About JIGSAW ThornburyOur Background
We understand the issues of parents with children who have additional needs. JIGSAW supports nearly 200 families from across South Gloucestershire and Bristol, and families from BANES, Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Who are we?
JIGSAW is run by Tor. She is supported by a team of 12 employees, many of whom also have children with special educational needs or disabilities.
There is a strong board of trustees who keep the charity on track and an army of nearly 70 volunteers aged from 5-75 who enable JIGSAW to deliver a diverse range of services.
Why do we help?
JIGSAW Thornbury was set up in 2013 by Tor Goodman and a group of her friends. Tor was a paediatric nurse so had supported many families through difficult situations, but it was having 2 children with complex needs herself that led to the development of JIGSAW.
The group of friends recognised that there was a need locally for support for family’s like Tor’s. She found that having children with special educational needs and disabilities meant her life was quite different to what she expected and what many of her friends were experiencing.
How do we help?
We provide regular activites such as our lending library and support groups. We also run bookable events in the holidays and after school. These activites include forest schools, horse riding, therapeutic music sessions and dance classes. We also run training sessions for parents and carers and run a scheme for our young volunteers.
We help each other gain strength in an understanding and non judgemental environment. We are responsive to the needs of families, always looking to improve and expand what we do.
Meet the team
Chair of Trustees
In the 5 years that JIGSAW Thornbury has been in existence, it has grown from informally supporting a handful of parents through drop in groups, to an organisation that supports in excess of 160 families, all of whom have a child or children with some form of additional needs. Every week we are gaining new members, showing that the need for what the organisation provides is huge. It is a privilege to be part of that ‘lifeline’ to many families who value the extra support.
Vice Chair of Trustees
I have seen so many times, through my work overseas, through involvement in organisations locally and nationally, and through my previous work as a physiotherapist, just how empowering it is to have access to all the right services and support. I volunteer for JIGSAW as a Trustee because I feel passionately about the right of every person to be able to access the services that they are entitled to.
Hi I’m Liz. My children are now young adults and after many years of working with children and young people, most recently as an LSA in a wonderful local secondary school supporting children with additional needs, I am training to be a counsellor. Being a Trustee of Jigsaw means I am able to be part of an amazing team and community and am able to play a part in working out JIGSAW’s vision to provide support to families facing the challenges of having a child with additional needs.
I have been married fifty years with three children and four grandchildren. After a varied career and taking redundancy, I opened a photographic studio in South Wales. I have since undertaken all manner of consultancy management, but now am happily retired and volunteering for several organisations doing what I can to help people lead better lives.
Founder and CEO
It’s been 5 short years since I decided to set up a support group in a church hall for parents who were in a similar situation of having children with additional needs; that was really all I had planned, honest! In my former life I had been a children’s nurse and cared for many children with additional needs and disabilities, so I thought I knew what it would be like when I became such a parent! How wrong I was! It can be a lonely rollercoaster ride with no option to get off! (A bit like setting up a charity really 😉!)
IT & Finance Manager
Hi there I’m Catherine Miles, mum to a son who has cerebral palsy and I have been involved with JIGSAW Thornbury as both a parent and volunteer before becoming the Finance and IT Manager. I have previously worked in the motor industry, then completed my AAT accounting qualification at Volvo Truck and Bus before my son was born. Since my son was born very early at 26 weeks I have had a couple of bookkeeping roles and been treasurer for a local rugby club. I have also spent five years as a volunteer for the charity Bliss supporting parents in the neonatal unit and running a neonatal baby group. I’m excited to join JIGSAW Thornbury to support the work the charity is doing. In my spare time I love crafting and playing rugby!
Support & Activities Manager
I joined JIGSAW on its second ever session back in 2013. I came as a struggling, lonely, tearful mum to a child who was ‘different’. I found a warm caring and understanding group of parents. Since then I became a volunteer and helped run the drop-in groups that ran initially from the Baptist church and then St Marys Church hall. In December 2017 I gave up my Critical Care Nursing role at Southmead Intensive Care. In February 2018 I started working for JIGSAW. I am now the Activities & Support Manager. This involves something different on a daily basis and my job description is still evolving! However, it does include once a month hosting a rather lovely mums’ breakfast. My JIGSAW colleagues are like family and I am blessed to be a part of the team. Please note I am always available for coffee or G&T!
Volunteer & Training Manager
I started my career as a nurse, training in Oxford. After a variety of jobs within the NHS including moving into Management, I joined The Myton Hospices in Warwick as their first Chief Executive in 1998. During that time two new hospices were built in Rugby and Coventry. I moved to Weston super Mare in 2010 and stayed at Weston Hospice-care as it’s Chief Executive for 4 years. Upon my husbands retirement, I decided on a ‘quieter’ working life. I joined JIGSAW Thornbury from Healthwatch North Somerset, and am now the Volunteer and Training Manager – a role I am thoroughly enjoying.
Lending Library Co-Ordinator
I am a mum of 2 girls and started volunteering at JIGSAW support group when they both went to school. I then started helping at the lending library and when the opportunity came up to run the lending library I leapt at the chance and have been in this role for 2 years.
I am a mum of two girls. In my life before mother hood I gained my NNEB Diploma in 1994 and have spent many years working with pre-school children and managing a private 65 place nursery. I have been volunteering at JIGSAW since 2013 by helping at group, the lending library and some holiday activities. I was excited to get a job in September 2018 coordinating group sessions, setting up hands on activities with the children and a craft afternoon for the mums.
I am Cathy Healy, the Activities Co-ordinator for JIGSAW. I did this in a volunteer role prior to starting work in September 2018. I am a mum of 2 grown children, both of whom have additional needs (some undiagnosed). I am a qualified Nursery Nurse and Children’s Nurse and have 40 years of experience looking after children and supporting families, especially those whose children have additional needs. I am more than happy to share this knowledge to support our JIGSAW families.
Originally from the Wirral, I moved to the Thornbury area in 1983 and raised my family here. I’ve had a variety of jobs in admin, retail, education and care. I’m a qualified note-taker for the deaf. Lured out of retirement to volunteer with JIGSAW the experience has enriched my life and is a great substitute for grandparenthood! Seeing how much more children can enjoy and achieve, given the right environment and support, and being a part of helping to create that, is a great joy. My hobbies include walking my dog, learning to play the ukulele and I have recently joined a Makaton choir.
Admin and H&S assistant
I left my sales & admin role in an engineering company 9 years ago when I had my daughter and I also have a son who was born in 2012.
After the children had started school and not really knowing what I wanted to do, a conversation with a friend over coffee, led to me starting voluntary work at JIGSAW in January 2018. Since September 2018 I work for JIGSAW 2 days a week, as part of the admin team and providing any other help where needed. I thoroughly enjoy my role. I have learnt a lot and made some lovely friends along the way. JIGSAW have also been a great support for me as a parent to cope with our son’s behaviour and anxiety. When I am not in JIGSAW I am often helping move cattle on our farm or going for a run!
I was involved in the set up of JIGSAW in 2013. As a volunteer I helped within the preschool groups, was involved in the setting up of the lending library and helped with adult awareness groups and fundraisers. After taking sometime away from JIGSAW to further my career in education I have now re-joined the team. My varied work background in primary education, support work in schools and the home and working with adults with severe learning difficulties meant the training role was perfect for me. I am a keen gardener, volunteer on my children’s PTFA, and love exploring historic buildings and going on walks with my family.
I have previous experience as a theatre nurse, NVQ trainer and lecturer at UWE. I originally volunteering and am now employed at JIGSAW coordinating the parent/ carers training at our base. I am also a carer.
What they have to say
“For years I’d unintentionally isolated myself. When I joined JIGSAW I instantly felt supported and understood”
“Benjamin feels at home in the base. He loves playing there and begs to go”
“Jigsaw has been a absolutely essential part of my mental health wellbeing over the last 6 months. I have been off work due to the stress partly of having a child with additional needs and moving to a new SEN school. The support from Jigsaw and its volunteers has been tremendous”
What’s on at Jigsaw Thornbury
Would you like to attend an event with your family? Find out all about our latest events and activities.