26 April 2016

The Local Offer returned to work after a very early Easter, it was one of the earliest dates it can be, for a bit of time to recap and restock. We have reprinted our bookmarks and parent leaflets ready for distribution when we go out and about with a few changes suggested by the governance group to describe the Local Offer in Northamptonshire.

We were invited to the Bellinge Day of Action – to meet the community and help to share the news about the services that are available for children with special educational needs and disabilities. They were having a fun day on the Saturday, with a  bouncy castle, face painting, games, refreshments, sports activities and prize draw. We hope that everyone had a really good time and found the information they were looking for.

Autistic Children Embraced (ACE) – the parents group in Kettering (it stands for Autistic Children Embraced) invited me over to talk about the Local Offer website and how parents could use it. I was warmly welcomed by Jenny, and I am sure that all new parents would get the same welcome if they were coming to look for a support group. They had lots of toys that parents could buy for their children, colourful T-shirts and a fantastic library of books offering support and advice for parents whose children are affected by Autism.  If you live in the Kettering or Corby area they are well worth calling into. They meet at Kingsley School once a month on a Tuesday evening. Contact them on  autisticchildrenembraced@gmail.com and they have a Facebook page too. Representatives from the Autism Outreach team were there too for private appointments with parents. 

ACE organised their first ever conference on Saturday 23 April, which was a sell out success. The Local Offer team went over to display information about the services that can be found on the Local Offer websites, and to support the fundraising, Julia made some Local Offer cakes to go on the cake stall.

SNIX.PNGWe have been busily preparing the next SNIX magazine – which will be in the post before the half term holiday. We have been sent lots of posters and adverts by the groups that provide opportunities for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The summer schemes are also now confirmed by our Commissioners and we have included the complete list as well as the adverts that the groups themselves send into us. Please contact the providers direct to get your child a place. In previous years parents have been able to apply for help with costs for summer groups that the Local Authority hasn’t already funded: So if you need to, please get in touch by emailing localoffer@northamptonshire.gov.uk and we will ask the Commissioners to let you have the necessary forms to complete.

The new Childrens’ Rights Advocacy Service officer Ali Hadler, aims to support children and young people to have a voice, make choices about their lives and future and to participate in meetings relating to Education Health and Care Plans (EHC). The service is free and confidential and independent of the EHC team.

Ali Hadler.PNGAli Hadler, the new advocate to help young people with EHC plans.

An advocate will arrange to meet with the child or young person to answer any questions they may have relating to the EHC plans, prepare the young person for meetings, talk them about what types of questions they maybe asked as part of the assessment, review and transfer process, gain their views and aspirations to be included in the EHC Plan, and attend meeting or reviews with them if required.
Young people, parents, carers, professionals and friends can refer to the service.

And finally, we always analyse our web statistics and social media results to see how often we are used, and we are fairly consistent in the use of the web pages. Our facebook "likes" have reached over 400 after visiting the ACE group and I am taking Julia and Leanne out for lunch as a congratulations and thank you for their hard work to get there. Their next target will be a total of 1000 followers on facebook and Twitter. Help us get there, by sharing our social media with anyone you think will be interested.

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