March has been another busy month and we have been working hard to get the word out about the forum and enable more parents and carers to have their voices heard.
We visited The Polygon School, Cedar School and Rosewood School to engage with parents and carers and welcome their input about services in Southampton. All of the schools are colourful, welcoming and the children and staff are fantastic. To do my job effectively, I really want to get an understanding of the challenges that all families in the city are facing and equally what is going right and helping our families as well. More school visits are planned over the coming months so will keep up updated. The next thing on the agenda is to visit GP surgeries to make the staff and patients aware of the forum and how we can help parents and carers get involved with the forum.
As a forum, we visited “Café down the Lane” at Southampton Mencap for Afternoon Tea. It was a thank you to our Steering Group for all their hard work and it was a lovely afternoon. The staff working at the café all attend Mencap Day Services and have a learning disability or additional need. The atmosphere, attention to detail and service was fantastic and it really made our day. If you are in the area, Café down the lane is based within the Southampton Mencap building and is open every Wednesday between 12pm and 3.30pm and I would recommend a visit.
- The Buzz Network/Short Breaks Service re-design is in full swing and there are a number of focus groups taking place over April and May to co-produce the service with the Local Authority. We really need the views and input from all parents and carers to ensure the service is effective as possible, so please get in contact to have your say. You can email me or private message me via facebook.
- We held our second “Sibling Talk and Workshop” last week and again it was a wonderful insight into life as a sibling of a child/young person with Autism. We had another 9 parents sign up to the forum and enable their voices to be heard which I’m thrilled about and I personally found the talk so useful and helpful.
- Just a reminder that the forum is PAN disability and we welcome parents/carers with children and young people with all types of disabilities and/or special educational needs to join us so please contact us to get involved and have your say.
- We’re planning an fantastic event in the Summer “Local Offer Live”. We want to showcase the fab providers, services that are available and that “The Local Offer” provides. Could you really help us out and let us know what you would expect this to look like? Who would you want to be there? Which services matter to you and who would you like to speak to? i.e Short Breaks providers, Information, Advice and Support Service (formally Parent Partnership) Southampton Mencap, Carers in Southampton, support groups. We want this to be a family day where everyone can join in and have fun so which type of kids activities on the day would interest and benefit your family?