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SNAP Cymru once again achieves the Legal Aid Agency Specialist Quality Mark (SQM)

Lindsay Brewis Vice Chair of SNAP Cymru NEC & Amanda Daniels Joint Interim CEO accept the SQM Award

Following a successful application and audit process against the requirements of the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) Standard, SNAP Cymru has once again achieved the SQM accreditation. The accreditation highlights the organisations commitment to client care and best practice.

SNAP Cymru are a very well-run organisation with people who are deeply committed to continuing to provide a quality service to the communities that they serve.  Their procedures were found to be very well-established and to operate smoothly.

We were really pleased that Dafydd Thorne our auditor highlighted that:

“People across the whole organisation benefit from a highly inclusive culture, within which team members are committed to supporting one another and sharing ideas and good practice”.

As a standard that is only awarded to organisations who meet the highest levels of management and customer care, SQM accredited organisations undergo rigorous independent assessments every three years. This ensures that they meet required standards of excellence in areas such as client care, case management and risk management.

The Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) is a standard owned by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) and was developed to help ensure that members of the public in need of specialist advice receive a quality service.  The SQM is independently audited by an Recognising Excellence on behalf of the Legal Aid Agency.

SQM requires organisations and Law firms to show that they comply with industry standards for business management and financial control as well as having in place good systems to manage the work with clients. The standard covers supervision and client care, access, running the organisation, plans and organisational issues, including and file reviews, meeting clients’ needs, and a commitment to quality, complaints and feedback. 

“The levels of training provided to people across the whole organisation are exemplary and reflect a deliberate policy that maintains that high quality training will encourage people to feel valued as well as building capacity and encouraging staff retention”

Dafydd Thorne SQM Auditor

We had to pass rigorous desktop audits and these were followed up by on site audits and interviews, including examination of our case files, policies and procedures.  We provided a comprehensive demonstration that all of our systems are to the required standard and in many areas significantly above what is required.   Holding the SQM demonstrates our commitment to the provision of quality services. To achieve the standard we continually improve our systems, our staff and volunteers take quality seriously and work extremely hard to maintain these standards. All of this ensures increased client and funder confidence.



“We are delighted to have secured our SQM standard for the next three years and to be recognised as an organisation that excels in providing quality services for families throughout Wales.”

Caroline Rawson Joint Interim CEO

“Were delighted, this accreditation is proof of our commitment to delivering a quality service. It is a formal recognition of the way in which we work, clients come first and we always act in their best interests.  It also reflects our thorough in-house systems and processes which enable us to be more effective and efficient in our service delivery.  We invest in people and new technology, to give an accurate, efficient service that is good value.”

Amanda Daniels Joint Interim CEO

SNAP Cymru Coronavirus Contingency Plan

Changes in our service provision

SNAP Cymru will continue to provide services during the Corona Virus outbreak and review this daily following advice and announcements from Public Health Wales

Most offices will be closed as we are following PHW and government advice regarding self-isolation and working from home in order to protect high risk staff and to contribute to the attempt to slow down the rate of transmission. 

We have secure referral system on our website and helpline will continue as normal, as will all SNAP Cymru services.

Our organisation is well resourced and has developed excellent IT systems to enable remote working for all staff and volunteers.

Our CMS is cloud based and secured to safe harbour standards and our staff have smart phones and laptops to continue to provide services. 

Our staff have all received Data protection training and are aware of our Lone working and Working from Home policies

We will be able to offer advice, support and casework over the phone, by electronic methods and if safe to do so, face to face. Throughout this crisis staff and volunteers will do their utmost to help vulnerable families alongside our statutory and third sector colleagues, sharing information, resources and expertise.

We have an internal intranet which hosts a library of information that can be shared with staff, professionals and families

Our IT department is initiating all means possible for video conferencing and file sharing including Microsoft Team etc

We will be keeping in close contact with our LA’s and with the SENTW and responding to their contingencies

Front line face to face services are now extremely limited however, there are many ways SNAP Cymru can continue to support people

  • We have a dedicated helpline which is staffed from 9.30 – 4.30 daily.  This is based on a rota system of our all Wales staff team and supported by a team of volunteers. 
  •  All staff have smart phones and laptops.  Our staff are having regular contact with their clients to reduce stress and anxiety
  • We are providing advice and self-help guides and templates to families and professionals as well as access to our website of resources and ongoing signposting to good practice and advice via our Facebook
  • Our key working staff are diarising phone calls on their outlook calendar’s as they would visits to ensure that all families receive contact.

Response in the event of serious concerns over people in our caseload.

All Staff to review their cases for any serious concerns and to update Line Managers with concerns in line with our usual safeguarding procedures.  Any families that our Officers feel are particularly vulnerable will be brought to the AD’s attention for additional help

Our contingency plans if staffing levels are significantly depleted

We have an all Wales team and local volunteers who can provide helpline advice and support.  A degree of cover for face to face/ essential meetings in line with public health guidlines.

Identified exit routes for those still needing support that we are unable to continue to work with

  • Staff are identifying self-help materials to share with families directly and social media. Hard copy will be made available for families without good access to a mobile and or printer
  • We are providing alternative caseworkers where necessary e.g.staff sickness.
  • We also want to ensure people are enabled to make informed choices so we will be sharing important announcements from Public Health Wales through social media and one to one discussions

Help SNAP Cymru could provide in the wider response to the crisis

  • SNAP Cymru will be flexible, forward thinking and responsive to the needs of families in each Local Authority. Senior staff will liaise with lead professionals to respond to coordinated efforts to meet local needs. 
  • We will seek funding for practical resources for families and to possibly fund  the  extension of the telephone services we offer. Listening, supporting, and giving appropriate advice.  
  • Now that school premises and settings are mostly closed we will be offering suggestions for families to help deal with the stress and anxiety that is happening right now and are particularly vigilant regarding safeguarding. A listening ear from a trusted source to calm some of the worry and stress.
  • Where projects are supporting families through Early Help Key working SNAP Cymru are offering tips with behaviour management and anxiety but also practical support with the completion of benefit requests and other paperwork.
  • A diarised rota is being kept for close contact with families
  • Staff and volunteers will do all they can throughout the crisis within public health guidance

SNAP volunteer attends Royal Garden Party

We are incredibly proud of Alison Weare one of our Swansea volunteers who was nominated to attend the Queens garden party as a gesture of thanks for her commitment to supporting children and their families in the community.

“I was completely surprised. It’s the kind of thing you see other people doing, but never expect to do yourself. I couldn’t have been more thrilled.”

People can’t just apply to attend!  Instead, they are nominated, usually by the Lord Lieutenant, the Queens personal representative in each county. Plus-ones are welcomed, though. Each guest is allowed to take a partner or friend and Alison was thrilled to take her daughter Katherine Hood and partner Antony Bidder to enjoy the experience with her.

For the Palace, the garden parties are an opportunity for the royal family to meet and thank individuals for various good deeds they have done. The emphasis is on rewarding the unsung heroes and heroines of British society and in particular those like Alison who give their time to support others.

Alison said the day was amazing,

“It was wonderful, the tea party took place in the garden, which was beautiful, the military brass band played and the Royal family tried to speak to as many people as possible and then everyone got to sit down for a wonderful tea.

We ate finger sandwiches egg mayonnaise with cress; cucumber with fresh mint and, smoked salmon bagels and cream cheese and loads of beautiful cakes.   It almost looked too good to eat!

The atmosphere was wonderful, we walked around the beautiful garden we couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves more.  I was so proud to be there representing SNAP Cymru and to share the day with my family.”

Alison started volunteering with SNAP Cymru after retiring from a 37 year teaching career.

“I had previous knowledge of SNAP while I was a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator in Clwyd Primary in Swansea.  I had met Hania one of the Family and Young Peoples Officers in 2010, and was so impressed with the way she supported families, giving them the confidence to be fully involved in all the decisions being made for their children…. I thought, ‘I want to be a part of this’, no matter how great or how small.    I would Join SNAP Cymru as a volunteer when I retired.

I’ve been here more than 6 years and I’ve found my niche, I’ve learnt so much and have never looked back!”

In Alison’s volunteering role she is able to put her previous knowledge of Special Educational needs and working with children and families to good use, and continues to find this work most rewarding.

“I bring life experience to the role, I’m 68 and it keeps my outlook positive. I also learn new things which keeps me on my toes!

In my role I listen to families who are often very upset or frustrated, I listen to children and promote the child’s view and often help families’ complete forms and write letters if needed.  Lots of the work is about providing reliable information so parents or carers can express their views and communicate with schools and local authorities.  I don’t have to look for this SNAP Cymru has amazing resource’s which are dependable and accurate and easily accessible to me as a volunteer.”

SNAP Staff always make you feel welcomed, appreciated and thanked.  You are always supported and never worry about making mistakes, there is flexibility and volunteers are never put under any pressure.

Alison says, the feedback from families is fantastic.

 “The other day I received a note from a parent which said, “you don’t know the difference you have made!”  That’s what makes volunteering so rewarding; you’re making a difference to someone’s lives.”

There is a social side too – Alison says “I’ve made friends with my fellow volunteers and staff and we meet for lunch and a chat and give each other support. We have great fun together.”

SNAP Cymru provides all their volunteers with invaluable training, and the support is the best quality you could ever have. They are very supportive and concerned about the volunteer’s well-being, and if you ever have any questions or problems they are there to help in any way they can. “ You never feel out of your depth!”

Once trained there’s the opportunity to help with SNAP’s frontline service by becoming an advisor with the helpline service or like Alison representing SNAP Cymru on the Special Educational Needs Panels at the local Education Department.

Alison says. “The personal development of my computer skills since I have been with SNAP has been amazing. All volunteers feel welcome and valued and are part of a local team and the larger family of SNAP.

I would encourage anyone to volunteer because of how rewarding it is. You don’t have to be an expert; you just have to be yourself.

Im just thrilled that volunteering for SNAP Cymru and supporting the work they do in the community was recognised and I was invited to the Palace!”

4 hours a week, is enough a day or two even better !   Just try it to see what it’s about!  We are looking for helpline volunteers to join our team in Swansea and at our other offices across Wales.  Please contact for a chat or look at the where you can complete and send an application form.


Equality and Human Rights Commission Event

Equality and Human Rights Commission Event on 2nd March 2018 in Cardiff

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will be holding a free training event titled “Discrimination Issues in Education and Making a Difference”.

All public bodies working in education fall under the Equality Act 2010, but many do not understand all the implications of the legislation so they are exposed to legal challenges. The event is aimed at Local Authorities, Universities and Further Education colleges. It will provide a valuable insight into the Commission’s work, and will also give an opportunity to understand how organisations can protect themselves from breaching the provisions of the Act.

The event will be very valuable to everyone who advises the public about Equality Law, including student union advisers.

Speakers will include:

  • Michael Clarke – Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Mike Charles – Senior Director & Chief Executive, Sinclairs Law
  • David Lawson – Public Law Barrister, Serjeants’ Inn Chambers
  • Amanda Daniels/Caroline Rawson – Assistant Director, SNAP Cymru

Date: Monday 19th March 2018

Time: 13:30 – 16:30

Venue: Sinclairs Law, Charles House, Churchill Way, Cardiff  CF10 2HE

Book tickets: Eventbrite 

For more information contact  or Michael Clarke, Principle – Legal Wales

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


City Hall, Cardiff on 30 November 2015 9.00-13.00

Places are limited contact 029 2082 3777 or email 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


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. (

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:

For further advice and information on mental health issues:  – 0800 1111  – 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. – Eating Disorders support – Self-harm support  – An interactive site with resources for young people with depression using self-help ideas and relaxation techniques – 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