FAQs About Parents’ Voice Supporters
Who are supporters of Parents' Voice?
We are all Worcestershire parents or family carers – some supporters have very young children, others are the parents of teenagers (or older), while some are now grandparents as well. Some people join on behalf of a parents’ group (eg: a school forum or a parent and toddler group).
When can I get involved?
Immediately – or whenever you want to. All you need is an email address, or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Can anyone join?
Yes, if you are a parent or family carer and you live in Worcestershire (or have an interest in Worcestershire activities and services for families) then we would welcome you. We’re all ordinary parents.
How involved do I have to be?
As much or little as you like! As a supporter, you will receive email updates and invitations to events, but you don’t have to commit to anything. Through emails and social media we’ll let you know what’s going on, and sometimes ask for your views. Committee members try to meet regularly and supporters are welcome to attend.
Are there any costs?
No. There is no membership fee or any financial contribution required. Support and involvement cost nothing other than time (and you decide how much time you can spare – it may be just 5 minutes to read an email occasionally).
My child is almost 16, can parents of teenagers join?
Absolutely! Parents are always parents. We do not force people to leave us when their child reaches a particular age, we let them make the decision. Some supporters decide to leave when their youngest child reaches the age of 18, but many do not, especially if the young person has additional needs or they become Grandparents.
Why should I get involved with Parents' Voice?
You will get useful information which can help you to be parents whatever age your children are.
We think that informed parents are empowered parents. You may become aware of services, groups or events which are useful or of interest to your family.
We also pass on details of consultations and surveys (both national and local to Worcestershire) and encourage parents and carers to take part in any which are relevant to them.
Where can I get involved?
Anywhere, even from the comfort of your sofa at home – we send out regular emails, post on social media and we tell parents about consultations you can take part in over the internet!
We also hold regular meetings in Worcester and sometimes have coffee and chat sessions in local cafes across the county.
How do I contact you?
By email or through social media. You’ll find the details on the Contact us page.
Is it really free to join?
Yes. There are no costs involved with being a supporter of Parents’ Voice; all you need is an email address or access to social media. If you decide you no longer want to receive our emails, just tell us!
What if I want to leave?
Just tell us. Any emails you receive should have details of how to do this at the end or you can always find details of the email address on our Contact us page.
Is it worth me joining if I can't attend meetings?
Definitely! We know many of you are too busy to come to any meetings, so we don’t expect anyone to come (though you can if you want to). We will send you emails to keep you informed, post on social media and put updates on this website.
FAQs About Making A Difference
Why should I get involved? Why do I need to have a voice?
To answer that, let us ask you a few questions!
- Have you ever felt frustrated that nobody asks for your opinion about services?
- Do you think something could be done better?
- Have you given feedback about something and wondered if anybody was listening?
By acting together we have a louder voice and hope to influence change.
Without a voice the views you have about how to make the future for children and families in Worcestershire better will remain unheard by those who could make a real difference.
You know your child best and your opinion as a parent or carer matters.
You, as a parent, have as much right to share your views as anyone else.
Will it make a difference?
Yes! OK, we’re not promising that as soon as you tell us about something it will change overnight, but gradually we are making a difference and influencing changes.
Our group began in a small way some years ago. We have grown and changed, but we are still a group of parents and carers who are passionate about making a difference to services for children and young people in Worcestershire.
Who will listen?
The committee will listen to the supporters and then Worcestershire County Council, NHS Worcestershire and other people listen to them!
You could bring a fresh new approach to something we are working on or bring our attention to a problem or issue you’re dealing with, which could be affecting others.
Who do you work with?
We try to work with as many people as possible, especially those who provide services for families (such as Worcestershire County Council and the NHS).
We want parents’ voices to be heard and to influence decisions where they will have the most power. We also link with Healthwatch Worcestershire, the county’s independent health and social care champion.
Parents’ Voice think it is really important for parents in local communities to influence what happens in those areas but to also use those opinions to effect change across the whole county (and sometimes nationally).
How do you work with others?
Though we are an independent group and we are not attached to any one organisation, we do have close working relationships with the County Council and Health Services.
We advise and influence the decisions made by these groups at their invitation. We see this as a positive and productive relationship. We are able to take part in meetings where main strategic decisions are made and feed parents’ voices straight in at the top.
We are supported by the County Council’s Parent Engagement Advisor.
FAQs About What To Expect
What does the group do?
Sometimes we have struggled to explain what we do because we are a group like no other in Worcestershire; we have adapted and changed over the years and we are still changing and forging our own independent path.
This is what we currently do:
We pass on information to parents and family carers – we believe that it empowers them to make informed decisions. It can also make them aware of services, groups or events which are useful or of interest to their family.
We have free information sessions throughout the year, on a variety of topics. Recently we have hosted meetings on dealing with anxiety and online safety.
We sometimes hold coffee and chat sessions in local coffee shops.
We pass on details of consultations and surveys (both national and local to Worcestershire) and encourage parents and carers to take part in consultations which are relevant to them.
We aim to connect parents and carers who have something to say, with the people who need to hear what they are saying, in order to make a difference.
We try to keep parents informed about relevant publications, plans or strategies.
We conduct our own surveys for parents and carers and sometimes we host focus groups when a service wants the views of parents about a proposed change or development.
Will you help with childcare and transport?
Unfortunately not, sorry. We have very limited funding and Parents’ Voice is run by volunteers, we don’t have any paid staff. Any money we have is spent on getting our message out there, putting on information evenings and one-off projects like this new look website.
Where are the meetings?
The committee meetings are usually in Perdiswell, north Worcester. Workshops and other events may be held in various locations throughout Worcestershire – see the News and Events page
Will I get paid?
Afraid not. Parents’ Voice supporters offer their time and services for free. We do not have any paid staff – the committee are all volunteers and are not paid for their time.
How often do you meet?
The committee meet regularly (about six times a year) and supporters are welcome to attend. Details of consultations, information evenings, coffee and chat sessions and other events are on the News and Events page.
I can't go to meetings, is there another way to be involved?
Yes! Only the committee members regularly attend meetings. However, we send out details of online consultations via email and also on social media, so you may want to take part in those. All supporters receive our emails and you can decide whether there is anything you can do with the information we have sent.
We tell supporters what we’re doing and it’s up to each supporter to decide if they want to take part or whether they can help in any way.
Sign up for our emails here!
News & Events