Disabled support group sees membership rocket

1 Hart 1 Mind 1 Future members Christine Fewster (front left) and Rebecca Price with practioners who attended forum.
1 Hart 1 Mind 1 Future members Christine Fewster (front left) and Rebecca Price with practioners who attended forum.

An award-winning group is stronger than ever – and it will celebrate the achievement at its latest conference.

The parent-led 1 Hart, 1 Mind, 1 Future has helped to influence and shape local disabled services in Hartlepool since it formed in 2009.

Best of Hartlepool Awards 2015 at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield. Community roup winner 1 Hart 1 Mind 1 Future

Best of Hartlepool Awards 2015 at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield. Community roup winner 1 Hart 1 Mind 1 Future

But the group was in danger of disappearing in 2014 following a drop in membership which prompted a major recruitment campaign.

Grateful members have described how the campaign paid off in style as membership went from virtually zero to hundreds of members, and it has kept growing.

Member and parent Christine Fewster, whose two sons James Fewster-Smith, seven, and Harry Fewster-Smith, three, suffer with genetic condition Masa Syndrome which has left them with learning and physical disabilities, said: “In November 2014, the group was ready to disband with very little parent involvement.

“However, by our conference last year, we had grown to 100 members. This year we have grown and now have 278 members.

In November 2014, the group was ready to disband with very little parent involvement. However, by our conference last year, we had grown to 100 members. This year we have grown and now have 278 members

Christine Fewster

“The conference is our annual event to share celebrations and use for families of disabled children and young people to gather information on services that maybe useful to them.”

The 10th Parent Led Conference is on Tuesday, March 8 from 9.30am to 2.30pm and will take place in the Sir William Grey Suite at the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.

Christine added: “This year we will have a host of stalls from short breaks for families, Physio, OT, autism services, support services for children with additional needs, speech and language, education as well as training and education for the whole family and benefit advice.”

The group was the winner of the Community Group/Champion category at the Best of Hartlepool awards. At the time, Christine said: “This is for all of our children. They deserve this.”

1 Hart 1 Mind 1 Future member Christine Fewster

1 Hart 1 Mind 1 Future member Christine Fewster

The group runs on a voluntary basis and is open to all families with children with additional needs.

To find out more about 1 Hart, 1 Mind, 1 Future, visit http://www.onefuture.org.uk, email HartMindFuture@yahoo.co.uk, contact 07896054361 or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/1hart1mind1future