Founder of Hertfordshire special needs charity retires

PUBLISHED: 16:57 05 April 2020

Anne Ross. Picture: ADD-Vance

Anne Ross. Picture: ADD-Vance


A founder of a Hertfordshire-based ADHD and Autism charity – ADD-vance – has retired during Autism Awareness Week.

The ADD-vance team during Summer 2019. Picture: ADD-vance.The ADD-vance team during Summer 2019. Picture: ADD-vance.

Debbie Wood took over from Anne Ross as CEO on Wednesday to lead the charity which supports families and professionals involved in the care of children with ADHD, Autism or a related condition.

Anne Ross has led the organisation since she founded it 25 years ago and had planned a celebration, which was postponed due to Covid-19.

However families all over Hertfordshire have been paying tribute to Anne online via the charity’s Facebook group.

On of them said: “Congratulations on starting and building a charity which to so many is a lifeline of information and support. Thank you for everything you have done so others can follow in your footsteps.

While another thanked her and said Anne’s “guidance has allowed me to understand my children and unlock their potential.”

ADD-vance ambassador and actress Kacey Ainsworth, who lives in Hertfordshire and has a neurodiverse son, added her thanks too.

She said: “There is a bottomless pit of people she has helped, advised, been there for, been a lifeline to - no amount of thanks is enough but here’s mine”.

New CEO, Ms Wood, added “We are so grateful and proud to be continuing Anne’s incredible legacy and wish her all the best for an action-packed retirement.”

Tens of thousands of children have benefitted from the work of ADD-vance and will continue to do so in years to come.

ADD-vance now employs 25 people and offers a variety of services for parent/carers and professionals including a telephone helpline, 24/7 Facebook support, group training and individual family coaching.

The ADD-vance team, which Anne has created, is made up of trained professional teachers, nurses, social care workers and more but there are also parents of neurodiverse children themselves.

ADD-vance says these ‘experts by experience’ also work flexibly for the charity, in roles which enable them to balance their own caring responsibilities alongside sharing their knowledge to support others.

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