About us


Raising awareness of the issues faced by Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities


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  justsaybdforum@gmail.com.

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 justsaybdforum@gmail.com  and we will be in touch.

It was wonderful to finally meet again after a two-year gap- it is important to take on board everyone’s point of view and get their answers. There needs to be collaboration

This was well needed – very informative

Help and Services

Watch this video of Contact and NNPCF National Event held in November 2019 – see if you can spot our two Co-Chairs!

Help & Services

There are lots of places for you to find out about support and services you may need.

The council have all the information on their local offer here lbbd.gov.uk/local-offer
or you can contact the Children & Young People Disability (CYPD) Hub (formerly known as the Heathway Centre) by email at CYPDHub@lbbd.gov.uk
Phone • 0208 227 5500
Address • Becontree Children’s Centre, Stevens Road, RM8 2QR

You can share your feedback on Short Breaks here: Care Packages (short breaks) survey for parent and carers | One Borough Voice (lbbd.gov.uk)

Travel Assistance • You can get information on SEND travel assistance here lbbd.gov.uk/children-young-people-and-families/disability-and-special-needs/special-educational-needs-travel. If your child needs help with getting to school fill out the travel assistance form here  lbbd.gov.uk/travel-assistance-application-form

You can get direct help from the local independent and Advice Service IASS run by Carers here carerscentre.org.uk/iass
Phone • 0208 593 4422

There are a number of local charities – families with an autistic family member should contact Sycamore Trust here sycamoretrust.org.uk

Other local charities are ADDUP addup.co.uk and DABD dabd.org.uk

If you need to check out your entitlements, the law and good practice go to  IPSEA ipsea.org.uk or the  National Autistic Society autism.org.uk

We are members of the National Network of forums – nnpcf.org.uk

We are supported by the national charity CONTACT  contact.org.uk  They have a free helpline  0808 808 3555 and a Family support ‘listening ear’ service . Book an appointment with a family support adviser (listening ear, reassurance, and practical and emotional support). Make the appointment by visiting their Eventbrite page contact.org.uk/help-for-families/listening-ear/listening-ear-appointment, choose the day (morning, afternoon or evening), and when you register choose the time slot you want


We are an unincorporated constituted group – governed by our Constitution – and everyone volunteers their time to work for the Forum.

We have a range of policies covering Financial Control, Code of Conduct, Data Protection , Safeguarding and Equality and Diversity (all documents to follow once finalised).

We have a Memorandum of Understanding with the charity Sycamore Trust as they hold the parent participation grant on our behalf and help with the money side of things.








To be a member of the Just Say Parent Carer Forum you need to be a parent/carer living in Barking and Dagenham with a child or young person with SEN and disabilities aged up to 25 years of age.

We hold your personal information confidential and do not share it with anyone else – we just use it to stay in touch and let our funder know the total number of members. If you wish you can contact us on Facebook.

You can ask to be removed at any time.