Give your time
Warrington Parents & Carers are looking for volunteers.
Do you care for a child or young person with SEND?
(Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities)
Then you’re exactly who we are looking for…
Come and Join our
FAMILY ENAGAGEMENT TEAM!
As a voluntary group of like-minded, enthusiastic, passionate parents, carers and grandparents, we all have caring responsibilities for children or young people with SEND under the age of 25.
We want people who want to get involved and help to make a difference to SEND services in Warrington. As a team we provide support and training in your role.
So, what do we do?…
- Check in & Chat Sessions
Our check in and chat sessions offer parents and carers the chance to get together to support
each other, talk about their experiences and share practical knowledge and advice. This helps us to collect live feedback around how services are working on the ground; picking u up on common and emerging themes to help us to work to improve services in co-production with the professionals to effect positive change.
- Professional Drop in Sessions
We invite a range of professionals from Health, Education and Social care to come along to our check in and chat sessions to talk to parents, answer questions, share their experiences and help build positive relationships. This means we can work together with families and professionals to ensure effective co-production of services with the voice of our families at the heart of service planning and provision in Warrington.
- Signposting and 1-1 Support
Although WarrPAC are not an advocacy service and we cannot represent parents in meetings etc. we do have an important role in signposting parents to the correct services and professionals to offer them the best support for the needs of their child/young person and their family. We also support parents on a one-to-one basis who may be struggling or in need of help and information or even just a listening ear to offload. Oftentimes parents only find their way to us in times of crisis and it’s important that we are there to pick them up and steer them in the right direction, letting them know that they are not on their own and the help they need is out there.
- WarrPAC Information Stalls
WarrPAC hold regular information stalls at various venues and events, chatting to families and passing out leaflets and information to try to reach as many families as possible as well as raise awareness amongst professionals of the importance of co-production. Some of the events we attend are Disability Awareness Day, Carers Rights Day, Early Years SEND play sessions (previously portage) and many more.
- Working Together Conferences and events
WarrPAC’s annual working together conference presents an opportunity for parents/carers and professionals to come together, inform and update each other, and work together to co-produce services and address current trends and issues. This co-production is vital to improve the future of SEND services in Warrington. We also take part in similar events locally and regionally for different workstreams as the amount of work that can be achieved in these targeted events is outstanding.
- Local, National and Regional Strategic input into service planning.
In addition to WarrPAC’s Family engagement work, WarrPAC also work at a strategic level taking the parent carer voice to the professionals and service planners locally, regionally and nationally. WarrPAC collect and analyse feedback from parents and produce reports to take to service planners to evidence the many issues faced by families trying to navigate the SEND world. WarrPAC have recently been involved from the early planning stages of the new Neurodevelopmental Pathway in Warrington and have representation on more than 26 strategic workstreams such as the Carers Partnership Board, the SEND improvement Board, Early Years Strategy meetings and many more. WarrPAC host the Co-production Steering Group which oversees participation work between parents/carers, professionals and service providers in Warrington. This is just a small representation of the areas in which WarrPAC work to collectively improve SEND services and provision. WarrPAC also feed into regional and national service planning and provision as active members of the North-west Regional Participation Forum which in turn feeds into the National Network of Parent Carer Forums, giving parents a voice at every level of SEND service planning and provision.
This is just a brief outline of the work that WarrPAC volunteers get involved in – as a volunteer the level at which you get involved is 100% your choice. As part of our Family Engagement Team, you would begin with helping to host Check in and Chat sessions, manning information stalls and from there you can progress in whatever area may interest you. Some volunteers enjoy a more support focused role, speaking to parents/carers, whereas some volunteers prefer to take a less face to face approach. Some volunteers may just want to offer refreshments and help set up at events, others may prefer to help with managing social media and the promotion of WarrPAC events. There is absolutely no set expectations, requirements or limits and training and support is available throughout. Every volunteer will have different availability and we understand that this can be changeable and unpredictable at times. Any help is welcome, regardless of your experience in SEND, your previous employment or the pressures of your home lives. Everyone has something they can bring to the team and every member of the team is just as valuable as the next, regardless of their respective amount of involvement and most importantly we all support each other and have a huge amount of fun along the way.
Finally, the role can be difficult at times as we often deal with families in crisis and parents and carers who come to us are often experiencing a range of emotions; this can affect our own emotional wellbeing. WarrPAC are very conscious of this and we work hard to ensure all our volunteers are fully supported.
Are you interested? Then please email Sharon, our Development Officer, by CLICKING HERE or you can chat with the team at any of our events.