The Local Offer searcher
We went live just before Christmas and we have already had some fantastic anecdotal stories about how useful people have found it. One mum whose child had a new diagnosis was able to find a support group running nearby and they gave her some counselling, some practical advice and equipment and she has felt well supported at the start of her journey.
The Local Offer team has been talking to parent link workers; they were really interested in the facility on the Local Offer to translate the pages into any language. Its called a Browse Aloud widget and it is on every search result page. They thought it could be really useful for them.
We made a small presentation to the disabled sports advisory group and now have a few more twitter followers. All the sports represented on the advisory group are on the Local Offer and there is some good work being developed for sports men and women with disabilities. Our twitter feed today was tweeting about Issy Bailey, a target shooter and wheelchair rugby player from Gloucester who has been chosen by Sport England as a face to represent active young women.
Follow us on Twitter (@LONorthants) to keep up to date
The Local Offer team were invited to Northampton College at Daventry and Booth Lane campus to meet with groups of young students and their parents by Information Advice and Support Services (IASS - formerly known as NPPS) to provide information about the opportunity to transfer to an EHC plan if needed, what facilities there may be for the future and for the now. One of the Transitions team asked if we could find any horse-riding for disabled people and the Local Offer brought up nineteen different places to get horse riding in Northamptonshire. Trot on!
I had been to a couple of regional events with our local Parent Forum Group, the presentations being about co-production and how we can support each other. (NPFG details can be found on the Local Offer and they are another source of support and information for parents). All the regional representatives reported that they struggle with volunteers and having enough volunteers to cover the opportunities there are to participate. So if anyone has any time to spare, let NPFG know. One of them represents parents on the Local Offer Workstream group, which is designed to influence the shape of the Local Offer and develop it for the future.
We were really pleased to welcome the Transitions Manager onto the Workstream group recently and we have plans to move over the information currently held on the Easy Read site to the Local Offer. And we have copied over all the video clips that they had and we now have a Youtube channel on the home page.
A big piece of work for us this spring has been our first SNIX newsletter – we have received some really positive comments from readers, and hope to get some articles for the next edition as well as just adverts for services. Producing the SNIX newsletter is one of the ways that we are providing the information that is on the Local Offer for users who don’t have the internet. I have to add that the cost of printing and postage is immense so it is much better to read it online, however, should anyone need to receive a copy and they didn’t, then you just need to register for SNIX to get a copy of the newsletter. You can find copies through the Local Offer as well as the SNIX page on the LA website. Sign up for SNIX
Shooting Starts meeting
Shooting Stars, our group of young people (with disabilities) welcomed me to their meeting last week to talk about the newsletter – they even offered to share the sausage rolls with me. They are keen to be involved; they decided to send in articles every publication about the group and their work, showing what the members are doing on their work experience and their social lives. They decided they didn’t want to see the newsletter before it was printed. They would leave that to us.
The Local Offer in Leicester
Finally we were invited to the Leicester City Local Offer Live event – and so on a snowy January day, Vicki, Becca and myself caught the train up to Leicester Curve to see what they had organised. It was a large and busy event, with lots of providers and stalls showing their services. We really enjoyed the live elements of the day, especially the assistive dogs demonstration and the young people’s experiences.
Live event in Northamptonshire?
We would like to organise a Live event for Northamptonshire families that are Local Offer users, but we want to plan a fun day, with the providers actually doing what they are best at; inviting our sports partners to get sporty, our dance providers to teach some wheelchair dancing, and so on. Would this be something that would interest you and your family? This is something we will do in partnership with our NPFG.