Growing Voice For Scilly’s Parent Carers Group

A Parent Carers group event

A Parent Carers group event

The islands’ Parent Carers group feels more involved in decisions affecting children with additional needs after being granted a seat on the Council’s committee dealing with young people.

That’s just one of the successes last year for the organisation, which supports children who require extra care on the islands and their families.

Chairman, Mel Downie, says the group, set up in 2009 with just four members, now numbers sixteen across all the islands.

The group held an information day yesterday for local service providers and new councillors to hear about their work. They’ve also visited all the school bases and spoken to parents about the group to see whether they need any support, says Mel.

Last year’s activities included a circus skills course and an arts therapy session, which gave the young people themselves a chance to say what support they need, without having their parents around.

Feedback from the group also resulted in much-needed occupational therapy sessions being provided on the island

Mel says they’ve forged better links with the school, Council and Health Centre. That means they can provide advice to the various children’s services about what’s working and what isn’t.

This year they’re looking to improve employment support for children with extra needs.

Mel says it can be a worrying time for any child at 16 on the islands to prepare for education or employment on the mainland, let alone someone with additional needs. She says the group are working with the Council to look at ways to provide training and apprenticeships here on the islands.