Here at the Local Offer we have tried to be creative in the ways we have adapted during the pandemic.
We have listened to Parent/Carers and our young people, where possible we’ve addressed their ever changing needs.
We kept our Practioners and Parents regularly updated by publishing a SEND Snapshot newsletter. Initially we had 13 different services contributing, now we have 46. They span across Health, Education, Social Care and our wonderful third sector organisations. This will significantly help to facilitate Co-production in Wirral SEND services.
We sought feedback on the service we were providing to enable us to seek reassurance that what we were doing was working and meeting needs. We also wanted to progress any suggestions on ways to further improve. Council led services, Charities, Health practioners, Parent/Carers, SEND young people, School SENCOs and wider SEND partners in other areas all took time to share their views. We were delighted with the response and comments we received.
Take a look..
PARTNERSHIP WORKING IS KEY TO WHAT WE DO AT THE LOCAL OFFER. ONE BIG POSITIVE FROM COVID 19 IS THAT IT HAS HELPED US ALL PULL TOGETHER AND WE ARE DELIGHTED TO READ THE COMMENTS BELOW FROM MANY OF OUR VALUED PARTNERS. GOING FORWARD WE ARE STRONGER BY WORKING TOGETHER WHICH ULTIMATELY BENEFITS THE SEND YOUNG PEOPLE IN WIRRAL.
3RD SECTOR ORGANISATIONS
CREA8ING Careers – Lynne Howe
The Local Offer has been invaluable support to our families. Having weekly updates, a responsive twitter and website that share information, services available and activities means that our families can easily access information, as well as us being able to see what is happening across Wirral and being offered by other organisations. They have shared our activities and events that can be accessed by families of children with additional needs and have been invaluable in providing information about specific issues such as available respite through the summer to future planning for families on travel buddies.
We love working in partnership with the Local Offer and look forward to a continued positive relationship.
POSITIVITREE – Rachel Daly
Without the support from the Local Offer team, it is unlikely that we would have reached as many of the Wirral SEND community as we have in the past 18 months. The Local Offer Team have joined us at our virtual support groups and have been essential for us to connect with other community organisations. The fact that our local offer team is made up of people with lived experience of the challenges of the SEND community only adds value to the service. Thank you for your tireless work to improve the lives of families across Wirral.
The Local Offer Team at Wirral Council have played an integral part in us rolling our our covid-19 response to parent-carers who have children, young people and vulnerable adults with a range of additional needs. Since the pandemic began demand for our services has risen by 250% and are ability to provide the right support has been co-produced as a result of our working relationship with the Local Offer.
The team are responsive to requests for information and exhibit a person-centred, can-do approach which is so important when supporting the vulnerable community we work with.
KOALA North West – Bev Morgan
Wirral’s Local Offer is a fantastic resource for the staff and volunteers at Koala North West. There is a wealth of useful information at the touch of a button that can help us in our support of families who have a child/ren with SEND, and we know that Sally or Poppy will always point us in the right direction if we cannot find something. We promote the website and social media to the families we work with so they can keep up to date with any news that might be relevant to them and their children, and so they know that this resource is there for them whenever they need it through every stage of their child’s development.
MENCAP – Tina Phelan
Wirral Mencap Information & Advice Service supports people with a learning disability and their families and carers with information, advice and support around navigating any issues they may have with things like social care, housing, welfare benefits, wills and trusts, being a carer. We help with paperwork, meetings understanding rights through casework, events, and workshops. That is a lot of information needed on a lot of different subjects! The Local Offer has been never-endingly valuable to this service in providing information on who and what is out there to help my beneficiaries, keeping me up to date with an ever-changing landscape – and never more so than in these times of lockdown and easement! The SEND Snapshot alone has saved many hours of trawling for the latest updates. Sally and Poppy are always willing to help find an answer to a question, or the right person to assist – they are a great example of what a partner should be!
AUTISM TOGETHER – Karen Costain
Returning to the Wirral to work, Sally was one of the first people I met at networking meetings &with her warm personality and confident manner Sally brings people together & makes things happen, with children & their families at the heart of all she does. Working in the children & family service at Autism Together I introduced coffee mornings & Sally was keen to join so she could meet parents of children with ASD. This worked well & Sally brought a wealth of SEND information & knowledge to the sessions. More recently, Poppy came along to the coffee mornings & provided an inspiring role model for parents with teenage children with ASD to see what Poppy had achieved. During lockdown, Sally and Poppy continued to bring people together, emailing monthly information for parents & we were able to share children and family service information and updates. The Local Offer is not just an online service, Sally and Poppy endeavour to make it a service that reaches out into the Wirral community.
SAFE FAMILIES – Sarah Broadbent
Safe Families aims to assist families in times of crisis when parents and/or carers feel that they can no longer sustain their current living arrangements and are considering putting their child(ren) into the care of the Local Authority. Safe Families provide volunteers who support families during difficult times providing community-based solutions which assist families to remain as a unit within their homes and negate or reduce dependencies upon professional support services across the Health and Social Care economy. The Wirral ‘Local Offer’ has been integral to Safe Families on the Wirral and has been of great benefit to families with children and young people ensuring they have access to the support that they require. This service has often improved the outcomes for families, children and young people where the ‘Local Offer’ has been accessed, and we have continued with our service throughout the pandemic with positive outcomes. During this difficult time, we have also introduced a new kind of volunteering called our Connect Friend whose sole purpose is to make telephone contact to a family who may be going through a crisis on at least a weekly basis to try and improve Mental Health and help with Isolation and provide solutions for difficulties that they have or might be encountering.
HEALTHWATCH WIRRAL – Micha Woodworth
Healthwatch Wirral is part of a national network. Healthwatch Wirral are here to make sure your views on local health and social care services are heard. Every voice counts when it comes to shaping the future of health and social care, and when it comes to improving it for today. Everything that local Healthwatch does will bring the voice and influence of local people to the development and delivery of local services. The need for Communities to some together and rally to support individuals and families has been even greater in recent times. This is something that our partnership with the Local Offer has demonstrated a real agility to do. Sally and Poppy, The Local Offer Team are true Spare 5 ambassadors. They play a huge role on Wirral in improving how we point people in the right direction and support people to access what is out there for them here on Wirral.
ADDVANCED SOLUTIONS- Vanda Reeves
The Local Offer in Wirral is proactive and forward thinking thanks to the skills and partnership development work of Sally and Poppy. A great team to co-ordinate the SEND offer because of their lived experience. Keep up the good work ladies!
The Sensory Shack – Sinead Holden
Wirral local offer has been vitally important during Covid 19.
They have kept all information for families and services up to date and given all agencies the chance to reach as many people are possible.
Local Authority Services
EDUCATION PSYCHOLOGY TEAM – Catherine O’Connor
The Local Offer on Wirral is a thriving vibrant hub of useful information sharing. Sally and Poppy are always on hand with useful ideas and snippets of information that enable us all to do our jobs even more effectively.
MEDICAL & PHYSICAL SUPPORT TEAM – Julie Hudson
The Medical and Physical Support Team (Julie and Jayne) have supported Wirral’s Local Offer (which is more than just a website!) for the past few years. The fact that that is fronted by two very alive and real characters who are steeped in the world of SEND is invaluable. News can be circulated to the SEND community quickly and genuine feedback regarding how people would like services to be shaped can be gathered.
We are able to post things on our part of the website like the feedback we gained from a group of young people who have disabilities who attend Woodchurch High School. Together we are better!
Health Services in Schools- Michelle Langan
I would just like to take the opportunity to put some thoughts down regarding the Local Offer website
- Putting our SEND young people as a priority
- Sharing of information, knowing the services available to support our families, children and young people in one place.
- Referrals through to our Team via the Local Offer advertisement which may not have come through in a more mainstream setting.
- The layout – it’s really good, easy to follow and current which is crucial.
- Important networking and celebration events being promoted.
My thanks to Sally and Poppy for making the commitment in the continuing development of this very important and significant lifeline.
SCHOOL READINESS TEAM – Joanne Simpson
The local offer has proved to be a valuable partner to the early childhood services as our families are able to find so much information in one place from childcare, funding, health and SEND to growing up and leaving school. The Local Offer has also been a valuable partner to our organisation and families as we can easily navigate to the information we need. It has links to other websites like My Child Can which is a good link to find out about other partner organisations. Thank you Sally and Poppy for all your hard work!
AUTISM SPECTRUM TEAM (ASD) – Sue Jamieson Quinn/ Amanda Roberts
Over the last few months, the Local Offer has been a link for parents, carers and professionals alike in providing an easy access way to share ideas and information – like a one stop shop!
It’s a mix of what we need to know, tips and signposts to what else is ‘out there’ and as well as providing some chuckles along the way – just what we need in these changing times.
As a professional having to think creatively and help others in new ways this has been a great platform to support both myself and others
SENIOR BUSINESS DEVELOPER – Sarah Towey
Hi, I am Sarah, a Senior Business Designer within the Organisational Design Team. My role is to lead Reviews on different Service Areas. I have worked a lot within Children’s Services leading both the Youth Review and Short Breaks Review.
Local Offer has been a great partner in supporting my projects and offering valuable knowledge of Wirral and how to engage with parent/carers and young people. Poppy’s perspective has been invaluable in how to engage with disabled young people of Wirral. Often their opinion is overlooked but working with Sally and Poppy I have ensured my consultations have listened to disabled young people’s voice and re-designed services around them.
Sally and Poppy are championing the opinions of disabled young people and parent/carers through all Council run services.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR EARLY HELP – Elizabeth Hartley
Over the last few years, the Local Offer has been a valuable resource for young people and families looking for early help and support, but in recent months it has played an even more valuable role. Covid-19 has affected everyone in our community to differing extents but one group in the population that have been hit really hard are young people. When we went into lockdown this was a really hard time for young people who want to be in education, socialising their friends, worrying about their family members, not knowing what the future holds in terms of exam results, university, jobs. Lots of young people needed advice and support to deal with the impact this was having on their wellbeing and mental health. The response from the Local Offer and its staff was brilliant. Not only were they able to signpost and provide information, but they went above and beyond by contributing to a video to support young people through this really difficult time. The Local Offer is a brilliant resource.
ASSITANT DIRECTOR FOR EDUCATION- Sue Talbot
Thank you to Sally and Poppy regarding their help and support around gaining the views and ideas of parents and young people through the consultation period of the SEND Strategy. As a result, over 250 young people have provided clarity to the Local Area about what really matters to them at home, school/college and in the community. This has meant that the priorities focus on what will truly make a difference to young people. Sally’s extensive engagement with parents individually, in smaller groups, as well as her engagement with the Parent Carer forum is powerful and invaluable. This work combined with Sally’s strategic engagement and overview with SENDCos is ensuring a more holistic and joined up approach.
DIRECTOR OF CHILDRENS SERVICES- Paul Boyce, OBE
The last few months have shown us all the power of working together to achieve a common goal. None more so than in the work the Local Offer do to support children and young people with special educational needs and their families.
It has been wonderful to see the increased commitment to work together, share ideas and problems and work things out in a way that has established a new normal. This can only be to the benefit of our children and young people. Now that we have come this far the next objective is to keep going and get to the next level – one team- one Wirral.
LIVERPOOL CITY REGION APPRENTICESHIPS – Gareth Jones
The Local Offer has been a useful resource when we have had enquires from parents and young people asking where they can find information. We have been able to direct them to the Local Offer and they have been able to find the information they need in one place. It’s also been helpful for our staff who may need to find specific information quickly, they’ve been able to find what they were looking for straightaway this has helped when we are working on things like career planning with our young people. The Local Offer has proven an invaluable resource and has helped us find and provide relevant and up to date information to our young people and parents on Wirral.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT ORGANISATIONS
WIRED – David Maguire / Becky Heskey
“Wirral SEND Partnership, supports Parents and Carers of children with SEND, and young people with SEND. We refer regularly to Wirral Local offer. We find this is a valuable additional tool, when offering information, advice and support around SEND. Wirral’s Local Offer is easily accessible and comprehensive. It is easy to understand and factual, avoiding jargon that parents, carers and young people would not necessarily understand. The information, advice and support within it is clear, up to date and relevant. As a service we feel confident in referring our service users to Wirral Local Offer.
THE HIVE- Dougy Oliver
By the Hive working together with the Local Offer we can achieve bigger and greater things, reach out to more young people and spread the word of the work that we do. We are passionate about improving the lives of young people and with strong partnerships this is even more achievable. We look forward to working closely with the Local Offer in the future.
CHILDREN/ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE (CAMHS) Tracey Hartley-Smith
If there are any highlights or positives to be taken from Covid-19 it has got to be Wirral’s Local Offer! Sally and Poppy have been amazing, demonstrating true creativity, to ensure meaningful engagement with children and young people, their parents, and carers during such challenging times. They way in which Wirral Local Offer has enabled professionals and families to keep up to date with what is available has been inspiring. It really has strengthened my resolve to know, to understand and keep abreast of what is happening, and then I have practical solutions, ideas, and resources ready to share with the families I work with. I have been able to put parents in touch with local charities and some wonderful activities for the summer.
The SEND snapshot has enabled us to let a wide audience know about the services the CAMHS Learning Disability Team are providing and how we have adapted. It is such a comprehensive directory, what a great initiative!
As a result of the hard work and dedication of Wirral Local offer I have been able to support my colleagues throughout the wider CAMHS services; whenever there is a question about what is available locally for families, I know just where to go for answers.
Every area of the country should have a Sally and Poppy!
DESIGNATED CLINICAL OFFICER – Elaine Mooney
Testimonial to mark the impact of Wirral’s Local Offer. Oh, how it has grown and flourished!!!
In the early days of development, the Local Offer was put together as a response to a legislative duty and unfortunately, although co –produced, it was handled by an outside agency and did not have the IT platform in place or impact, that was hoped for.
As my job description states I have to ensure that the NHS content on the Local Offer is appropriate and kept up to date, I frequently visit the site. In the development stage this meant that all health services were approached to provide a service description for the site. The health services approached completed this action and provided an overview of their services, with links to web pages providing more information. Although informative, there was clearly a need of some further improvements and more time allocated for promotion to a wider audience.
Then we got our SEND Participation & Engagement Officer and improvements were made left, right and centre!
We had a Local Offer group developed which had all partners in attendance, they suggested improvements to the site and Sally worked tirelessly to embed those improvements. Promoting the Local Offer within NHS services with Sally also ensured a wider audience was reached and the site content has greatly improved.
In recruiting Local Offer Champions, Sally ensures that they take responsibility for their own sections of the Local Offer and this also promotes a wider of the Local Offer within health services.
In conclusion the Local Offer started as a weak website with little impact or true relevance to our families. It is now a co –produced valuable resource on which many practitioners and members of our SEND population can rely on as a credible source of information.
CHESHIRE PHOENIX BASKETBALL – Anna Jackson
I am the Head Coach and Chairperson at Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club and I met Sally last year at an event and our working partnership has blossomed since then!!
I am a Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball player and competed for 10 years with Team GB and had the honour of competing at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. As well as coaching with Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club I run my own business as a Motivational Speaker as well as coaching and tutoring Wheelchair Basketball. (www.believeitcoaching.co.uk)
I work hard to help people with different disabilities of all ages achieve new things and to learn to believe in themselves. Working with Sally and the Local Offer team is a great way for me to reach more young people and their families and help them grow through being involved in Wheelchair Basketball and disability sport.
Our first amazing little project together resulted in us donating a top of the range wheelchair basketball chair to a young girl who was starting to struggle in school to take part in PE and just to play in the playground with her friends. She has since come and joined our club and is a real star in the making. I am so pleased that we have been able to help give her some more freedom also to help her family meet other Parents of young people with disabilities and get support for themselves too.
Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club is open to anyone aged 5 and upwards with or without a disability. We are based at Ellesmere Port Sports village and have sessions on a Saturday afternoon / evening. We have sports chairs that people can borrow. (We are currently not training due to Covid restrictions but we are doing lots of fun stuff online for our players)
Wheelchair Basketball is a sport for people with and without disabilities – you do not have to be a permanent wheelchair user to play – we have many players with a whole range of disabilities and often siblings and parents come and play too. It is a great way to get all the family involved in an activity that they can do together.
We are just developing a new website, but we have some information at http://www.cheshirephoenixwbc.co.uk
Stacey Addison, Cultural Equalities Development Officer
Working in partnership with the Local Offer has enabled our programme to reach more families in need of the services we provide. It has provided a platform for families and young people to gain information about vital services and also provided them with a voice to help express their needs in order to shape services. We have also been able to connect and work with other organisations through our association with the Local Offer. The service provided is invaluable.”
SCHOOL SENCOS (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators) AND HEADTEACHERS
Lucy Hubbard – Brookdale Primary SENCO
Using Wirral local Offer as a new SENCO allowed me to reach out to services and professionals to help the children in my school and their families. Liaising with Sally and Poppy has been a delight; I feel supported and I know they always work hard to help our young people with SEND.
With their help we have been able to source not one, but two sports wheelchairs so that a young child could be involved in basketball, football and track racing just like all her peers! It has opened other childrens’ eyes to SEND needs and continued to promote a kind, caring and respectful approach to SEND across our school. The Local offer is a great tool for me to guide struggling parents too and also a source of comfort for many… to know they are not alone.
Poppy came into my school and worked with some of my SEND pupils to get their opinions on school and how we could further continue to support them. It gave them the voice they needed and boosted their confidence.
Thank you both for all you continued hard work and support during COVID!
Karen Trought – Foxfield SENCO
Foxfield School have found the Local Offer Website an invaluable tool to signpost our parents and carers to. It covers a wide range of topics and is a fantastic resource for anyone seeking information about SEN provision in Wirral. We have also valued the teams support in attending our parent’s evenings and demonstrating the website at parent/carer support group coffee mornings. We look forward to a continued close working relationship.
“Local Offer have been a valuable support during lock down and beyond for myself and my son.
As a parent to a child with SEND needs it is so important to feel supported especially through tough times.
Vicky Leary, Gilbrook SEMH Outreach Support
We are a team of teachers and teaching assistants from Gilbrook Primary SEMH Special School and are available for advice, training and support for primary children who are emotional and angry. We find the Local Offer website and the staff are fantastic for supporting and encouraging everyone to work together and are a fabulous place to find out who and what is out there to help.
Our aim is to work in primary schools to support strategies for children showing us, by their actions, that they are struggling with social and emotional and mental health difficulties. We try to do this by offering teacher, support staff and parent training sessions individualised to each school and covering such topics as Importance of Emotional Well Being for Learning, Causal Factors of Challenging Behaviour including ADHD/ ADD, ASC [Autism], Attachment Theory, Mental Health & Well Being, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Sensory Integration and Sensitivity, Behaviour Policy Support, Growth Mindset and Interventions and Strategies to Support School Readiness. We work 1 -1 with children to carry out assessments/interviews with children to gain understanding as to the child’s emotional and social wellbeing and mental health helping us with developing and supporting strategies to address the child’s needs – providing ‘in class’ modelling and support when required and writing recommendations on action to be taken. Schools can access the service through the Request for Support form on the Local offer website or contact Vicky Leary, Senior Teacher on [email protected] or on 0151 5223903.
Emily Stanley, Oldershaw Academy SENCO
Sally and Poppy, as the Local Offer team, have always provided great support to The Oldershaw Academy. It is an invaluable resource that I often direct parents and carers to, including using it during EHCP Annual Reviews and
during school holidays as way for families to access much-needed support. Sally and Poppy have both visited the Academy as part of their work in engaging with children and young people with SEND, particularly to gather their views and ideas, which is vital to ensure the success of co-production.
Alex Newman- Overchurch Infants SENCO
Through my role of SENCO, I have found working with Sally incredibly easy and have therefore managed to provide parents in my setting with additional support for their children. Sally has attended several school-based workshops over the past few years, and parents always feedback on how easy it is to talk to her and how useful the shared information is. We worked together to create social media accounts to help disseminate information easily. This has been very successful and is used by staff and parents to keep up to date with developments surrounding SEND in Wirral.
The termly information exchanges are particularly useful and continue to play a major role in CPD for SENCOs in Wirral. Sally is explicit with her support of SENCOs and acts on the feedback provided. I look forward to working in partnership with Sally in the future.”
Louise Seargeant – Headteacher, Fender Primary School
The Partnership Project has been a wonderful support in many ways. Sally and Poppy have attended Fender on Open Days and this is a fantastic resource to offer as parents are able to access further support relating to the SEN needs of their children. Using Poppy for pupil audits and discussion sessions has been invaluable and we have gathered a great deal of information which has helped us improve the environment and learning experiences for our SEN pupils.
Her approach to working with children is a winning one – confident, empathetic and inspiring.
WIDER SEND PARTNERS
Marie Hunt – Council for Disabled children Development Officer (Health)
In June, the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) ran an online event for SEND Leads and Children’s Health Commissioners from across the country. As part of the event, Sally Tittle led a workshop on ‘Using the Local Offer to respond to Covid-19’, in which she shared the challenges of adapting the Local Offer in Wirral to suit the needs of CYP and families during the pandemic.
Sally’s workshop was a popular choice, and attendees commented on how they will take some of the learning forward with regards to their own areas’ Local Offer. In recognition of the amazing work Wirral has done with their Local Offer, CDC created a case study of best practice based on their success in adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic, which can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/32SbfRp.
Dr Cathy Hamer, NW SEND regional network coordinator
I write to congratulate Wirral on their fabulous Local Offer. The comprehensive range of information and support for children and young people with special educational needs and their families is admirable. It is evident that co-production and partnership working with services is at the heart of the offer.
This beacon of good practice is a true reflection of the creativity of the brilliant team who continue to drive it forwards.
We as a family would like to say how hard Local Offer Wirral work to support families with SEND. They care and go the extra mile. Sally and Poppy work extremely well together. Poppy being a young person knows first-hand how hard it is to have special needs and she totally ‘gets’ the young person who needs help. They signpost Parents, Carers, Grandparents to the help needed(asap). They also fill identified gaps in provision once made aware. They make a massive difference and we could do with more Sallys & Poppys.
Sally was there to listen and gave me valuable advice and signposted me to local organisations on the Wirral.
She was absolutely fantastic in her commitment to provide the support we needed.
Myself and my son were able to access these over the summer holidays and this has meant we have felt part of a wider community.”
The Wirral’s LO is a great resource, that is very current and with up-to-date information to help so many families. Giving families different options of communicating with the many choices or services that could or can help.
Poppy has been supported for a couple of years now. We honestly thought she would never be able to hold down a regular job as she had never previously received the correct support. She suffers with severe anxiety and this meant she would have regular meltdowns worrying about everything.
Through your support we were able to get Poppy access to work arrangements as she would not get on the bus due to not knowing where to get on and off or what times she would need to get on them. She now gets a taxi which is the same driver every day, who texts her to remind her what time he is coming and where he is picking her up or dropping her off. This was a major barrier for Poppy and stopped her doing most things but now it has been removed she is comfortable going to work and even going to meetings in other buildings.
Poppy has been doing her job for 2 years and has gone from an apprentice to a full-time member of staff. The confidence she has now is incredible. She is able to talk to unfamiliar people with confidence, she can plan her day with timings, she can prioritise tasks and her workload.
All through lockdown staff have communicated with Poppy and sent her a timetable of when she needs to be on a call or when she has down time. They have also involved her in social events via zoom which she has loved and helped her wellbeing.
All staff are aware of Poppy’s additional needs and are very supportive of this. Sometimes she needs that extra bit of time or support and they will always accommodate this.
Wirral’s SEND Youth Voice Group members
- “Sally is friendly and I like that she talks to us and always listens and always offers her help”.
- “I like Sally coming into our dance sessions and it is nice to know she is there if we need support”
- “Sally has helped me when I was having issues with college when they were not providing what I needed to help me learn and progress due to my disability. She was able to challenge them and have things put in place to make college better for me. She has also helped through tough times with unhealthy relationships and given advice about housing and living independently”.
- “Sally helped me with my support worker and with issues I had going on”
- “I like having Sally talk to us in sessions and she always offers help. She is friendly.”
- “Sally from the Local Offer talk to us about what we have been doing and if we need any support.”
- “It helps me to talk about my family and nice to know that she is there for help”
- “Sally talks to us and gives support and helps us with things such as work, and she always listens to us.”
- “I have enjoyed telling her about what I have been doing in lockdown and having someone to talk to other the family.”