Buddies Social Network

PACC started the Buddies group 5 years ago with the aim of offering social opportunities for young people with SEND, aged 14 and above, to enable the development of friendship groups as young people grow and look for more independence from their families.  As Buddies developed, we realised that parent carers benefited as much from these social opportunities, as the young people did and now Buddies focuses on bring young people and parent carers together, building their confidence to access community activities and to benefit from peer support.

We now run a core Buddies group for the 14 - 25 (ish) age group and Junior Buddies for the 8-14 year old group. A timetable of activities is regularly shared and families can book onto activities via the Buddies Facebook group.  The older Buddies particularly enjoy the groups monthly Sunday morning bowling session at Hollywood Bowl in Shrewsbury. We regularly have between  20 and 30 young people join us and the young people have become self-sufficient in managing the games and providing support to each other. Young people joining us for the first time are buddied up with young people they may already know or who are in the same age group. All this happens while parent carers catch up with each other and have a hot drink.  Parent carers tell us that this is a great way to find out information about what other support is available and what the future might look like for their young person with SEND.

One parent carer who recently joined us at bowling for the first time sent us the following message:

“It was a great fun morning and so special for William to get together with friends out of school. Thank you for making us feel so welcome”

In addition to the bowling, we have held a number of one-off events to celebrate birthdays, arranged walks at Attingham Park, visits to the Theatre, yoga sessions and discos.  Junior Buddies have hosted easter celebrations, soft play sessions and sensory story telling.

The groups are run by Annie, Sarah Denise and Ruth, who are all parent carers who work and volunteer for PACC. Parent carers remain responsible for providing young people with any support needed, but we encourage peer support between the young people and in some cases parent carers have made individual arrangements to support each other’s children, so that they don’t always have to attend activities. Activities are self-funded and are organised with a view to accessing concessions and being cost effective.  

If you would like to join Buddies request to join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/385779525302027 or contact us on enquiries@paccshropshire.org.uk

Once you join the group you will be sent this welcome letter.