Listen again to Contact’s Radio 4 Appeal and read Gemma’s story

2 mins read

Monday 9 January 2023

Tags: fundraising, donate, winter appeal, radio 4 appeal, jane garvey, parent story, how contact helps

Mum and family at early years workshop
Gemma, Ethan and their family.

Yesterday, our charity appeal aired on BBC Radio 4, and you can now listen again online.

BBC Radio 4 has chosen Contact as one of its appeal charities this winter. In yesterday’s two broadcasts, journalist and long-time Contact supporter Jane Garvey explains to listeners why our support services are so vital.

How we supported Gemma’s family

Gemma has two children and lives in London with her husband. Her four-year-old son Ethan has Down Syndrome and a number of medical conditions.

Before Ethan was born, Gemma knew that he was going to have Down Syndrome and a heart condition. The family now know that he has nine different conditions. He sees 21 different medical professionals at five different hospitals.

As Ethan approached school age, Gemma was feeling overwhelmed with form filling and concerns about doing the right thing to support him. She was going through the process of getting Ethan an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Gemma was stressed and feeling swamped, when she came across Contact in our supportive Facebook group. She wanted as much information and knowledge as possible, so she signed up to one of our Brighter Beginnings workshops.

Gemma loved the fact that our workshop team has lived experience of caring for a child with additional needs and the amazing passion for their job that shines through. She learnt so much about behaviour and how to deal with professionals. She was given ideas on things she’d never thought of, such as the importance of taking someone along to meetings. And she enjoyed and benefited from meeting and hearing from other parents about their experiences, too.

The support gave Gemma the confidence and knowledge to move forward and not feel so alone. She now feels things are slotting into place.

Donate to our winter appeal

Our appeal broadcasts again at 15.27, Thursday 12 January, so listen out.

And if you’re able to, you can make a donation now to support our vital work.