Archive for “June, 2018”

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 ruth.phillips@snapcymru.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 receive fantastic donation from Cardiff Round Table

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.

Could You Help?

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 swansea@snapcymru.org
Click here for more information: http://www.snapcymru.org/get-involved/volunteer-roles/ and see the details for Telephone Helpline Volunteer