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Welcome to Manchester’s third Local Offer Newsletter.

 At the request of the parents who attended the March 2015 event, we held an event in June which focussed on Short breaks. The short break programme was explained and parents were able to ask questions and voice their concerns as well as share what they thought would improve the services. Parents were told about the Short Breaks Service Review.

 Parents / carers who are interested in being part of the Short Break Review were asked to sign up to the Participation Register or join the newly formed parent forum PACT (Parents Achieving Change Together). If you want to be part of the Review, simply join either or both. See below for details.

 Our next parent event will be on 7th October and will focus on Universal Services, these are the general services available to all children and young people, including those with disabilities. They include libraries, leisure centres, youth & play provisions, brownies & scouts etc. There will be a number of representatives and commissioners for these services available to hear your views about how we can improve access and inclusion. It will also provide an opportunity to brief you on the current work and developments already in motion.  To book your place or to join the Participation Register, call our Parent Engagement Team on 0161 234 1946 or email: parents@manchester.gov.uk

 To join the parent forum, PACT (Parents Achieving Change Together) email Sue Broaders at: autumngroup@live.co.uk

 Local Offer Champions

As part of the drive to encourage more families to reap the benefits of the Local Offer, we are rolling out a short training course involving 1 day a week over 4 weeks in September / October 2015 to give parents the skills and know how to be able to confidently demonstrate the Local Offer and get the most out of it. Parents will be able to share and promote the Local Offer in their own communities, libraries, schools etc. If you are interested, read on, GeraldineHills, one of our parents is delivering the course and has written the following article:

 Hello Everyone!

Local Offer Parent Champions are parents who have positive experiences of using services who act as advocates and peer advisers to other parents in their community. Parents are the best people to engage with their local community as they can share their own experience whilst supporting others. Parent Champions can play a vital role because they understand the challenges parent/carers are facing.

 My son is a young person with disabilities so for me becoming a Parent Champion is not only a great way to keep up to date with things that could be relevant to him, but also to keep others in my community in the loop.

 There are many benefits to becoming a Parent Champion including: gaining relevant work experience, building confidence and improving your own communication skills as well as overcoming isolation. This is a chance for you to continue to develop both personally and professionally with training courses on offer to support Parent Champions in their role. It would be helpful if you know how to use a computer and the internet so you can support other in accessing information. We’re not looking for experts. We’re looking for people who care.

 We will be running training from September but there are a limited number of places so if you are interested in the Parent Champions Project please contact GeraldineHills on 07547470265 or geraldine@inclusivechoice.com

 And Finally……If you have any comments about the Local Offer, please let us know by completing the feedback form on the Local Offer, emailing parents@manchester.gov.uk or ringing IAS Manchester on 0161 209 8356.