Bolton Parent Carers have been running workshops for parents since 2015. We have always wanted to provide good quality, accurate information about SEND law for parents and carers, to support you on the SEND journey. Over the last 5 years we have run more than 120 workshops with over 1000 parents and carers joining us.

We see that there is an abundance of information out there online for parents about SEND, and we know it can be really hard to know what is correct and also how to apply what you read to your own situation. We design our workshops to ensure that you can combine knowledge of SEND law with how that works in Bolton. We try to strip away myths and mystery to help parents on the journey.

All workshops are developed and written ourselves. We tweak them all the time to keep them up to date and also ensure that they are engaging. For instance, this summer we are updating all the activities and we have also received some funding which means we can afford to develop and print handouts for all attendees.

Content of the workshops is co-written by Nan Cooper and Cheryl Wyatt. Cheryl is the Head of Service for Bolton Information Advisory Service (IAS) and Nan is the Chairperson of Bolton Parent Carers, and also works part-time at IAS. The combination of training and knowledge ensures that our workshops are always legally accurate and will contain the most up-to-date information about local process.

Cheryl and Nan also host the sessions together, both are parents to young adults with SEND, so are no stranger to the journey, and will throw in plenty of personal anecdotes along the way.

We use examples in our sessions to explain how things should happen. from experience of attending generic SEND training or workshops, it can feel like the information is useful, but you can come away wondering how to apply that for your own situation. in our workshops we explain ‘Bolton’ we provide signposting, contacts and information so that you leave the session knowing your next steps.

Workshops combine an onscreen presentation, with narrative and some activities too to change things up a bit, and allow attendees time to chat and have a change of focus. We are happy to answer questions as we go along as it just adds to what we are able to cover in the sessions. The activities will test your brain, but we don’t expect you to do anything awkward or stand up and speak!

There is always a range of free refreshments available, whether you’ve had a long night and need a strong coffee, or during the evening fancy a peppermint tea, we’ve plenty of choice. Snacks are also on offer to keep you going.

Sessions are also an opportunity to chat with other parents, but it’s fine not to too, we don’t force you into any icebreakers or anything like that! You will though find yourself in a room with other parents who are experiencing something similar to you, and it can reassuring to know that you are not alone.

Occasionally you might discover a professional attending the workshops too. This is because we also promote our workshops too anyone in Bolton who works with families who have children or young people with SEND. We do this because we know that they will benefit from the content and also that it’s good for the professionals to hear the parents talking in the sessions about their experiences. We have also run our workshops for whole school training and also to some services locally.

The Hub is an accessible building in the town centre, just off Victoria Square. We have an office at The Hub and have used it for our workshops for over 5 years. It has good facilities and last year invested in some great screens so our presentations look nice and bright and clear for attendees. The Hub has a staffed reception, so when you arrive there is always someone to welcome you. There is plenty of parking in the town centre, with a range of prices. The most convenient is the NCP carpark adjacent to The Hub.

We are very proud that our workshops have always been free to attend and we will always work to have enough funding to ensure they remain free. This year we have been awarded a Bolton Fund grant to run our workshops and also update our handouts and resources.

To take a look at the sessions we are currently running, with dates and booking information you can click here and if you have any questions about our workshops, please don’t hesitate to get in touch