Group story time 2
Goodbye Chelsey (Katie kissing)

The Swansea Methodist circuit stretches from Gower to Pontadawe (also the catchment area for the KFSG) and they provided vital financial donations and the necessary volunteers to run the facility (they do still).

Dr Agarwal of Singleton Hospital initially referred five children to the KFSG and continued to support it until he retired. (Stepping Stones is now a well-recognised project and institution and get referrals from all of the community paediatricians, social workers and health visitors.)

From the beginning KFSG had an ‘inclusive’ philosophy, where parents and referred children would work and play with brothers and sisters, and other parents with children who did not have disabilities. It was seen as a group for mutual support. Veronica Wood was one of the latter group of parents. She, with other parents, went on to set up PIP, Parents in Partnership, reinforcing the mutual help and strength available in the ‘inclusive’ approach.

In the beginning the KFSG had the help of a volunteer physiotherapist. Eventually there was some NHS support with physiotherapist Julie Harvey, recently returned with experience gained in Canada. There was (at that time) a conscious emphasis on the conductive learning approach pioneered at the Peto Institute in Hungary, for some of the children with cerebral palsy. Margaret and her daughter Rachael visited the Peto Institute in Hungary (in 1989). With careful pre-alignment of spine and limbs, songs and rhymes were used to help create positive muscle/limb control. This was called Movement Therapy. It was practiced with the physiotherapist, Julie Harvey.
A three-bedded unit was also set up in Killay House. It was to provide respite care for families in need of a break.
West Glamorgan Health Authority appointed a special health visitor with a remit to meet the needs of pre-school children in the county. She became a regular visitor to the KFSG. Later this help was extended to include two physiotherapists and a speech therapist.
In 1989 the KFSG moved into Stephenson House. This building, also in the grounds of Killay House, had been used as preparatory accommodation for 16 year olds from the orphanage, learning to live independent lives. It had by then become available. It was at this point that the name of the group was changed to Stepping Stones.
The work initiated and established, by Margaret Hancock and the others has continued over the years. Margaret retired in September 1996 after 17 years. Delyth Lewis then became project manager, working tirelessly for 7 years. Delyth was instrumental in setting up Friends of Stepping Stones (which is now 9-10 years old) and securing funding from the Welsh Assembly as Cymorth. Shankari Sivakumaran, the present manager took over in 2002. She has continued with the hard work and this year secured further funding- from Flying Start and Cymorth "Additional Funds".
There have been many changes over the years. Due to the demand for places for disabled children at Stepping Stones, the integrated places for the children from the local community had to be withdrawn. However, the essential work providing vital help and support for the disabled pre-school children and their families continues. Stepping Stones has come a long way from offering three sessions a week when it started 29 years ago, to offering 10 sessions a week now thanks to the Local Authority, LHB, Cymorth, FoSS and Flying Start.


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