I am a parent carer with two young people. My 14-year-old son has learning disabilities and communication difficulties, due to having Down Syndrome, he attends a special school. My daughter is 13 years old and attends the local secondary school. While a lot of attention and care goes into looking after my son, my daughter has shown great wisdom for someone of such a young age and I am immensely proud of both of them. My work background is in the NHS, before my children were born I worked as a cardiographer in London. After having children, I completed a BA in History and Irish Studies and then in 2014, I finished a MA in Irish Studies.
Being part of a Parent Carer Forum is very important to me. I believe it is essential to work at grassroots with the Forums (of which I am an active member), as it supports and develops my understanding when I hear direct from the region, and can then bring those issues to the national level. I have seen local Parent Carer Forums evolve into a powerful force over the last five years, and look forward to seeing how their influence develops.
I have been the South East Steering Group member for the last three years, and while it took me a little time to figure out how the National Network of Parent Carer Forums’ Steering Group works, I came to realise that the Steering Group works almost exactly how the local forums work, just at a national level. Outside of the regional work, I have also delivered lectures at the local university to trainee social workers on the importance of the Children and Families Act 2014, as I believe that at the core of this work lies the need to support care professionals right from the beginning of their training to help shape how they communicate and look after families.