The development of this offer involved working with parent carers, CYP, and community partners to produce a summer community offer. The offer was designed to ensure local families have opportunities to access positive activities, build networks and friendships, access excellent quality information and build their confidence of using universal services and exploring the Local Offer.
The development of this offer involved working with parent carers, CYP, and community partners to produce a summer community offer. The offer was co-produced initially to meet the needs of families during the first national lockdown in 2020. The offer was designed to ensure local families have opportunities to access positive activities, build networks and friendships, access excellent quality information and build their confidence of using universal services and exploring the Local Offer. The project enabled universal services to build their skills, knowledge and confidence when working with SEND CYP and their families. The Community Offer is now a key part of our offer to SEND families.
During lockdown in 2020 many of the usual short break providers were unable to deliver their traditional holiday schemes for families. We were very worried about how families would manage given the restrictions they were already having to contend with. Traditional play schemes had always been part of the summer offer. They were often run by the specialist schools and didn’t include siblings.
We were aware families didn’t always make full use of the local universal services available. We understood this was for a variety of reason; members of the public not understanding their child’s behaviour and communication, bad or stressful experiences, not feeling genuinely welcome by front line / reception staff.
We considered all our strengths; we have an excellent model of participation and positive relationships with our parent carer networks. We have a vibrant city with good outdoor space and community partners with great ambition for our CYP, Manchester is committed to becoming a UNICEF recognised UK Child Friendly City.
To co-produce an alternative summer offer with families, accessible to all families and drawing on outdoor space and community venues enabling families to take part in a wide range of opportunities.
Using a partnership approach working closely with community providers and parent carers children and young people, we paired parent carer groups with providers supporting them to deliver part of the offer. The parents and carers involved were highly motivated and driven to improve the lives of other SEND families. They shared their knowledge, skills, experience, and talents, playing to their own strengths and complimenting each other’s strengths. A ‘can do’ attitude, a hunger to ‘make a difference,’ were the main attributes to their success. Their social media presence was notable and community organisations were keen to make connections with them.
- Met with parents – online as there were restrictions on face-to-face gatherings.
- Gathered parent’s ideas and suggestions through a series of good conversations – bouncing round and developing ideas collectively.
- Met with CYP Changemakers with Greater Manchester Youth Network (GMYN)
- Met with the key community partners who gathered proposals from across the city, based on the parents /CYP ideas
- Linked parents up with community partners so that they were able to co-deliver parts of the offer.
- Those (parents) involved had a range of training; safeguarding, first aid, health and safety etc
- We commissioned one of the key partners to co-produce a Youth Led Grant Programme to ensure CYP had their own dedicated programme.
- Ensured the offer was accessible to all families with CYP with SEND and was publicised widely through a weekly electronic Local Offer Newsletter for families and practitioners.
What has made a difference has been a partnership approach working closely with community providers and parent carers children and young people. We have paired parent carer groups with providers to support them to deliver part of the offer. The parents and carers involved were highly motivated and driven to improve the lives of other SEND families. The parents and carers involved had knowledge, skills, experience, and talents, which they pooled and were keen to develop; playing to their own strengths and complimenting each other’s strengths. Another key factor to the success of this work was ensuring the groups did not work in competition with each other. We exploited opportunities to ensure all the various groups understood that success was measured in how well they worked together, collaborated, and supported each other as well as recognizing each group’s unique strengths. This ethos has been at the heart of this work.
One impact of the community offer has been a decrease in families requesting targeted direct payment and increased take-up of community activities. See below additional support describes targeted direct payments or services.
|April 2021 - March 2022
|April 2022 - March 2023
|April 2023 - March 2024
(predicted yearly amount)
The costs of the programme were offset by savings from traditional summer short break provision with many families opting for the community offer.
Involvement of community funding partners meant external funding was sourced to add financial and social value.
There has been local sustainable growth because funds have been channelled to smaller voluntary sector / parent led providers rather than bigger private providers or those providers located outside the city.
The evidence of impact can be seen in an increasing number of sessions attended by families year on year.
- 2020 – 498 sessions taken up
- 2021 -1495 sessions taken up
- 2022 – 2954 sessions taken up
- 2023 – 3,500 sessions taken up (not all data has been collated for summer 2023).
There are also clear examples of improved take up of universal services and families accessing the community independently outside of the community offer.
Evidence of increased engagement with the SEND Local Offer through increasing numbers signing up to the weekly newsletter. Over 50 percent increase in subscribers within the last year.
Increased attendance at the Local Offer Drop In’s held in localities, average attendance has increased by 48 percent within the last year.
Due to demand this has now become business as usual.
Key impacts for children and young people based on feedback from young people, families and practitioners.
- Forging positive networks and friendship and peer to peer support through the offer.
- Improved access to places they would not have ventured to by themselves but have done so knowing there is the support of other SEND families there.
- The family approach where everyone is included has strengthened family relations.
- Young People having increased confidence, friendships, independence and aspirations, knowing their rights.
- Young People feeling a sense of belonging and knowing their city.
- Improved aspirations, access to opportunities to develop new skills.
- Opportunities to learn new skills, cooking, cycling, arts, music, team building, independent travel, social action projects.
- Reduced number of families accessing the traditional targeted offer by 40percent.
- Increased number of parent led and young people led provision for commissioning of Community Offer services.
- Increase in the volume of parent support groups.
How is the new approach being sustained?
The SEND community offer is sustainable as it is now being delivered by partners with the local offer team playing more of a coordination and publicity role. Parent led delivery has increased parental confidence and the offer has become a pathway to universal services for many of our families.
More recently a Youth led grants programme has enabled young people to have a say in the commissioning and design of the offer increasing take up from young people.
It requires continuous commitment to co-production with families and support from the short breaks team and community partners to support families to access and remove any barriers.
This requires continuous commitment to co-production with families and support from the short breaks team and community partners to support families to access and remove any barriers.
Listen to families and be prepared to change things at short notice. Collaborate and bounce round ideas…
Don’t apply eligibility criteria and ensure that any booking requirements are available in a range of ways and accessible to all families.
Not being afraid to try new things. Be brave.
The importance of publicising this in many different formats including face to face and social media. Promote with all practitioners who work with families on a regular basis.