Croydon Mencap is based in Leslie Park Road. It runs Chill and Chat, a support group for parents of very young disabled children. Click here to vote for this project to receive money from the Aviva Community Fund.
Chill and Chat is best described by a parent who attends the group with her children.
“Chill and Chat has helped us in the most amazing way. I had tried other groups with my son but we felt a little alienated as he didn’t interact, couldn’t speak and had his little quirks and outbursts that disturbed others.
We were going through the process of assessments when we found Chill and Chat. The first day I went, I admit I was terrified. I thought we were going to get the funny looks and feel uncomfortable. This was definitely not the case! The Croydon Mencap staff were ever so welcoming and introduced us to everyone straight away.
I was so at ease at being able to let my son be who he is without having to worry. Everyone is ever so friendly and warm! Without this group, parents who have children with disabilities will find it hard. The children are so happy in this environment at Chill and Chat. The parents can sit down with a cup of tea and discuss anything they want to. We share our journeys with our little ones, we lend an ear and we give advice to each other where we can.
This group is so beneficial for any parent of a child that has special needs. They helped me through his assessment, where he was diagnosed with autism, his journey to nursery and he will now be starting school in September. Honestly without this group, I would be lost. I wouldn’t know about the courses that are provided, what certain schools are like that would help children with special needs and any clubs they could take part in. But most of all, I wouldn’t have met these amazing people who are now good friends. My son will recognise their faces and light up knowing where we are. The children are so happy there and it really does make a difference. I will still be taking my daughter just to have a catch up. Even though she doesn’t have a disability, she has made great connections with the other children and has a grand time playing and doing rhyme time. She has even learnt Makaton sign language through Chill and Chat so that she can talk to her brother!
I would recommend to any parent. It truly is beneficial to us.”