Following a very enjoyable (hilarious in fact) series of sessions, Blackburn with Darwen's new Parent Champions have set up a closed group on facebook.
At the beginning of February, a group of dedicated and positive parents and professionals enjoyed a short series of training sessions.
The sessions prepared them to give support to parents and carers of children and young people with a special educational need or a disability, to point them in the right direction of advice and services relevant to their situation using Blackburn with Darwen’s Local Offer website.
I learnt so much about all the things on offer that I had never previously heard of and also about my rights as a parent. I think the Local offer is a fabulous tool for parents and carers in our area and that there is something beneficial for everyone.
Over the 4 days, a group of 15 enthusiastic parents/carers listened to (and laughed with) the trainer, Geraldine Hills, as she described her own experiences and how she has learnt to help herself get the best for her own family.
I absolutely loved the training! Geraldine was fantastic and put so much humour into a difficult subject.
I thought that the sessions were informative, but not boring! Geraldine has a great way of getting the message across.
Geraldine set up a similar scheme in Manchester. Parents there now not only support each other with hints and tips and signposting families to advice and services of their Local Offer, but have grown in confidence to such an extent that they now undertake a range of other SEND related activities:
- attending school coffee morning to promote the Local Offer
- accompanying parents to school meetings
- meeting with parents for walk and talk support sessions
- surveys of providers and businesses which may lead to the award of their own certificates of excellence to Manchester-based businesses who have impressed them with the adjustments they have made to make their facilities and services SEND-friendly.
All completely free of charge!
Our parents/carers and professionals were inspired!
The training sessions make you think about the importance of coproduction, working with and valuing parents/carers, their thoughts, feelings and wishes.
I thought the second session was very helpful, it helped me to face the world again.
So what next?
Over the course of the sessions, parents set up their own Blackburn with Darwen Parent Champions facebook page.
The facebook group is a closed group, membership is restricted to parents and carers of children and young people with a special educational need or a disability. There is a strictly applied Code of Conduct so that all members can feel confident that their concerns will be respected.
The facebook page is a positive move forward for parent /carers to build new friendships; offering support and guidance; signposting and hopefully encouraging parents to become Parent Champions: to get the best outcomes for children and young people in Blackburn with Darwen.
I am very proud to be a founding member of Blackburn with Darwen Parent Champions. I have met some amazing adults and children and have learnt so much from others experience and advice already.