Helping families feel in included – our work on equality and diversity
PaCC believes it is important we are representative of the diverse communities that parent-carers identify with. The PaCC Steering Group needs to be aware of key issues for parent carers across the community and be able to feed concerns back to those designing, planning, delivering and evaluating services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This means being open to issues that are of importance to all families, for example those from different cultural backgrounds. Making sure that the PaCC Steering Group reflects the types of people living in our city is a good starting point, but we are keen to go further than this.
During the past year, with support from the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF), we put together a plan to improve our engagement with minoritised communities. The plan helped us to reflect on how the forum represents those who are seldom heard. One of the first steps was to increase diversity within the PaCC Steering Group. We looked at the make-up of the existing group and identified where we could benefit from broadening it. Next, we advertised our desire to have new Steering Group ‘Reps’ to the Brighton & Hove parent-carer community and that we were particularly interested in reaching groups that were not currently represented at our meetings. We were thrilled with the response and back in June were pleased to welcome new representatives from different backgrounds to the PaCC Steering Group.
Soon after this, in September, two new members of staff joined the PaCC Team, Leila and Vanessa, whose roles focus on engaging with SEND communities in the city and increasing diversity within the forum’s membership. As part of this work, we have drawn up a list of established Brighton & Hove community groups working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. A few of the groups we have identified were set up specifically to support families who have children with disabilities or additional needs, but not all.
In the next few months we will be contacting the community groups on our list to discuss what PaCC can offer to their parent carer members, how we can engage better and how best to keep in touch with issues of concern to families who have disabled children or young people known to them, ideally by having parent carers join PaCC as members so they are directly informed of our work and can contribute their views. This will be ongoing work and we will be looking to extend it to other groups in the future.
If you want to know more about PaCC’s diversity plans, or have views you wish to share, please email Vanessa: Vanessa@paccbrighton.org.uk