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 presentations and guest speakers on a variety of topics, and group meetings. We have the occasional social event too. We know that the best-connected families have the best outcomes, so let’s get together!
We have moved our regular meetings and information sessions onto Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic and also have a range of additional support and activities available during this time, see COVID Flyer attached. We can offer some one-to-one support, WhatsApp groups, Zoom meetings, socially distanced meetings, and free access to some Mental Health training and qualifications.
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, Restorative Practice, Health & Safety 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, street first aid training, 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 in Keighley. The first year was very enjoyable and a great success, with members from Keighley and surrounding areas participating in activities such as training, presentations, group support meetings and social events. Members found the experience supportive and empowering, and wanted it to continue. 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 for our members led to The National Lottery supporting us to continue our Keighley Hub and setting up new Hubs in Bradford and Menston.
In pre and post COVID-19 times we meet once a month 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 similar events by Zoom. Interested individuals complete a short registration form and can then book onto any number of the scheduled events, subject to available places. A programme of events is usually available for members to plan ahead, but during COVID-19 restrictions and Government Guidlelines, this is reviewed on a monthly basis. We have an online resource where members can catch up on sessions missed and access helpful information. There is no obligation to attend all sessions, some members 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 special learning difficulties and disabilities. If you have any questions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to reply.
For as long as there are spaces available, you can access the project directly by emailing email@example.com to express an interest. No referral is required and there is no cost to attend. We can send you more information, or 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 and Keighley.