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Regional SEN Transition to Employment Project Newsletter In this issue Introduction A look at some of the upcoming Welfare Reforms. Person Centred Planning A guide to person centred planning and how families can support the person centred plans of their family member. Support for families A breakdown of some of the organisations offering specialist support to families with children with disabilities. Training & Events A list of upcoming project training and events.

January 2013 Welcome to the January 2013 edition of the Real Opportunities newsletter! We hope you had a lovely Christmas and will have a very happy, healthy and successful new year! This edition of the newsletter is a special family edition, with information aimed specifically at families that we hope you’ll find useful. This New Year brings with it a lot of Welfare Reforms, and it’s difficult to get to grips with all the changes that may affect you and your family. Universal Credit (UC) will be launched in October 2013 and phased in over a four year period. UC will replace the following benefits: • Child tax credit • Housing benefit • Income related employment and support allowance • Income based jobseeker’s allowance • Income support • Working tax credit Other benefits are changing too: • Disability Living Allowance will be replaced by Personal Independence Payment for people aged 16 to 64 from 2013 • Council Tax Benefit will be abolished in April 2013 and replaced by a system of localised support • Pension Credit will be amended from October 2014 to include help with eligible rent and dependent children • Social Fund is also being reformed to introduce new local assistance. For further information about the changes to the benefits system visit the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website www. The DWP have produced some good easy read guides which are available on the website. We’ve also put links to some of these guides on the Real Opportunities Facebook page. You can also get help about the benefit changes from Turn2Us, a charity specialising in giving advice about the financial support available. Turn2Us have produced a useful timeline of the benefit changes on their website, which includes a brief explanation of each change. You can access this at Laura Griffiths Project Information Officer

Person Centred


Person centred planning (PCP) is an integral part of the work carried out by staff on the Real Opportunities project. Young people are put at the centre of the decision making process when it comes to their life choices, which seems like an obvious thing to do, but unfortunately it is often overlooked when working with young people with learning disabilities. The benefits of working in a person centred way are huge, and staff on the project are finding that young people are achieving so much more when they are given the opportunity to express what it is they really want from life and have the support to achieve it.

Sue Garland is the PCP worker in Torfaen, and has seen first-hand the differences in young people who are worked with in a person centred way.

Before I started working with the two participants who are elective mutes I had been told not to expect to get too much of a response from them during my PCP sessions. I believe that by working in a person centred way with each of them at their own ability and pace, I was able to gain lots of information from the two participants. I used various PCP resources and spent time with them, listened and watched their body language to see how they reacted. Both participants spoke to me and were able to make their needs known. One of the participants went on to receive help from other members of the hub team in Torfaen and has transitioned to college very successfully. The second is now engaging with other members of the hub to develop her social life.

Your child or brother or sister will probably have some ideas about what they would like their future to look like. They will probably have hopes and dreams for their life. These might be big dreams like going on holidays, having their own home or getting married. Hopes and dreams can also be about things like choosing their own clothes, making their own dinner or brushing their own teeth. As a parent or carer of a child with a learning disability, like any other parent or carer, it is natural to want to protect your child from things that might hurt or upset them. Person centred planning tools help you and your child work together with other people in their life to understand the things that are Important To them and to explore all the things that are Important For them. This then helps us to put a plan together that works for the young person and allows them to have choice and control over things that happen to them in their future. What might Person Centred Planning look like? Person centred planning looks different with different young people. Often we use pictures and photographs instead of words so that it is interesting and accessible for young people who find words hard to understand. We might meet the young person in a place that they choose – maybe their home, school or youth club. It is important that the young person is comfortable with the planning process and that they understand everything that is happening.

Person centred planning doesn’t start and end with the Real Opportunities teams. It’s important that the hopes and aspirations of young people, along with their plans, are taken on board by other professionals and carers they come into contact with, including their own families. Hannah Cox, Real Opportunities Training Officer, has put together the following guide to help families support their family member’s plan for the future.

our dreams. Person centred planning tools help us uncover more about the dreams and hopes of a person and help us to balance this with our need to protect that person from harm. We call these things Important To and Important For.

What is Person Centred Planning? Person centred planning (PCP) is a way of planning with someone to help them get the future that they choose. We all have the right to be listened to about decisions that affect our lives and the right to pursue

Person centred planning takes time to understand the things that are important to each young person. This means not dismissing any dreams as unrealistic, but taking the time to explore with the young person the underlying reasons for each dream so we are better placed to make plans that work for the young person and manage any risk. 2


Person centred planning is not an assessment or a folder locked away in a filing cabinet. It is a living piece of work that will change and evolve over time. The young person has the right to change their mind over time.

for Families

My Plan

There is a wealth of information about services, education and options for the future that families with children with disabilities should become familiar with to make sure they can get the best support for their child and their family. Luckily there’s also a lot of support for families to access this information, get advice and speak to other families in the same situation. Here’s a break down of some of the organisations that specialise in support for families and carers in Wales.

Contact a Family

How you can support Person Centred Planning? Person centred planning works with people that the young person knows and trusts. This might include family, friends, teachers or other support staff. This means that everyone can share information about the young person. For example, families have often learnt great techniques to communicate with their children in a way that makes sense to them. This information is really useful for other people in their lives to help us communicate well with the young person.

Who they are: Contact a Family is the only national charity that exists to support the families of disabled children whatever their condition or disability. Contact a Family is committed to ending the poverty, disadvantage and isolation experienced by families with disabled children across the UK. They support families whatever their child’s disability or health condition with a wide range of life-changing help and class-leading services. What they do: Provide one-to-one support, give up-to-date advice and information on the services and support available, organise social events and opportunities, produce information guides and publications.

When we support someone in a person centred way it is really important that we recognise that the young person has worth and value to their community. We spend time with the young person and the people who know them well to identify the great things about that person. Each and every young person, regardless of their disability, has something positive that they can bring to their community. Families are often the people who see these great qualities and can share them with others.

How to get in touch: You can get more information about Contact a Family from their website www.caf. or you can call their free helpline on 0800 808 3555.

We all need support from time to time in our lives and we all need to have a support network around us. For lots of us this might include members of our family or friends. We would probably choose to have the people we trust and who know us the best. When we plan with someone for their future it is important that we look at building a natural support network around that young person. This support network can then encourage and support the person as they work to achieve the goals in their person centred plan.

Carers Wales Who are they: Carers Wales is part of Carers UK. Carers Wales is a charity set up to help the 350,000 plus people in Wales who care for family or friends. When caring affects you and your family, Carers Wales can provide the information, support and advice you need.

For more information about person centred planning, or to access free training, contact Hannah on 01639 635650 or at Hannah.cox@learningdisabilitywales.

What they do: Carers Wales oversee support clubs and offer advice to carers and professionals through 3

Training & Events

their website, local branches, booklets and fact sheets, and a helpline. They run national awareness campaigns, Carers Week and fight for policy changes. How to contact: You can get more information, find local services and chat to other carers on the Carers Wales website at wales. You can also get in touch using the Advice Line on 0808 808 7777, open Wednesday and Thursday from 10-12 and 2-4 or email advice@

To book onto any of the following training events or seminars or for more information contact the information and training team at uk or on 01639 635650

Bereavement Master Class Date: 23rd January 2013 Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm Venue: Forge Fach For: Project Staff

All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers

Introduction to PCP

Date: 21st February 2013 Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm Venue: Central South Consortium For: RCT, Caerphilly and Torfaen

Who they are: The All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers of People with Learning Disabilities (AWF) is the only organization in Wales for parents and carers of people with learning disabilities which is also run by parents and carers of people with learning disabilities.

Employment and Opportunities Network Date: 23rd February 2013 Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm Venue: Forge Fach For: Youth Inclusion, Peer Mentor Workers and Psychology Support

What they do: AWF provide information about issues affecting people with a learning disability, including policy change and changes to local services. They produce a newsletter called Abl and represent carers and parents on the Learning Disabilities Advisory Group (LDAG) set up by the Welsh Government.

Introduction to PCP

Date: 15th March 2013 Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm Venue: BCLC, Bridgend For: Bridgend, Merthyr and Neath Port Talbot

How to contact: Visit their website for more information at or contact them by telephone on 02920 811120.

Staff Conference

Date: 16th April 2013 Time: 9:00am – 4:30pm Venue: Margam Orangery, Port Talbot For: All project staff

Planning for the Future Network

Date: 19th April 2013 Time: 10am – 1pm Venue: Forge Fach For: PCP/Family Liaison and Independent Living Skills.

For more information about support organisations you can take a look at the handy list that Early Support Wales has produced on their website at links.

To get your story in the newsletter, or for more information contact Laura on 01639 635650 or at 4

Real Opportunities January 2013 Newsletter  

Latest edition of the Regional SEN Transition to Employment Project Newsletter

Real Opportunities January 2013 Newsletter  

Latest edition of the Regional SEN Transition to Employment Project Newsletter