SALFORD Parent Voice, a parent participation forum, hosted a free social event for families and carers of children and young people with disabilities at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The event was a chance for local families to socialise and meet other people while having fun in a safe environment.

More than 100 people attended the event on Saturday February 24 which was a mix of parents, carers, children and siblings as well.

Lynda Barnett, manager of Salford Parent Voice, said: “What we do, Salford Parent Voice, is get that feedback and try to encourage parents or careers to feedback about what is that Salford are not providing for them and what they often say is that they don’t get the opportunity to socialise in a safe environment that they are confident that their children will be accepted.

“So that’s why for the last two years we have put on an event for parents and carers and the young people to come and have a free social event where they can meet other families and other parents and carers and other children with similar needs.

“That’s what Saturday night was all about and it also allowed us at Salford Parent Voice to engage with more families to ask for their feedback to make sure that if they is something that they feel strongly about that is not working the service that they have they can voice that and so that’s what it was.

“Thirty four families of which there was parents, siblings and young people that came and enjoyed a free evening where they had a magician, two shows, photo booth, lots of fun with dressing up and taking pictures.”

The evening also featured a ‘signing tuck shop’ to help and encourages families to use sign language.

Many children who attend specialist division schools use sign language to communicate and often parents are unable to understand or use sign language themselves so that has been one of the main focuses for the team at Salford Parent Voice.

This first time this event was held was last year in Ellesmere Sports Club in Worsley.

The location of the event was changed to the AJ Bell stadium as this has easier access for people across all areas of Salford.

Lynda said: “AJ Bell were really accommodating. They really did go that extra mile to make sure that everything went well for us and could accommodate all the disabilities and have a break room for children as well because a lot of children are frightened by lots of noise so they need kind of quiet areas to go and take themselves off.”

They hope that this event continues to grow each year so that they can engage with even more families and give them positive opportunities to socialise with other families who are experiencing similar challenges.

In terms of the services that are currently available Lynda said: “I think it could be improved. Definitely. The funding has had an impact on it and we know that.

I think salford are very keen on engaging with parents participation. I think they’ve always struggled in Salford to engage with parents and that has been a known challenge for children’s services in Salford.”

Each local authority fund a local parent participation group.

They are legally bound to get parent feedback about the appropriateness of services for young people as part of the SEND Act, the latest special educational needs and disabilities act.

Every local authority tends to have whats called the parent participation forum of which the one in Salford is Salford Parent Voice.

Below are some pictures taken at the event.


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