Happy New Year From Signpost Inclusion!

Signpost Inclusion Logo

Happy 2014!

2013 was a fantastic year for Signpost Inclusion which saw us make many changes and improvements to our service. We moved into new offices, started delivering lots of different activities, employed our first new member of staff, increased our amount of volunteers, worked with lot more families and won some funding from both Children in Need and Big Lottery. 2014 promises to be another exciting, challenging and rewarding year! Here is a flavour of what is to come over the next few months…

  • Look out very soon for an exciting opportunity for siblings when our new SIBS group gets under way. We have finally secured the funding to launch this group and we will have more news very soon.
  • We have plans to work more with the Ackers Adventure centre as this proved to be very successful in 2013
  • The Renewal Centre will also be undergoing changes this year, with a remodelling of the activity rooms and more green spaces at the front entrance.
  • The Signpost Dads will be getting together to organise some sporting and social events, that will also help to raise much needed funds
  • Signpost Inclusion will be three years old this year and we are hoping to host a birthday celebration event
  • Signpost Inclusion Football FUNdraiser – See below for details

Sporting Opportunities – 

Signpost Inclusion Football FUNdraiser – The sporting Gods did not bestow much talent upon me when it comes to the beautiful game, however this does not stop me trying! We thought it would fun to get together a Signpost Inclusion football team to play an 11 a side game later in the year. The aim is to have some fun, raise some funds for Signpost Inclusion and maybe even get a bit fitter!  We have a couple of very qualified local coaches willing to give us the benefit of their expertise so if you are interested in playing a few five a side games to start with with the idea of playing an 11 a side around September, let me know at tonyibbotson@signpostinclusion.org.uk

The Warwickshire Bears (wheelchair basketball team) are applying for funding to offer 6 weeks of free wheelchair basketball sessions to everyone aged between 11-25 years old (inclusive sessions). Sessions are weekly and last for an hour. This will be between April 2014- September 2014, and will hopefully take place at North Solihull Sports Centre. There will be opportunities to develop skills, meet new people or just have a go! If you are interested then please contact Laura Hart on 0121 704 8075 or 07795317483. Groups of people or individuals are all welcome.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list or would like to ask about anything mentioned here, or would like to contact us for any advice or information please contact us at info@signpostinclusion.org.uk and we will be happy to help.Dates for your diary and useful things to know……..

Dads on Saturdays- Meet monthly from 10am on the first Saturday of each month. The next date for 2014 is February 1st at the Renewal Family Centre.  A chance for Dads and Male Carers to spend some time together with their children, having fun and meeting other Dads. For more details please contact Mark on 07746057752 or Mike on 07711652943.

Facebook- Please visit our Facebook page for regular updates (search Signpost Inclusion and don’t forget to ‘like’ us!)

Website- our website is www.signpostinclusion.org.uk

Early Support Parent Workshops-More information will be available soon.

Volunteers required- Signpost Inclusion needs more volunteers to help us out at fundraising events, activity groups and support groups. Big things are planned for the next phase of our development and we will need lots of support from you to help us. If you would like to be involved as a volunteer or would like more information please contact us at info@signpostinclusion.org.uk

More details can be found on our website- www.signpostinclusion.org.uk or our Facebook page. If you are on our mailing list your will receive regular emails from us detailing our programme of activities.

 


Face2Face expands service and celebrates the success of new volunteers in Solihull

face2faceWhat is Face2Face?

Face2Face, the parent befriending service provided by disability charity Scope continues to expand its service offering in Solihull, having recently trained 5 new volunteers and is recruiting more.

Having been established in several other areas of the UK for over 15 years, Face2Face launched in Solihull in July 2012.  Since then, demand for their core one-to-one befriending service has rocketed, as well as triggering the development of other supplementary services to support parents of children with additional needs in the Borough.

Face2Face is a one-to-one parent befriending service offering emotional support to parents whose children have been recognised as having a disability or additional needs.  The service is unique in Solihull, offering a befriending service to parents of children recognised as having any disability or additional need.  It is free and available for as long as the parent needs our support.

Many parents find it invaluable to talk to another parent of a disabled child (their Befriender).  Having someone to talk to, who has similar experience, gives a parent the freedom to express the emotion that many feel as a natural part of coming to terms with their child’s disability.  Acknowledging those feelings, which may include pain, uncertainty and loss, can help them to process their experience, enabling them to find better strategies for supporting themselves and managing their situation.

All volunteer parent Befrienders are also parents of children with additional needs, who are trained to support other parents emotionally.  Each volunteer Befriender is interviewed and undertakes 40 hours of quality assured training before starting any befriending; advanced DBS disclosures are taken up as well as references.

Volunteers are supported and supervised by a structure set up by Scope to ensure parents receive high quality support as well as ensuring the well-being of its volunteers.

Why is the service needed?

When your child is diagnosed with a disability or is recognised as having an additional need it can be a confusing and worrying time.  The process of learning of your child’s condition and adapting to a new ‘normal’ raises several emotions in parents.  The emotions are often distressing and conflicting; impacting on family relationships and dynamics, finances, as well as parents’ own well-being.  Fig.1 illustrates some of those emotions and their often conflicting nature.  The left hand side often correlates at the time of diagnosis or assessment, but also at other milestone moments in a child’s life: starting school, adolescence, transition to adulthood.

Eventually, after a period of adjustment, parents and families can begin to come terms with their child’s disability and start to realise the emotions on the right side of the diagram.  This process can be enhanced and accelerated by Face2Face Befriender support.

face2facefig1

Many of the parents that Face2Face support are struggling to deal emotionally with the reality of their child’s condition and are not ready to acknowledge their feelings or have sufficient confidence to access other services available to them and their family, attend groups or interact with professionals.  Supporting parents at their own pace to navigate through their feelings and this adjustment phase helps them to move forward positively.

Feedback

Parents from across the UK have voiced their enthusiasm and thanks to Face2Face over many years.  A recent independent study praised the service. It highlighted the holistic nature of the support provided; stating that Face2Face is unlike many other interventions which focus on the child and are only able to take into account one specific aspect of the child’s situation or physical needs.

The report concluded that befriending offers the benefits of both time limited and open ended support. This means it can be a focussed short term intervention which galvanises the Befriendee (the Parent)  to make the most out of each session, and may help with commitment where time might be an issue (and also serves to protect the Befriender).  Similarly it can adapt to the pace of the Befriendee and become a longer journey if needed. It commended that the service is affordable – a free service offered by professionally trained volunteers which means it is inclusive and available to everyone who needs it.

A recent Solihull-specific survey polled parents who had accessed Face2Face services in the borough.  We are pleased that 100% of respondents said they would recommend Face2Face to another parents and that they were satisfied with the service they received, with over 70% being very satisfied.

What next for Solihull?

Following the successful training of the first cohort of 8 parent Befrienders in July 2012, a further 5 completed their training in June 2013 and are eager to put into practice some of the key skills they honed during their training programme.

Demand for befriending in Solihull is still outweighing supply, with the service receiving over 100 referrals in 12 months.  In an effort to ensure that parents have the shortest wait time possible to be matched with a Befriender, Co-ordinator Jo Bussey is looking for more parents in Solihull to become volunteer Befrienders.  Another training programme is scheduled for January 2014.  If you are a parent of a child with a disability living in Solihull and would like to support other parents, please contact Jo for more details.  Similarly if you are a professional working in the Borough and know parents who would be able to support their peers raising a child with additional needs, please get in touch.

The demand for one-to-one befriending has been such that it has led us to look at other ways of supporting parents in Solihull.  Listening to their needs in a comprehensive survey last summer (2012) we recognised the need to support parents of children with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties in particular.  Accounting for the majority of Face2Face referrals, these parents of children with ‘unseen’ disabilities felt forgotten by many support services and their challenges were the least tolerated by wider society, causing them additional stress.

As a result of this feedback, Face2Face launched a group for parents of children with ESBD in January 2013.  The group has gone from strength to strength and continues to grow in numbers.  The group is more than a social gathering, but less intense than one-to-one befriending.  It has been well received by parents who are ready to acknowledge their child’s difficulties and begin to form their own social networks.  The group is a facilitated session, discussing different elements that arise from the parent’s input.  There is also plenty of time for parents to chat and make new friends.  Lunch and a crèche are provided to make accessing the service as easy as possible.  Guest speakers are planned for the Autumn term from Autism West Midlands, Solihull DIAL and Scope Response, as well as any other agencies that parents would like to hear from.

To support parents with specific causes for concern or stress, Face2Face Solihull has been able to draw upon the expertise and knowledge of Scope. Specifically, Time2Behave workshops have been scheduled for October 2013, and early 2014.  Time2Behave offers behaviour management support and strategies to parents of children with disabilities and/or special educational needs.  Additionally, Face2Face are hoping to facilitate a parent’s workshop focussed on sleep issues and support, later in the year.  As with all Face2Face services, these workshops will be free of charge.

Face2Face exist to provide support parents of children with a disability or additional needs.  Aiming to help parents feel less isolated, more empowered to move on with their lives and more optimistic and positive about theirs, their child’s and their family’s future.

The first group of volunteer parent Befrienders receive their certificates from Rt. Hon. Lorely Burt MP at the launch of Face2Face Solihull in July 2012.

The first group of volunteer parent Befrienders receive their certificates from Rt. Hon. Lorely Burt MP at the launch of Face2Face Solihull in July 2012.

 

For further information and all enquiries about Face2Face Solihull, please contact Jo Bussey, Face2Face Co-ordinator on 0121 444 8584 / 07772010685 or by e-mail to joanne.bussey@scope.org.uk

 

The Midlands Knowledge & Training Hub

The Bringing It All Together is a key tool for the Midlands Knowledge & Training Hub.

The Bringing It All Together is a key tool for the Midlands Knowledge & Training Hub.

As a result of the West Midlands Early Support Cluster Group meeting on February 24th, Fiona Holmes and Dave Howard, the Regional Facilitators for Early Support in the West and East Midlands, are launching the Midlands Knowledge and Training Hub.

One of the key tools for the hub is the website, Bringing It All Together. For registered users the site provides access to a variety of discussion and co-production tools. Non-registered users will find a variety of resource materials.

If you’d like to know more please do get in touch.


NHS: Learning Disabilities: coping with a diagnosis

Having a learning disability diagnosed can be difficult, and in some cases it isn't clear what the learning disability is or why it happened.

Having a learning disability diagnosed can be difficult, and in some cases it isn’t clear what the learning disability is or why it happened.

The NHS has published an article on coping with a Learning Disability diagnosis. The article discusses getting a learning disability diagnosis and support available after diagnosis. The article highlights the usefulness of parents being able to talk to other parents in a similar position and how Early Support is a way of working that can improve the delivery of support to disabled children, young people and their families. Further information can be found here.


Launch of the initial Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Framework

The ChiMat Health Intelligence Network has  published an initial version of the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Framework. It brings together and builds upon health outcome data from the Public Health Outcomes Framework and the NHS Outcomes Framework.

Initial data is available where it has been published on the Public Health Outcomes Framework and the NHS Outcomes Framework for different geographical areas. The Outcomes Forum also recommended a number of important additional indicators and increased detail for existing indicators. These will be added to the Framework over the next year as they are available. These indicators, when viewed together, will inform discussions and encourage improvements in services and health outcomes for children and young people.

The Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Framework is available at: http://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/cyphof


SQW short thematic studies on EHCPs and key working released

SQW has published two short thematic reports on key working and workforce development; and the Education, Health and care planning pathway for new entrants to the SEN system.

The first of these focuses on Ket Working and Workforce Development. The key learning points are identified as:

  • Key working needs to cover four ‘functional areas’: coordination; planning and assessment; information and signposting; and emotional and practical support
  • The four key working areas can be covered by one single professional, or shared by a group of professionals. Different models have been adopted by the pathfinders
  • Individuals providing key working support need a broad range of skills, from strong interpersonal skills, to critical thinking and analysis abilities, and knowledge of local Education, Health and Care (EHC) provision
  • The breadth and depth of knowledge required by those delivering key working varies according to the number of people sharing the responsibilities. Greater knowledge is required where individuals are undertaking more tasks on their own
  • Effective key working teams comprise individuals with a mix of knowledge, experience and backgrounds. Understanding of local authority (LA) systems can be useful in ‘navigating the system’, but so too can the creative insights brought by those from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds (i.e. professionals not typically involved in the conventional SEN Statementing process)
  • The new EHC planning process can bring important challenges, namely the need for more direct engagement with families and collaboration with a wider range of professionals. While positive, co-producing the EHC Plan with families can be time-consuming and emotionally demanding. Coordinating provision across different professionals and service areas requires strong organisational skills, and the authority and ability to influence
  • Training and development is required, and should include a mix of formal courses, informal training (e.g. networking, job shadowing), practical ‘tool-kits’ (e.g. examples of EHC plans, guidance documents) and sharing of good practice
  • Longer term plans for key working still require substantial thought, as the focus to date has been on the 20-week EHC planning process. Areas are still trying to work out how to deliver support affordably once EHC Plans have been finalised. In some areas, a ‘whole-scale’ approach may be taken, in which key working is provided by a large proportion of the children’s workforce as part of their existing roles.

The release of the report is timely; Early Support have announced the availability of revised two-day Key Working Training.

The full but short report is available here.


Mott MacDonald Information Pack Updates

Mott Macdonald

 

 

Mott MacDonald has updated their information packs. These include updates on:

• 0-25 Coordinated Assessment process and Education, Health Care Plan
• Personal Budgets
• Local Offer
• Joint Commissioning
• Engagement, participation of children, young people, parents and carers
• Preparing for Adulthood

The updated information packs can be found at the following link.
http://www.sendpathfinder.co.uk/infopacks/


Government Announcement on Independent Supporters

A New £30 million fund for more than 1,800 independent supporters to help parents navigate the new special educational needs process

More than 1,800 champions will be on hand from this September to help parents navigate the new special educational needs process following a £30 million funding boost, announced  by Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson.

The £30 million will be used to recruit and train a pool of ‘independent supporters’ – champions drawn from independent voluntary, community and private organisations to help the families of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) through the new process following comprehensive reforms to support.

CDC is pleased to be leading on this piece of work alongside its remit as the Department’s strategic reform partner. Independent support will become a valuable resource to help and support parents of children with SEN and young people, parent partnership services and local authorities, as we all move towards implementing the reforms and local offer. We look forward to working with a wide range of private, voluntary a community sector partners as we develop proposals further.

Further details of the announcement can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/30-million-for-new-special-educational-needs-champions

Click here to access Q&A briefing on Independent Support.

If you have any questions about Independent Support or wish to register your interest, please email:

independentsupport@ncb.org.uk


£30 million for new special educational needs champions.

Happy New Year to you all, and here’s some good news that has arrived on the In Principle desk to start it.

More than 1,800 champions will be on hand from this September to help parents navigate the new special educational needs process following a £30 million funding boost, announced today by Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson.

The £30 million will be used to recruit and train a pool of ‘independent supporters’ – champions drawn from independent voluntary, community and private organisations to help the families of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) through the new process following comprehensive reforms to support.

Edward Timpson, Minister for Children and Families, said:

“Our new £30 million fund will allow families to access help and support from more than 1,800 fully-trained champions across the country. I know from speaking to many parents how much they value any support in helping them access the services their children need.

Independent supporters will be able to spend one-to-one time with families giving them the independent help and advice they need to progress through the new SEN assessment and education, health and care planning process. This will ensure that every child and young person with SEN can take full advantage of our reforms.

Independent supporters will be available every step of the way for families as they navigate the new system, which will provide much greater integration of vital services and one system for children and young people with SEN from birth to 25.

Where there is disagreement, independent supporters will also make sure councils understand what families want, and help families to challenge decision making so children with SEN receive the support they really need.”

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) will ensure that a range of organisations provide this totally independent help, overseeing the recruitment and training of the independent supporters – around 12 per area – in time for the implementation of our comprehensive SEN reforms.

Christine Lenehan, Council for Disabled Children Director, said:

“Council for Disabled Children is pleased to be leading on this piece of work alongside its remit as the department’s strategic reform partner. Independent support will become a valuable resource to help and support parents of children with SEN and young people, parent partnership services and local authorities, as we all move towards implementing the reforms and local offer. We look forward to working with a wide range of private, voluntary a community sector partners as we develop proposals further.”

The Children and Families Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament, will make significant improvements to the support available for children with SEN, including:

  • replacing SEN statements and learning disability assessments with a new birth-to-25 education, health and care plan – setting out in 1 place all the support families will receive
  • requiring better co-operation between councils and health services to make sure services for children and young people with SEN and disabilities are jointly planned and commissioned
  • giving parents and young people with education, health and care plans the offer of a personal budget – putting families firmly in charge
  • requiring councils to publish a ‘local offer’ showing the support available to all disabled children and young people and their families in the area – not just those with educational needs
  • introducing mediation for disputes and trialling giving children and young people the right to appeal if they are unhappy with their support
  • introducing a new legal right for children and young people with an education, health and care plan to express a preference for state academies, free schools and further education colleges – currently limited to maintained mainstream and special schools

Please find CDC’s news story and the Q&A on Independent Support at the following link:

http://www.councilfordisabledchildren.org.uk/news/january-june-2014/government-announcement-on-independent-supporters