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Muswell Hill charity celebrate decade of improving life for young people with disabilities

PUBLISHED: 16:44 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:44 02 October 2019

Wave founders Celia Webster and Bernice Hardie cutting the Wave cake with their daughters. Picture: Wave

Wave founders Celia Webster and Bernice Hardie cutting the Wave cake with their daughters. Picture: Wave

Archant

Ten years after two parents wondered how they could make a difference for children and young people with special educational needs, Muswell Hill charity Wave celebrated a decade of progress with a party in front of St James' Church.

Afterwards, founder Bernice Hardie, and her now grown-up daughter Jess, 28, spoke to this newspaper about the charity's success.

The event, on September 21, also saw a celebratory walk through Muswell Hill, a poetry reading, and then the presentation of the first ever WAVE award to a local business seen to be making a particular effort to be inclusive.

Bernice told the Ham&High: "To be honest, it might have been the best day of my life.

"I can't count the number of times I was moved to tears. The reason I found it so moving, I think, is quite often people with disabilities can be invisible."

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Bernice also presented research she had conducted - she's a market researcher by profession - which showed Muswell Hill was "significantly" more inclusive than on average in the UK.

And she told us about how far the charity had come.

"Jess was the first person to go to our local primary school with Down's syndrome," she said. "Then she was the first student at Alexandra Park School with Down's syndrome - it's always hard work being the first."

Bernice continued: "When she reached 18, though, there are very few opportunities. That prompted me to try to do something to improve inclusion in our community."

Jess added: "It was lovely. It's really important that there are places we can all go together."

WAVE was founded in 2009 and first ran inclusive church services. Last year it launched Wave Cafe, which is designed to get families together around the community, and it also runs playgroups and art classes. The winner of the first Wave award was Zebra Ceramics.

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