David is our football superstar, who’s been joining us for sleepovers for 8 years. He is always up for a run around the garden, often sporting his favourite goalie gloves, ready for a match at any time.

David has a learning disability, ADHD, Autism and has suffered from seizures and epilepsy – though luckily these have largely subsided. He is very active, always moving around, requiring constant supervision and support from his parents. When at Cherry Trees, his parents have a moment to relax, knowing he is happy and safe.

When reflecting about what Cherry Trees means to her, mum Eleri shares how Cherry Trees helps them function as a normal family. “I don’t want to use the word help, it’s more than that. Cherry Trees makes it possible for us all to live as normal of a life as possible. David gets such a lot from going, and we’re not made to feel like someone’s doing us a favour. It means we can function as a family, normally. It doesn’t sound like a big thing, but it really is. We haven’t got any family locally to help us look after him, so Cherry Trees is our extended family.” 

Coming to Cherry Trees has enabled David to grow in confidence. He’s joined many trips out with his favourite carers, going ice skating, camping, watching movies at the cinema and even enjoying a special tour around Woking Football Club. It’s important that while at Cherry Trees, David can “do things on his own that normal 17 year olds would do in a safe environment where he doesn’t look different and he is accepted for who he is… because a lot of the time he isn’t.”

As a young person with Autism, David often struggles with food. Having heightened sensory needs has meant David tends to stick with meals he’s comfortable with, often opting for his favourite cereals over nutritious meals. Since coming to Cherry Trees his pallet has greatly improved. Mum Eleri praised our wonderful Chef Steve for incorporating nutritious food into tasty dishes, which David now happily tries, saying “Steve’s curry is quite legendary – we have the recipe at home.”

Besides playing sport and trying new dishes, David also enjoys helping staff and friends with chores. He is often found in the kitchen or laundry room, practicing these important life skills with our carers, preparing for life as an adult. Thanks to the support he’s received from his school and Cherry Trees, mum Eleri feels confident that they can all accept and work towards David being able to live in supported living after finishing school – a huge relief for the whole family.