West London College hosted the Parents Active Conference on Monday 26 June 2023, supporting the families of children with disabilities in Hammersmith & Fulham. Led by Nandini Ganesh, a manager at Parents Active, and Caroline Speirs, Parents Active Post-19 Co-Production Coordinator, the conference heard from keynote speakers, including Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
Delegates also joined discussion groups to explore solutions to establishing the right care at the right time in the right place for young people with disabilities.
In the opening sessions former West London College Supported Intern and Inclusive Apprentice now Teaching Assistant, AoD Job Coach, and a host at Nando’s (yes, he has three jobs!), Will Goold described his journey to employment.
Mother of a disabled child, Maire Ni Regaine, movingly described her journey to provide for the needs of her daughter as she progresses into adulthood and her fears for her care once she and her husband are no longer able to look after her.
Discussion points included the outcomes families wanted for their young people such as making friends and living as independently as possible. Day opportunities as to how these outcomes can be achieved and agreeing on their top five priorities for young people with disabilities in Hammersmith & Fulham.
An information fair was also available at the conference with local disability groups on hand to give information and advice such as Bishop Creighton House, KeyRing, Hammersmith & Fulham Mencap and the Anthony Lillis Project.
Janet Lucitt-Canavan, West London College Head of Inclusive Learning, said: “This is the first time since COVID-19 that we are hosting the Parents Active conference once again, and it is fantastic to have so many Hammersmith and Fulham colleagues, partners and friends back onsite to build links and forge relationships. My colleagues SENCO Susana Cortes and Team Manager Alem Ayana did a wonderful job getting everything ready and ensuring that all ran smoothly on the day.”