Since our inception in 1986 SNAP Cymru has been a trail blazer in multi-agency collaborations.  Whether through government initiatives such as Flying Start, Early Support Wales or Family First Partnerships; third sector partnerships such as Front Line Advice services with CAB, European Social Funded initiatives; working in collaboration with Health Boards and Local Authorities or even International Partners, we have strengthened our organisations ability to participate with others to plan and deliver successful services which target particular areas of identified need.

SNAP Cymru has always believed that to make a real difference partners must have a shared agenda for children and young people which places the emphasis on clearly defined priorities and desired outcomes. Working with others, sharing different expertise and perspectives, helps ensure that we meet priorities for Welsh Families:

  • improving children’s early years’ experiences
  • creating more inclusive and cohesive communities
  • improving the skills of young people and families
  • ensuring people receive the help they need to live fulfilled lives

Working with others extends the network of help, improves access and helps us engage with many more children, young people and their families throughout Wales.

The sustainable benefits of these partnerships are considerable, including ongoing benefits for our organisation’s beneficiaries and the community, staff development, ongoing commitment to support volunteering as a proven means of adding value and supporting policy and practice improvements at a local and national level.

Funded by Family First, our qualified Portage workers provide a home-visiting education service and key-working service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families.  We support parents with young children from birth to starting school age who have an emerging diagnosis of disability or severe and complex medical condition in order to promote better understanding and access to all the available services to families. They also provide regular support in the home to parents/carers of children from 18 months to 31/2 who have a moderate developmental delay utilising the Portage model. Central to this approach is empowering families so they can help their child develop.

Family and Community Engagement project

We were thrilled to have an international dimension to our work with children and families when in partnership with Cardiff Council we were successful in achieving European Funding in 2015 for a Family and Community Engagement project to work collaboratively with colleagues in Warsaw, Poland and Ferrol, Spain.

Together with partners from all over the world, we have seen the development of teachers and young learners as global citizens and work completed has impacted on standards and engagement across our schools.  Staff have benefited from CPD opportunities and have visited partners in very many countries sharing good practice and bringing new and exciting approaches to teaching and learning into our schools.

Shared understandings of inclusive teaching and learning

In 2013 Cardiff Council, and ourselves and a number of schools across Cardiff embarked upon a 2 year project with partners in Nuremberg, Germany which looked at shared understandings of inclusive teaching and learning. Inclusive practices and the notion of working in partnership with parents was a new concept to many of the schools in Germany, and our materials and expertise were shared widely amongst our colleagues in Europe.

Our Families First Welsh Government funded programmes are aimed at supporting families living in, or at risk of falling into, poverty.

The best way of supporting children, particularly those living in poverty, is by working with the whole family. Evidence suggests that early support can reduce the likelihood of families developing more complicated and costly needs.

Families need different support depending on their circumstances. Complicated problems need more intensive support. However, some families may need help to overcome smaller problems to avoid them escalating. Supporting a family often involves many different teams and services its essential that these services work well together so that the family is well supported. Families’ First programs hope to support

  • People in low income families gain employment
  • Children and young people who live in poverty achieve their potential
  • Children Young people and their families to be healthy and enjoy well-being.
  • And to ensure Families are confident, nurturing, resilient and safe

SNAP Cymru promotes coordinated, partnership approaches to working with services and agencies, keeping the family, child or young person firmly at the centre.  Our Families First projects complement our other areas of work with families in the following areas:

  • Cardiff
  • Merthyr
  • Gwynedd
  • Swansea
  • Anglesey

The front line advice services are a partnership with Citizens Advice Cymru, Shelter Cymru and SNAP Cymru.

As part of this, SNAP Cymru provides specialist advice on action/inaction which may discriminate against children and young people with disabilities.

Issues include:

  • bullying
  • assessments and statements
  • exclusions
  • health and social care provision
  • school attendance
  • complaints, appeals and tribunals

Working in partnership to support young parents

This joint project between ourselves and GISDA provided a bilingual service in a comfortable atmosphere for young parents in Gwynedd. The project sought to address the lack of provision in disadvantaged and rural areas of the county. Drawing on the existing expertise of GISDA and SNAP Cymru, the project ensured that more young parents and their children received holistic support that is tailored to their needs, which also reaches those in rural areas and thereby reduces isolation and increases durability.

Our Welsh Government funded project in partnership with Groundwork, is increasing the accessibility and quality of outdoor play opportunities for children in deprived areas. Over 11,500 children and young people will be taking part in the activities program across Wales, with SNAP Cymru providing expert advice and training to support the play workforce develop their understanding of inclusive play and their role in increasing opportunities and participation for children and young people with additional learning needs.

GwirVol is a uniquely diverse partnership in Wales, for promoting, supporting and driving forward youth volunteering, led by the views of young people through our youth-led partner GwirForce.

GwirVol, launched in April 2009, is a partnership between the third, private and public sectors and led by the views of young people.

GwirVol’s core aims are to:

  • Increase the number and the diversity of young people volunteering in Wales.
  • Increase the number and accessibility of quality volunteering opportunities for young people in Wales to ensure they get the most from their volunteering experience.

Our North Wales team recruit young people who receive training and mentoring consummate to their interests, skills, and chosen volunteer role. Links have now been made as part of placements arranged with Bangor and Wrexham University and with local secondary schools.

Promoting and celebrating inclusion

SNAP Cymru, in partnership with Merthyr Tydfil’s local authority and Families First, have developed the Amber Green Scheme which recognises, promotes and celebrates inclusion for all children and young people. The scheme offers a structured approach for organisations in Merthyr to develop and evidence their inclusive practice with the aim of providing choice and equal opportunity for all children, young people and families across Merthyr Tydfil, irrespective of their additional learning need. Signing up to the Amber Green Scheme demonstrates an organisation’s determination to deliver inclusive activities; they are provided with a checklist to reflect on their own practice and explore what to do next and are offered expert training on disability awareness and on many areas of additonal leanrning needs.  The scheme is supported by SNAP Cymru’s Training Department and our experienced Merthyr Tydfil Family and Young Person Disability Officer.