All posts in “Events”

SNAP Cymru – supporting children and families for the past 30 years

We are so proud and delighted to celebrate 30 years of SNAP Cymru. Taking forward the inclusion agenda for children and young people and trailblazing a partnership approach to problem solving in education.

30 Year Celebration Brochure

In 1986 the charities Scope and Mencap won a grant to set up an independent Parent Partnership service in South Wales.  This was in response to these organisations being swamped with calls from families desperate for support to navigate the maze of assessment and provision for additional needs. In a few years the charity, then known as the Special Needs Advisory Project (SNAP) was truly independent and managed by Trustees in its own right.

As SNAP Cymru grew and spread throughout Wales we took on many more areas of work as needs were identified, including: Disagreement Resolution; Children’s Advocacy; Discrimination, and Appeals. Throughout all of this, accredited training, and quality management was put in place to support our staff, volunteers and others to improve the service offered at every level.

‘The BEST for Special Education’ – Welsh Office Green Paper

‘SNAP is unique to Wales and operates a parent support service in most parts of the country… Its work means that many disputes have been resolved without the need for an appeal (to SEN Tribunal)‘ The ‘BEST for Special Education’

Welsh Office Green Paper 1997

The Audit Commission Report identified the value and benefits to Parents from SNAP Cymru’s Parent Partnership Service support The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act of 2001 made PPS a statutory requirement of Local Authority funded activity and 20 local authorities in Wales commissioned the SNAP Cymru service.

Over the last 30 years were proud to have supported 70,000 families and helped to resolve 150,000 issues. 30 years on and families tell us they need this breadth of service more than ever. This is evidenced by the huge number of families accessing our services. Whether its parents grappling with the intricacies of requesting an assessment or a child wanting support from an advocate because of bullying, our staff and volunteers take up the issues and try to resolve them with all parties involved.

As the inclusion agenda drives forward , much has changed for the better – there are still mountains to climb.  But as we look back, we can all be proud of what SNAP Cymru has achieved with parents and partners. Our vision remains clear and we continue to champion change to improve policy, practice and provision for children, young people and their families.

“Parents have a unique knowledge and understanding of their child’s needs and as such play a crucial role in any decision making process. However we must remember that parents need to be fully informed so they can make constructive decisions, which have been based on all the evidence available. I continue to be impressed with the role SNAP Cymru plays in supporting parents throughout this often anxious time.” Jane Davidson, Minister for Education, Lifelong Learning & Skills 2000-2007

We are now present on some high streets recycling clothing and interesting items through our boutique style charity shops. Here we are gaining local volunteers and welcoming local communities in to experience the warmth of the SNAP Cymru family and find out more about how we might help them and how they might help others.

“SNAP Cymru offers an invaluable service to families in helping them to secure the education and support that their children need and are entitled to. They are an effective and powerful force in lobbying to improve the lives of their thousands of clients. If they did not exist then somebody would have to invent them. Peter Black AM 

SNAP Cymru would like to thank our families and young people, our volunteers, our staff our funders and all the professionals who make us welcome in their services. There is a new and exciting time coming to meet the additional needs of children and young people. We will bring 30 years of experience and dedication to this new era and look forward to seeing you all at our next landmark celebration.

 

 

Stakeholder Engagement Events – Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill

Welsh Government is hosting consultation events on the draft Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill

The draft Bill proposes a new legal framework to replace the existing legislation surrounding special educational needs and the assessment of children and young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in post-16 education and training.

The events will take place in

Venue Cymru, Llandudno on 24 November 2015 9.00-13.00

and

City Hall, Cardiff on 30 November 2015 9.00-13.00

Places are limited contact 029 2082 3777 or email SENReforms@wales.gsi.gov.uk to book

The agenda is as follows:

  • Address via videolink from the Minister for Education and Skills;
  • Presentation on the draft Bill and wider reform package;
  • Workshops in relation to the consultation on the draft Bill;
  • Q&A session, with a panel consisting of representatives for Welsh Government and the Association of Directors of Education Wales

Workshops:

1. Definition of Additional Learning Needs and the 0-25 age range – Discussion on where the focus of the definition should be, age range and responsibility for post-16 provision

2. Individual Development Plans and increased participation by children and young people – Discussion on responsibilities around IDPs, and how to place the learner at the heart of the process

3. High aspirations and improved outcomes – Discussion on the role of Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinators and the educational placement of learners with ALN.

4. Collaboration and multi-agency working – Discussion on expectations of multi-agency collaboration, and the role of health boards in delivering provision included in IDPs.

Please register early to attend as places are limited.

 

Dog Walk Charity Event (Treorchy) – 10:30am Sunday 6th September on behalf of SNAP Cymru

Do you enjoy fresh air, beautiful countryside and the companionship of man’s best friend? Then why not join us at the ‘Charity Event for SNAP Cymru’ on Sunday 10.30am 6th September at Treorchy.

Meeting at Lidls’ car park Treorchy, leading a walk up the ‘W’ (With or Without a Dog) Open To All.

The walk fees are £1 per Adult, 50p per Child and 50p per Dog with proceeds of the event contributing towards SNAP Cymru.

This event has been kindly organised by ‘Butt Sniffers International’ for further information regarding this specific event please call 07794 070196

Battle Scars

Alex Gatherer has managed the almost impossible; he has written and staged a completely new and ambitious musical about young people’s experience of mental illness.  Alex started writing his musical four years ago and continued to write his musical whilst working for SNAP Cymru, through a Jobs Growth Wales opportunity. Judging by the response and the standing ovations, the audience found the musical heart breaking and breath taking.

Alex’s musical Battle Scars opens with Lily Prewitt, still struggling to adjust following the loss of her mother, finding herself sectioned into a mental health unit for teenagers. As her life begins to spiral out of control, she relies on the relationships she makes with her fellow inpatients to ultimately decide her future.

Alex has successfully  written and directed an original musical about pain, grief and the struggle of moving on which was brilliantly presented by Cardiff University’s Act One drama society and set to an energetic rock/pop score, featuring over twenty original songs.  The mix of songs, ranged between the raw and emotional to the uplifting finale sung by all the cast.  The score was honest and dealt sensitively with issues around relationships and mental health.  Alex has an acute understanding of the issues involved and managed to portray his understanding through his sensitive and honest score.

Some 850,000 children and young people in the UK have mental health problems; three children in every classroom has a diagnosable mental health disorder (and that’s just the ones that have been diagnosed.) One in five young adults show signs of an eating disorder and one in 12 deliberately harm themselves (and 25,000 of them are hospitalised each year because of this) and nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression. (http://www.youngminds.org.uk/)

Many children and young people are isolated, unhappy, have eating disorders and self-harm; some even commit suicide. There is still a huge stigma around mental health which means children and young people are not getting the support they need. To attempt to cover these issues is certainly a challenge.  However, Alex successfully portrays many of these stories in his musical.  Battle Scars is a deeply moving yet funny show; many in the audience were obviously moved, laughing and weeping throughout the play. The show was beautifully acted and sung and was a very impressive achievement. The commitment of the cast, musicians and crew was evident throughout.

Alex is undoubtable talented and many aspects of his musical is as good as anything seen on much larger stages. Congratulations one and all, everyone in SNAP Cymru is immeasurably proud of Alex and we will be eagerly following his future successes!

For a trailer see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1wUqVnSW_4

For further advice and information on mental health issues:

www.youngminds.org.uk

http://www.gofal.org.uk/

http://www.childline.org.uk  – 0800 1111

www.thesite.org  – is the online guide to life for 16-25 year-olds in the UK. Non-judgmental support and information on everything from sex and exam stress to debt and drugs.

http://www.b-eat.co.uk/get-help/online-community/young-people/ – Eating Disorders support

https://www.selfharm.co.uk/get/ – Self-harm support

www.depressioninteenagers.co.uk  – An interactive site with resources for young people with depression using self-help ideas and relaxation techniques

www.studentdepression.org – Site contains excellent information and help for anyone feeling depressed

Another Successful Round of Golf for SNAP

On the 29th December 2014 members of the local community in Bangor came together  to raise an impressive £170 for SNAP. As with previous years, the event took place at Bangor golf club. The participants were welcomed to fine weather, with an early start of 9am. £170 may not seem a huge amount but as a small, independent charity it makes a real difference to our efforts.

With the help of the weather, bar on one occasion, the competition has taken place every December since 2011 with 25 participating golfers and annual cash prizes, which are sometimes given back. At the end of the day the team of Kevin Jones, David Roberts and Geraint Jones emerged victorious over Kevin Williams, Eurwyn Hughes and Wynn Morris. In singles competition Kevin Jones was the winner with Chris Watt and Hayden Williams 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Kevin Jones was one of the key organisers of the event. Other valued contributors were Trevor Jones; who organised the presentations and Alison and Geraint Jones from the Royal Oak Pub in Rachub. It goes without saying that a welcoming atmosphere, food and a donation was provided by both Alison and Geraint. SNAP Cymru would also like to say a big thank you to Bangor golf club for allowing use of their course and to Joe and Josteyna at the Vic in Bethesda for their donation.

Since 2011 the total amount raised has been £568. Half of the money raised will be used to help the recovery of Eryl Jones and Stephanie Prydderch’s daughter, Seren, from her illness.

As always, we are extremely thankful for all the support received for this event and the hard work of everyone, including golfers, which has made its continuing success possible over the years.

Richard Mylan, SNAP Cymru patron, is interviewed on ‘The Wright Stuff’ on Channel 5

Richard, one of SNAP Cymru’s patrons, is perhaps best known as Oliver in the television sitcom Coupling, Chris in Grownups and Joe Andrews in BBC Wales drama Belonging. Richard has also appeared in as Dr Simon Hills in Doctors and currently plays Simon Lowsley, the deputy head teacher in Waterloo Road.

Richard also finds time to work with the Princes Trust teaching film and drama to young people in Cardiff and teaches at the Royal Welsh College of music and drama and at the Young Actors Studio.

What is less know is that Richards son Jaco, who is nearly nine, has a form of autism known as PDD (pervasive developmental disorder) which affects his speech and his motor skills.

Richard was interviewed  on the Wright Show on Channel 5 on the 3rd of December, on the merits of mainstream vs special school for children and young people with ASD and about Richards own personal experience.

“Jaco had an early diagnosis which was great, because it meant we could put all the systems into place for school and things early on but other children are a lot older which is harder.”

Richard said that Jaco attends a mainstream school in Cardiff and his teachers and peers are absolutely brilliant. “He is surrounded by these amazing people who help him and other children who nurture him.  He has a one-to-one teaching assistant at school and he loves it.  His teachers in Cardiff are superb and are always open to new ideas.”

“Jaco struggles to understand things but I see him as a unique, wonderful individual but that Autism is complex and each child is different, requiring different support and choices.”

Richard told Mathew Wright that “as a parent you need to be in tune with the needs of your child, that things constantly evolve and you need to be a few steps ahead of the system to achieve the best support and education for your child.”  Richard mentioned that SNAP Cymru in Wales and the NAS had been an enormous help to him and Jaco, during the statutory assessment process and beyond.

Richard has been a patron and strong supporter of SNAP Cymru for many years because he wanted to get involved with raising awareness, and much-needed funds, for a charity that he feels makes a difference.   Richard is also a patron for Autism Puzzles, a Cardiff-based charity run by parent volunteers who support others families going through diagnosis and following diagnosis,  with therapy led sessions, drop-in’s and family fun sessions.  They can be contacted on: 02920 811114 or email AutismPuzzles@hotmail.co.uk

 

Launch Event for our New Bilingual Website

SNAP Cymru celebrated the launch our bilingual website by hosting an event at the Pierhead in Cardiff Bay last week. The event was sponsored by Huw Lewis AM – Minister for Education and Skills, and Ruth Conway – Head of Additional Learning Needs Policy, spoke on his behalf.

www.snapcymru.org is a Welsh bilingual website that went live at the beginning of this month. The site provides key information for parents and young people in on various aspects of Additional Learning Needs; helping children and young people to reach their potential by ensuring families have independent information, advice and support. The website has been built by Galactig, a North Wales based, bilingual digital creative agency. The translation was provided by Cymen.

SNAP trustee, Huw Roberts, hosted the event and gave an overview of SNAP’s work.

Nia Frobisher and Rebecca Bartle, young volunteers for SNAP Cymru, spoke in Welsh and English they explained how the new website meets the need for a bilingual and flexible online platform that can work across all devices whether, smartphone, tablet or laptop. They also outlined how this reflects SNAP’s commitment to provide accessible, reliable and accurate information to every family in their chosen language and highlighted the websites ability to share articles, news and feedback through facebook, twitter, newsletter and interactive pages. SNAP Cyrmu’s unique Wmff! website and app was also showcased. Nia is currently studying law at King’s College London where her work includes communicating to young people their legal rights while Rebecca is hoping to study Social Anthropology at University.

Nicola Coleman, a parent of a child with special needs, from Caerphilly, proceeded to provide a very moving speech on the personal impact of the organisation’s work. She left the audience in no doubt that the need and importance of both concise information and a simple and clear message for parents who encounter so much advice from different angles, was invaluable in meeting her child’s individual needs. She also made clear how important this is for empowering both parents and children so they can live their lives to their full potential. For her own son this means enjoying himself like any other 11 year old; a simple but very important ability.

This was followed with an overview of the sites features and benefits by Sarah Clements, SNAP’s Training and Information Co-ordinator, highlighting its responsiveness, quick access to information, accessible and easy to use format.

And our final speaker was Ruth Conway. She described the websites importance in the context of new statutory reforms for additional learning needs in Wales and SNAP’s part in this process.

School’s Challenge – a great success yet again!

School’s Challenge has firmly established itself as a major event in the school calendar, highlighting the need for active and participatory activities for children with disabilities.

The Challenge has evolved from the recognition that challenging activities play an important role in the individual development of children of all abilities and ages.

Now in its 24th year and organised in partnership with Local Aid, SNAP Cymru, Mid and West Fire Service, Neath Port Talbot Police Schools Liaison, The National Probation Service, Gower Colleges, Prince’s Trust,  HSBC and many other local volunteer organisations and  businesses

Over 30 activities hosted by local organisations and business were organised throughout the park. Every day 400+ children from 100+ schools attend from across the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot areas. Teams from local business and organisations welcomed over 2000 children, teachers, carers, parents and spectators during the five day event.

The week was a great laugh and gave children the chance to develop confidence, leadership skills, self-esteem and team building skills as well as the opportunity to have fun and get very wet and muddy.

An important part of the week were the children’s fancy dress costumes. This year’s theme was WW1 and throughout the week we saw some incredible outfits including soldiers, sailors and airmen.

It was a great week and we were very impressed by the effort and enthusiasm of all the children involved, which helped to create a fantastic atmosphere.

Our Chief Executive, Denise Inger, is passionate about Schools Challenge and the benefits it brings to children and young people. Speaking after the event she said:
The event is only made possible by professionals working together, pooling resources and achieving something special for children. Local Aid Schools Challenge provides opportunities for children with additional needs to represent their school. The event is competitive, challenging and inclusive… and children have fun!

Finally, a big thank you to our volunteers, who helped to make the week a big success. A special mention must go to Joshua Ham, Sean Lloyd and Alex Gatherer who worked tirelessly cutting out poppies and assembling a bi-plane puzzle for the children to make and solve.