Since we organised our first parents’ conference in 2008, holding a big annual event has become a bit of a tradition. Many of our past conferences had an education theme, such as post-16 education or the SEN (special educational needs) reforms – so we thought we’d do something a little different this time and focus on health and therapy services instead.
There certainly seemed be an interest in this subject, as the event was fully booked. An information marketplace with stalls run by key health services proved popular, as did the workshops on a range of health-related topics. Two of these workshops – on Speech and Language Therapy and Mental Health Services – were particularly well-attended.
If there is one thing we’ve learnt from past events, it’s that there is never enough time to ask questions – so we offered parents the opportunity to take part in a “Meet the Manager” session and chat to service managers in small groups. Parents valued the chance to get information without needing a formal referral, and the managers got useful feedback from service users.
We were very grateful for the support from local professionals and senior health leads, but also very pleased that we were able to use some of our home-grown talent. Our trustee (and GP) Clare Peck ran a workshop on building good relationships with GPs, development worker Anne Snowdon gave advice on coping with hospital stays, and trustee Katie Monette gave the opening speech.
Overall feedback from parents was very positive, with 97% rating the event “Good” or “Very good”. Comments included:
“Lots of information in one place – people to speak to, ask questions etc. Leaflets can be taken to look at and direct parents for further support.“
“Very welcoming and friendly with a good choice of workshops”
“An event I would definitely recommend to other people, including families and other professionals.”
Please use the links below to download presentations and other resources used at the event:
Mental Health Services
Support for Speech, Language and Communication Needs
Coping with Hospital Stays
Building Relationships with GPs | Example of Health Action Plan | Questions for Annual Review | Hospital Passport form
Transition to Adult Health Services