Every two years, we ask our members what they think about our organisation. This year, 125 people filled in our questionnaire – thank you to everyone who took part! The lucky winner of our prize draw for a £50 shopping voucher was Noreen Ayub.
Below are some of the key messages from the survey. Download the full report.
- 98% of respondents were confident or very confident that we can accurately represent parents’ views.
- 87% of respondents said that being a member of our forum had made them feel better informed about services. 51% said that membership had made them more aware of their rights, and 52% said that they were better able to support their child with additional needs.
- 87% rated the information we had been providing during the pandemic as “good” or “excellent”.
- 59% of respondents had engaged with us through our events, meetings or consultations. This is lower than in previous years and may reflect the impact of the pandemic. For parents who had not got more involved, the main barriers were a lack of time generally, and events/meetings being held at times that were not suitable for them. Many respondents also said that they did not enjoy virtual meetings, or did not feel confident about joining them.
The survey confirmed that our activities are well aligned with parents’ priorities: information and signposting, activities for children and families, and wellbeing and information sessions for parents.
“I got a short break grant – I didn’t even know these existed until I saw the info you shared.”
“I found out about the MyPlan and that needs to be reviewed 3 times in a year, and what I can expect from SENCO at school. I feel confident to ask for help and I know from where to get that help.”
“Sheffield Parent Carer Forum always seems to be very much in touch with people on the ground and what are the issues for us that need to be explored/pursued.”
When asked what burning issues they wanted us to focus on over the next year, recovery from the impact of the pandemic and better mental health support for children and parents topped the list. Increased isolation was a big issue for many families, and many respondents said they wanted us to focus on providing activities for children and families. As in previous years, respondents highlighted the need to improve support in education and the transition to post-16 education and adult services.
In response to the feedback from the survey, we will:
- Continue to provide the activities that our members say they value most: family events, children’s activities, information and signposting, and information sessions and wellbeing activities for parents
- Restart our family events, like the family fun day, film screenings and JumpStars trampolining sessions, as soon as it is safe to do so
- Offer training in the use of the Zoom app
- Trial virtual meetings in the evenings to provide an alternative for working parents
- Combat isolation by restarting our coffee mornings and outreach visits as soon as possible, and by using funding from the Health Lottery to offer additional opportunities for parents to meet
- Highlight the issues that our members have told us are most important to them, in particular Covid recovery. We will try to scrutinise how education catch-up funding is spent, and gather and represent feedback from parents in relation to this. We will work with partners to improve mental health support for children and parents, support in education, and transition to adulthood.