The Jolly Josh Centre is a safe, accessible and inclusive space for children and young people aged 0-19 years who are living with complex medical needs and physical disabilities, their family and other caregivers. Founded by Carole and James Kelly in 2017 following the death of their son Joshua, the charity, Jolly Josh, was founded by the family following their experiences of isolation and lack of facilities for families caring for child with complex needs and disabilities. After years of temporary accommodation and thanks to the fundraising efforts of the people of the local community, the Jolly Josh Centre was finally opened in April 2022. The organisation's aims are to bring families out of isolation and provide a safe and supportive space for people to meet, connect with and support each other and to thrive. Since the Centre opened over 90 families have been welcomed to the centre for amongst other things, 'stay and play', social, and hydrotherapy pool sessions.
The Jolly Josh Centre offers a weekly timetable of activities including Early Years 'stay and play', Sing & Sign, and Sensory Touch and Music sessions, Junior Group after school social sessions and a Youth Social club, as well as an Open Age session on Saturday mornings. Sessions are planned and hosted by experienced facilitators with a wealth of knowledge and experience in SEN and PMLD settings. During Tuesday Early Years sessions families also have direct access to a number of visiting professionals, from Early Years Support, to Speech and Language Therapists, Opthamology, and Health Visitors.
Following the opening of the Centre's hydrotherapy pool, which is unique to the borough (and the surrounding area), Jolly Josh families have been able to access hydrotherapy, family splash, and Baby Splash Together sessions, free of charge. The Centre also holds a monthly Coffee & Catch-up lunch for parents and care providers to meet in a relaxed environment, talk, make new friends and connection, and benefit from each others lived and learned experiences. "Looking back on a year of the Jolly Josh Centre and listening to feedback from our families, makes the whole team extremely proud. To know that The Jolly Josh Centre is a facility that children and families can rely on to bring them out of isolation and connect them with a new support network, is so very rewarding." - Sarah Ford, Centre Manager.