Some of you will know that our Co-Chair Donna has recently been made MAYOR of the borough, after being a local councillor for many years.
She is really enjoying this role but sadly it does mean that she needs to step down as Co-Chair for the forum, a role she has held for some 6 years or so.
The good news is that she plans to stay on the Steering Group (SG) and will continue being a champion for all things SEND. This means that for now Jaime will be the Chair actively supported by the seven other parent carers on the SG. Donna wishes to thank everyone who has supported her, especially Jaime and long-standing members of the SG.
She has built her confidence in the role, has got a great deal from being a member of the team and being the voice of families – acknowledging that every child and young person is unique. We plan to have a celebratory lunch in the autumn term to show our appreciation for her long service and dedication.
We wish her well in her new role.
If you want to be in touch, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just Say Parent Carer Forum is part of the National Network of Parent Carer Forums and we are active members of our NE London Region as well as attending the annual NNPCF conferences. This way we can compare what is working well and what is not.
We are in a local partnership with Sycamore Trust. They help us manage our finances. We apply each year for a parent participation grant from the Dept of Education (DfE) which we can spend on meetings, training, refreshments etc.
Our aim is to be a well-informed, connected, and empowered community of families of children with disabilities and additional needs. We work in strategic partnership with the local authority (LA) Health and their partner agencies making recommendations on what is required to meet our needs and to improve services for our children and young people’s wellbeing
Anyone living in Barking and Dagenham who has a child or young person aged 0-25 years with a special educational need (SEND) and/or disability can join us for free.
We originally began as part of a group run by the local authority called Boroughwide, set up for families of children with disabilities from deprived backgrounds to attend meetings held by the local authority with different officers giving presentations. It was the opportunity for the first time for parents and carers to ask them questions. We were also involved in discussions about funding for respite schemes.
As time went on increasing number of parents and carers were attending our meetings and joining us as members. The local authority realised the demand for such a forum and as a result we became independent and renamed our forum Just Say. This coincided with other parent carer forums setting up across the country and access to a small parent participation grant from the Government.
We became part of that “extended” family known as the National Network of Parent Carer Forums or NNPCF for short. This gives us much needed strength in numbers.
We have a hardworking Steering Group (SG) of parent carers who all volunteer their time, and each person has a role that helps shape and run the forum. We hold our SG meetings fortnightly and have monthly meetings with the LA SEND Manager as well as meetings with other stakeholders throughout the year. We avoid meeting in the school holidays.
We also participate in projects in relation to our families such as the current Autism In Schools (AIS) project which is funded by health and aims to support our children and young people with autism in their secondary schools. It is a pilot with the aim of sharing the learning and good practice across all schools in the borough. We are doing this project work alongside a number of other parent carer forums in London so we will find out lessons from them too.
We try to meet requests for parental engagement for instance we are working with the council on how it can improve the Education , Health and Care Plans for our children and young people -putting them and their family at the centre- making sure voices are heard.
After the challenges of the last two years, we are planning to restart face to face open forum meetings on key topics for our families – which will cover every aspect of disability and additional needs. We regularly post information on our Facebook Group – so please join.
We are always keen to have new members so please call or text us on 07936 851199 or email email@example.com and we will be in touch.