THE acting chair for a Cumbria organisation has outlined her vision for the future of the group.

Sabrina Smith, a parent carer and Acting Chair of SEND Alliance Cumbria (Cumbria's parent carer forum), has used her passion and drive to follow the aims of the organisation.

The forum works to provide support and care for parents and those looking after children in the area.

She said: "SEND Alliance Cumbria (known as SENDAC for short) is Cumbria's new parent carer forum. Every local authority must have a statutory partnership with a SEND parent/carer group, and here in Cumbria we are that group. We are a newly formed group of volunteers, all of us parents or carers of young people between the ages of 0 and 25 with additional needs and/or disabilities.

"I am currently Acting Chair of SENDAC, and our aim is to help families and children's voices be heard through-out services. We aren't a support group as such, although we will certainly signpost families to support groups and services where appropriate. Our role is to reach out to families and listen to their concerns and stories.

"From these we get an overall view of what is working well and where things are going wrong. Our job then is to take that information to the decision makers within Cumbria County Council and the NHS, and work with them to make improvements so things get better for our children.

"I work in a local school as a higher level teaching assistant, where I work closely with young people with SEND. I also have two children, one with additional needs. My passion is to improve outcomes for these young people, and I believe that having family voices at the centre of conversations and decision making, through SENDAC, will help to make this possible.

"All parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, aged 0 to 25, are very welcome to join SENDAC.

"Your child doesn't need to have a diagnosis, and membership is free. Parents and carers can be as active as they want to be, from simply joining to receive newsletters, right up to volunteering for the Steering group, and everything in between. Anyone interested can email to join or find out more.

"Personally, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas, and hope that 2022 brings a little more stability and a lot of positive change for our children and our families."