Why We’re Supporting Mencap: Laura’s Story

Equality echoes throughout all areas of business at JoJo, from the teams you meet in our stores to our catalogue models and warehouse workers. One of our proudest moments was winning the Disability Awards Best Employer award in 2014, which we won again in 2019. Offering opportunities to those with learning disabilities has always been important to us, which is why we have partnered with Mencap, whose vision is a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included.

We’ve shared Laura’s story, written by her mum Gráinne.

We are also donating 10% of all proceeds from the sale of our Monkey Comforter to Mencap, making now the perfect time to pick up this adorable little character.

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“My name is Gráinne, and I’m Laura’s mum. She’s 4 years old, loves singing and dancing, and she also has Down’s syndrome.

 

When Laura was born with Down’s syndrome, we didn’t know what to expect. Luckily, our doctor told us about the support available through Mencap, and Laura got a place for a year.

 

Our first day at the Mencap centre was very emotional. We were proud parents just like any whose child is going to school for the first time. We walked in through the doors, at that stage Laura still wasn’t walking - so we carried her in our arms.

As we passed Laura over to Donna, her keyworker, she said to me, “Don’t worry - Laura will walk out of here at the end of term.” And of course, she did!

 

So much of the groundwork for it happened there, so I think it was only right that she took those first steps at the centre along with the people who fought so hard to get her there.

 

After Mencap, Laura had one year in mainstream nursery and this year progressed to Year 1 within the same mainstream school. No doubt, her time at Mencap helped Laura develop her social skills and gave her the opportunity to receive physio, occupational and speech and language therapies.

 

She is now well integrated with her mainstream peers, and is learning to develop some independence, such as feeding and walking. She still loves music and dancing and she can still sing every nursery rhyme you could think of. She loves it when it’s dark enough to put the disco lights on and dance around the room to ‘Baby Shark’.

 

Life is not without its challenges as Laura struggles with her fine and gross motor skills, and we haven’t cracked potty training, but know that it will come in her own time. She isn’t too fond of having a lie in in the morning, and when Laura wants up, then we have to get up too!

 

She is a wonderful daughter and we are so proud of her achievements so far. She tries to do her best in school and when we work with her at home, and our efforts are rewarded by the most warm and sincere hugs, kisses and pure love; it’s more than you could ever imagine.

 

Laura has achieved so much since being supported by Mencap, and it's a huge relief to know that Mencap will offer Laura so much more in her future. We know we will always be part of the Mencap family.”

 

- Gráinne, Laura’s mum

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To learn more about our partnership with Mencap, Click Here

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