Want to stay informed about our latest news and events?
Sign up to our newsletter

Gemma's story


The mental health of disabled children and young people and their care givers has dramatically declined during the pandemic. Our emergency overnight respite care, community 1:1 outreach and telephone help for families struggling to cope will help them to rebuild, regroup and rebalance their lives.

Please consider donating to our Big Give Christmas Challenge, where your donation will be matched and doubled by sponsors to make your gift go twice as far to help families in need.

Families like Gemma's. Her mum explains:

Gemma Gemma was born at just 24 weeks and was just the size of her Dad’s hand. She is registered deaf and blind; she also has Autism and communication difficulties. Growing up, despite all of this, she was always a happy child. During her teenage years, however, her behaviour became more challenging, and Gemma would hurt herself and those around her. We needed extra support.

Gemma has been visiting Rose Road for about 5 years now. I remember when she came for her very first respite break at 11, it was the first time I had ever left her overnight. I felt that Gemma was my child and my responsibility and that I couldn’t ever leave her, her needs were just so complex.

After the 2020 COVID lockdowns I was at breaking point really. She was so upset by the change.

Once she returned to school people saw that we were struggling, and Rose Road provided some additional respite. Then, when we were told then that Gemma couldn’t return to school after the holidays, Rose Road stepped in to provide extra support during the day times while we worked on finding her a long-term educational placement that was suitable for her really complex needs.

They turned a day room into a mini educational space and allocated 6 workers who got to know Gemma so well.

They really helped her to settle and grow and develop, she went out and about and did activities and she learnt new skills!

gemmaWe have now managed to find Gemma a term-time residential placement quite far from home, but I adore my weekends and holidays with her, and she has settled so well. Gemma will still spend one night a week at Rose Road when she is home at half terms so that she can keep the connection with everyone there and allow me to spend some one on one time with her sister Mia.

When people ask me what Rose Road means to me, I find it really hard to answer, it’s hard to put it into words. I don’t know where we would be without them.

I am so grateful to them for playing such an important part in our lives. I know it saved my mental health and well-being, and helped our family at a really difficult time for all of us. The future will have its challenges but thanks to Rose Road I now know that I can cope with the right support. Now when I think about the future, I am not so scared.


We are constantly working to be there for as many disabled children and young people and their families as we can, providing scheduled and emergency overnight respite care, community 1:1 outreach and telephone help and advice to families across Southampton and the surrounding region.

Please donate to enable us to help more young people like Gemma and make a difference for their families. Every donation made throughout the Big Give week will be doubled, making your contribution go twice as far!