Spotlight On...

Sarah West

We have an amazing team of volunteers, trustees and staff who work hard to make Mustard Seed special. We like to regularly shine the spotlight on one of the team in every so you get to know who we are and why we do what we do! This time we are focusing on Sarah, who is one of our volunteers at the Funtastic Fun Club. She is married to Dean and is mum to three wonderful young people. She works as a Learning Support Assistant at a local primary school. Here's the story of her involvement with Mustard Seed...

My youngest son has autism, and he finds language and communication the most challenging part of that. I first approached Mustard Seed when he was around 5 years old. We had recently had a diagnosis for him, at the same time as losing my Dad, and it was personally a very hard time for me. I can remember how daunting it felt and we received very little direction or advice from other services. My husband and I attended the Empowering Parents Course and the knowledge and support that we received through Sarah and Francis was invaluable. Mustard Seed continued to be a support for us through our son's early years and he went to their Ready Steady Go group which helped to build social and communication skills.

He is now 11 years old and has started secondary school and my eldest son and daughter are both teenagers. The support we had as parents as we navigated the world of having a child with autism helped the whole family, and I am so very grateful to Mustard Seed for that.

I started volunteering at the monthly Funtastic Fun Club for siblings about 3 years ago. I really look forward to spending time with the children. Frimhurst has such beautiful grounds to explore and I particularly enjoy taking part in the gardening on the little allotment as it is so peaceful and quaint and reminds me of Peter Rabbit stories! We’ve had some great trips out, which are always fun, even on the last one to Marwell Zoo when the weather was so cold we were reaching for the hot chocolate rather than ice-cream!

The children have a great choice of things to do, including baking, painting, crafting, board games, playing in the grounds and gardening. Some children are a little nervous and unsure when they first arrive, however the group has such a welcoming and homely feel about it and all the adults have a great knack of helping them to settle quickly. It is so good that Mustard Seed have recognised that it can be tough having a sibling with autism and this gives them a time just for them, and a chance to make friends and meet with other children in a similar situation.

In recent times we have obviously not been able to meet, but we have continued our monthly meetings online over Zoom. It has been great to see and talk with the children on Zoom, however nothing beats meeting up in the ‘real world’ and I have everything crossed that the time is soon approaching when we will be able to do so again.


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