Who We Are

We are the home of Bishop's Stortford Mencap

We provide social and educational activities for people of all ages with learning disability: to develop their potential, avoid social isolation by supporting lifelong friendships and to provide respite for their families.

We accept members from all over Hertfordshire, Essex and surrounding counties. If you can get to Grove Cottage you are welcome to come along.

Grove Cottage is a registered charity managed by a board of Trustees with a wealth of experience of special needs and education.

Meet the Team


Andrea Charity
Operations Manager

Since moving to Bishop's Stortford I have always been aware of the work that Grove Cottage does, but only from the outside. Three years ago, I was approached to become part of the team coming from a Nursery management background. Since the first visit I have never looked back - the feeling of been part of a very special family is the best way to describe it, helping children along the first important path of their maybe complicated life. It is great to work with staff and volunteers as one important team. I am now the Operations Manager and work closely with members, families, staff and volunteers to make sure we deliver what is needed and provide the best service possible.


Rosie Wren
Fundraising Manager

I joined Grove Cottage in March 2017 and I feel that I have joined at a very exciting time. There are plans on the horizon for Grove Cottage to expand their services and potentially re-build and I am not only excited by the prospect of how this could change our membersí lives, but also by the fundraising challenges that this will bring.

I am involved with all aspects of fundraising including working on our community events, working with the local community to support them in organising events for us, working with local companies and schools and applying for Grants. Joining was one of the best things that I could have done; I work with a great team of people and everyone is so dedicated. I love my job because it is so varied and because I know that at the end of a hard day that I am contributing to a great cause.


Esme Willcocks

I have been involved with Grove Cottage since 2004, when my daughter Rose became a member of the Nursery. Rose was born with learning difficulties as two of her chromosomes are unbalanced. She was only 14 months at the time and from the moment we walked into the Nursery, we knew it would be the right place for her. It was bright, stimulating, all the children were so happy, and above all, you could just tell that all the staff really enjoyed working with the children.

Within just a few weeks of Rose being at the Nursery, I joined the Board as a Trustee and became very involved with the day to day running of Grove Cottage. After eight years as a Trustee and watching Grove Cottage grow and flourish, the need for an administrator became necessary which I jumped at the chance. I havenít looked back. I am privileged to work alongside a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, all of whom bring so much passion and energy to Grove Cottage thus making a real difference to many people in our local community.


Jean Cooke
Finance Manager

I was first introduced to Grove Cottage at a Networking Event in 2014 and when the Finance Manager position became available in October 2014, I was approached by the Fundraising Manager and joined Grove one day a week. I am a Chartered Accountant by trade and hope that I provide Grove Cottage with stable financial information it requires to thrive. Grove Cottage is such a wonderful warm place and I enjoy being part of the extended team.


Maria Sims
Special Needs Nursery Manager

I have lived in the Bishopís Stortford area for the last 20 years, most of which I have worked at pre-schools. Over the years I enjoyed the challenge and progressed from being an assistant to a full-time manager of a pre-school. I was very excited when the opportunity came along for me to join the fantastic team at Grove Cottage as Nursery Manager. I had been aware of the wonderful things they have achieved and I am proud to be part of the team. I enjoy getting to know all of the children and their families and helping and assisting them in any way that I can, on their very important start at Grove Cottage.

We run all our clubs with a mix of part time staff and volunteers.

Without their amazing dedication and commitment, Grove Cottage would not exist.

Click here to find out how you can get involved

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