Why Bursaries matter - A case study

Jessica has been lovingly looked after by her grandparents since birth. Jessica has global development delay and learning disabilities which cause difficulties with speech sentencing and problems with general awareness such as understanding danger or difficult situations. Jessica has low self-esteem and sometimes finds it difficult to control her anger. On the surface, when you meet Jessica everything would initially appear normal and this can in so many ways cause challenges. Her family did not receive any short break support, but courageously carried on caring for Jessica from day to day despite it being a great struggle.

During 2016, we met Jessica’s family and spoke to them about Cherry Trees. It was apparent that the family really needed support, however had been declined any help from the local authority. After a few visits and assessments, we were able to provide support to the family through our Bursary programme. Jessica has been visiting Cherry Trees regularly now for a year. During this time she has made friends here and increased her independence and life skills. We have helped her to learn how to look after herself and she can now attend to all her personal care with minimal support. Jessica is learning independence skills like making the bed and clearing up after meals, and is making fantastic progress. She is increasing her social development and loves “doing hair and nails” with friends and carers, just like at any girls' sleepover. As a special treat for her birthday Jessica made the choice of where to go and who with, and had a wonderful birthday tea at a pizza house with her new Cherry Trees friends.

Everything was working extremely well when suddenly earlier this year Jessica’s grandmother was taken seriously ill and sadly passed away shortly after. This left her grandfather grieving whilst caring for Jessica, who also missed her grandmother greatly. It was a very difficult time for the family. Cherry Trees have supported Jessica and her Grandad as much as we could during this time and have increased the visits she has to help maintain continuity in her life. This support will continue as we can see how fantastic Jessica’s development has been and we want it to continue for her, as well as to ensure that Grandad can continue to care for Jessica at home.

Cherry Trees has become a huge part of Jessica’s life and a great support to Grandad, and we are so glad that we can help them. Every year Cherry Trees commits to supporting families that are in difficult circumstances or financial need, just like Jessica's, and it is only through the kindness and generosity of our supporters that we are able to honour this commitment. Without them we would not be able to help families like Jessica and her Grandad, and we are incredibly thankful for each and every donation made to our bursary fund.