Raising our Local Profile – Can you help???
In 2008 the government commissioned a review of services for children and young people in England with speech, language and communication needs, (SLCN). This was undertaken by the MP, (and Afasic vice president), John Bercow. The government responded with an action plan to improve these services at local level. The action plan recognises that parents and carers should have an input into how local services can be improved.
In addition to this action plan to improve services, there are also other very important national initiatives such as Aiming High for Disabled Children, (AHDC), which provide opportunities for “user involvement”. There are AHDC parent forums being established in all localities and Afasic needs representation on them. Without a local voice the danger is that resources will be spent on other services – local campaigning is the reason why services for Dyslexia have improved significantly in recent years.
Afasic England want to recruit a team of parent/carer volunteers in England. Over the next eighteen months we will develop a number of roles for this team. Afasic England will provide training so that our volunteers have the confidence and knowledge to talk about the type of services they and other parents/carers want to see in their area, as well as ensuring that families are given the right information to make informed choices when looking for support and help.
For thirty years Afasic local support groups have been carrying out this type of role, liaising with local authorities, and often lobbying and campaigning for improved services. Without the work of the local groups, a lot of specialist services for children would not have developed and many families would not have known where to turn. There are however large areas of England where we now have no presence; local groups become harder to organise and sustain, and many parents access their information and support directly from the Afasic Helpline and website. We need to increase our local representation to make most of the opportunity that the Bercow Review has provided.
Afasic England has done everything it can to ensure that you, as parents and carers have a voice at a national level. What we need now is for that voice to be replicated at a local level. If you want to help and can offer just a little time a month, or even a term then please do get in contact.
For further information please contact Tony Curtis on 01223 244984 or send a message.