This Christmas, The Hunts Post is supporting Stronger Together, a support group for parents of children with additional needs or disabilities which is run by staff and volunteers.

The Hunts Post: The Hunts Post is supporting this important campaign.The Hunts Post is supporting this important campaign. (Image: Ormiston Families)

Stronger Together provides a vital resource for families across the Eastern region and currently has groups in March and Whittlesey.

As Christmas approaches, many of us will turn our attention to buying gifts, preparing a huge meal and putting up the decorations.

Not as many of us will spend the festive season battling for an autism diagnosis or for our child’s place in a special educational needs school.

The daily struggles faced by parents of children with additional needs or disabilities often go unnoticed, making these parents feel anxious, alone or even helpless.

That is why Stronger Together, a support group for parents of children with additional needs or disabilities, is creating spaces for parents to come together and find the support they so desperately need.

The group, delivered by staff and volunteers of East of England family charity Ormiston Families in both March and Whittlesey, offers parents a safe space to talk about the challenges they are facing.

Members of the group are able to share their experiences with parents who may be in similar circumstances and are provided with informal advice in accessing financial support and in undertaking referral and diagnosis processes.

Tanya from March, aged 40, has been accessing the group to find support and advice for the care of her three-year-old son, Hendrix, who is tube-fed.

She said: “The staff here have always been brilliant with Hendrix. He formed a real bond with the staff and children here and always looks forward to playing with the sensory toys at the group.

“Hendrix’s condition is quite rare, so looking after him can be quite isolating as I sometimes feel like no one understands what we go through.

“Finding this support so close to home was amazing and I couldn’t do without it now.

“The group helped me to access disability living allowance, from filling out the form to seeing the process through.

“But most importantly the group has given me people to talk to about the challenges I’ve faced.”

Partners Hayley, 38, and JJ, 40, also from March, have been attending the group since its first session, initially with their children Imogen and Bobby, who has autism.

The Hunts Post: Hayley and JJ talk about the group and what it means for their family.Hayley and JJ talk about the group and what it means for their family. (Image: Ormiston Families)

Hayley said: “There’s not much in rural areas for parents of children with disabilities.

“I wanted to spend time with people who would understand how we feel as parents. I wasn’t talkative when I first came to the group, but it’s helped me build my confidence and we’ve made some great friends here.

“I love coming here because it makes me feel like I’m not alone.”

JJ, a communications officer at Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service, added: “I learn so much here. Every parent’s story is different but there is usually something you can relate to. We all draw upon each other’s experiences.

“Once you get a diagnosis for your child, you can wonder what’s next. But seeing how other parents have succeeded as their children have grown up is so reassuring.”

Anna Palmer, Stronger Together’s service lead, said parents sharing their experiences is what makes the group so essential.

The Hunts Post: Service lead Anna Palmer.Service lead Anna Palmer. (Image: Ormiston Families)

She said: “Parents come to their first group session full of worry and fear, not knowing where to turn or who to talk to.

“After several sessions with us, not only do they have a clearer idea of where they can go next for support, but they’ve also made great connections with other parents who are facing similar challenges.

“Your support for Stronger Together this Christmas will mean that this amazing network is available to new parents for many years to come.”

You can support the Stronger Together support group this Christmas by making a donation to Ormiston Families.

You can donate via the campaign’s JustGiving page by visiting

Donations can also be made via cheque, made payable to ‘Ormiston Families’ and sent via post to Ormiston Families, 25 Queens Street, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8SN.

The Hunts Post: QR Code for the Stronger Together campaign.QR Code for the Stronger Together campaign. (Image: Ormiston Families)