JIGSAW June is our annual month of celebrating our impact and saying thank you to all of our wonderful supporters who make this possible. We have enjoyed connecting with many of the people who have played a part in delivering our vision, including 17 of our staff and volunteer team members who enjoyed delicious cakes at our Volunteers’ Week celebration, and 32 supporters who attended our Small Charity Week event.
Over 10 sunflowers were planted at our JIGSAW June community event held last weekend, coinciding with the #BigGetTogether campaign inspired by Jo Cox MP, which aims to bring together communities to celebrate what unites us, to bridge divides and to tackle loneliness.
Celebrating our life changing impact
This year’s JIGSAW June has been extra special as we are not only celebrating our successes from the last year, but the life changing impact we have had for over 850 families who have joined in with JIGSAW over the last decade. Our 10th birthday posters have been displayed at each event, showing JIGSAW’s journey from a group of parents coming together to grow support for their families, to a thriving charity offering 17 services with something for the whole family.
Our charity is still growing! Between April 2022 and March 2023, we welcomed 165 families joining JIGSAW Thornbury as members. This was a 45% increase in the number of families we support! It is free to join JIGSAW as a member and any family with a child who has an additional need or disability can join, with or without a diagnosis.
Our members describe JIGSAW Thornbury as a lifeline for them and their children who are dealing with exceptional challenges. ‘‘I feel supported and less isolated, I’ve made connections with other parents who understand my experiences more, I’ve even been able to share my experiences and give advice to another parent which felt really good. I feel so relieved and grateful to have found JIGSAW.’’
Increasing member engagement
A key priority over the last year has been to increase member engagement, aiming to meet the varied needs of families post lockdown and going into the cost of living crisis. We added an additional 6 services over the year. This includes our weekly Developing Through The Senses group for pre-school children with emerging needs, Connect training and awareness sessions in schools, and regular parent and carer Wellbeing Goes Wild events, as well as bringing back our SENsory Lending Library with our new online catalogue making it even easier than before for families to borrow books, sensory toys, and disability aids from us.
Engagement of members increased by 107% compared to the previous year. We record engagement from ‘check-ins’ at events when a child, young person or adult attends. We had 121 check-ins between January and March 2022, rising to 250 for the same period in 2023.
Read full details in our ‘Celebrating our impact’ April 2022 – March 2023 report
Measuring improvements in wellbeing
We use a bespoke wellbeing impact measurement approach to fit the needs of our families. Our post event feedback form asks about the wellbeing of the parent, child or young person, and any siblings. It can be completed together as a family to capture the child or young person’s input in a way that works for them.
We also use a smiley face sticker chart with children at activities to capture their immediate feedback on how much they enjoyed the session.
96% of those who responded to the feedback survey last year stated that their wellbeing had improved as a result of attending.
Watch our short film created by an autistic young person William to show our unique impact on families and bring our services to life.Watch here
Raising awareness in our community
As well as being life changing for the children, young people, and families we support, our services are invaluable for the wider community too. We enhance inclusion by raising awareness to help everyone understand the challenges that those with additional needs or disabilities face and celebrate the unique strengths and qualities they bring.
We are proud to have led the first Thornbury Fun Palace community event in 2021, which grew in 2022 through working with 31 community partners to welcome 1000 local people joining in with 25 free activities across 10 locations around Thornbury High Street.
Our 10th birthday fundraising ball in March 2023 was the perfect opportunity to celebrate with our community. We were blown away by the response from local people and organisations, with 38 supporters donating raffle and auction prizes or sponsoring tables and 84 guests attending on the evening. The event raised over £6,000 to support our life changing impact.
Our funding challenge
Even with our birthday ball fundraising total exceeding our expectations, rising costs and a challenging charity funding landscape meant that we experienced a financial deficit over the last year. Our charity is at a pivotal moment, having grown so rapidly in response to need. The increase in member numbers and engagement that we are seeing is not unique to JIGSAW alone. People and organisations in and around Thornbury need to work collaboratively to respond to the growing need within our community.
This year, we will build on the robust governance and reporting we have embedded to look holistically at the impact we have for families, not just on a service by service basis. We want to continue delivering all 17 of our life changing services and work innovatively to continue to increase our impact within our current delivery capacity.
Youth Empowerment Services
We will have a particular focus on increasing opportunities for young people aged 14-25 years to build skills and independence. We are prioritising this based on need, with a waiting list for our existing Youth Club accessed by this age range.
George has taken part in lots of our activities since he joined JIGSAW in 2017 and currently attends our weekly term-time youth club for young people aged 14-25 with additional needs or disabilities.
‘‘I’d say that JIGSAW is an awesome safe place for all kinds of neurodiverse young people, you can have fun, try new things and all in a very safe place. I’ve met some fabulous people, had wonderful experiences and it feels like I’m part of a special family.’’
We need your help!!
To achieve our plans for this year, we have had to be ambitious with our fundraising targets, aiming to raise £38,000 more than we did last year.
JIGSAW has skills, passion, expertise, and life changing services to share. Support and collaboration are needed from the community of Thornbury to achieve our vision that children and young people with additional needs or disabilities, and their families, are empowered to connect, fit in, and thrive.
You can join in celebrating 10 years of JIGSAW Thornbury and help to keep our life changing impact going by taking on your own #JIGSAW10For10 challenge. We have set a £10,000 community fundraising target to achieve together with our valued supporters, both existing and new, by end of March 2023. We have made a great start to the year with our 3 Peaks Challenge team raising almost £5,000! Can you help us raise more?
What could be your challenge? Go to our Fundraise With Us page for some inspiration and information on how we can support you in your fundraising challenge.
Or could you sign up to give just £5 per month to support our life-changing impact? Over the course of a year, your support could fund a JIGSAW Thornbury branded tee-shirt for 6 young volunteers, who will represent our charity and gain skills and confidence to take social action.
Sofia is a Young Volunteer with JIGSAW, ‘‘By donating you can help children like us that struggle. Since joining Young Volunteers it has benefitted my mental wellbeing, I’ve made friends and increased my confidence. It is also a place where I feel a part of something. But best of all it makes you feel positive that you are unique in a good way.’’
It could also fund resources for a block of 6 youth club sessions, which creates a safe space for 10 young people with additional needs or disabilities to build skills and independence and connect with peers. Or 6 places for a parent to join one of our woodland wellbeing activities.
Thank you for your support.