Helen, Owen's Mum
"For us as a whole family PALS has been an absolute godsend in so many ways. My son Owen, who is now nine, joined when he was about six and it was the first time he had accessed a social activity without his mum or dad tagging along! He has an absolute brilliant time with PALS and his needs are well supported.
Not only does Owen have great fun going out and about with his peers, he has made some good friends, but it gives us some much needed respite and enables us as parents to focus on Owen’s siblings who quite often get over looked.
Owen has quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, he is a wheelchair user, non-verbal and has epilepsy, he has very complex physical needs but cognitively is very able. PALS is the only group which really supports his needs and gives him the cognitive stimulation he needs.
Without PALS, Owen would spend all of the school holidays with me and at the age of nine this is not healthy for him or me."
Jane, Rufus' Mum
"I have seen the tremendous impact attending PALS has had on Rufus, it has built his confidence, self-esteem and enabled him to participate in activities which without PALS he would never have accessed. To see the absolute joy on his face, when he is able to take part in an activity where for once he isn’t struggling along at the back, is priceless to see."
Sandra, William’s Mum
William joined PALS at the age of 9. Over the many years of his membership he has enjoyed a huge range of activities including sports, social meetings, days out and residential breaks. Initially he was unsure of himself when joining activities as he did not always understand what would be involved but over time he gained confidence in the activities and the PALS staff and volunteers.
He enjoyed his stays at many residential breaks including a week-long stay in Cornwall. We remember seeing how disappointed he was when we arrived to collect him at the end of his stay and this disappointment was proof of how much he enjoyed himself.
PALS introduced William to many sports including disability football at Henwick Fields, KICIN at Park House school and tennis at Bradfield College to name a few! Some of these activities would not have been available to him without the support of PALS. It was fantastic that he had a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend a day at the Paralympics on 2012. He continued with some sports unsupported for many years and became proficient at everything he took part in.
William has benefited massively from his PALS membership in so many ways. He has gained confidence in sports and social activities and has developed social skills and independence. These skills have helped him as an adult and have contributed towards his independence. He moved into his own home a couple of years ago and quickly settled in. I believe the confidence and independence skills he gained through PALS has contributed to the smooth transition from home into his house.
I hope this helps to demonstrate how much William has gained from being a PAL. He is now coming to the end of his time with PALS but as a family we will be forever grateful for all of the support he has received and for helping him to grow into the adult he now is.