February was a bit quiet!
Please accept my apologies for the lack of a full newsletter in February. I hope that Dan Berridge's two posts (Nottingham Forest family day out and the coin scheme with John Lewis) kept you up to date with goings on at Crocus Fields.
I would like to second Dan's thanks to Nottingham Forest and their Forest in the Community Scheme. The day that they put on for the young people and families who attended was fantastic. For them to go to the extra effort of organising everyone to meet the players was a really nice touch and added something extra special to the day. We were really pleased with the welcome we received and the effort the club went to in order to make the day so unique. We were also delighted at how many families came along with us. Organising family days out is still something that is very new to us at Crocus Fields. We have now had three throughout the past 6 months, with Crocus-Fest, The Cinema trip and now the Forest match. Plans for an event in the summer will be announced shortly, but we were thinking a BBQ or picnic for all our families at Crocus Fields. Watch this space....
Anyone know a hairdresser?
I have received a call this week from a parent of a young person who used to come to Crocus Fields. She asked me whether or not I knew any autism-friendly hairdressers as her son has become even more averse to "having his mop chopped" than previously! Knowing that this has been a challenge for some other families, I thought it was worth asking all of you! So, if anyone does know an autism (or disability)-friendly hairdresser that would be interested in some work, please ask them to get in touch with me, and I will advertise their services on the website and put parents in touch with them! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next scheduled Crocus Fields parent support group is Friday 16th March at 10.30am. The plan for this meeting is to review Crocus Fields as a service and help us look at our service plan for the year ahead. But as always, the parents group is a chance and opportunity for you to talk to like minded parents, listen to their stories, get help, advice and support and if you feel up to it, talk about yourself and what is going on in the life of your son and daughter. But there is no pressure within the group. Parents can contribute as much or a little as they like. The important aspect for the meeting is for you to get the opportunity to have some time to yourself, some nice coffee, tasty snacks and meet other people.
We are really pleased at how this service has developed and in how many parents have attended it. Please feel free to come along. Don't be scared to bring along other parents, or your family too. The more the merrier and we are happy for anyone to come, even if they do not have a child at Crocus Fields and they just want to talk to another parent of a child with a disability.
Dad's Group (NADS!)
Research indicates that Dad's of children with disabilities are far less likely to access support groups than mums. This is for a variety of reasons, but one reason a father recently mentioned to me, is because he did not feel comfortable with the idea of a support group in the traditional setting. He then told me about a group that has been set up for Dads in Nottingham called "NADS" It is a social group for fathers of children with additional needs who meet up once each month to do some sort of activity. Whether that be cycling, a pub quiz, skalectrix or a night of snooker. There is no set time to talk about autism, disabilities or kids in general. But you will have a friendly ear if you want to. They very much advertise this group as an informal gathering and everyone I have spoken to who attends speaks highly of it. If you or anyone you know are interested, visit this website.
Finally, I wanted to bring your attention to Rainbow Parents Carers Forum in Nottingham. They are a parent/carer led organisation whose mission is to ‘Support and Empower Families to be Heard and Achieve Better Outcomes’.
They run parent groups with supported play sessions at the weekends. This allows families to meet each other safe in the knowledge that their son or daughter is being safely and competently looked after by someone. They also run surgeries, offer advice, invite guest speakers and can point you in the right direction if, when trying to find the right support you are feeling a bit lost! Their website is here. Details on how you can join them are on their website.
I have spoken to a large number of parents who have spoken extremely highly of the support that this group can offer families and the difference it has made to their lives.
Some very exciting news will hit the Crocus Fields website in the next two weeks following our recent recruitment. We have a new worker set to join the team within the next 4-6 weeks who we believe will bring a huge amount of enthusiasm and skill into the service. We will get her set up on the website within the month and e-mail you all to let you know.
Last year we floated the idea of a parent led fundraising group for Crocus Fields. Many years ago we had a very successful parent led group who set up a charity called "The Children's Fund". The charity helped fund equipment, holidays and special purchases for Crocus Fields that could enhance the experience of the young people in areas that our budget could not quite stretch to.
We would very much like to set this up once again and encourage parents that are interested in doing so to get in touch with me at Crocus Fields. John Imms has indicated that he would be very interested in helping facilitate this group which we are over the moon with.
We hope to hear from many of you soon. We will write out to all the families to let you know about what is going to happen.