Tel: 0780 301 8064
The role of a trustee
- Work with fellow trustees to shape, drive and monitor the charity
- Prepare for and participate fully in board meetings which we hold quarterly. These are now being held remotely
To celebrate Volunteers Week we thought you’d like to find out what volunteering with SNAP Cymru is like, so we asked our volunteers in Mid Wales to open up and share why it can be life-changing and a great learning experience.
Telling our volunteers stories is a great way for us to recognise and thank them for all the fantastic things they’ve been doing.
We have volunteers all over Wales, across a range of ages, and at different stages in life; those who are still working, some who have retired and students wanting to gain experience in the workplace. Many have first-hand experience of disability or experience from advocating for their own child.
Whatever your skills, if you’re not yet a volunteer, but would like to get involved there are roles for all as you’ll see from our volunteers stories
David is a super organiser who supports our admin processes and file reviews. David is training to be a counsellor and hopes to put his excellent communication skills to good use.
David says that;
“The river of life is rarely a tranquil meandering creature for those who have children with additional needs, the water is often turbulent and churned by hidden hazards lurking below the surface. We were in danger of drowning as we plunged down the rapids of the statementing process with our first child.
We needed someone with us who had navigated these waters before, SNAP was our life raft through this time. It often felt like white water rafting, though without the thrill but all the fear, with SNAPs support we were able to keep our heads above water and get the provision our son needed.
It was the feeling of someone “being there” for us which was so valuable, and it is this feeling of “being there” for others which I most value in my volunteering with SNAP.”
Diane works in the Llandrindod office. Christina our family and Young Peoples officer says that “DI is her right hand woman!”
Diana has a background in health and has worked in Switzerland as well as the UK. She has also lived in France and speaks French and Italian, and is learning to speak Welsh.
Diana says she “finds volunteering very rewarding. It makes me feel useful and keeps my brain active. I enjoy speaking with a variety of people and helping them through difficult times. I have also found many friends through volunteering – I would highly recommend it”
James has been a volunteer in the Llandrindod Office for several years and is a dab hand at scanning, managing petty cash, laminating and general office duties. James is profoundly deaf but lip reads well. When not volunteering for SNAP James is a talented artist.
Gwyn has been a volunteer since 2014 and is indispensable! He does general things about the office like changing light bulbs, fixing shelves, laying carpet and transporting things in the van, (when it isn’t broken down!).
When not Volunteering Gwyn has just returned to work with Dyfed-Powys Police following a shoulder replacement operation.
Lizzie is currently stuck in South Africa because of their very strict lockdown! She was in the middle of a round the world adventure with her oldest son Zachary, who has complex ALN. Lizzie is an expert in elective home education. She home schooled all 3 of her children and works closely with Fiona Nicholson, (EdYourself website). She generously shares her expertise to support other parents and the SNAP team.
Adrian has been a retail volunteer for some time. He was originally from London and is an expert guitar player. He and his wife Gill are very much involved in the music scene in Llandrindod. Adrian enjoys the time he spends in the shop, he likes chatting to people and keeping the shop looking interesting. Adrian says;
“It is lovely to work for SNAP and to be involved in sales after retiring from a lifetime in that vein. Encouraging people to leave their unwanted clutter with us just so we can raise a little to help someone in need, it doesn’t take much to see where the incentive is.
We don’t always get it right, but we try and have fun trying. Everybody from the same old faces, doughty farmers from the local Welsh hills and the relaxed tourists flood into the shop hoping to find a useful item or something to take back home that will remind them of Wales.
Having fun while doing something worthwhile is what it’s all about, with a really friendly bunch of people.”
SNAP Supported Jackie through difficult times with one of her children and she was keen to use her own experiences to help other parents.
Jackie says “I found my caseworker to be understanding and approachable, with really useful information and empathy, these attributes are something I felt I also possessed and wanted to give back to those in similar situations. It made sense to volunteer for SNAP. This past year has been really interesting; I’ve met people who clearly are looking for the right direction to take in order to achieve the help they require and the support their child needs. This is something I have really enjoyed doing, giving me fulfilment in knowing I have helped someone in need.”
Sue came to our Llandrindod shop as a customer and was recruited to work in the shop! We’re delighted that Sue and her daughter Sally-Anne have come in to volunteer regularly ever since. Sally-Anne has ALN and both wanted to give their time to help other children and families. Sue is very kind hearted, she is an extremely hardworking and conscientious volunteer and when not volunteering- loves her dogs!
By contributing time, energy and talent, all our volunteers across Wales provide new skills and complement the work of our team. We would not manage the high demand for our services without the support of our amazing volunteers. We are extremely proud of them and can’t thank them enough for all their hard work.
Whatever their Volunteering role their ‘Gift of Time’ is helping toward making a difference to children, young people and families across Wales.
Everyone’s reason for volunteering is unique, from meeting people to learning new skills and making a difference. Our volunteers come from all backgrounds and we have a range of roles to suit everyone.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat or look at the http://www.snapcymru.org/get-involved/ where you can complete and send an application form.
SNAP Cymru is delighted to receive a generous donation raised through the extraordinary efforts of Cardiff Round Table. We would love to thank all those who contributed to raising these funds.
Fundraising efforts like those of the Round Table members will help us support children with additional needs and their families who rely on the independent advice and support provided by SNAP Cymru across Wales and in this case in the Cardiff area. With ever greater pressures on services and provision for children and families, the need for accurate independent advice for families is more important than ever.
SNAP Cymru is a small Welsh Charity with a big Impact.
Approximately 23% of children and young people in Wales have some form of additional learning need or disability. SNAP Cymru was set up in response to families’ desperately needing support to navigate the maze of assessment and provision for their child’s additional needs.
Many children are well-supported and making good progress with excellent support from their school teachers and Local Authority. However, there are also families for whom the education system represents ‘a battle’ to get the needs of their children identified and for those needs to be met. The crucial issue is that both experiences happen within the same system. SNAP Cymru believes that no parent should feel they have to ‘battle’ and all parents will feel listened to and supported.
The Round Table Impact
Round Table members across the UK do more than more than just giving back to the community by volunteering and giving back to the community. At the core of the Round Table association is a determination to go the extra mile for friends, family and the community. From organising the biggest firework displays on November 5th to individual challenges like The Three Peaks in 24 hours, every year Round Table raises millions for great local causes and charities. We were thrilled to be chosen by the Cardiff organisation for such a generous donation.
Our staff in Curran Road in Cardiff, supported by a team of trained volunteers, are big believers that families should be able to access the information that they need, when they need it, in ways that are convenient to them. They provide impartial, honest and reliable advice and support through a bilingual helpline, website and a specialist casework service. They help ensure that the voices of families and young people ‘are heard’ when decisions are being taken about their future, but they also actively listen to all views in the process helping families and professionals to resolve issues and find solutions together.
The exceptional £5,000 donated by the Round Table in Cardiff has allowed us to purchase much needed computer equipment and helped ensure the ongoing cost of our helpline for families. The essential IT equipment in our Cardiff office had become virtually obsolete, and ever decreasing core funding rarely allows us to purchase new critical infrastructure.
The family and Young People’s officers in Cardiff say that:
“The new equipment funded by Cardiff Round Table has made a huge difference to our team! We all now have the means to work remotely from home and schools etc which helps us enormously and saves us considerable time. We can now type up letters and reports from families’ homes rather than returning to the office to do this.
Compared to our old computers, these are much faster and easier to use, saving us time when we switch them on and when we are working. His has made an incredible impact to our work”
Generous donations such as this will help to ensure that SNAP Cymru can continue to support children, young people and their families in the Cardiff area.
Would you be interested in supporting families of children with Special Educational Needs by training to be a volunteer telephone helpline advisor?
If you have time to offer, you’ll gain valuable skills and experience and be part of a team making a real difference to children and families who need us.
You’ll be trained and develop the skills needed to offer support and practical advice to the many families who call us for help.
As a telephone helpline advisor volunteer you would:
• Listen to families and build up a clear picture of what is happening
• Listen to children and promote the child’s view
• Help families’ complete forms and write letters if needed
• Help parents/carers to express their views and communicate with schools and local authorities
• Explain rights and responsibilities
• Help families prepare for meetings, understand the assessment process and the roles of professionals
• Find further sources of information, support and advice to provide to families
The next training course will be in Swansea during July.
If you have past experience as a parent or as a professional in education, health or social care, or are passionate about supporting other families… why not come and meet us for a chat at out Telephone helpline coffee morning.
When: 21st of June at 10.30 am
Where: SNAP Cymru, Acorn Business Centre, 250 Carmarthen Road, Swansea SA1 1HG
It’s incredibly rewarding!
For more information contact us on 01792 457305 email@example.com
Click here for more information: http://www.snapcymru.org/get-involved/volunteer-roles/ and see the details for Telephone Helpline Volunteer
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>
What a birthday present for SNAP Cymru!
In the year that SNAP Cymru celebrates 30 years of providing services to families in Wales, the organisation is extremely proud to have achieved the prestigious Investing in Volunteers quality standard recognising the excellent work carried out across the organisation in supporting, training and developing volunteers.
Over 200 volunteers provide a range of services to advance the education of people in Wales and support their inclusion. This is the third time SNAP Cymru has achieved this award.
Denise Inger, Chief Executive Officer SNAP Cymru said.
“Achieving the Investing in Volunteers accreditation for the third time is fantastic. The accreditation process keeps us on our toes and up-to-date. It helps identify how we can continue to improve and develop the way we support and train volunteers in a variety of roles and activities. Investing in Volunteers demonstrates SNAP Cymru’s dedication and commitment to sector best practice and helps to recognise the amazing work volunteers do throughout our organisation and in the local community. We would not manage the high demand for our services without the support of our amazing volunteers who generously gift their time delivering high quality services to families, children and young people. I am very proud of all of them and can’t thank them enough for all their hard work.”
SNAP Cymru are delighted that two of our Young Ambassadors, Osian Frobisher and Joel Clements, have been awarded their Gold Duke Of Edinburgh Awards during ceremonies at St James’s Palace; attended by the Earl of Wessex and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Naval Airman, Osian Frobisher, was given special leave by his Royal Navy instructors at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall, to travel to London for the ceremony, where he was presented with his certificate by Prince Edward and Carol Voderman – an Honorary Group Captain in the RAF. Osian has volunteered for SNAP Cymru since primary school, helping design information for other young people and supporting events, particularly those where he used his Welsh language skills. Osian joined the Royal Navy in June after graduating with a Degree in Police Sciences and completed the five sections for his Gold Award while he was an Air Cadet based with 360 Llwchwr Squadron, 3 Welsh Wing. The 24-year-old used his love of rugby to complete the physical element of the award. He worked in the local community to fulfil the voluntary requirement, supporting SNAP Cymru and helping to run his Air Cadet squadron as a Civilian Instructor and then Sergeant, passing on skills to the younger Cadets. For the residential element, Osian took part in a United Nations Youth Exchange project working with young people from other countries with the Forestry Commission in Wales. He also represented the ATC visiting a village in Japan, where he helped to build a community centre.
Joel Clements is currently studying TV and Film Production at the University of Portsmouth but managed to fit in his trip to the palace between his studying and his passion for long boarding and representing Hampshire at Ultimate Frisbee. Joel completed his Gold DofE with Carmarthenshire Open DofE group, completing the volunteering element of the Gold Award through mentoring other young people to complete the Bronze DofE Award. Joel’s residential element was completed at SPREE Wales Children’s Camp where he worked as a Service Crew Manager. Joel volunteered with SNAP Cymru whilst a student at Gorseinon College where he studied Creative Media, putting his video skills into action filming short clips of our volunteer team. Hopefully these will appear soon on our website to encourage others to participate.
Both Osian and Joel put their time and skills to good use as Young Ambassadors for SNAP Cymru and we wish them well in their future careers. If you know a young person who may be interested in volunteering for SNAP Cymru, we’re looking for bright, passionate individuals, who want to make a positive difference in their schools and local communities. We can offer them a chance to:
Don’t just take our word for it! See our volunteering page http://www.snapcymru.org/get-involved/ or call us at 01554 778288 for more information.
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.
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”.