Our Objectives"To promote and protect the physical and mental health of the families and carers of children with special educational and physical needs living in the London Borough of Hounslow and the neighbouring areas through the provision of support, education and practical advice."
PiT was set up by parents of disabled children as a self-help group to support each other with everything parents suddenly need to become experts in, just because they have a child with additional needs. From an informal network of a dozen or so pre-schoolers in the late '90s this group has grown (along with our children) to over 450 families in 2011.
We have a hugely diverse membership residing all across the borough of Hounslow and into neighbouring area, many are single parents unable to work because of caring responsibility, many are isolated and struggling with debt and exhaustion. After many years as a voluntary organisation Parents in Touch are now in our first year as a registered charity, a very exciting development.
What we doFrom the early stages of diagnosis we support families through every milestone:
- from navigating an increasingly complex health service,
- finding the right school,
- getting a much-needed break from caring,
- reviewing the family finances,
- sourcing specialist equipment,
- having some fun together as a family,
- remembering not to neglect our partners, our other children, or ourselves.
The list of things that people need to know is endless so if someone at PiT hasn't done it we'll find someone who has.
Campaigning and Advocacy
We are much more than a support group. Having become a voluntary organisation in 2001 to campaign against closures and cuts, campaigning and advocacy is still very much a part of our work. We have had numerous successes at welfare benefit and educational Appeals and Tribunals and are in great demand for our work on Disability Living Allowance and statements of Special Educational Need.
We can call on a wide network of committed and dedicated volunteers who expertly support this aspect of our charity. We also work with the local authority and various health bodies, co-ordinating participation in Hounslow's Parent Carers Forum – ensuring that the parental voice is heard by those designing and commissioning services for our children.
Through this we have helped develop play and leisure opportunities for children and young people that were previously non-existent, including our own youth club which launches in January 2012. We strongly believe that access to good and accurate information is essential in empowering parents. In response to the closure of an existing service we opened our own Helpline in 2008, leading to a significant growth in our membership. We distribute a very highly regarded newsletter to all our members, with an email version going to a further 200 recipients, including many professionals working in health, education and social care.
Becoming a Member
Parents in Touch is a membership organisation and is free to join. As a member you will receive our newsletter in the post 6 times a year. We also send out a regular email newsletter. We offer a helpline during term time and we are able to offer advice on a wide variety of disability and special needs issues from getting access to healthcare, therapy, benefits, education, grant applications and if we don't know the answer to your questions immediately we usually know someone who does.
PiT StopsWe run a regular coffee morning at The Redlees Adventure Playground in the Reds Café on Tuesday morning 10.00am to 12 noon. Come along for coffee and meet other parents. The playground is a safe enclosed place for your children to play. Our volunteers attend regularly and are on hand to answer any questions you have. We are able to help complete forms in these sessions but if you want help with a DLA form please call us to let us know you are coming. To join please complete the form on our contact page alternatively telephone or email us at Parents in Touch to register. As a member you will have the right to vote at our annual general meeting and if you would like to become more involved you can stand for election as a trustee.
Mailing listProfessionals who work with our families are also welcome to join our mailing list.
How you can help us
We are always in need of more help and everyone has skills we can use. Please contact the office if you would like to volunteer.
Fundraise for us. Money is tight for everyone at the moment but if we have helped you, you can help us by making a donation or running a fund raising event on our behalf. Parents in Touch is run on a tight budget but we need to pay for the telephone line and for postage so any donation no matter how small is always welcome.
St Denys House
Chiswick W4 2PD
Our helpline hours are :-
Tuesday to Thursday 10.00am to 2.00pm
term time only
Telephone 020 8994 9602