VOTING CLOSED: Avivia Community Fund – Caring for Parent Carers

VOTING CLOSED: Avivia Community Fund – Caring for Parent Carers

DSC_0069 Support us to gain £10,000 – £25,000 to support unpaid Parent Carers across Herefordshire! 

Now’s the time to share our project with friends, family and community supporters to get as many votes as possible.


Everyone you tell can cast 10 votes, which you can spread between different projects or just one, as you choose. The more support our project gets, the better our chances of securing funding.


Unpaid Carers are the life-blood of our social care system giving countless hours of physical and emotional effort to look after a family member, partner, child, friend or neighbour who may be ill, frail, elderly, have a disability or physical or mental health issues. We are very proud to help them.


We want to help Parent Carers living in Herefordshire who provide care for a child less than eighteen years of age who is ill, has a disability or any additional needs. Caring for such a child can be very rewarding but even when parents willingly take on the task it’s still hard work. They experience times when there is too much to do, not enough money, no social life or time for themself and not enough for sleep or relaxation. We want each of them to feel supported in their caring role and to get the help they need, when they need it.

As well as our advice and information help-line, one-to-one support and peer support groups, we have a number of initiatives to enable them to become part of a network that will improve their lives. A Forum called VOICE; participation training; communication channels; help in representing their views at local authority meetings determining strategy, policy and services relevant to them; and direct support for their children’s education and health care. The VOICE Forum values its members and welcomes new parents to contribute to meetings and a work programme aimed at strengthening participation and strategic partnership work. The VOICE with the support of HCS translates this into the strategic issues that can be taken up with the commissioners and service providers who attend meetings. There are no financial barriers to Parent Carers participating in the Forum and their time is valued for the work they undertake on behalf of the Forum. This sustains a stable, confident and credible steering group that can plan, organise and deliver activities, ensuring that members can represent the Forum and participants can build and realise their potential.

We will offer a training programme that enhances the skills of Parent Carers and develops their resilience so they have the confidence to become involved with the Forum and participate in shared decision making and can also face the daily challenges that caring for a child with special needs presents. Parent Carers use our infrastructure and database to establish a wide network of fellow carers. Our organisation provides administrative support to the VOICE, website updates giving a wide range of up-to-date information, leaflets, publicity and social media capability. Regular E Bulletins and the HCS quarterly magazine are sent to over a 1000 Parent Carers on the HCS database. Parent Carers then better understand how to engage with the issues raised by the Forum, develop confidence in making contributions and see the evidence of them being acted upon.

We assist all Parent Carers to contribute to a wide policy agenda through VOICE to compare and contrast where policy is being implemented well or not, particularly because of geography or differential funding. Parent Carers understand legislation that affects them and the importance of participation and co-production, as well as how to hold agencies to account. Policy makers, commissioners and providers attend Forums to learn how to shape future offerings.

The Children and Families Act 2014 brings together education, health and social care needs of a child into an Educations Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Getting these plans right and accepted through the formal process is a daunting task for many parents. Our project will help them get the right information at the right time to make informed choices and decisions throughout the EHCP process. We will tailor help to guide Parent Carers and young people through the process, ensuring their views, needs and wishes are included. We can act as a named contact throughout EHCP assessment and planning, prepare for and attend meetings with them and provide information about the Local Offer. We will check the EHCP to ensure they are happy with it and refer them to Herefordshire Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support when issues can’t be resolved.