As told by Elaine, Charmaine's mother

My name is Elaine Williams and my daughter Charmaine has been at Uniting Friends for six years using the evening and weekend service and the daytime service.

Charmaine is an epileptic with moderate learning difficulties. She started main stream school but this was difficult for her due to her having absence seizures and missing lessons. Once statemented she went to Hatton School for children with special needs which worked well for her. Once she left school we battled with services for her because of her mixed diagnosis and finding funding which depended on disability budgets. 

This is where we found Uniting Friends. Although we didn’t know it then this was the start of a positive turning point for Charmaine. In July 2012 Charmaine started the evening and weekend service. Charmaine was very excited to join Uniting Friends and met some old school friends and made a lot of new ones. The staff team were amazing. On her first trip out with UF to the Olympic Park to watch the Paralympic Games she had her first seizure since joining. They dealt with it so well. I was convinced this was the perfect place for her. She looked forward to all the activities. Whilst attending staff also noticed that Charmaine and I were using public transport and cabs because I didn’t drive so I was signposted to Dial-A-Ride taxi service where Charmaine could travel door to door.

Charmaine went on to use the day service three years ago with the grateful help of the staff. They were invaluable in getting Charmaine a social worker who was able to apply for funding from Redbridge so she could pay for day-care. Charmaine uses the day service three days a week and her confidence has grown thanks to her helpful and kind key worker, Vicki. Without exception all the staff team have been so supportive. She has now experienced lots of different activities such as drama, sensory creations, arts and crafts, swimming cycling etc.

"Joining UF was a really positive move for both of us and we are very grateful."   - Elaine Williams (Charmaine's mother)