Purpose, Vision and Values
Southampton Parent Carer Forum exists as a force for positive change. At its core, our purpose is to make life better for parents of children and young people with additional needs in Southampton by creating a loving and supportive community in which we all belong, where our challenges are truly acknowledged, our voices are heard and respected and together, we can shape the services that our children deserve.
Our Vision is for an accepting and empathetic wider community where the daily challenges faced by Parent Carers are recognised and understood, and there is a shared commitment to overcome them. It’s a world where children with additional needs are valued, understood and can reach their full potential; where Parent Carers are recognised as people (not just parents) and the provisions required to enable them to live safe, full and happy lives are within reach and readily available without having to go into battle.
Making life better for people and speaking up to fix a broken system isn’t always straightforward or easy so we lean on each other and all of our amazing employees, volunteers, stakeholders, partner organisations and family members to keep us going.
All those who represent or work with our organisation have lived experience of caring for children with additional needs and share our organisational values, these values and the way we behave to demonstrate them are what makes us so special; they are:
Everyone belongs – our families are the beating heart of our pan-disability-friendly organisation. Inclusivity, respect and acceptance are central to everything we say and do. Everyone, regardless of their background or the circumstances they find themselves in will be welcomed warmly, helped to navigate the tough times and thrive in a place free from stigma.
People, as well as parents – We know, without a doubt, our parent carers do a phenomenal job as parents, but we want to get to know the person behind the parent too. Being with us should leave every person feeling seen, heard and validated for who they are.
Happy child, happy parents, happy home – When parents come to us they might be experiencing fear, exhaustion, sadness, loneliness and a host of other feelings. We create a safe and caring environment where parents can feel at ease and their children can simply be who they are leaving parents feeling recharged and hopeful.
Lived experience can make all the difference – Each of our families have something of value to contribute based on how they experience the world around them. Sharing isn’t something we expect from our families but if you do want to tell us what life is like for you we are here to listen, learn and be open to different perspectives and ideas. We gather our learnings and form a strong, collective voice to inform our partnership working with public bodies to shape better services for us all.
Together we’re stronger – At times we need to lean on each other so we can keep breaking barriers to get what our families need. We know that parent carers are stronger than they think, but we don’t always feel strong and that’s ok too. We stick together because united, we can be there for one another and create an unstoppable force for change!