Welcome to JIGSAW June 2024!  

This month, we have been busy celebrating our 3rd annual JIGSAW June with all our supporters. Each year, JIGSAW June is a chance to say thank you to everyone who contributes to our life changing impact. We invite our supporters to celebrate our impact and progress over the last year through events and online communications. 

Members often share their feelings of relief in finding us, as JIGSAW is a place where they feel they belong, fit in, and can be themselves without judgement.  

‘‘JIGSAW has been our lifeline at times when we felt like there was nowhere else to turn. We have been through some extremely difficult times with mental health struggles and getting people to listen to us and JIGSAW has been there to guide us, give us a boost and get us back on a positive path.’’ Bonnie, parent member and volunteer. 

Whether you deliver activities with us, volunteer for JIGSAW, or help to fund our work – your support is powerful and it really does change lives.  


Delivering our impact 

We spent most of last year celebrating our 10th birthday. This started with our fundraising ball in March 2023 and wrapped up with our decades themed JIGSAW Jaunt in March 2024. We have now been working in the local community for 11 years and have welcomed over 1000 families as members over that time. 

This time last year, our charity was at a pivotal moment having seen a 45% increase in membership in the space of 12 months. The event was a moment to come together and spark ideas to work collaboratively in our community to respond to this increasing need together. We are still seeing the demand for our services growing with a 22% increase during our most recent financial year.  

In total, 298 local families including 427 children and young people have joined JIGSAW in the last 2 years. This is the equivalent of 14 full classes of 30 students, and their families, all seeking support, connection, and fun from our charity in a relatively short space of time. At the end of March, we had just over 700 children and young people registered with us in total.  

Everything we deliver stems back to our 4 strategic objectives. The 4 areas that make up the acronym JIGSAW – Joining In, Growing Support, Awareness, and Wellbeing. These are not only what JIGSAW stands for as an acronym, but also what we stand for as a charity in what we deliver for families and the community.  


‘‘To me, to us, JIGSAW (and by that I mean the whole team – staff and volunteers) is the true meaning of charity. They have all shown us charity, not just in the activities they offer but in the way they treat us. They truly care, and have made us feel good about ourselves again. JIGSAW is a wonderful community that we are so proud to be part of. And perhaps most importantly, in treating us to their charity, they have in turn, given Riley the confidence and willingness to pass on that charitable nature to others – one of the most important life skills of all I believe. For that and for everything else they have done and will continue to do in the future (a future that we will most certainly be a big part of), we are truly thankful.’’ Mandy, parent carer 

Over the last year we have continued delivering all 17 of our life changing services. These range from support and fun activities for children, young people, and families; wellbeing events for parent carers; and youth empowerment. We ran 350 events during the year, engaging 452 individuals through a total of 2,296 check ins, which are recorded each time someone attends an event. Engagement was up by 31% compared to the previous year when 344 members attended activities. The greatest achievement has been the growth and confidence of young people, and the empowerment, reassurance, empathy, and fun that families have found through JIGSAW. 

To see more about what we have achieved over the last year, read our report full of quotes and photos.   

JIGSAW Thornbury Business Plan Objectives Report April 2023 – March 2024


Youth Empowerment Services 

An area we are especially proud of this year has been the organic growth of our Youth Empowerment Services. This is an area of our impact focusing on equipping young people with the tools they need to navigate complex transitions into adulthood. Activities range from trips out and fun activities at JIGSAW, to helping young people identify their strengths and write cover letters for work experience, to volunteering to run a community dog show! We were extremely pleased to be able to grow our youth club provision from one to two weekly groups in April with the support of Thornbury Town Council as part of South Gloucestershire youth work commissioning over the next 5 years. This gives us some stability which can enable us to grow impact for young people even more. 

At our supporter event, we had a focus on Youth Empowerment Sessions. This is a monthly group for young people aged 11-25 to explore their values, challenges, and strengths, and grow skills and confidence to form and share opinions about things that impact them. Our aim is to build self-advocacy for individuals in their own way. We have been lucky enough to be working alongside South Gloucestershire Council to deliver this group, which has taken us on a journey of joint-working and skill sharing. 

‘‘I am so immensely proud of the young people taking part in our Youth Empowerment Sessions who are representing our young members today. Over the last 6 months, they have been working together to collate a united voice for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities.’’ Hattie Clayton, CEO of JIGSAW

 During their monthly sessions they have chosen a topic important to them – which is disabilities and accessibility. They have learnt about methods for collecting information, designed and launched their youth empowerment survey with a video message, categorised responses from 26 survey participants, created storyboards for the change they want to see based on what young people told them, and practiced adapting communication styles to different audiences. And of course, they have had lots of fun along the way. You would be surprised to hear how well they were able to communicate the benefits of beans on toast to Taylor Swift! At our supporter event, they told our most important supporters how they can help us achieve what local young people need.  


‘‘The figures of children being home educated in the UK are going up rapidly, we are some of those children. School has never been a fun place for me, especially as I am on the spectrum. I never felt supported or accepted in school, my only source of guidance was my family. teachers were horrible, left my troubles to the side and overall made me feel worthless and like I was an object. Eventually I did stop attending school and have been focusing on me at home since. I hope this speech is getting your attention and you’re getting a real understanding of what it’s like to be a young person in the school system and society. On the talk of society, we produced a survey and got lots of responses from some young people, here are some…’’ 


Now there are ways to change all of this and making younger people feel ok about going out and enjoying life while they are still young, for example: having more opportunity’s to build confidence, communicate with others, build friendships, talk about your experiences and like us try and make a change. There are so many small things that can make a difference and by us speaking to you today we hope that we start to notice more children out and about, happy, safe and included. We know it’s a harsh world out there, but we are young and we deserve a voice and we deserve a say.’’ Grace, Youth Empowerment Sessions participant  

Some of our young members who want to share their story have created a film so you can get to know them. They are young people with different interests, maybe some shared with you, who have come together because they believe young people have something important to say. They want to raise awareness about what it is like to be a young person with additional needs or disabilities. They genuinely want to make a difference in our community by sharing their experiences and those of their peers. Ultimately, they are asking for a fairer, more inclusive and accessible society where barriers are removed, challenges become less challenging and more understood, and unique strengths are celebrated. Not much to ask for really! 

JIGSAW Thornbury offer a safe space for young people with additional needs or disabilities to be themselves without judgement. A place where they can connect with others, have fun, and share experiences. A place where everyone fits in. Our young people are not asking you to change the world overnight. They are simply asking you to listen.  


Plans for this year 

The growth of our Youth Empowerment services is only just beginning. We plan to increase youth volunteering opportunities to offer our most engaged young members the chance to continue developing themselves and give something back to JIGSAW and their community.  

Over the last year we have piloted training awareness sessions with Phase and South Gloucestershire Council. This year, our young members will co-develop these Workshops in Inclusivity, Difference, and Accessibility, so that local employers and service providers can increase their understanding by learning directly from young people with additional needs or disabilities.  

Within JIGSAW, we plan for our young members to have a voice at all levels of our governance. This aim has been in mind since the start of our strategy development and our updated governance structure was built with accessibility in mind. 

Our 2 other key new projects this year will be our visuals project and our welcome project.

  1. The visuals project will result in visual timetables being used at all activities with children and young people, similar to the one you can see here. This will help to reduce anxiety and improve engagement for many of our young members.
  2. Our welcome project spans across all areas of JIGSAW. We will review our member journey and welcome process to ensure families feel welcome and like they fit in at JIGSAW from their very first interaction with us, whether this be in person or digital, direct or indirect. We will make it easier to understand what services families can join in with and how each one could benefit them. Families will be empowered to join in with services and feel safe asking for help, knowing that if we can’t help directly, we will be able to signpost to other organisations.

Funding our impact 

As always, the main challenge will be funding! We have experienced a deficit in our budget for 2 years in a row and are wary of the tough, unpredictable charity funding landscape. 

We entered this financial year with more security than the last, having secured our 5 year continuation Lottery grant and 5 year contract for youth work, as well as some other year-long grant funding and local support. This means that we sit well within our reserves range for the time being. 

We focused on community fundraising events over the last year, which was a fairly new fundraising approach for us, accelerated by our 10th birthday celebrations. These have been successful and have raised awareness of JIGSAW locally, increasing recognition in the community and resulting in more press coverage with more to talk about. This gives us a strong starting point for building on this financial year.

The events have also provided really valuable opportunities for young people to gain skills and confidence and join in with their community, which could lead to increased youth fundraising like Noah’s London Underground challenge that raised £670 for JIGSAW. 

Community fundraising is only successful with the support of local people, groups, and organisations. The young people we work with, and their families, are a vital part of our community. They access services, community spaces, learning provision, and volunteering or employment opportunities in our local area. These should all be places where they feel able to fit in and thrive. Together, we have the power to make that happen. 


Fundraise for us