FVP has been busy since the coronavirus pandemic broke, delivering food parcels to people during lockdown and ensuring families do not become isolated.
The charity has also continued to provide feedback to local health and educational leaders about the impact of Covid-19 on families with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) which has proved crucial during this period.
And with pupils now back at school and restrictions increasing across the country, FVP is urging families to get in touch to share their experiences and highlight any problems they face so these can be raised with strategic groups in Peterborough.
It is also reminding parents and carers that its services remain open, and that support will continue even if there is a second lockdown.
“It is more important than ever that we hear from families so we can make sure their voices are being heard, so please get in touch with us and fill in our surveys so we know what issues you are facing,” said forum coordinator Jan Mead.
“We’ve been extremely busy since the pandemic began and we want to reassure people that even if there is a second lockdown we will continue to offer support.”
FVP is not a campaign group but achieves success through engagement with local leaders. This helps to shape services so they are fit for purpose and accessible to children with disabilities and additional needs.
FVP needs to hear from families about their experiences, including through the many surveys and media events it runs. The feedback received is used to provide the evidence needed to present to strategic leads in the local authority and health services to ensure necessary changes are made.
Although many of the events offered by FVP, including use of its community centre and disability-friendly caravans are on hold due to Covid, the team is looking at new ways of engaging families virtually.
These include reaching out to ‘seldom heard’ communities through a dedicated team, and even running Halloween-themed competitions which will see prizes up for grabs and goody bags being handed out. Wellbeing packs are also being produced for parents and carers to raise their spirits during these tough times.
Currently, FVP is raising difficulties families are having accessing wheelchair services, and it wants to receive as much feedback as possible so it can continue to highlight existing problems and help deliver positive change.
Feedback can be given through the charity’s website at http://www.familyvoice.org/ or by filling in a number of surveys FVP runs, which are published on its dedicated Facebook page and Twitter.
Activity centre vouchers can also be won by filling in a survey as a thank you and as a way of ensuring FVP can continue to provide fun activities for children and young people.
Judita Grubliene’s story – You‘re not alone, you‘re not left, you‘re not forgotten
At the same time as lockdown started, one of my family members got serious health issues and he was getting worse and worse each day.
One week after the disease started he could no longer walk and couldn‘t do anything by himself. It was very clear that he couldn‘t continue his work anymore. The same was true for me because I had to take permanent care of him. I was afraid and confused about what would happen to us because our lives changed totally.
Where and how to get help, what to do, how to live? – these were the only thoughts in my mind at that time.
Then I remembered that I had contact details for the community development worker at FVP, Ousman Gaye, whom I had been cooperating with in some projects before. I emailed him asking if he could help me in my current situation or maybe if he knew anyone who could help.
I was, therefore, so grateful and happy when I received useful information from FVP regarding my situation. They did the right signposting for us, helping to sort out my documents and all the other stuff we needed. They also delivered food supplies during lockdown to us and other families in need who were recommended by me.
FVP staff kept contacting me and asking if there was anything else they could do for us.
I am so grateful to FVP for their help and support and for everything they‘ve done for my family. And especially I am grateful to them for that exceptional feeling that you are not alone, not left, not forgotten with what you‘re having to go through.
It is a feeling of real family, and I am very proud now to be part of FVP and to be able to help other families as a parent representative.
Sharing my personal story, I‘d like to encourage people to ask for help when you really need it – FVP is here to help you.