Shropshire Council

Buddies Social Group

PACC started the Buddies group about 3 years ago with the aim of offering social opportunities for young people with SEND, aged 12 and above, to enable the development of friendship groups as they 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 bringing young people and parent carers together.

The group is focused around our monthly Sunday morning bowling session at AMF Bowling in Shrewsbury. We regularly have between 15 and 20 young people join us and the young people 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 and to get together during the holidays.  These have included trips on the River Severn on Sabrina and most recently a meal out, where 30 parent carer and young people went together to a local restaurant to celebrate Christmas.

The group is run by Annie and Sarah, who are both parent carers who 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.

We are currently looking to extend the programme of activities for the coming year, to include theatre trips, board games sessions at Nerdy Café and an overnight camp in the warmer weather.  If you would like to join Buddies request to join our Facebook group or contact us by email