Parents in Swindon who care for children aged under 18 with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities are being alerted to a helpful free event.
Organised by Swindon Carers Centre, the gathering will highlight the help and support on offer.
Professionals from key organisations and charities providing services for parent carers and their children will be at Swindon Town Football Club on Friday 24 November from 10am to 1.30pm to give information and answer questions.
The event marks Carers Rights Day – a national day to ensure unpaid carers are aware of their rights, where to get help and support and to raise awareness of the needs of carers.
Susanna Jones, Chief Executive Officer at Swindon Carers Centre, said: “Parents who care for children with additional needs often don’t see themselves as ‘carers.’
"Registering as a parent carer opens up opportunities for further support, such as financial benefits or attending activities to have a break, so that they can live a healthy, fulfilling life alongside their caring role.
“We’re delighted to focus on parent carers for our Carers Rights Day event this year. We hope parent carers will come along and find out the support that is available and ask questions.
“We have key decision-makers in health and social care attending to give presentations and there is a Question and Answer panel, which will include our two Swindon MPs Sir Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson. There is also a marketplace with stallholders from a range of organisations and charities.”
Also speaking at the event will be parent carers Anna Bird and Louise Ward from Mums on a Mission Swindon.
They said in a joint statement: “We are so thrilled to have been invited to share our stories and experiences as parent carers on Carers Rights Day. Parenting children with complex needs can be overwhelming and exhausting, but it really is the best job in the world because our children are truly incredible.
“We want to speak at this event because we want people to understand that the hard bits are dealing with multiple agencies and numerous professionals, and juggling lots of appointments with the rest of your life.
“We also want other parent carers to know that they're not alone. It can be very isolating but if you can get yourself out there, and meet other parents of children with SEND, you could make lifelong friends who'll give you invaluable support.
“We'd really encourage parent carers to come to this fantastic event to see what support there is, and to meet other parent carers like ourselves. We can't wait to see you there!”
The other presenters are: Hannah Freeland, Designated Social Care Officer, Disabled Children’s Team, Swindon Borough Council; Hillary Willard, Assistant Team Manager, Transitions Team, Swindon Borough Council; Feyr Bendleton, Manager, SIAS – SEND Information, Advice and Support Service and Sarah Hayes, Senior Youth Engagement Worker, Early Help Team North, Children's, Families and Community Health, Swindon Borough Council.
The Question and Answer panel will feature: Swindon MPs Sir Robert Buckland and Justin Tomlinson; Caroline Holmes, Deputy Place Director for the Swindon Locality, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (BSW ICB) and Lisa Arthey, Director of Children’s Services, Swindon Borough Council.
Stallholders in the marketplace will be: Local Offer Team, Swindon Borough Council; Education Inclusion Team, Swindon Borough Council; Youth Engagement Team, Swindon Borough Council and U Turn Drugs and Alcohol Service; Swindon Food Collective; Kennet Furniture Refurbiz; Citizen’s Advice; SIAS, Send Information Advice and Support; Dressability; Swindon Carers Centre; Healthwatch Swindon; Swindon SEND Families Voice; Mums on a Mission; Mental health charity MIND; ABL Health/ B U Swindon; Aiming High; Enham Trust and Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
For full details of the event and to register attendance, people can visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/carers-rights-day-2023-tickets-714520017607?aff=oddtdtcreator
Parent carers wishing to attend do not have to register in advance, but it would be helpful to allow Swindon Carers Centre to plan for refreshments.
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