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Special United - Youth Area (Young People's Forum)

Reading Families ForumView all services in this category Special United

Special United is a youth forum for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their siblings, age 11-25 years, living within the Reading Borough.

The youth forum is run by Reading Families Forum, a local charity supporting families who have children and young adults with SEND.

Special United youth forum gives young people with SEND a platform to have their say on the services that are provided for them locally.

We meet on a regular basis at The Avenue School, and have speakers in to talk to the young people about the services that they provide. The young people feedback their thoughts, ideas and opinions so this will help to mould and shape existing and future services, so that they are more suited to them and their needs.

As well as serious discussions we also have a lot of fun too! We get to meet new friends, a takeaway, and as a thank you for their participation every young person receives a £10 Amazon voucher.

The Family Information Service/SEND Local Offer attend and support all the sessions organised by Special United, feedback from the young people is important in the development of the Local Offer.  

Page updated - September 2019

What Young People Said, What We Did - 2017

'You Said'

'We Did'

Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You asked if Concessionery Travel pass was going to stop

We checked with Concessionary Travel department and they said it would be continuing

Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You aksed about Short Break holidays

We told you about Dimensions, who are offering Short Breaks to Reading clients 
Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You asked about seeing information on Parks on the Reading Services Guide/Local Offer We created a record and linked it to information on all parks and outdoor recreation areas in Reading
Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You asked about a Choir Club We found a singing club at Reading Mencap and created a record
Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You asked about us having information on 'Days Out' We created a new section under Special Needs Activities for 'Days Out'
Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You asked about Supported Holidays We said there is already a section on Supported Holidays
Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You asked about having information on 'Useful Contact Numbers' We created an advice & guidance page of contact numbers for young people and added it to the 'Special United' section
Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You asked about Courses and choices for young people aged 16+ We said that we already have a transition section 16+ on the Local Offer - Disc 16+ Newsletter (handed hard copies out to those attending)
Sprinkles Event - May 2017 - You asked about Scouts and Swimming We said we already have that information on the Local Offer
Fernandos Event - November 2017 - You asked if there were horse riding options available for children with SEND We currently have three horse riding stables that can cater for children & young people with additional needs. Information shared with the group.
Fernandos Event - November 2017 - Reading Children's CommissioningTeam asked the young people what activities they like to do? clubs etc. The young people fed back the things they like to do, which included horse riding, foot ball, day out at the sea side, with overnight stay, and many more suggestions. This provided the commissioning team an insight in to what the young people would like.

What Young People Said, What We Did- 2018

You Said We Did
Sprinkles - Event - March 2018 - You asked if there are any arts and crafts group. We currently have five services that offers arts & crafts. We will be reviewing this and researching to see if there are any other local groups, that can offer arts & crafts to children & young people with additional needs.
Smokey's House Event - July 2018 - You asked, Young people also want to know what next – what will happen after college and after a supported internship. Will there be funding? Will there be apprenticeships and support? Will there be help to do more GCSEs?  SEND Local Offer (FIS) staff sent links to the information listed on the Local Offer to the parents of the young people who requested it. 
Smokey's House Event - July 2018 - You asked, young person was happy at school but wanted to do football after school

SEND Local Offer (FIS) staff sent the young person parent details of football clubs, suitable for a young person with additional needs. Parents were very pleased with the information sent and will be contacting the clubs to find out more and book places.

Pizza Event - The Avenue School - November 2018 - Social Workers from Adults attended to inform young people about transition, what to expect, who would be looking after them, the process etc.

Assistant head from Brookfields also attended the event, talk about work experience, find a job, exploring options etc

Young people attending wanted to find out options.

Young people were encourged to explore options, they were signposted to the SEND Local Offer to look at what's available. Encourged to speak to organisation that can offer guidance. If young people wanted tailored informaiton on services, they can contact FIS/SEND Local Offer. 

What Young People Said, What We Did - 2019

You Said

We Did

Chicken & Chips - The Avenue - January 2019 - Twenty one young people and ten parent carers took part in the event. Dan Rook from Reading Football Community Trust came with Kingsley!  Dan Cubbage from Reading Sport and Leisure and Gill Seagrove talked to the group about the Local Offer.

  1. Special needs swimming groups and activities where queuing and competitiveness isn’t necessary. Tag rugby, fencing, football, basketball, swimming and snorkelling would all be popular (there is snorkelling equipment at the Meadway which hasn’t been used recently).
  2. Fun aqua parks would be good but there are no plans for the new Reading pools to have slides etc.
  3. Climbing would be popular – there is a private climbing centre in Whitley. The Dolphin Centre does accessible climbing and archery but these are short courses and are booked up months in advance.
  4. A changing place is a priority for us at the new Reading pools and at one or more leisure centres.
  5. More activities for 11 to 16 and 16 – 25 are needed that children with special needs can access. Dan Rook kindly offered to look at this with Reading Sports and Leisure.
  6. To maintain the wheelchair accessible play equipment at Palmer Park – a wheelchair swing would be great! The ground needs to be even to push a wheelchair over – no bark, gravel or sand, please!
  7. Fairs – such as Carter’s Steam Fair need to be accessible – eg with ramps up to rides.
  8. For activities to be put on the Local Offer for families to see what is available.

Both Dan Rook and Dan Cubbage, took away all the suggestion and request. We sent out information to families on the leisure options available. Information was also sent to the Short Breaks Panel to review.

Special United Pizza Evening on 26th February 2019 at the Avenue School - Kate Eggington, Associate Director of Nursing & Rebecca Curtayne, Healthwatch Reading Team Manager.

Young people liked the helpful staff at Dingley, A&E and the wards and the toys, TVs and Xbox! They had lots of fantastic ideas to make life easier for young people including signs with pictures, lanyards to alert staff to hidden needs or disabilities and getting nurses away from their computers so they can look directly at young people!

Kate will use the ideas to write her strategy for the hospital and promised to come back to show Special United the strategy and maybe help design those lanyards!

Special United Chinese Evening on 26th April 2019 at the Avenue School - Charlotte, Youth Co Ordinator attended from RVA, taking about youth projects, and wanted feedback from young people. Young people were really interested in fencing, computer clubs, trampolining, climbing and horse riding. All this information is on the Reading SEND Local Offer. 

FIS/SEND Local Offer sent all activities mentioned to the parent carers of the young people attending. The list was also sent to SU/RFF to cascade to parent carers. Click to view the list.

Special United Mr Cod Evening on 19th September 2019 at the Avenue School - feedback from a young person attending the event 'Most young people knew who they could contact at school if they needed to. However, most felt that this person was not available when needed.'

The SEN Team are now offering the following to parent carers and young people.

Brighter Futures for Children is committed to supporting families to participate as fully as possible in decision-making. To help them do this, the SEND Team hold a weekly information session that parents or young people can book a slot to speak with a SEND Case Officer. This is an opportunity to ask questions about SEND, understand the EHC Needs Assessment process and learn about how outcomes are key to Brighter Futures for Children’s assessment process.

Beginning on Friday 11 October, the sessions are held every Friday between 10am and 12 pm in 20 minute slots at Reading Civic Centre and must be booked in advance.  Sessions take place with a Case Officer and are personal, so not held in a group.

A session will be offered to every family where a EHC Needs Assessment has been requested for a child. The sessions are also open to any parent or young person who is considering requesting an assessment.

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