Developing an information website for parents and carers of children with Specialist Education Needs and/or Disability (SEND)

June 2017 we developed a peer information website for parents and carers of children with SEND
(Specialist Education Needs and/or Disability) in Dudley borough, about the issues that they felt
were important to them. Parents wanted to know the useful gems of information that they would
normally only hear form a friend at the school gate or if they had the time, they may find a website
that may hold information relating to that issue. Since June 2017 we have had 2054 hits our main
page, currently averaging 250 hits a month. We have 84 Facebook followers and are connected to
other social media groups allowing us to keep our care and share community up to date with
website changes and updates.

Care and Share is split across four key themes, Education, Employment, School Gate Knowledge
and SEND Support and Services. These areas are made up of statutory services and local charity
organizations that parents access locally. We have worked with most of these organizations to
develop the site as best we can to make information easily available, and ensure that it reflects the
voice of child using that service. It also connects the user from the Care and Share website to the
service, support group or social media group required.

In Dudley 2017/18 there were approximately 1600 children with SEND that required an EHCP
(Educational Health Care Plan). Parents from Dudley Parent Carer Forum reported that the EHCP
Process and documents that attempted to explain the process were too difficult to understand.
Care and Share was able to simplify the information for parents making it easy to read and
navigate. We then created a video explaining the same process but with audio and visual aids to
help. The video was welcomed and endorsed at the ECHP Task and Finish Group by local
authority professionals who expressed that this innovative approach to convey the EHCP in a
simple effective way would not have been possible within their organization.

Care and Share work with small local groups and charities providing a digital platform to help their
service reach out and engage with parent/carers, professionals and the wider SEND community
across Dudley. We have supported a local group called ‘Treasure Tots’ Dudley’s only toddler
group for children with SEND aged from birth up to 5yrs. Treasure Tots was established by
parents of children with SEND through identifying a lack of peer to peer support for parents and
toddlers with SEND in Dudley.

“Care and Share are helping us let people know we are there,
we are now able to let everyone know what we are offering without just relying on social
media. We wouldn’t have the funds to get a website built for us so this is amazing” – Emily
Jane (group founder and senior leader)

In July 2017 we worked with a local barber’s shop in Stourbridge called Labichi’s to help them
promote the way they welcome children and young people with SEND. We created a webpage for
the shop and shared parent’s experiences and the voice of the child through social media. The
post got a reach of 21,000 users in 4 weeks letting people know about the Care and Share
website and this amazing SEND provision. Since then the shop is now a registered member of the
‘Autistic Barbers Assemble Association’ and have worked with Dudley Voices for Choice to
become a registered ‘safe place’ for young people.

“People only knew about us before
because a friend told them about us, we didn’t really promote ourselves because we didn’t
know that what we were doing was making such an impact on families, now we get
disabled kids in all the time, its brilliant”. – Ben Searly (Manager)

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