Blackburn with Darwen Parents in Partnership (BwDPIP)
Empowering Parents through Information Sharing
I joined Parents in Partnership in 2016 and I am now one of the co-chairs. I am proud to work alongside our amazing parent-reps, representing parents in strategic meetings and signposting parents/carers to the support that they need.
In the past I have had a variety of jobs, lived in London for 5 years, and Pakistan for 6 months.
I worked on a telephone helpline for people with disabilities and their carers before I had my children, taking new claims for benefits over the phone.
I have been involved with the local branch of the National Autistic Society and held the position of treasurer for over 3 years. I have also undergone training enabling me to facilitate the Cygnet course, for parents/carers of children who have been diagnosed with Autism/ASD, and I have a diagnosis of “high functioning autism” myself.
I have been a full-time carer since my son was 13 and was having difficulties attending school, which necessitated my giving up my job. I also run a Facebook group for families that have the same rare genetic condition that my daughter has. Both my children had problems with school attendance at times in their lives and I have navigated through the system of getting support for them as children and now into adulthood.
Although I am from the “pre computer” era, I have embraced technology during Covid, and while I am still learning, I have earned the nickname “Tech Wizard”!
My name is Janet, I am Co-Chair for Blackburn with Darwen Parent in Partnership (BwDPIP).
I am the mother of three grown up children, one who has ADHD and is also deaf. I am also have six grandchildren, one of my grandchildren who has physical disabilities lives with my husband and myself.
While my children were young, myself and my husband had a milk round, I have also worked as a childminder for the Social Care Services, providing short term placements for vulnerable children.
My grandson came to live with myself and my husband when he was a baby, he needed full time care, so we gave up the milk round, and I decided to return to education, my main motivation was to help my grandson, so I did degrees in Early Years and Special Needs.
I have therefore developed skills over the years in book-keeping, medicine, nursing, and customer service amongst others. Throughout my life I have attended many training courses and workshops around children and young people.
Once my grandson came to live with me, I joined a group called ‘Parents4Parents.’ With my academic qualifications and the knowledge, I gained from working within this group I was able to understand what I could do to enhance not only my grandson’s life but other families too.
My name is Polly, and I am on the steering group for BwDPIP.
I am the parent of twins aged 13, one with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and one with Autism.
I am currently doing a Masters in mental health nursing at university.
I am a qualified teacher. Previously, I have been the head of an SEN (Special Educational Needs) department in a secondary school and an Early Years Adviser for a local council in Scotland. I also worked across South Manchester as a Sure Start Children's Centre Teacher.
I am a musician and play fiddle, guitar and sing and I love attending live music festivals.
I used to volunteer as a contact person for young people from around the world who came to attend school and live with families in the UK, for the charity I.E.P (Intercultural Educational programme) because I also spent a year in Denmark aged 16, where I lived with a Danish family and attended school. I have always enjoyed voluntary work and find it very rewarding.
My name is Elaine, a parent of a child (now 19) with Autism Spectrum Condition.
I volunteer with Blackburn with Darwen Parents in Partnership (BwDPIP) for many reasons, including: - they helped me so much when I needed help, I want to give something back and they are a fabulous bunch of people.
I believe that parents know their child best and must be listened to by the professionals. My experience as a parent and the skills I learnt as an employee have developed my communication and negotiation skills which was very helpful in dealing with the education system to achieve the desired outcome for my child. As I work in education, I understand both the view of parents and how the system works, and I believe that education should be accessible for all. It might seem like a fight sometimes, but it is worth it as reasonable adjustments benefit everyone.
Experience of the mental health system for young people has made me realise it needs to be improved in many areas e.g., transition for young people to adult services, reduced waiting times, consistency in appointment location, better appointment rooms. This is a key area for us at BwDPIP which I hope to support in any way I can.
Without a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up, I started studying chemistry at university and enjoyed it so much, I achieved a master’s degree in Analytical Chemistry (MSc). Before children, I was a Research Scientist making medicines for companies such as Johnson and Johnson, then I worked selling processing equipment to pharmaceutical and biotech industries which was fascinating. This didn’t fit with having 2 young children, so I retrained as a Maths Teacher and studied for a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). During this time, I became very passionate about teaching, and continued to master’s level in post-compulsory education (MEd) and I work now as a Lecturer, teaching pharmacy students calculations and how to make medicines.
My name is Joanne, I am on the steering group for Blackburn with Darwen Parents in Partnership. I’ve been volunteering with PIP for the last couple of years and have enjoyed my time getting to know parents/carers and sharing lived experiences. We help to improve and shape local services within Blackburn with Darwen though shared information and experiences, giving our children and young people a more positive experience.
I am a mother to a teenage daughter, who is on the autism spectrum. I too have been assessed recently and I am on the spectrum myself.
I have a wealth of knowledge and a vested interest in autism and mental health. I have attended various courses on autism, sensory integration and mental health.
I have passion for arts and crafts which I find very therapeutic. I’m also a huge fan of Harry Potter, books, films. I have found this helps when engaging with children and young people, as many of them also have an interest in Harry Potter.
I have been volunteering with Parents in Partnership for many years. I became involved as my children have hearing loss and additional needs. I feel that I can share my experience with other parents & carers as they understand what we all go through.
One of my roles as a steering group member, is to support both co-chairs of the Forum by updating the social media for the service and registering new members.
I speak fluent English, Urdu and Punjabi, therefore I am able to support and direct parents/carers to the appropriate service, if English is not their first language.
My name is Diana, I am Mum to a son who has ADHD. I also have a physical disability, which has given my understanding how others feel
I have a vast amount of experience and knowledge working as a volunteer in various organisations. I am currently a volunteer for Blackburn with Darwen Parents in Partnership. I worked as a volunteer for Blackburn with Darwen Carers Service for 10 years, and for 6 of those I ran the Parent Carers Group for the service. I have also volunteered in schools helping children and young people who required extra help.
For eight years I was a co-coordinator for my local church, where I facilitated training sessions for Sunday School children and young people. I also volunteered for 12 years for Blackburn Diocese.
I am a retired qualified nurse after working for many years in various areas in the hospital for the NHS.
Over the years I have attended many courses on ADHD, Autism, Learning Disability.
I also make amazing cakes, which I find very therapeutic.
My name is Lesley, I am a mother to two sons who have a diagnosis of ASD, both are now adults.
I have been a member of BwDPIP steering group for over 2 years. Prior to this, I was on the Committee at the local National Autistic Society (NAS). I also volunteer for Lancashire Health and Wellbeing within Darwen including Rural Healthy Communities Partnership.
I have worked for the NHS and local government for many years, starting in the NHS as a Medical Secretary. I then progressed as an Officer for the Community Health Council representing the voices of patients and the public health service in Blackburn with Darwen and local areas. Ensuring local NHS services are accountable to members of the public.
I moved from the NHS to the Local Authority in Housing, for Blackburn with Darwen, administrating Disabled Facility Grants and the Care and Repair Agency
I returned to the NHS as an Occupational Therapy Assistant where I was involved with equipment and rehabilitation for patients.
My other work within the NHS has been in health centres, X-Ray department working alongside Consultant Radiologists, control response for sheltered accommodations and lifeline pendants.
I have worked in recruitment for Avon. I am also a qualified Professional Health Trainer.
I can never forget my years in women's football both as a player, founding Blackburn Rangers LFC and serving on the Northwest Women's Regional Football Committee. I hung my boots up at 42 but did get them out briefly again at 55!
Initially I became a volunteer for BwDPIP as I really didn’t know what was out there for ASD/LD CYP and to get the help needed for my grandchild who is autistic. With the knowledge & support I gained from my BwDPIP colleagues and going through a long process, my grandchild is in a very happy place and is settled in a school which he absolutely loves.
The passion that the BwDPIP team have for what they believe in and work towards empowering families is incredible. They are also amazing people, who I can now call my friends, therefore, I decided to stay with the team and aim to embrace families and empower them also. BwDPIP are actively involved in Co-production with various organisations, ensuring that parents/carers voices are heard. Many of the Co-production meetings are with NHS which I have knowledge and experience of working in.
I worked as a nurse and clinical manager in the NHS all my working life. I was trained in general nursing and mental health. However, my passion was in mental health and my time working in CAMHS (ELCAS as it is known in East Lancashire & BwD). I feel blessed that I had the opportunity of working in CAMHS and loved working with children and young people, who never failed to inspire me.
I have a vast amount of knowledge and can support and direct families to the appropriate services for children and young people with ASD/LD. I have attended many courses over the past 2 years around ASD/LD with BwDPIP, in addition to the courses I have attended in my role in CAMHS.