If you would like to help spread the word about SNUG (Special Needs United Grandparents) and meet other Grandparents in a similar position from within your local area then it is not as difficult as you might think.
Local get togethers (as I like to think of them) should be informal and welcoming. You are not forming a committee, just arranging a way of getting to know others in similar situations.
FIRST CONTACT: Before you start to think about where you can meet etc., it is probably wise to see how much interest there is from other Grandparents in your area. That way you are not going to the trouble of arranging a time and place and advertising, only to find that you are the only one there! Talk to other Grandparents you know who have a SN Grandchild and parents of SN children. Contact local Special Needs Nurserys/Schools/ etc and ask if you can put up a poster or maybe they could include something in their newsletter or on their website. Also mainstream schools as not all children with SEN have to attend specialist schools. You just need to outline your plans to start a meet up group for Grandparents of SN Grandchildren and ask people to contact you if they are interested. Even if only a couple of people get in touch it’s a start and word quickly spreads. Once you have made contact you can arrange where and when you are going to meet.
VENUE: To start with you might find that meeting up in a local coffee shop would suffice. I would always recommend meeting in a public place and not an individuals home. If your group starts to get bigger then you may want to see if you can have use of a room somewhere free of charge and not requiring you to have Liability Insurance. Many schools/nurseries have family rooms nowadays which they are usually happy to let people use for such a purpose. Many places such as pubs, clubs etc., will let you have a room for free but you have to have PLI, so check beforehand.
IMPORTANT:- SNUG (Special Needs United Grandparents) is not a registered name or charity but a voluntary support group. No one receives income or payment for what they do within the group. Meet up groups are run on a voluntary basis and organised by their own members. In some areas charity funding may be available to help local groups but it is down to that local group to source this if available.
How often and when you meet up is entirely up to you and your members. My local group tries to meet up about once a month and during school term time only.
SPREAD THE WORD: Once you have interest and a venue start spreading the word so that more people can have the chance to join you. Please tell them about SNUG (Special Needs United Grandparents) and how they can join our closed Facebook Group or follow our website http://www.specialneedsgrandparents.wordpress.com Let me know so that I can advertise your local meet ups on the website and Facebook page -email me (Anne Hawkes) at firstname.lastname@example.org with your details or if you have any queries. I will then be able to contact you should a new member join who is within your area and would like to meet others.
You do not have to be a SNUG (Special Needs United Grandparents) Facebook member to start up your meet up group or even use the name, but the idea behind the name is that it becomes known so that we can all help each other by sharing information and helping and supporting future Grandparents who may find themselves in similar situations to ours no matter where in the world they may live. It would be lovely to be able to say to new members when they join that there is a meet up group near them and they don’t have to face things on their own.