122606-4917)
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

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WHEN four mums realised there wasn’t anywhere in Portsmouth for them to get support, they decided to take action.

The friends, who all have disabled children, set up a group so parents in the same situation could meet up and chat about their experiences.

Now three months on their group – called Silent Voices – has 75 members made up of mums and dads on its books.

The group organises day trips and once a month everyone meets up for a coffee at the Frank Sorrell Centre, in Prince Albert Road, Eastney.

And once in a while the team go out on day trips.

Co-founder Kate Jewell, 38, has two sons, Joshua, 10, and Joseph, six, who suffer from Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, a genetic condition which causes children to be born with enlarged organs.

She became friends with the three other group founders Zoe Dear, 37, Carla Leslie, 39, and Patricia Hafiz, 44, when she started taking her kids to Willow Centre for Children, in Battenburg Avenue, Copnor.

Kate, of Cunningham Avenue, Hilsea, said: ‘We just started talking about how there wasn’t enough support for parents out there.

‘The council provides professional help but sometimes it can be daunting talking to a professional. You want to chat with others on your level who know what you’re going through.

‘So we decided to get together and help each other through the struggle.

‘We called ourselves Silent Voices because it is our children who are silent. We are their voices.’

Now in a bid to raise money towards their efforts and other worthy causes the hard-working parents will hold a fun day at Moneyfields Sport and Social Club, Copnor, on September 9.

Visitors will be treated to stalls and a raffle with prizes including tickets for Paultons Family Theme Park and the London Eye.

Firefighters and police officers will also be present during the event, which is being held between midday and 4pm.

Cash will go towards the Willow Centre for Children, disabled charity Enable Ability, based in Copnor, and Fort Widley Equestrian Centre which provides horse riding for disabled people.

A small percentage of proceeds will go towards the group.