Sutton Parents Forum


Your story

Parent/carers of disabled children and young people enabling parent carer participation in provision of local services and providing information, advice and support on a peer mentor model.

Group introduction

Sutton Parents Forum currently represents parents/carers in Sutton with young people with additional needs and disabilities aged 0-25. Within the London Borough of Sutton there are over 900 families with a child or young person who has an additional need or disability and we work with professionals to ensure that services are tailored to the needs of the families we represent. The Sutton Parents Forum is run by parents, for parents to ensure our collective difficulties are recognised by the Borough and that we have an active voice and representation within the Local Authority to provide first hand experiences and discuss the needs relating to the resources, policies and services that directly affects the young people and families we represent.
Main Activities
- Consultation events with targeted professional speakers,including barristers, CAB, DfE, monthly with between 25 to 40 parent/carers attending each event. Different parent/carers attend events depending on their current needs and interests; these are informal and offer the opportunity to meet professionals who work with your child in a relaxed setting. We offer support to parent/carers at these events to give them the confidence to start to build or improve working relationships with professionals, which empowers them to participate in planning for their child.
- Focus Groups on current issues i.e. SEN support in schools, local offer, SEN Transport, Short Breaks, Carers Assessments, PIP/DLA. These give parent/carers the opportunity to share their experiences, raise concerns and worries and get current, relevant information. We collate the feedback from these and use this to inform Officers, Councillors and other Board members of parent/carer views and issues to influence planning and deliveryof services in order that they meet the needs of families of disabled children and young people.
- Peer Support. Small groups and 1:1 as required. We offer emotional and practical support to parent/carers of children with additional needs to help them understand their child’s situation and signpost them to appropriate support services.
Holiday activity Sessions

We plan to deliver a variety of holiday activity sessions for young people with additional needs and disabilities to access and to engage with others who have similar needs to themselves within a structured and supportive environment, as well as providing the opportunity to enable the young people with additional needs and disabilities to mix socially with their peers in a safe and stimulating environment. The sessions will also act as an opportunity for parents, carers and siblings to have a break from the daily routine and to have time to themselves.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

We will run 16 holiday sessions for children and young people with additional needs.
This will mean that these young people have an ordinary experience of socialising with their peers, but in an appropriately supported environment and will engage in community activities and resources such as shops and leisure centres. They will access appropriate social opportunities and spend time with other young people of a similar age and ability in a safe and secure setting. They will have the opportunity to develop independence, confidence and communication skills which will increase self esteem and enable them to manage their behaviour appropriately to reduce their anxiety and social isolation which in turn will, in the long term, reduce their need for specialist adult support to access youth and leisure services.
Activities will include menu planning, cooking, multi sports, art and crafts, pool, football, board games and table tennis and a BBQ.
We will need to purchase: chopping boards, mixing bowls, knives, baking trays, tins, utensils, ingredients and Sports Equipment: bibs, cones, basketballs, badminton set, table tennis, bats/balls and Art materials: modelling clay, paints, paper

"We would be delighted to receive support from Skipton Building Society which will allow young people with additional needs and disabilities to enjoy ordinary experiences in an appropriately supported setting.

Jane Knowles, Chair of Sutton Parents Forum"

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