There are many benefits for parent carer forums in working with their local support groups. As a forum our coffee mornings are pan disability and sometimes parents for a variety of reasons prefer a diagnosis specific group. Its important we reach as many families as we can and by joining up with local groups we can reach more group of parents.
We have used this model now for over two years resulting in more parent representatives and helping to build the sustainability of the forum. The forum is now increasingly recognised with more parents knowing about us, resulting in our membership increasing from 260 to 860 and our social media research is now 22k. We can access an increased variety feedback from various ways, in different forms and with Somerset being a large spread out County, this is simple and doesn’t require a huge amount of work to maintain. Our Support Group Forum has doubled and everyone who attends say they benefit.
How did we Fund the project
The forum steering group decided to apply for a discretionary grant from the Department for Education via Contact a Family to pay the travel expenses of parent representatives to visit local support groups. Our county is very rural and it enabled us to use this face to face method to raise awareness of the parent carer forum.
The following grant year we applied for funding under the events sub-heading to host Bi-annual meetings of support groups (SPCF & Non-SPCF) to share feedback and an opportunity to discuss concerns and good practice.
The outcomes were to have a forum that would demonstrate to all stakeholders the willingness for positive partnership working across the county, building on the work over the previous six months.
The Support group package is copyright but we are more than happy to share with Parent Carer Forums for free. Please contact us for more details.