Adversity Award 2012

New Hope Worcester

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New HopeFounder and CEO: Jean Wilson Year Started: 2010 Website:

Out of adversity came New Hope Worcester. In July 2010 Jean Wilson realised her dream of providing daytime respite care for families who have children with disabilities.

In Jean’s case it was her daughter Emily who was diagnosed with a severe disability at 17 months old, meaning she would need life-long care and support. The adversity Jean experienced proved to be her inspiration and has proved a source of genuine salvation for so many people like her.

Faced with challenging behaviour when Emily was six, Jean felt she had no choice but to stay at home, only heightening her isolation. Searches for respite care that operated all week, throughout the year, proved futile.

Exhausted but determined, Jean decided that while it was her who needed access to respite care to re-charge, she would plough her energies into creating a service that could help so many others. Incredibly, to start the business Jean used the ‘free time’ in the middle of the night when Emily was playing in her secure tent to put a business plan and necessary paperwork together – this was after a full day of caring for her daughter.

Her self-sacrifice and some generous funding and support from Worcester Community Housing has led to a service that operates six days a week from 9:30am to 5pm during the school holidays and every Saturday throughout the year.

Children that spend time at New Hope Worcester experience invaluable leisure activities while parents get some all-important time to replenish their depleted energy levels. When New Hope opened in 2010 it supported three families. Two years later, 50 families feel the benefits, with parents travelling as far as 30 miles to access it.

With 15 permanent part-time jobs and Big Lotto Funding of £250,000 over five years, as well as Children In Need funding of £27,100 over three years, New Hope is making an enormous impression on both the families, children and the local economy.

Also named ‘volunteer of the year’ by national charity Cerebra, Jean is the personification of the phrase ‘triumph over adversity’.

Judges’ comments:

This was a tough category that split the judges panel. The selflessness  that went into setting up New Hope by the mother of a severely disabled child so that she could help other parents and ensure that they never had to struggle like her family did shows no bounds.


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