I hope this newsletter will keep everyone informed of what SNUG is all about and what has been happening over the past few months within our SNUG family.
FACEBOOK GROUP We have seen an increase in members of our closed Facebook group. At the time of writing the Facebook Group has 187 members worldwide. This is fantastic news and proves that a group like ours is needed. Although the majority of members in the Facebook group are Grandmas we do have Granddads too which I think is so important. Our local meet up group also has Granddads amongst it’s members and I am always keen to point that out when promoting SNUG. We are all here to support each other whether you are a Grandmother or Grandfather of a child with additional needs.
NEW – SNUG FACEBOOK COMMUNITY PAGE I recently started a Facebook Community page for our group. This is an open to all page and does not require people to become members just for them to like and follow the page if they want to see updated information. The idea behind this was primarily to let others know of the existence of SNUG but also to be able to share general information within the additional needs community. One of the things I believe quite strongly in is the sharing of information. The more information we have the more empowered we become and able to help those who need us. On this page you will find information from other support groups and small businesses who cater for additional needs, there are also informative blogs and articles which I hope will promote awareness and discussion. Any groups, schools etc., are welcome to post on this page just so long as it will benefit those with additional needs or their families. The page is called Grandparents Care Too which is the SNUG slogan and if you are on Facebook and have not done so already then please pop over and take a look and don’t forget to like and follow the page. Due to the way Facebook run their pages, the number of likes and follows you get impacts on how many people actually get to see your posts so the more we can get the more people we can share information with.
In addition to our Community page is this our website which has been running for a while. The purpose of this is much the same as our Community page but the difference being you do not have to be on social media to access it, just the internet of course.
MEETING UP WITH OTHERS GRANDPARENTS I have always believed in the importance of being able to meet up with other Grandparents of children with additional needs within the local area. Infact this was how SNUG first came to be started. I initially formed a meet up group in Stafford (Staffordshire, UK) and it was only after that became more widely known did I open the group up to Facebook as I was getting calls from people who could not get to Stafford but wanted to know if there were other groups near to where they lived. We were very fortunate that our meet up group was picked up at the time by Staffordshire Skillshare which had been set up using lottery funding to help get local support groups off the ground. During the time Skillshare were involved we were able to have guest speakers to our group and informative workshops on a varierty of subjects relating to Special Educational Needs.
Unfortunately the funding via Skillshare and Big Lottery has now come to an end and we find ourselves in a position where we feel we need to source independent funding if we want to continue to be able to offer such workshops and informative talks to members in the future. To this end we have formed a small committee and are working towards membership of Support Staffordshire who are a local organisation which aims to help community groups by offering advice on fundraising, training courses and networking opportunities.
Our meet up group is known as SNUG (Special Needs United Grandparents) Stafford Branch. We meet in Stafford town centre once a month during term time and offer Grandparents of children with SEN a place to meet up with others who understand, share information and offer support. Our meetings are informal and friendly. If you are such a Grandparent and can get to Stafford then please contact me (details at end of newsletter) for further information.
I hope that others might want to set up a local SNUG Branch in their area, it doesn’t have to be in Staffordshire, it doesn’t even have to be in the UK. You don’t have to have a committee to start with or funding. A few Grandparents could just arrange to get together in a local coffee shop or cafe, many schools also have family rooms or a place where you could get together. If you are involved with a SEN School or Nursery then you may wish to consider forming a SNUG meet up group within your organisation. Being able to get together locally with others in similar circumstances I feel is invaluable. Not only does it mean that you can include Grandparents who are not on social media, but you can also share local knowledge such as playgroups, schools etc as well as being able to offer valuable support and friendship. If you are interested in forming such a group and would like some suggestions on how to get started, then please get in touch. I can also advertise the group on our SNUG Facebook page and other media so that when new members join they can be told if there is a meet up group near them.
I have in the past been invited to talk about SNUG to members of various school parent groups and I am still happy to do this for SEN organisations within my local area of Staffordshire UK.
I shall finish this newsletter by telling you about a brief conversation that was taking place on our Facebook group sometime ago. A member was concerned that her Grandchild’s school was not meeting his needs and wanted some advice. The school in question was in the USA. As the educational systems and laws differ from country to country not everyone could offer practical advice but many wished her well. One of the members responded saying she was sorry that she could not help but was ‘sending love from the UK’, the person who had raised the question replied with ‘thank you, sending love back from the USA’.
These simple responses stood out to me as being what SNUG is all about. Our members come from many different backgrounds, they all have very different experiences, but importantly they know what it is like to be the Grandparent of a Child with additional needs. They know the joy and at times the heartache of being such a Grandparent and they also know how important it is to have others around who understand.
If you wish to know more about SNUG or any of the points raised in this newsletter then please contact me. In the meantime I wish everyone a very happy Summer.
Anne – SNUG founder.
CONTACT DETAILS: Email (PREFERRED) firstname.lastname@example.org
MESSAGE VIA OUR FACEBOOK COMMUNITY PAGE GRANDPARENTS CARE TOO
TELEPHONE MONDAY-FRIDAY ONLY PLEASE BETWEEN 10.00am – 4.00 pm. Please note that this number does not have a messaging service so in the event of no reply please try again later or text. 07401 323473