Archive for “November, 2014”

Child’s Right of Appeal

It is every child’s right, under article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), to have their voices heard in decisions that affect them.

To date children with special needs have not been able to assert this right fully as they were prevented from appealing to the Special Educational Need Tribunal for Wales (SENTW).  However this situation has changed, Children and young people across Wales will now be able to participate in decisions that affect them by making their own appeal and claim to SENTW.

See our leaflet on Making an Appeal

This process is not about pitching children’s rights against parents’ rights. Children and young people can be their own best evidence for describing their circumstances and determining their needs. Wherever possible, they should be able to participate in all aspects of the SEN process, including making their own appeal and claim.

The Education (Wales) Measure 2009 is a pioneering piece of legislation that makes provision for children in Wales to have a right of appeal in respect of special educational needs (SEN) and the right to make a claim of disability discrimination in schools, to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (‘SENTW’) themselves.

Pilot projects were carried out in Carmarthenshire and Wrexham with both trialling a different approach; Carmarthenshire chose to focus on improving communication with a family focussed approach while Wrexham chose to engage with young people through a rights based model supporting the increased involvement of Children and Young people and developing procedures and materials to encourage the increased participation of CYP in decision making.

Given the positive findings of the evaluation report, the new rights and duties will come into force across Wales in January 2015.

To see the evaluation report click here >

Consequently, from January 2015, children and young people in Wales will be able to

  • Appeal to SENTW certain decisions made by their local authority about their special educational needs.
  • Bring a claim about disability discrimination

The appeal and claim rights are identical to those that already exist for parents/carers. This does not affect the parental right to make an appeal and claim. It simply means that children and young people now have the same rights as their parents/carers to make their own appeal or claim.

The law recognises that not all children will feel sufficiently able to make an appeal or claim. In this situation a case friend can act on behalf of a child to make an appeal or claim to us at SENTW.

The Case Friend

A Case friend is a person who knows the CYP well. It can be someone in the family or someone like a teacher or social worker or advocate.  A young person can make an appeal on their own or with the help of a case friend. A case friend can help and support CYP in a number of ways by:

  • avoiding or sorting out disagreements with the local authority using dispute resolution arrangements, such as SNAP Cymru’s Service
  • discussing the issues with the CYP and deciding whether or not to make an appeal,
  • supporting the CYP to complete the Appeal Application and sending it to SENTW,  or receiving information about the appeal,
  • Ensuring the CYP wishes and views are represented at hearings, and advising the CYP on the progress and outcome of an appeal.

SENTW staff with the help of CYP have produces clear and accessible information for young people, parents/carers and case friends can be found on SENTW’s website

SENTW have also produced a video to help children and young people through the hearing process and to show what happens at a tribunal hearing. This video is also helpful for anyone that is going to a tribunal hearing

Due to SNAP Cymru’s position as an impartial, independent and trusted service across Wales we are working closely with children and young people, families, SENTW and LA’s to develop partnerships which will put the needs of the child at the centre of the process and provide accurate information on legislative requirements, local policy, practice and provision to all parties.

Experienced SNAP Cymru Family and Young People’s officers will be available to provide neutral, impartial advice guidance and support to empower young people to:

  • fully participate in the planning and decision making which affects them,
  • to resolve disputes at an early stage
  • to provide case friend support and advocacy where necessary

Children’s rights to appeal and make a claim to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales – Statutory guidance for local authorities


SNAP Cymru proudly announces three new shops

Building on the recent success of our SNAP Cymru Siop in Llandrindod Wells, we plan to open three more shops in Neath, Pembroke Dock and Llanelli.   Our shop strategy will support SNAP Cymru in becoming more independent and sustainable in the future and ensure our services are both accessible and visible in the communities we serve.

Our Neath shop, located in Alfred Street, will be open before Christmas; and we are aiming to open both the Pembroke Dock shop, in Lower Meyrick Street, and the Llanelli shop, in Cowell Street, in the New year.

We are on the look-out for good quality items for sale in our exciting new shops.  Items can include:

  • Good quality second hand clothes, especially ladies vintage or antique fashion
  • Fashion accessories such as jewelry, furs, hats shoes and handbags
  • Bric-a-brac including ornaments, pictures, vases, crockery and cutlery
  • New or second hand books, LP’s, CDs and DVDs
  • Good quality furniture

Please remember – if you wouldn’t want to buy it, we probably can’t sell it.Our customers will be looking for good quality items

Taking part in donating items for our shop is a really fun way to support SNAP Cymru! Please ask family and friends to donate generously.

We also welcome the expertise and contributions of any willing volunteers. Not only is this an opportunity to play a positive part in this exciting development of the organisation, but also one where you can learn new skills whilst directly engaging the public. Both volunteers and donations are integral to Snap Cymru’s future sustainability efforts and we wish to thank in advance everyone who helps us.

You can bring items to our collection depot at 1 South Road, Penallta, CF82 7ST, any of our offices across Wales, or call us on 01554 778288 to arrange collection.

What to do with unwanted gifts

According to research, we spent £2.1billion on unwanted Christmas gifts in 2012. That means on average we each received at least two unwanted presents.

But you don’t have to leave them to gather dust; why not donate them to SNAP Cymru to sell in our charity shops.


Interview with SNAP Cymru Volunteer Soraya

Recently I had the chance to sit down and have a small chat with a friend called Soraya who very recently joining SNAP Cymru as a volunteer. We discussed why she wanted to join SNAP Cymru and what this opportunity means to her.

Why did you choose to apply for volunteering here?

“I believe that young people are the future, I think that it is important to help those who are disadvantaged at a young age now. I also think that this is a great place to get valuable experience of working with families”.

How do your values match those of SNAP Cymru?

“I want to use my own knowledge and motivation to help young people fulfil their own potential and I know that SNAP share these same values”.

What do you hope to gain my volunteering?

“I would perhaps like give help to young people on how to start a business. I have some experience in this area so I hope to be able to provide some advice on this, if it is limited. I also see volunteering and working with SNAP as an opportunity to help fight stereotypes and assumptions which people may have about those receive support, yet are untrue”.

– You mean the distorted viewpoints perpetuated by sources such as the tabloid press?

“Yes. I don’t think people realise how challenging it is for people from disadvantaged or poorer backgrounds to get out of their situation without some degree of help”.

What about SNAP and the area it works in appeals to you the most?

“I believe we have to care for young people now because if they get lost at this this young age they may be lost forever. For example, some parents who are less well off financially need help so they fulfil their children’s potential”.

Do you have experience of a young person in your family facing discrimination which impacts their ability to participate in society?

“Not within my own family, but I remember at school I witnessed several of my classmates were taunted because of their sexuality. This was at a time when people were less open minded about such issues and I didn’t think much of it or understand it then as a small child. However I know that this resulted in depression for some of them and other long lasting effects”.