Category: About Contact

We are delighted to let you know that the Department for Education (DfE) has awarded Contact and partners National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF), Council for Disabled Children and KIDS, a new contract to make sure parent carers, children and young people are involved in the delivery of SEND services and provision in England and have access to information advice and support.

The DfE funding means that over the next three years Contact will continue to work with 152 parent carer forums in England to make sure their voices are heard at a local, regional and national level. The new contract which starts this month, also enables us to continue our support offer to families with disabled children through our online information and national helpline.

The Council for Disabled Children will continue to support the Information, Advice and Support Network and will, alongside KIDS be supporting children and young people’s participation in local, regional and national policy and practice.

Gail Walshe, Contact’s director of participation says: “It’s great that The DfE continues to recognise the importance of having parent carers, children and young people at the heart of shaping disabled children’s services, the invaluable support of our online and helpline advice service and local SEND Information, Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS).  

“Contact has acted as the delivery partner to the DfE to support parent carer forums since 2008. Our new contract enables us to build on this and to also reach even more parent carers with our high-quality impartial information and advice. We look forward to working jointly with our consortium partners to improve the links between parent carer and children and young people’s forums so that more children and young people have an active voice in decision-making in their local areas.”

Contact will lead the work carried out by the consortium in this new contract which aims to:

Children and Families Minister Will Quince said:“Contact and their partners do fantastic work to make sure parent carers and young people are directly involved in how local SEND services work for them.

“This new government contract and grant funding, of over £17 million for three years, will support Contact’s work and make sure parents and young people’s voices continue to be heard at a local, regional and national level.

“Together we can make sure that all parents and carers, regardless of their child’s needs, have access to the advice and support they need to better succeed in life.”

How Contact supports parent carer forums

Contact helps to empower 152 parent carer forums and their membership of over 97,000 parent carers across England, to influence local, regional and national services and legislation. Find out more about our parent participation work and parent carer forums.

About our information and advice service

Our national information and advice service includes our website, social media channels, telephone helpline and live chat. Last year our helpline-online advice provided advice to 10,644 families, with invaluable information on a range of issues including financial support and getting help for a child in school. Find out more about our helpline and online advice service.

We’re delighted to welcome renowned chef and restaurant owner, Clare Smyth MBE, as our new charity patron.

Clare is the first and only British female chef to achieve three Michelin stars in the UK. She is the owner of Core by Clare Smyth in London and Oncore by Clare Smyth in Sydney. In 2018, she catered for the private wedding reception for the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Clare joins us as we start preparations for a prestigious fundraising gala dinner to be held at Mansion House in London later this year. She will be volunteering her skills as consultant chef.

Clare says: “I heard about Contact from a friend who works closely with them. I was impressed by the unique support they offer families with disabled children.

“The helpline and the family support services the charity provides are a lifeline for so many parents who care for a child with additional needs. More families than ever before have looked to Contact for advice and support during the pandemic. I’m really looking forward to helping make sure the charity continues the vital work it does.”

Contact’s CEO, Amanda Batten, says: “We are really excited to welcome Clare as our newest patron. We’re looking forward to working with her as part of the Contact family. The gala dinner we’re planning later this year is an important opportunity for us to raise much-needed funds so we can reach even more families caring for children with additional needs with our information, advice and support.

“Families we support have had an extremely difficult couple of years as they’ve cared for their child’s health and educational needs and shielded in the face of shrinking services. Raising money to make sure we can continue to be there has never been more important as the families we support start to recover from the overwhelming impact of Covid. Clare’s support as patron and with our planned fundraising dinner is invaluable!”

Read more about how we support families and find out how you can help us continue the work we do.

We know that environmental sustainability is important to our families, staff and supporters. So we are delighted to let you know that we are now Green Small Business Certified!

The certification recognises our new environmental policy and action plan and our overall commitment to improving the management of our environmental impact.

The certification runs until October next year, and we are busy implementing our action plan and gathering the evidence we need in order to maintain our Green Small Business certification beyond October 2022.

You can find out more on our environmental sustainability page.