‘Stroud charity’ – Jane Jones, Allsorts’ Charity Chief Executive writes on our blog

Allsorts, Stroud charity. Jane Jones, Chief Executive

Welcome to Stroud

Recently I have been thinking about being a Stroud charity. Often our family members tell us that they feel they have “won the jackpot” by having Allsorts within their town. They listen to other people’s experiences living in different areas and realise that the community Allsorts forms in the Stroud area is a unique one.

I have asked a few family members recently what they enjoy about living in Stroud and what they think is unique about the town. The most frequent comment was one of acceptance and care. Vulnerable people around the town, often eccentric, often from diverse communities, often just very unique individuals, are accepted and proactively cared for by the community. The people I spoke to, spoke with great respect and admiration of some of these people. Many who they remember from their childhood, now long gone.

A Stroud charity, born in Stroud!

It is no wonder that Allsorts was born in Stroud! A group of caring families came together to proactively ensure that the Stroud community provides activities and support to their families. They encouraged support from local organisations and we are so fortunate to be supported by so many in our community, churches, rotaries, shops, businesses and the town and district councils.

Allsorts, a Stroud charity, building a community where everyone feels safe, valued and supported

The Allsorts charity in Stroud was born long before its current name. Over 20 years ago the Meadows Toy Library was set up by the founder members. It wasn’t until 2009, that the Toy Library merged with another local parent carer support group, to form Allsorts.

Welcome to Holland!

When thinking of places, it does remind me of the poem ‘Welcome to Holland’. I remember reading this when my son, Jacob was about 3 years old, just after he had his first diagnosis. It did resonate with me.

The poem compares having a disabled child with preparing to go on holiday to Italy, but when the plane lands the parent finds herself in Holland. It recognises the difficult feelings that many parent carers feel and their path to adjustment and acceptance.

Many parent carers find real connection with the poem. Some don’t, as they feel their feelings are more positive from the offset, and they don’t feel a significant sense of loss.

The Allsorts community

Digging deeper into why parents might not resonate with the poem, some might already have a disabled member in their family, so this is not new territory for them. Some say that their child’s disability has taken a long time to understand or diagnose, allowing time and space to adjust and accept. However, a larger number suggests that they found a community early in their journey that they feel a part of. A community where they can give and take support, be listened to and make long lasting friendships.

At Allsorts, we are determined to provide that community, where everyone feels safe, valued and supported. Where families are provided with activities that improve physical and mental health and most importantly allow families to meet, make friends and feel part of a community.

Jane Jones has been the Chief Executive at Allsorts since 2020

Trained and qualified as an Occupational therapist. Jane soon developed an interest in working with families who had children with additional needs, providing equipment and adaptations.

Jane is the proud mother of four sons, one of whom has many challenges in life. It was he who first brought her into contact with Allsorts. When her family moved up from Cornwall to be closer to both family and the Bristol hospitals.

She has two basset hounds and her son, Jacob, has a shitzu cross. They enjoy walking them and generally spending time with them. Jane has been involved with Allsorts since 2018.