St Albans mum celebrates anniversary of Lego club she set up with her autistic son

Gayeanna (right) with her son James, who inspired her to begin the Lego club.

Gayeanna (right) with her son James, who inspired her to begin the Lego club. - Credit: Archant

A caring mum has celebrated the second anniversary of a Lego club which she set up to help her autistic son.

Gayeanna Allcock, 39, who lives in Fleetville, St Albans, created the club in 2014 in an attempt to get her son, James Allcock, out of the house because he “couldn’t cope with mainstream activities”.

The club takes place at Fleetville Community Centre, in Royal Road, once a month and allows children from the ages of three and 16 with autism or special needs to come and play with Lego.

Gayeanna, who celebrated the anniversary with a selection of cakes at a play session, said she chose the concept of Lego with her 11-year-old son as “it’s quite a calming activity”.

She continued: “We take an approach that doesn’t involve much language and they select their own Lego; if you talk too much it leads to a meltdown, which has happened to me with my son.

“We have tried a lot of different activities and it just didn’t work out and he was at home every weekend on the computer, and I thought we need to do something.”

When Gayeanna first started the Lego club, she funded the hall herself and received donations of Lego from the community. The hall is now paid for by the National Autistic Society, which offered to take on the fees after she was crowned a winner in The Maltings Community Hero Awards last year.

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She continued: “Parents get the chance to offload and have a chat and the kids that have been coming for two years have formed friendships, and it’s hard for them to do that.

“It’s talking to other parents that are in the same boat and as James was diagnosed at the age of three, I have a lot of advice and information for parents.”

Gayeanna added: “I wanted him (James) to have something to enjoy and have one part of the weekend not sitting on the sofa because he couldn’t cope with life; I wanted to make something for him.”

The scheme runs on the third Saturday of every month from midday until 2pm and is £2 entry, which covers the costs of refreshments for parents and children.

The play sessions have since been classed as a “model club” and two other Lego clubs have been set up in Herts.

For more information visit the Facebook page: St Albans Lego Club for children with Autism/ Special Needs.