Founders Mrs Nikkie Kerr and Mrs Jenny Hooper met at a child assessment centre where they were attending with their children.
Nikkie with her son and Jenny with her daughter.
They began to meet socially outside this group for a coffee and a chat and both appreciated just how important is was for them to be able to share the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ of parenting a child with a special need with someone who was in a similar situation; isolation was something they had both felt.
They asked other parents and carers that they met at the centre to join with them and the formation of the group began. Originally named ‘Friends of Bell House’ after the name of the assessment centre, the group grew in numbers over the years.
The families would meet for coffee mornings, teddy bears’ picnics, Easter and Christmas parties and parents’ evenings out.
We changed our name to Wigwam Support Group in 2003 when the assessment centre moved from Bell House to Le Rondin School and became a registered charity in 2007.
By 2018, with the advent of social media and changing social situations, most parents no longer wanted to organise or attend the events and activities that had been so successful in the past. However, they were asking for more individual help. The decision was made to change from a “membership” to a wider “support group” structure which has involved many more families and much more direct personalised support.
This is held together by our newsletter which goes out monthly to every family who have signed up to be a part of Wigwam (at the time of writing is upward of 140 families).
This serves to keep families informed of the latest news and information around disabilities and to signpost parents to mainstream activities that their children may be interested in