Twenty years ago, a group of parents met at the weekly portage group held at Great Yarmouth toy library. They realised there was a real lack of information about services, support and the emotional journeys parents can go through when they have a child with additional needs.
When they shared their knowledge, they realised they each knew things the others didn’t; about the specifics of financial support, care available locally, and much more besides.
A small grant from the health authority, along with hours of work on a voluntary basis from parents and supporters, allowed services such as a helpline and home visits to begin. Many of the original parents undertook training to become counsellors and picked up experience along the way.
The organisation now employs 19 members of staff and a similar number of volunteers. The experiences of the parents who set up the service remain central to the charity’s core. Shine’s family support workers help with information on housing, finances, debt and services, either in the family home or at the offices. The charity has incorporated the toy library and is run from the premises it was formed in all those years ago.