We’re 15 years old! The Parents’ Voice Steering Group met on 17th November 2005 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Well, maybe not. There have been some challenges in those 15 years, and a few occasions when we’ve struggled and wondered whether we could/should carry on. Over the years we’ve adapted and changed, but one thing has stayed the same – our aim to make a difference for parents and their families in Worcestershire. Maybe that’s the reason we have pushed through those difficult times and are still going in 2020.
We used to find it difficult sometimes to explain to people what we did (and why); it’s not always straightforward now! So here are 15 short facts about Parents’ Voice which we shared on social media throughout November:
- Our group began with a small number of parents in 2005.
- Since 2005, Worcestershire County Council and other organisations have asked us for parents’ views (about all sorts of things!).
- We began attending events for parents in 2009 to tell people about Parents’ Voice and recruit new members.
- Some of the events we’ve attended since 2009 are baby and children’s fairs, Worcestershire Skills Shows, Apprenticeship Shows, and Parents in Partnership (for parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).
- We registered the domain name for our website in February 2009. The site went live soon afterwards and has had many changes since then. (We hope you like it!)
- Our Twitter account was set up on 12th February 2010 – we have sent out over 80,000 tweets to date!
- Another way that we share information with parents is through our Facebook page. You can find it here: https://bit.ly/PVfbook20.
- We often share details of surveys and consultations, both local and national. It’s important for parents to have their say!
- We are run by Worcestershire parents – there are no paid staff, we are volunteers.
- We share reliable information from local and national sources. Everyone needs information at some time – we believe that informed parents are empowered parents!
- We began holding information sessions for parents a few years ago; topics included online safety, drugs and mental health.
- Our Coffee & Chat meetings started in December 2014 (in response to parents telling us this was something they’d like). This year we’ve been meeting online; our last Virtual Coffee & Chat of 2020 is on 15th December (see the details on our News page).
- Sometimes we have conducted our own surveys to get Worcestershire parents’ views. These include 2013’s bullying and 2019’s mental health surveys.
- Over the last few years we’ve received some donations (monetary and in kind). We also recycle ink cartridges and collect stamps to raise funds; we are incredibly grateful for all the support. Thank you!
- We first sent a parent representative to a strategic meeting in 2008. Since then we’ve attended lots of different meetings and will hopefully be attending more in the future. If you’d like to help with this, start by signing up for our emails here: http://bit.ly/18NZgXZ,
What can we add to all that? There are other things we could tell you about, but the 15 points above give most of the major highlights.
So, summing up: Parents’ Voice began as a small consultative group of parents. Once we recruited more members/supporters we began encouraging them to have their voices heard by individually taking part in consultations etc. We all need accurate information, especially to give meaningful views – but it goes beyond completing questionnaires or surveys or taking part in focus groups. Parents always need information (at various times in our family lives), and when we began sharing useful information it was obvious that many parents found it really useful and went on to share the information with others. It’s no surprise that this year our Coronavirus information page has been extremely popular. As we said, informed parents are empowered parents!
15 years on in 2020, we now reach thousands of parents and family carers through our emails, this website and social media (not bad for a tiny group of volunteers).
We are looking forward to the next 15 years and we hope you are too. Thank you for your support, we always appreciate it.