Skip to main content

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

Reading Families ForumView all services in this category Special United

Special United is a youth forum/youth group run by Reading Families Forum, which is a small, local charity working with children and families with SEND (Special Needs & Disabilities).

The youth group, Special United is for children/young people/young adults with SEND, between the ages 11-25, living in the Reading Borough area and siblings.

The purpose of the group is to provide a platform for young people to have their say on services provided for them locally.  We have speakers in to talk to the young people about the service they provide.  So that they are aware of the service, what it does, how to access it and whether it would suit them.  The young people then feedback their thoughts, opinions & experience of the service directly to the provider, influencing services and future provision so that it hopefully more suited to them and their needs.

However, while doing all this we ensure we have lots of fun along the way! We go to trendy venues, have food and competitions.  The group is made by the young people themselves, they chose the name, designed the logo and sweatshirts we held competitions for all these and the young people got creative! They give us the ideas on what topics to discuss that are of interest to them.  Young people get vouchers for their time and participation and can win more in the competitions.  It’s a nice social experience for the young people, they get to meet peers, make new friends or see old ones!   

'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.
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. 

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.

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.