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
Hi, I’m Hattie and I’m the Chair of Trustees for JIGSAW. I have a Cocker Spaniel called Albus, and we enjoy spending most of our time getting out and about and exploring new places. He’s a therapy dog and has been working with young people with additional needs and disabilities since he was a puppy, sometimes just by being there for a cuddle and sometimes doing activities like dog agility and looking after outdoor spaces (although you do have to keep an eye on your gardening gloves when he’s around!).
As Chair of Trustees, I work with the other trustees to make decisions about what JIGSAW does and make sure the charity is fulfilling it’s purpose to benefit all children and young people with additional needs or disabilities and their families. I work closely with Tor to make plans for the future of JIGSAW and to give everyone in the JIGSAW family the opportunity to contribute to this.
We’re always on the lookout for inspiration and innovative ideas that can help us make the best decisions for the charity and would love to hear from you. If you’ve got any suggestions, would like to ask the trustees a question, or just fancy a chat, then you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair of Trustees
My name is Cheryl Jenkinson, and I’m Vice-Chair of Trustees. I’m married to Rich and mum to four wonderful children – Bethan, nearly 17, Esther 14, Alexander, 6 and Charlotte, 3. I joined JIGSAW as a parent back in 2015 for support as Alexander has Down Syndrome, and very quickly became involved as a volunteer behind the scenes, particularly around the charity and governance side of things as we transitioned from a CIC to a full charity. I also volunteer at the parent support groups and lending library (when they are meeting in person).
I work part-time as a PA to one of the senior leaders at Woodlands Church in Bristol. My hobbies include Jewellery making, craft and running, and I’m involved in a number of groups that advocate for and support children with Down Syndrome and their families.
Hi, I’m Helen Harrison, and I’m a trustee for JIGSAW. I’ve been involved with JIGSAW pretty much from the start, and I continue to be inspired and admiring of all that the organisation does to help so many young people and their families and support networks in so many ways.
I am married to Tim, have adult twin daughters, and way back in my past was a physiotherapist. Now I work part-time for CRED Foundation, a UK-based charity with 12 partners in the global south, and pre-Covid I was travelling to these partners fairly frequently in my role as Partner Support. Since Covid, I’ve been unable to do that travel, and thus gained quite a bit of spare time. I’m currently filling that time by working as a community-based carer for elderly and vulnerable adults, and I’ve also just started a Masters in Research, looking at how to de-westernise concepts so that they can be re-presented in ways that are more culturally relevant for the local audience. I’m using ‘wellbeing’ as the example concept for this.
I’m a member of Thornbury Baptist Church, and also a town councillor – some of you might remember me as Mayor of Thornbury a few years back.
In my spare time, or when I just need some headspace, you will find me out on the bike, or at the gym, or swimming, or running (ie triathlon-based sport).
‘Rob Cadman is an experienced financial advisor and respected local businessman and is volunteering as a trustee at JIGSAW Thornbury to help with all things related to business and finance!’
Hi, my name is Emma and I’m one of the newest trustees! I’ve lived in Thornbury for 11 years and teach History at Castle School. As well as teaching History, I am also a Head of Year, so a large part of my job is working to support students and families in school and liaising with other professionals like therapists, doctors, educational psychologists etc, as well as with our own Learning Support department. I’m hoping to be able to bring this experience to my role as a Jigsaw trustee. I have three children, who are now technically adults (eek!!!) My eldest daughter is at university and I have 18 year old twins living at home, who go to college. I have been a member of Jigsaw for many years, as my son has autism and dyspraxia. He has really been enjoying the new youth club and I’m really excited that the work of Jigsaw is starting to move towards support for this older age group, while continuing provision for the younger ones. My son adores animals, dogs especially, and we were one of the families who got in quick when lockdown loomed in March and got a puppy! He’s a very lively black cocker spaniel called Monty, who is an joy to all of us, but absolutely adores my son. I look forward to bumping into some of you while out walking Monty, as I know that many of you also have dogs!
The Management Team
Founder and CEO
It feels such a short time 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 in 2013; 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 😉!)
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!
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 Operations 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!
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.