Archive for “June, 2016”

Volunteers get their hiking boots on

A huge thank you from SNAP to our volunteer Bev and the Port Talbot walking group “Best Foot Forward” who, with a little help from Port Talbot YMCA, got their hiking boots on to raise over £400 in a sponsored walk up Pen-Y-Fan for SNAP Cymru .

The sponsored walk was organised by parent Bev Simmonds who volunteers at SNAP Cymru at our Neath Office, as part of our anniversary celebrations this year. 2016 marks 30 years since we were commissioned as a charity and began our mission to help empower Welsh families and help ensure their children with special educational needs were receiving appropriate education and support. 

When the local walking group ‘BFF’ (Best Foot Forward) heard about the event, they jumped at the chance to get involved. The group, which is run by volunteer walk leader Miranda Podger, is linked to NPT Councils ‘Lets Walk’ initiative (run by Claire Jones). The group meets outside the Lido at 10am on Tuesdays, for a short walk for beginners and on Fridays fora longer walk of about an hour. ‘It’s a great opportunity to get some exercise, make new friends and enjoy our beautiful seafront’ said one of the ladies involved.

The walkers began gathering sponsors a few month ago with the aim of getting at least £20 each, however they were all surprised by the generosity of  people, including the regulars at ‘The Burgess Green’ who all put their hands in their pockets. One of the group members June raised over £80 single-handedly and has to be congratulated for her hard work.

Every one enjoyed the day – there were some complaints about sun burn the next morning, but the highlight of the day for everyone was when Tressy, who despite almost quitting halfway up, made it to the top and choose to take the long way back saying she felt and incredible sense of achievement .

“It never would have been possible without the Port Talbot YMCA” said the event organiser, “they generously offered to lendus their minibus to get us all there and even let us use one of their ‘Adventure Club’ leaders so that we had a trained outdoors “mountain leader” in case anything went array. We can’t thank them enough and the support they gave us”

For further images and links to the story please see>


Volunteers’ Week 2016

Volunteers’ Week is the biggest week in the volunteering calendar and recognises the contribution of local volunteers.  Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of volunteering! We hope you will join in and help to make this Volunteers’ Week one of the best to date.

This year, Volunteers’ Week will be held from 1-12 June 2016 (the extra week being included in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday) and will focus on ‘The Big Celebration’. We will be highlighting stories of individuals who already volunteer for us and who have made a huge difference within communities across Wales through their volunteering effort. It’s a real chance to celebrate and recognise our volunteers and invite others to take part.

We are delighted that Volunteers’ Week has been extended – even more reason to celebrate those wonderful individuals who offer their time to help others.  Dozens of individuals with all sorts of skills play a vital role in supporting SNAP Cymru to help children and families. We have volunteer family supporters, telephone helpline advisers, social media and marketing or fundraising experts, administrators, Van drivers, warehouse support, retail volunteers in our charity shops and many many, more.  Volunteering Week gives us the opportunity to shine the spotlight on these volunteers and give them the recognition and thanks they deserve.

We will be profiling some of our volunteers on our Facebook, please have a look and share with others

We are always looking for more volunteers and are particularly targeting volunteers to help families on our helpline.  To sign up or for more info

I almost had my baby at the SNAP Cymru Office!

But, thanks to them, I got the advice and support to help my little girl and then my baby was born safely in hospital!

A few months ago my daughter Isabelle was sent for a ‘Ruth Griffiths’ assessment. This is a test used by paediatrician, who is a doctor who specialises in children’s illnesses, to assess a child’s development.  The paediatrician tested Isabelle’s hearing, language development, eye hand coordination and social development.  I was told that depending on the results, the paediatrician might decide to refer my child to other services like a children’s centre, speech therapy or maybe physiotherapy, to support her to reach her full potential.

We were obviously very nervous and not sure what to expect. The test helped explain lots of things about Isabelle.  We were told she didn’t have a developmental delay across the board but that some of her difficult behaviour was down to sheer frustration from having a severe speech delay.   The Paediatrician felt Isabelle would need support when she started school, so referred her for something called a statutory assessment. Despite all the effort, less than 2 months later her statutory assessment request was refused.  We were a disappointed and worried about what would happen next. We knew that Isabelle would find school very difficult and the paediatrician had felt the same way.

This is where I heard about SNAP Cymru.  I spoke to a lovely adviser  Cara Bellamy from Swansea on the SNAP Cymru telephone helpline, which was really lucky as I am in Swansea too. She made me an appointment to see her as soon as she could, as I was due to have my 3rd baby in 6 weeks’ time it was quite important that I got things moving before the big day!

However….when it came to my appointment, things got more difficult.

I had been having Braxton Hick’s contractions all that day, so I went to the meeting a bit earlier in case they got worse.  (I had been 2 weeks early on my first baby, and 3 weeks early on Isabelle)  I was keen to get things sorted and I certainly didn’t want to go into labour earlier when I also had the stress of Isabelle being refused her assessment.  My meeting though was cut short …the baby was arriving! Cara was brilliant, she could see straight away what was happening and took charge of everything!

Cara helped with everything, taking all the information and paperwork from me and ensured I went immediately!  My baby was born safely in hospital, just in time! Fortunately Cara completed my letter of appeal and emailed it to me to make sure it covered all my concerns and reflected my views. In January our appeal was upheld  and the process started. Again Cara helped me fill in all the forms for the statutory assessment, reassuring me that when Isabelle’s provisional statement came through that she would again check everything with me and make sure that Isabelle’s best interests were all covered and that the local authority had seen the ‘real Isabelle’ with all her skills and support needs. The draft statement arrived and everything was once again talked through with us by Cara.

I was so thankful for SNAP’s supprort I wanted to give something back

I was so delighted with the support I’d received that I decided there and then to fund-raise and help SNAP Cymru.  I knew they had several charity shops and were looking for donations.  I went straight away and cleared out my house of everything we no longer needed and donated it all to SNAP Cymru so they can continue to support other families!  I’ve donated regularly since then.  I love the fact I can help SNAP Cymru through my regular donations, which I’m told can raise at least £20 per bag!.  All this money goes straight to help them help more families like me.  I couldn’t think of a better way to support others and would love everybody out there to do the same.

Maria Smith Swansea Mum