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Project information

Focused support for parents of children with SEND

Supporting parent/carers to feel better equipped to meet the needs of their children with special educational needs and/or disabilities by empowering them to find their own solutions within a safe network of parents guided by experienced facilitators.

March 2018 - April 2019

Charity information: Parents In Partnership, Croydon

Parents In Partnership, Croydon logo
  • Need


    Many parents/carers of children with SEN and/or disabilities are trying to support their children in managing life challenges, for example in: communicating, behaviour issues, education, sleep and toileting difficulties. This can be very isolating. Focus circles are a way of breaking that isolation and bringing parent/carers together with an aim to share and problem solve these issues.


    A series of titled facilitated group sessions will use a recognised and effective tool for problem solving around that particular issue. The process requires a person to share an associated issue they are experiencing to the group. The session follows a process where the issue is presented, reflected on, suggestions made and next steps identified.
    The approach highlights the value and expertise of participants and demonstrates that “together we’re better”.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    For participants to work through challenging issues enhancing the life of their families.


    » Facilitate issue based bi-weekly support groups using a problem solving approach.

    What success will look like

    Parents feel more confident and have skills and knowledge to affectively support their child/children through an area of difficulty.

    Aim 2

    To break isolation and build supportive networks.


    » Provide a regular opportunity for parents/carers to meet and share difficulties. Facilitators ensure a confidential and non-judgmental environment.

    What success will look like

    Parents are able to share problems and to listen and learn from each other’s experiences.

    Aim 3

    Encourage positive and effective communication.


    » The structured process of the groups provides each participant an opportunity to express a problem, contribute an idea and in listening to others.

    What success will look like

    Parents are more confident in identifying and positively articulating a need or idea and are able to listen actively to others contributions.

  • Impact


    The parents that have accessed the focus groups will have built positive and supportive relationships where they feel confident in sharing problems and ideas.
    They will be equipped to offer that support to new parents and be able to set up and facilitate their own groups.
    The success will be demonstrated by focus groups being set up by parents in other areas of Croydon independent from Parents in Partnership.


    We identified a few risks:
    *Low attendance - we promote our projects via well established networks (schools, children& health centers, voluntary partners, social media) and deliver them in a space most familiar and accessible to parents.
    *Parent becomes emotional/overwhelmed - group is facilitated by 2 experienced and trained staff members who are able to contain the emotions in a safe and respectful way.
    *Potential safeguarding alert - facilitators follow organisational safeguarding procedure


    Donors to this project will receive termly email report listing scheduled and facilitated sessions, detailing attendance numbers/demographic (generalised data), place of delivery and participants feedback as well as any necessary changes that have been made to improve the outcomes of the project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £7,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,300 2 facilitators @ 17.40 p/h Delivering 2x2.5h sessions p/m over 3 school terms; total of 20 sessions (exc. school holidays)
      £2,400 Infrastructure Core costs needed to run the project inc. insurance; supervision and admin support, etc.
      £1,300 Room Hire Based on a price for renting a space in the Carers Support Center in Croydon
      £700 Recources and Marketing Publishing marketing resources (leaflets) and promoting the project.
      £300 Refreshments Refreshments used during the support groups (tea, coffee, biscuits)
  • Background


    Parents in Partnership (PIP) has been offering holistic and bespoke services that aim to support parent/carers of children and young people with SEND in Croydon for 30 years. We are local, user-led charity who understands the many complex issues and situations that parent/carers of children SEND come across on a daily basis. With Croydon having the highest population of children with SEND in London (circa 12,000 and growing) there is a desperate need for support and community capacity building.


    Croydon parent/carers are telling us that they are struggling and in need of support and guidance relating to raising a child with special need or disability and being a carer.
    This project will enable us to expand our offer of support to Croydon SEND families (parent/carers), promote family resilience and improve well-being of both - parent/carers and their children. Creating opportunity of community based support will encourage the growth and sustainability of local networks.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    As a parent carer led pan-disability organisation, PIP unites parents of disabled children at often the hardest times in their lives. We work in partnership with a diverse range of families in Croydon to ensure the best possible access to information, support, services and training. We do this through effective teamwork and close collaboration with schools, the local authority and other service providers. We have been true to our aims and dedicated to improve the quality of families lives.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    PIP Family Link Workers

    Our 3 experienced, passionate and dedicated staff members, core to the support that we offer at PIP; have been trained to facilitate the sessions.

    Jane Speller, Parent Forum Developement Worker

    Jane has been key in reaching into local community and promoting parental issues; Jane's role is to gather feedback to influence local services.

    Agnieszka Gebka, Partnership Manager

    Agnieszka's role is to deliver organisational aims, monitor staff performance, ensure highest quality of project delivery and report to founders.

"I am a one parent family with a child with autism. I often struggle alone as I perceive other parents will not understand. It was refreshing to hear others with similar issues and a great help in thinking through the next steps."

A parent attending a pilot "Solution Circle" workshop