Guest post from Amanda Mortensen who is the Coordinator for Face 2 Face in Brighton and Hove.
We celebrated our first year in Brighton with a party last weekend. Twenty six families came together to celebrate with a special lunch, a fantastic inclusive drumming session, a messy art table and a sensory room. Families also got a special sensory goody bag to take away.
We held the event at Scope’s day centre, The Sharon Collins centre, which was a brilliant venue with a sensory room, music room and lots of space to move around. Barry Kidner, the team coordinator there, has been really supportive and helped the day go brilliantly and Liam Synnott, service manager, came down to help which was very much appreciated.
The day was well attended by our befrienders and their families and children from six months to 16 years all had a great time. Families told us they really enjoyed the day and thought the venue was fantastic:
“Congratulations Face 2 Face, a great service for families,”
“A fantastic day, all of us enjoyed it. A grand event, thanks.”
“Well done for making Face 2 Face a reality in Brighton,”
Parents also talked about feeling isolated at the weekend and really appreciated a safe, stimulating environment in which to get together.
A great year for Face 2 Face in Brighton and Hove
Thanks to money raised by HealthWish through the Health Lottery, we’ve had a great year and are really looking forward to our second year. We’ve launched groups for children with Down syndrome, groups at the city’s special schools for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties, a group supporting children who are under the preschool special educational needs service and a group for dads. Our first dads’ group last week (in a pub, obviously) was with nine local dads and we hope to reach many more in the coming year. We also ran a really successful sleep workshop led by the charismatic Emma Sweet from Sleep Solutions. Parents are still talking about it on Facebook!
Next year, we will continue to look at new ways to support parents. We will continue to work closely in partnership with the local authority, which has proven really effective this year. Look out for a creative writing course (this will look at the parent journey, but you never know, we may discover the next JK Rowling). We will be also be training up a new team of befrienders to increase our ability to offer support to parents. Our current team are amazingly dedicated and several are now starting to lead our groups as well as offering vital one to one befriending.
Well done and thank you to everyone who has made the year a success!