PCAN (Parents of Children with Additional Needs is a registered charity and we have three main aims:
- To provide good, up to date and relevant information for parents and carers across Kirklees. (in a survey we undertook in 2010, parents told us that they wanted a central point of information, free of jargon about groups, support, activities for children, services.
- To help parents get together to offer and support and friendship to each other. (As parents of children with additional needs, we often feel very isolated and that we are the only one who has issues with their child)
- To provide a Stronger Voice for parents and carers in Kirklees – helping parents to be involved in shaping services for themselves and their children. (In our survey, parents told us that they wanted regular opportunities to share their views with service providers, that they wanted to do this in different ways and that their opinions are listened to, and valued).
History of PCAN
PCAN’s journey started in the summer of 2010 when we asked parents of children with
additional needs, and the workers that support their families, to tell us about their
experiences of communicating and working together.
We did this because both locally and nationally there has been a push to give parents of
children with additional needs more opportunities to influence the services that their
families receive. We wanted to know how well things are working in Kirklees, and we had
funds from the Government to try and help things to work better.
We asked both parents and the staff that provide services a number of questions such
as…‘How good is the flow of information between service providers and parents?’ and ‘How do parents get to influence decisions about services in Kirklees?’ The answers that we got back time and time again told us that there are times when communication is very good, but that there is also a lot of room for improvement. Take a look at this summary to find out more about what parents said.
Working with Icarus, a local company that has experience of working with parents in other
areas, we put together a plan to improve communication and working together. We wanted parents to be at the centre of the work, so we started to bring parents together to talk about how they could get involved. Very soon we realized that we needed to get organised, and an independent forum seemed to be the best way of doing this. We talked with parents about the kinds of things the forum could do, we talked about how parents and service providers could get involved and most importantly we agreed on a name and logo!
In October 2011 we launched PCAN at a fantastic event in Highfields resource centre
involving over fifty parents and forty children. We were joined by managers from Kirklees
Council and NHS Kirklees, who made firm commitments to listen to PCAN and involve
parents in decisions about local services.
We are managed by volunteer trustees and receive a government grant to help finance our work. We became a registered charity in 2012 which means we can apply for financial assistance from other places too. We also receive some grant funding from Kirklees Council but work completely independently from them.
Most important of all we are building up a strong membership which we hope will grow and grow. We want to provide lots of opportunities for our members to get involved, and be part of this exciting organisation which will bring parents of children with additional needs together to make a real difference in Kirklees.Our Launch Party in 2011