Bringing Us Together – What we do
Many people ask us what we do at Bringing Us Together. For many, they only know about one part of the work we do and they are often surprised to find out how much we actually offer in addition to that.
First of all, can we say a huge thanks to all of you who follow us, subscribe to our posts, who are members of our Facebook groups and all of you who make Bringing Us Together what it is. Without the families trusting us and talking to us, we would not be offering what we offer now.
When we launched over four years ago, (I know, where has the time gone), we initially planned on a forum based website with different areas for you to visit – like a village.
However, although a few of you really liked that, most of you prefer Facebook or Twitter. The forums were not a huge success.
One thing many people have said is they love how we change to meet the needs of our families. We don’t insist on staying with something that doesn’t work, just because we think it’s a good idea.
We do what you need,
not what we think you want
As time passed, we became more and more focussed on the work we now do with Stronger Together families. Families who have (or have had) a child or young person in an ATU. This has become a huge part of our work – working with the families and NHS England along with lots of different sections of health and social care departments and providers.
We were seeing bloggers being disillusioned in mainstream blogging awards and wanting something just for them. This is how we came up with the launch of our BAPS Blogging Awards. The Awards are about to be held for the second time in May. The feedback has been amazing and some really great support friendships and support networks have been created as a result.
Then, people said “we want this for all parents, not just those who blog” so we launched our BAPS of the Month award.
Parents were too emotionally involved to find the information they needed when they needed it. Many parents were coming to us for information.
We launched our first survival guide last summer – a guide to Care and Treatment Reviews (CTRs).
After listening to our families, especially our Stronger Together ones, we are also now writing a Guide to Education and a Guide on Avoiding Crisis.
Resources for families:
We have written posts on how to organise paperwork and your day to day life – something many parents are challenged with every day.
We have produced a series of posts on One Page Profiles (not to be confused with a Section A of the EHC Plan). Many families liked the idea but didn’t know where to start so we split things down.
We have written posts sharing tips and ideas for those running Parent groups – this can be one of the most challenging things to do and we have shared what we know in the hope it helps you to address possible issues before they happen.
Parent Carer Health
One of the common issues we hear from many parents is the impact that being a parent carer has on our health.
At the end of last year, we ran a quick questionnaire to find out more about this. The results are currently being put together and we are speaking to a few interested parties in order that this will have the biggest impact and make a real difference to families.
Training & Consultancy
Our training, workshops and FB Lives have really proven popular. We are now in the lucky position of having people contact us to write training for them as they have been so impressed with what we do.
When we see common themes, we collate information and produce reports. We now have great connections in the media and other organisations who are very happy to help us share them to a larger audience.
You can read our reports here
We have a few different Facebook groups – to meet different needs of our families.
A group for everyone, where questions are asked, events are shared and we have a daily check in where you can share your news. One thing the Parent carer health responses showed us was that many parents feel isolated. The daily check in has proved very popular. A way to vent or celebrate our day with people who get it.
This is for families who have, or have had children/young people in an ATU. The support in there is just amazing and it’s really good to see new families joining and getting the advice and support they need at a stressful time.
This is a health-focus group. Many families were telling us how they hated going to slimming clubs where they were told “just have no chocolate in the house” (when we know that sometimes chocolate is the only bribe that works so you can go the loo alone) or “get outside every day” (when we know that sometimes persuading our children to leave the home can be a challenge we can’t face or perhaps taking our children out takes 30 minutes of getting them in to chairs and medical equipment packed). The groups didn’t always understand the different challenges we face.
We don’t offer any particular diet to follow (we all know what works for us) but we support each other, share ideas and we also have the same daily check in that we have in our Members Lounge.
This has become a very active group – the half term week was very entertaining with parents sharing how they had survived McDonalds or had just gone for carbs as their kids were not sleeping due to change of routine and they needed to get through the day.
Over to you
What else would you like to see us doing? Is there a gap that you can’t seem to find anyone to fill? Maybe they do exist but you don’t know where to look.
Get in touch – we really do want to hear from you.
Mum to three great kids, each with a different SEN.
Transplanted from the NW to the SE.
Co-founder and Director of Bringing Us Together