The Friends & Family Hubs - Thinking BIG
The Friends & Family Hubs are supported by The National Lottery and run by Thinking Big. They are a place for the friends and family members of children and young people with SEND to connect, share information and learn new skills. We get together monthly for group meetings, presentations and guest speakers on a variety of topics, and have the occasional social event too. The best-connected families have the best outcomes, so let’s get together!
There's a range of ways to access information, advice and support, both face-to-face and online - including learning and development sessions, group meetings, and WhatsApp peer support groups.
Thinking Big is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company promoting social inclusion, opportunity and wellbeing. We make a positive difference to services and people's lives through meaningful training and community engagement. We train professionals, volunteers and individuals in a variety of subjects including Child Development, First Aid, Mental Health First Aid, Gender-Based Violence and Safeguarding. We design and deliver projects with communities to promote positive outcomes by developing connections, knowledge, skills and confidence. We also collaborate with other organisations, working in partnership on wider projects. Our community work includes support for families of children and young people with disabilities, prevention of violence against women and girls, Street First Aid to reduce serious violence, mental health training for adults who work with children and young people and mental health education for 14 - 18 year-olds.
In 2018 we began the Friends & Family project, supported by The National Lottery, with our first Hub opening at Clockhouse in Keighley. Members created a supportive and empowering environment, with people from Keighley and the surrounding areas participating in activities such as training, presentations, group support meetings and social events. We recognise that whilst every child's, and every family's, journey is unique, we face common challenges and can learn from each others' experiences of navigating life and services. We also recognise the power of knowledge and skills in equipping us to make informed decisions, support our families and access services or activities as appropriate. The positive outcomes led to The National Lottery supporting us to continue our Keighley Hub and set up new Hubs in Bradford, Menston and online.
We meet once a month from 10am to 2pm for training or a guest speaker and then have lunch (provided) followed by our group meetings, which are professionally facilitated, safe and welcoming. We are currently offering a combination of face-to-face sessions, live streaming, WhatsApp groups, Zoom check-ins, and walks. Whether your child is 18 months or 18 years, you will be able to learn, connect, and share in the group. We can support on the journey towards diagnosis or EHCP for example, and our parent members can provide a wealth of knowledge and support from their own experiences. Interested individuals complete a short registration form and can then book onto any number of the scheduled events, subject to available places. We have an online resource where members can catch up on sessions they might have missed and access helpful information. There is no obligation to attend all sessions, some people do and some don't. Members include parents, foster-carers, other family members and people who care for and support children and young people with additional needs and disabilities from 0 to 25 years, with or without a diagnosis. If you have any questions, or would like to join us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.
The Friends & Family Hubs are for parents, carers and extended family members of children and young people (0 – 25) with learning difficulties, special educational needs and disabilities. No diagnosis required.
You can access them directly by emailing email@example.com to express an interest. Our Hubs Coordinator will then get in touch to explain what's on offer and complete registration with you if you'd like to participate. No referral is required and there is no cost to attend. If you would like to discuss it, please include your telephone number and the best times for you to receive a call. There are Hubs based in Bradford, Menston, Keighley and online.