Archive for “June, 2015”

Working with disabled young children and their families in Anglesey

Finding out your child has a disability or medical condition can be difficult and bewildering. Parents of disabled children need support, information and advice as early as possible.  Obviously all families are different, so at SNAP Cymru we provide a range of support for families through our Parent Partnership and Dispute Resolution services and also more directly with families through our Welsh Government  Family First funded projects. One such service is our Sir Fôn Portage service which essentially provides an opportunity for children to develop through play – a service which gets a big thumbs-up from most parents

What does a Portage Home Visitor do?

Our Anglesey Portage workers Sian and Sandra offer key-working support for parents with young children from 0 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 3 &1/2 who have a moderate developmental delay utilising the Portage model. Central to this approach is empowering families so they can help their child develop.

Our portage workers visits families regularly at home to offer help, advice, and guidance and give practical suggestions about what families can do to help their child. The help offered will vary according to a child’s needs, but things like, toilet-training and bedtime routines; information about what extra help is available (Family Fund, DLA etc) arranging a place for summer play scheme etc. Sian and Sandra use play to support children’s development, give family members ideas for activities they could try with their child at home, including support for parents to introduce their child to a range of sensory play and messy play experiences.

The service is not just for children with special educational needs – it can help any child who needs help with developmental issues. Our portage workers will help assess what the child can do across all areas of development and decide with the parent or carer on some long term targets broken down into small step activities

SNAP Works closely with other professionals helping the child or family and sometimes makes joint visits with other professionals involved with the child.

For example; our Portage worker was able to form a close relationship with a family during weekly visits. As a result, the parents were assisted to keep on top of appointments and sessions were delivered for the parent and little girl, as she had missed so many of her nursery sessions. Our portage worker also came up with a very effective but simple solutions to help the parents continue attending the child’s appointments; a pin board and bright coloured post-it notes. This particular child has speech and language difficulties and although our Portage worker is currently using a visual materials symbols for instructions the long term goal is still to develop the child’s ability to speak.

In addition, the child has been re-referred to speech therapy and appointments with a Community Paediatrician and Community Dental Practice have been re-arranged. By arranging a transfer to a school within the family’s catchment area, her attendance at nursery has improved.  A crucial relationship was formed through working with the Nursery’s with the SEN Early Years Co-ordinator, pre-school Education Psychologist and with Uned ABC and concerns about the little girl language development were shared.

SNAP’s relationship with Barnado’s locally allowed us to provide support during an initial meeting regarding Mindfulness sessions focusing on depression and anger issues.

In addition in order to address the Mum’s low self-esteem a volunteer with SNAP Cymru met up with the mother to research opportunities for returning to further education or finding employment.  Mum think the “service is brilliant!”

SNAP Cymru offers a Place of Sanctuary for Cardiff volunteer Jenny

SNAP Cymru has been delighted to  welcome Jenny to our team as part of a partnership with the Sanctuary in Wales project.

Jenny is originally from Kuching in Malaysia. After flying from Singapore to London Heathrow with her siblings; two younger sisters (one of whom is at primary school and one is about to enter high school in Newport and an older brother), she initially arrived in Bournemouth, where the International Care Network (ICN) gave Jenny advice on seeking asylum status. From here she travelled to Croydon, Cardiff and finally to Newport.

The Welsh Refugee Council in Newport directed Jenny towards the Sanctuary at Bethel Church and Oxfam’s Sanctuary Project Co-ordinator Jenny supported her integration into SNAP Cymru.  This project offers refugee women and women seeking asylum, training and work placements enabling integration into local communities and helps tackle the issue of isolation, for one of the most under-represented groups in the current labour market.

Jenny has been able to continue to practice her piano skills at her home in Newport after being given an electric piano and personal lessons. Jenny has subsequently achieved a Grade 5 Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) certificate at both theory and practical level. Furthermore, Jenny has also passed the TKT (Teaching Knowledge Test) as part of a Cambridge University course in partnership with the Sanctuary Project and helps to translate Chinese to simple English to help support workers at the Sanctuary in Bethel Church.

SNAP Cymru was approached when Jenny searched for volunteering opportunities on the internet and found us.

Jenny was understandably nervous when she first came to us, but has been able to improve her everyday communication skills and confidence significantly. As such, she has quickly adapted and thrived in her role, successfully completing any tasks she been given.

Jenny has now been in Wales for ten months and though, currently unable to gain employment she finds volunteering very fulfilling and a great way to gain experience, meet new people and simply help out. Most importantly, she feels she is part of our team and, quite correctly, is making an important contribution.

Superhero efforts of SNAP supporters

We all know money is tight. Demand is up in the voluntary sector, and SNAP Cymru is not alone in seeing a huge increase in demand for our advice services at a time when funding is down and charities are having to find new ways to survive and bring in an income. Consequently we are always delighted when people offer to fundraise for us. Recently several volunteers have chosen to run to raise funds, but others choose to play golf, hold raffles and dinners or even ‘shave off beards!’

In glorious sunshine on the 17th of May Nia Frobisher, Oliver Ferriman and Lewis Gardener, young volunteers ran the Super Hero Run in London’s Regents Park, raising a fantastic £317.33 for SNAP Cymru. Nia and her friends completed the 5k run in an impressive 24 minutes in appropriate superhero costumes!

 “Thank you for all the donations! We ran yesterday in sun and it was a wonderful atmosphere with thousands of people running for charity. We finished in 24 min (for me (Nia) – not a runner – I was very happy with that. It wasn’t pleasant!). Thank you so much for helping us to help SNAP Cymru to help children and young people with additional needs.”

 In another truly heroic effort, Simon Brushett also the London Marathon on the 26th April this year. The London Marathon is a lifetime achievement for anyone who takes on the challenge. The 26.2-mile course stretches from Greenwich Park to the Mall, with live bands and thousands of excited supporters cheering you on the finish. This was not only to raise funds for our charity but also in recognition of the support we provided for his family to ensure his daughter Amy to get the right support. During nursery, Amy was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder but is enjoying mainstream education in Reception with the help of her support worker, Sarah. Simon also surpassed his original £500 goal to raise an amazing £1500.

Meanwhile, Dan Gibson, the husband of Hayli our own Family and Young Person’s officer in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, took only 1hr 50 minutes to complete the JCP Swansea Half Marathon and has raised a further £340.

As with those involved in these vital fundraising efforts, Dan is aware of how vital these are to sustain SNAP’s ability to support families and their children across Wales in the current financial climate, particularly in the Pembrokshire area where our contract is due to end in July.

SNAP Cymru would like to say a big thank you to all our fundraisers. You are all truly heroes for what you do.

 If you’re inspired to fundraise for us?  Here’s some tips to help you get started:

1. Read our top tips on fundraising in our 50 ways to raise a fiver!   Get to grips with the basics of fundraising, and really make the most of what you have to work with.

2. Don’t do it all by yourself, or think about how you could involve work colleagues, friends and family. And if you’d like to have a chat with us about what you’ve got planned or you’re after some more inspiration just give us a call on 01554 778288.

3. Set up an online Justgiving page. It’s absolutely the easiest possible way for you to get sponsored by friends, family, and colleagues. It only takes 5 minutes to set up a page and then you can add the links to emails, as well as your Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s a straight forward process to make a donation to SNAP Cymru – simply follow the link to our account at

4. Let us help you out! We’ve got lots of collection tins and other fundraising materials for you to use, just give us a call on 01554778288/0920348990. All we ask is that you return any collection tins or buckets when you’re finished with them so that we can send them out to other fundraisers.

If you have any questions or would just like to have a chat about your fundraising, contact us by emailing or call us on 01554778288/02920348990.