PACT | Parents And Carers Together | News

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Parents and Carers Together
PACT Suffolk

Latest PACT News:

March  2024
Latest news:  We continue to offer tailored support and access to resources and training.  We are also happy to share that our two newest volunteers are currently attending the Parent Carer Peer Support training with the Charlie Waller Trust, and will be helping to make sure that we continue to offer valuable PCPS for parents across Suffolk who care for a child or young person experiencing poor mental health.  More to follow very soon..

November 2023
We were pleased to be invited to an online meeting this month, along with protest group 'Failed by Suffolk' and campaign group 'Campaign for Change'.  As well as sharing the SEND inspection surveys across our social media platforms, we also asked for direct feedback from the parents and carers we support.  We shared this anonymised feedback with the inspectors from Ofsted and the CQC along with the main themes we have drawn out of the discussions we've had with local members of PACT during the last 12 months plus.  These themes included (but weren't limited to) our education system becoming less inclusive and more punitive, less provision of reasonable adjustments, more isolations and exclusions, leading to increased EHC needs assessment applications, lack of appropriate and/or timely adherence to the legal timeframes etc., deteriorating mental health and long waiting times for accessing support around mental health.  Long waiting times also for access to the Neurodevelopmental Disorder (NDD) pathway in Suffolk and confusion around the referral process.  We eagerly await the findings of the SEND inspection team in due course.

Our team continue to grow and develop our skills in a variety of areas relating to the mental health of children and young people.  We will soon release details of our small group sessions including 'Parent-led CBT', 'The New Maudsley Approach - supporting a loved one with an Eating Disorder', and 'Sleeptight' - an early intervention sleep workshop.  Contact us for more information here

September 2023
We are thrilled to have been part of the peripatetic crisis support service commissioned by Suffolk and North East Essex ICB which was shortlisted in the 'Improving Care for Children and Young People Initiative of the Year' HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2023.  This service includes VCS and care sector organisations who provide wraparound care for children and families at risk of needing inpatient care.

Our monthly walk and talks at Needham Lake every 3rd Thursday of the month continue to be well attended and has this week been nominated by the Suffolk SEND Young Person's Network for an 'Anyone is Welcome' award for being welcoming to young people.  We now have a special badge to display so other young people with additional needs know they’ve been recommended by other young people and that it’s a friendly supportive place to visit!  The Anyone is Welcome Logo was designed by Charlie from West Suffolk College

May 2023
We are thrilled to have been nominated for a National Diversity Award as a community organisation.  If you would like to support our nomination you are welcome to do so via this link  - thankyou! Founded in 2012, the concept of the National Diversity Awards arose when Founder, Paul Sesay and his dedicated team identified an urgent need for more positive role models to be actively promoted, with the aim to empower and inspire the wide breadth of diverse communities across the UK. Founded in 2012, the concept of the National Diversity Awards arose when Founder, Paul Sesay and his dedicated team identified an urgent need for more positive role models to be actively promoted, with the aim to empower and inspire the wide breadth of diverse communities across the UK. 

As part of our continuing commitment to supporting more parent peer support available in Suffolk, we are happy to have recently welcomed Robert and Jo into our team as peer supporters.  This involves undertaking the PCPS training course developed by the PLACE Network, Charlie Waller Trust and Reading University, funded by Health Education England.  They are already providing vital support in the group and we hope will continue to develop their roles as the training progresses.

Below is a recent snapshot of feedback shared by parents supported by PACT.  We are so pleased that we're able to provide helpful support

March 2023
We are very happy to share that we have recently trained 18 parents and carers as Youth Mental Health First Aiders. The more trained in these skills to provide help to prevent the emotional or mental health issue developing into a more serious state, the happier we will be as an organisation.  We have grown our membership by another 10% during the last two months and have been busy behind the scenes supporting families, creating resources and planning more creative sessions and events for the rest of the year. 

January 2023
Reminder that our Stowmarket meet-up is happening on the 1st Monday of every month (except January 23 which will be on Monday 9th from 10am-12pm at Stowmarket Community Centre, IP14 2BD.  We also began our PACT walk and talk at Needham Lake on the third Thursday of the month (beginning 17th Nov) again from 10am, meeting at the Duck and Teapot Cafe, IP6 8NU.  These will provide an opportunity to chat about resources and learn new tools to help support your #mentalhealth and that of your children and young people.  Refreshments will be provided at both events.  Children are welcome, however, some discussion will be around mental health issues so you will to use your discretion.

December was relatively quiet during the school holidays (as always!) however we continued to support when needed.  We have now been commissioned to provide support for parents and carers of children or young people who need tier 4 (inpatient care) as we know well that families in this situation need appropriate wrap-around support and care.  The period building up to the return to school saw the group become busier again and with more new members we are extremely busy.  We are currently looking for volunteer parent carer peer support workers who can help us even for 1 hour per week.  Lived experience is key and we are a committed team who will help volunteers to develop their skills and knowledge.  We hope to develop the role into a paid role in the future with option to attend training (if you are interested, please complete this contact form).

We are supporting a PhD research student at the University of Bath with development of an intervention "for parents of acutely injured children - specifically an intervention to advise parents on how to support the psychological recovery of their child following traumatic exposure".  We are hoping to introduce this at our January Stowmarket meetup.  We do believe that parents and carers play a vital role in the development of early intervention and prevention of children and young peoples mental health and so we support and are part of several research trials and projects.  

We are continuing to develop resources for parents who are interested in using CBT tools with their autistic child.  These are being developed alongside a Child Psychologist who specialises in adapting resources for each child as an individual and this resource should be available next year and we will be using alongside our small group sessions focussing on parent-led CBT.  For more info 
click here

Alongside our Facebook support group, we can also offer 1:1 support to you via email click here 
Our phone support line is 07856 038799 (not 24/7 service but leave a message and we will call you back ASAP)

November 2022
We are so happy to be re-starting our monthly Stowmarket face to face meet-ups again at the beginning of December.  These will run on the first Monday of the month from 10am-12pm at Stowmarket Community Centre, IP14 2BD.  We also began our PACT walk and talk at Needham Lake on the third Thursday of the month (beginning 17th Nov) again from 10am, meeting at the Duck and Teapot Cafe, IP6 8NU.  These will provide an opportunity to chat about resources and learn new tools to help support your #mentalhealth and that of your children and young people.  Refreshments will be provided at both events.

We are excited to be continuing to develop resources for parents who are interested in using CBT tools with their autistic child.  These are being developed alongside a Child Psychologist who specialises in adapting resources for each child as an individual and this resource should be available next year and we will be using alongside our small group sessions focussing on parent-led CBT.

We are also pleased to report that we will soon be announcing dates of two Youth Mental Health First Aider courses which will run early next year and which will be fully subsidised for our parents and carers.  The value of these courses is usually £300 for the 2 days.  These will probably take place in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds (Sat 24th and 31st January 2023).  Look out for info in the group to follow.  We will also be running small group sessions (online) for parents interested in parent-led CBT, issues around sleep, supporting a young person with an eating disorder/eating issues, or using positive psychology tools with your child.  There will be no cost for these groups and we will share further info on dates and times soon.

Alongside our Facebook support group, we can also offer 1:1 support to you via email click here 
Our phone support line is 07856 038799 (not 24/7 service but leave a message and we will call you back ASAP)

October 2022
We are so happy to share that we have been awarded funding by Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Council's "Community Development Grant" to re-start our monthly Stowmarket face to face meet-ups again at the beginning of December.  These will run on the first Monday of the month from 10am-12pm at Stowmarket Community Centre, IP14 2BD.  We are also starting a PACT walk and talk at Needham Lake on the third Thursday of the month (beginning 17th Nov) again from 10am, meeting at the Duck and Teapot Cafe, IP6 8NU.  These will provide an opportunity to chat about resources and learn new tools to help support your #mentalhealth and that of your children and young people.  Refreshments will be provided at both events.

We have continued our regular catch up sessions with SES (Specialist Education Services), and have met with researchers regarding projects including development of a resource for parents whose child attends A&E which educates parents on common trauma responses and to provide evidence-based strategies to support.  

We are also pleased to report that we will be announcing dates of two Youth Mental Health First Aider courses which will run early next year and which will be fully subsidised for our parents and carers.  The value of these courses is usually £300 for the 2 days.  These will probably take place in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.  Look out for info in the group to follow.  We will also be running small group sessions (online) for parents interested in parent-led CBT, issues around sleep, supporting a young person with an eating disorder/eating issues, or using positive psychology tools with your child.  There will be no cost for these groups and we will share further info on dates and times soon.

Alongside our Facebook support group, we can also offer 1:1 support to you via email click here 
Our phone support line is 07856 038799 (not 24/7 service but leave a message and we will call you back ASAP)

September 2022
We hope that you have all had a lovely and relaxing summer?  In reality, we know how stressful and overwhelming long holidays from the regular routine can be for families, we have especially noticed more parents requesting to join our closed Facebook support group request to join here as the clock has been ticking down back to school and college etc. this month.  If you are a parent or carer of a child or young person experiencing school or college attendance issues please remember the team at Define Fine CIC are there to support and have this wonderful resource guide to support you in your journey. Link to guide

If you are having particular issues around Suffolk services, schools, transport etc. please let Suffolk Parent Carer Forum know as they can take issues forward if you complete their feedback form which can be found here

We are hoping to restart some of our face to face drop-in support groups this autumn which will be lovely as we've missed meeting up with you since way back in 2020.  Will share dates and times as they are organised on the 'meetings' page of the website and on our social media. 

Alongside our Facebook support group, we can also offer 1:1 support to you via email click here 
Our phone support line is 07856 038799 (not 24/7 service but leave a message and we will call you back ASAP)

July-August 2022
During the summer holidays we have (of course) noticed that many of the day to day school related issues around #mentalhealth, mostly #anxiety, have reduced, however we continue to see many parents struggling with navigation of the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process.  The local news has picked up on latest data from the Dept for Education, which shows that in Suffolk we have the second highest number of Permanent Exclusions (PEx) in the country! We continue to support the research which shows that inclusive practice in schools is a massive area in need of progression.  Where at all possible, reasonable adjustments should and can easily be made to enable a child or young person to feel safe and supported in the school environment thus removing some of 
the massive demand we continue to see for EHCP's and more specialist provision.  We work on these issues alongside the SCC attendance team, as well as the Specialist Education Service (SES).  
We continue to monitor themes arising in our support group conversations and have recently organised virtual drop-in sessions around Sleep issues, stimming and sensory processing and Emetophobia (fear of vomit - it's more common than you might think)!  
We are looking forward to announcing more training and workshops/small groups during early autumn which will all be based on topics and themes which are prevalent to our parents currently.  

June 2022
We had the wonderful news this month that our funding bid from The National Lottery Community Fund was successful. This will ensure we can continue our basic support for the next two years.  Part of the funding is to conduct a social impact study on how successful we are in our work in supporting parents and carers with their own wellbeing and that of their child or young person.  One of our co-directors, Clare has accepted the role of chair of trustees for the Suffolk Parent Carer Forum to ensure our work in partnership continues and we can feedback our families experiences and views into the various workstreams around children and young peoples mental health to help secure appropriate services in the future.  Much of our work continues to be around supporting those struggling in school and those unable to attend, due to unmet needs and/or anxiety based issues.  We still hope for a truly trauma-informed county one day and a big part of this will be recognizing behaviour as a form of communication and being curious to discover what needs can be supported to allow children to access everything they are entitled to alongside their peers.  With school holidays almost upon us we anticipate being slightly less busy during this period which will allow us to focus on our planning for the events, training and resources we hope to begin delivering in the autumn.  

May 2022
This month has seen a lot going on behind the scenes trying to secure funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, who have been really supportive during the pandemic and have helped us ensure continued support and resources, during a period which saw our membership increase by around 80%.  We are hoping that, in the future, our core support services, resources and training will be funded more locally by commissioners to ensure that there is no cost expectation on parents and carers for support and services which should be freely available to families in Suffolk.    We have begun to deliver facilitation on the ASPIRE project via NSFT (details in previous months news) and one of our directors has started the parent carer peer support pilot via Charlie Waller Trust and Cellar Trust.  We continue to follow the various opportunities to feedback into national research and consultations where relevant to young people's mental health and education and share links for our families to feedback into anything they find relevant.  

April 2022
We hope you've all had a lovely Easter break.  Another busy month!  We had lovely feedback from our workshop with Gemma on Sensory Integration and she has kindly offered to run some more specific information sessions in the future so we look forward to that!  We continue to be involved in the NSFT ASPIRE trial and this will start very soon in the hope that this positive psychology toolkit will be rolled out for many more parents.  Thanks to some of our parents for taking part in this trial.  We have applied to take part in the first cohort of those trained by the Charlie Waller Trust and Cellar Trust in Parent Carer Peer Support accreditation.  This is close to our hearts as we have been involved in it's development through the PLACE network and Charlie Waller Trust during the last year or so.  Fingers crossed we are selected for this, but if not we hope that we can take part in a future cohort of this training.  We have continued to attend meetings with SCC and NSFT where appropriate and just yesterday attended a meeting with the head of safeguarding, alongside colleagues from Suffolk Parent Carer Forum to discuss our concerns over children and young people in the county who are experiencing trauma from safeguarding issues or lack of accountability, with a focus on the school environment.  School attendance issues are something we are seeing continue to grow and we are experienced and happy to provide support in this area of concern.  Finally, we also recently heard that we have been formally accepted onto the commissioning framework for Suffolk which means that we will have the opportunity to bid for future projects and work to continue to provide support to our families who are growing in numbers by approximately 3 every day.

March 2022
 We have recently been focusing on the current reporting routes for the safeguarding of children and young people as it has become very apparent that the process for reporting safeguarding issues (by parents) which happen in schools is very different and doesn't appear to be taken as seriously as we believe it should be.  This work is ongoing and we will share any updates when we have them.  We have another #PACTtalk event happening during April with an Occupational Therapist with a Masters degree in Sensory Processing issues which we are very pleased to be hosting. 
We continue to support some families with the Household Support Grant for those finding it very tough with price increases.   
We continue to work very hard to develop funding opportunities to enable us to continue to provide the current level of support for our families and hopefully to offer some more training around low level anxiety and mental health issues during this year.  Ongoing meetings have seen us represented in the project around the new Mental Health Support Teams (MHST's) in Suffolk schools, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE's) work and other relevant projects.  Our two co-directors have now trained and will be taking part in the ASPIRE research project from NSFT overseen by Professor Cathy Creswell, University of Oxford.  This is based on the principles of positive psychology and we hope it will lead to these resources being more freely accessible to families.  To find out more about the project click HERE
Finally we continue to work alongside the new Suffolk Parent Carer Forum to support them in sharing information and gathering feedback from parents to ensure the voices of the parents and carers and our children and young people are represented in the coproduction work they are doing with local partners.  If you are interested in becoming a parent representative for the forum you can find the form on their website HERE

January 2022
Wishing you all a very healthy and happy near year.  We are planning to bring you lots of new resources and support this year.  Thank you to everyone both in the support group and our friends and colleagues in other organisations and groups for helping us to continue to grow and support our families despite a period of high growth.  This is a sad reflection on the numbers of children and young people in Suffolk who are experiencing mental health issues.  
We'd also like to share some news from the new Suffolk Parent Carer Forum, which is that their sparkly new website is now available and can be found here click here

December 2021
December was (as always) a busy time for us, with lots of 1:1 support calls and emails happening.  Issues such as child to parent violence (often due to uncertainty and overwhelm), families facing tough times with illness, financial hardship and lack of support being the main focuses.  We never close down support over any holiday periods as this is often the time when parents feel exhausted, overwhelmed and need to reach out.  This year has seen our closed support group grow by 80% which just shows the scale of the numbers in Suffolk caring for a child or young person with poor mental health.  Next year, we will continue to seek funding to enable us to grow and expand the support we can offer.  We currently have some funding from the National Lottery but ideally we would like to be recognised locally as part of the community support for cyp mental health services as we believe we demonstrate that parents and carers value the support and resources we provide and that PACT makes a positive impact on emotional wellbeing, not just for parents and carers but also for their children and young people.

November 2021
December is just around the corner and I've realized I haven't updated with November news, so here it is!  We had our first online drop-in crafting session with our very own resident art therapist, Julie.  It was a lovely two hour session and saw parents knitting, making clay Christmas decorations and even winding wool, very therapeutic and a great chance to chat about all sorts.  Next crafting session will be on Tuesday 30th November from 7pm, BYO crafts and refreshments!  We've continued to work with SCC on the EBSA policy and resources and this will be ongoing.  We continue to be involved in the SCC Childhood ACE's workstream too.  We've had very useful meetings with senior leaders at NSFT to find ways to work together and support each other to make sure our children and young people are supported with prevention and early intervention by working with their parents and carers.  We also followed up with SCC the post 16 transition guidance and resources and will be having a parent session in early January to develop further.  We are involved in the work currently happening around the creation of new 'Family Hubs' in the county and hope these will provide valuable resources to families particularly in remote areas. We are happy to welcome the new Suffolk Parent Carer Forum with a new committee and they are already hard at work, making change for the children and young people in Suffolk.  Good luck to them in their vital work!  Finally, we continue to provide much support and resources in our closed group on Facebook, 1:1 phone calls, Zoom calls and our weekly Friday evening online drop-in.  The last drop-in before Christmas will be Friday 17th December from 6pm and we will resume on Friday 7th January 2022.  Support will continue during this period as usual.

October 2021 
It's hard to believe we're into October already, but September has been extremely busy, as ever, with schools returning after the summer, and many children and young people struggling to return for a variety of reasons.  We continue to input into the EBSA (Emotional Based School Avoidance) work which is ongoing with the Therapeutic Psychology Service and others at Suffolk County Council.  One of the team (Claire) has completed her Level 1 IPSEA SEND Law training, our directors (Clare and Bec) have trained in The New Maudsley Method of supporting a loved one with an Eating Disorder, and Bec has completed training in Sleeptight from The Sleep Charity.  All of these tools and training resources we will be hoping to share with our families long term moving forward.  

We have also been working alongside a committed group of Suffolk parents who are hoping to form a new parent carer forum to ensure coproduction of services with SCC going forward.  This is still in it's early stages so if any parents/carers in Suffolk would like to join them please email 

Finally we are extremely pleased to share that we were "Highly Commended" at the recent #MentalHealthAwards21 hosted by Positive Practice in Mental Health last week at Troxy, London.  This was in recognition of our peer support service.  It was also of note that we were the only nominated VCS organisation for an award!  Let's hope more VCS organisations are represented in future years.

August 2021
We hope you have had/are having a nice summer break, however, we do understand how hard things can be when supporting a young person with a mental health issue, especially the constant bombardment on social media which appears to show other families having amazing days out and holidays with no issues. This is often not a true reflection and there will be issues in the background for every family despite how it can appear.
We decided to make our Friday drop-in sessions fortnightly rather than weekly during the holidays but as of last night (3rd September) these have reverted to weekly from 6pm on Zoom (link can be found in the group or drop us an email).

We have seen a membership rise of 11% during the holidays which is normal and rises much more in the lead up to school/college return. We were recently involved in a task and finish group to provide some resources around EBSA (Emotional Based School Avoidance) with the Therapeutic Psychology Team at SCC and a link to the resources is here.  As always, we are also available to chat in the group or arrange 1:1 phone calls to discuss any issues you may be concerned about around school/college return, and Define Fine are also running a webinar on Weds 1st September in the evening where they'll be sharing their guide and discussing options and resources which can be really useful when school attendance barriers are a concern.  

We are in the early stages of co-producing some resources for parents of autistic children and young people, which will offer guidance and support for using CBT techniques with their child.  It has been said that traditional CBT techniques aren't always appropriate for autistic children, however, we are co-producing this guide with a child psychologist who has been working with autistic children using CBT tools during her professional career.  We look forward to sharing this with our parents once it's completed.  Finally, during September we will be training to offer practical support to families who are being affected by sleep issues of a child or young person, and also for families who are caring for and supporting a young person with an eating disorder or who are impacted by disordered eating habits.  Please use our contact form (on this website) to register interest, or request to join our closed Facebook support group.
We have been asked once again to judge one of the awards for the Positive Practice in Mental Health awards for CYP in 2021, which we are honored as ever to do.  We have also been nominated for an award in the category of "Peer Support work".  We continue to take part in collaborations and sharing of resources with the national PLACE network of support groups across the UK.  Following the information shared by Contact around the formation of a new Suffolk PCT (parent carer forum) we have volunteered to support a newly forming PCF on behalf of PACT and to offer to co-produce going forward with any projects or developing themes relevant to children and young people's mental health.  It is hoped that other organisations in the county will also put forward representatives to ensure that every single voice in Suffolk is heard and listened to when services are developing and evolving. 

Finally, we have some training upcoming during September and October which we can then share with our parents on the topics of "Sleep Issues" and "Supporting a family member with an Eating Disorder" - details to follow in due course.  Good luck to all of those returning to school, college or Uni, good luck to those educating at home or EOTAS, and to those of you who continue to fight for a child/young persons right to an education which is appropriate for them, good luck to you too.  We will continue to help and support you all on your journeys wherever or whatever they may be.

July 2021
Firstly, we wish you a very enjoyable summer from us all here at PACT.  We don't stop supporting during the school holidays so we will always be contactable and found in the Facebook group, Twitter and the usual contact methods.
We're being more involved in more co-production where our experience can really add value.  Opportunities for young people to be involved in co-production in the county too.  For more information please email us.
During July we have facilitated two parent sessions on Zoom, one with Andy from who are committed to enabling Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer and Questioning (LGBT*Q+) young people and their peers, to realise their unique potential and to take a positive role in society, through their involvement and participation in social and informal education youth work opportunities.  
Our second session was with Satveer from who delivered a two hour session on "Attention seeking? Or something else?" supporting a child or young person who is self-harming.  Many of our sessions are recorded and available to watch back for members of our closed group on Facebook.  In other news, we are co-producing some guidance for parents to use CBT techniques with their children who are autistic and also experiencing anxiety issues etc.  This is being drafted currently by a clinical psychologist who uses these ideas in her day to day practice and is very experienced.  We are also looking to develop some training and resources (for parents to support their young person) from specialised professionals in the areas of eating disorders and sleep issues.  We look forward to updating you on our exciting work and research again soon

June 2021
We hope you have all had a sunny and enjoyable half term?  We are hearing from parents and carers that the transition back into school is tough for some families and we have lots of experience ourselves within the management team of school based anxiety issues and don't underestimate the levels of stress for many.  On Monday June 7th, we welcomed Dr Beth Mosley and Linda Brindle, senior psychotherapist (psychology in schools team, NSFT and Kelly Francis and Rebecca Sleightholme from the inclusion facilitator team at SCC to discuss their service and how it will be supporting staff in schools to upskill in inclusive practice and provide tailored support for their students day to day who may be struggling.  This month we are also hosting a session for parents considering home educating their child or young person and have several experienced home educating parents/carers attending the session to offer advice and answer any questions from parents.  Information on how to join as ever can be found in our closed group on Facebook under "Events".  

Local news
A newly formed group of Suffolk parents and carers have launched a campaign via website and social media.
"We are a group of parents and carers, who collectively want to create change within SCC SEND dept. Things need to change for the better, for our CYP and those that are yet to start their journey into SEND"

Link to Suffolk SEND crisis website
Link to Suffolk Campaign For Change Facebook group

May 2021
Another busy month for PACT, we have continued to hold our Friday drop-in sessions for any of our parents to join us, talk about their weeks, any issues and general conversation in a closed and confidential group.  We virtually attended the NICABM (National Inst. for the Clinical Application of Behavioural Medicine) Treating Trauma Master Series over 5 days.  With many interesting speakers (including Bessel van der Kolk, MD and Dan Siegel, MD) we will break down the information and share with our parents in due course. We continue to feed into the "Emotional Based School Avoidance EBSA" task and finish group via SCC.  As so many of our parents have experience of barriers to school attendance it gives us lots of evidence to feedback and offer honest opinions on what we parents need to feel properly supported. On Friday 28th May, Clare and Bec will be joining in with the Suffolk Carers Matter drop-in session at 10.30 on Zoom to let parents know what we offer, thanks to Vicki for inviting us.
We also have two #PACTTalk events in June, the first on 7th 1-2pm via Zoom with the Psychology in Schools Team alongside the Therapeutic Services Team talking about what they can offer to schools if a young person begins struggling emotionally.  The second session on June 14th 10.30-11.30am also on Zoom, will be a Q&A for parents to discuss informally with other local experienced home educating parents how the process works, what are the requirements and whether it could be right for them and their child.

April 2021
We will shortly be running our first PACT book club which will feature a book called "Hold on to your kids" by Dr Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld.  If you would like to join us please look for information in the group.  We have seen a large increase in parents/carers seeking help and support around school based anxiety issues since the return to school following the Easter holidays.  We are happy to support you in the group or provide 1:1 support in the way which best suits you, please get in touch for more information.
Upcoming webinars this month we have are 'advice and support around the Judicial Review process' and also 'supporting your SEND child through violent or behaviour that challenges' with Yvonne Newbold.  Again, details can be found in the closed group.  

March 2021
Join fortnightly walks in Lowestoft from the back of the Carlton Public House, NR33 OLF next one Friday 19th 11am (weather dependent) with Sue see the LiftLoudforDanny Facebook page for further info here
Today we hosted a Zoom workshop with Dr Beth Mosley (Psychology in Schools Team, NSFT) and Dr Claire Darwin (Therapeutic Ed Psych Team, SCC) to look at the issues parents, children and young people are facing in their transitions back into schools and colleges.  It was a very useful and interesting conversation which covered a variety of issues.  Thanks to Beth, Claire and their teams for their ongoing support for our families. 
On March 22nd 10 am-12pm we are hosting another Zoom workshop with Q&A "Attention Seeking? Or something else? - Self Harm" with our guest facilitator Satveer Nijjar (who has been a part of numerous campaigns and educational tools over the years).  For more info please visit www.
We have also begun hosting ad-hoc weekday drop-ins in our closed group for parents to drop in and discuss particular issues.  Last week we hosted a virtual drop-in to chat about issues around the upcoming school and college return.  One of our trustees, Claire has been very active in following topics and threads and providing drop-ins to offer support in these areas of need.

February 2021 we are coming (hopefully) to the end of another lockdown and the children are supposedly returning to schools and colleges from March 8th.  We have been extremely busy, providing support, resources, research, articles etc. in the closed Facebook group which you are welcome to join if you are a parent/carer of a child/young person with mental health issues

We have recently run webinars and workshops on supporting a young person with an eating disorder, low mood in children and young people and sleep issues.  We currently have upcoming workshops from Dr Beth Mosley (NSFT) on "supporting a young person in returning to school", and "Attention seeking? Or something else?" a workshop around self-harm provided by Satveer Nijjar on 22nd March.  To join any of our workshops or webinars (there is no charge) you will find the links in the closed group (details above). 

We are in discussions with several local and national organisations to plan and bring to our parents and carers the latest resources and tools to enable them to continue to support their child/young person in the best ways possible.  We also continue to seek funding to enable the team to continue researching these options as we firmly believe in early intervention in mental health to stop things spiraling without appropriate and timely support.  

We would love to welcome more dads/grandads/male carers into the group and are currently discussing how to best approach this.  As ever, if you would like to suggest something which you feel would be beneficial to other parents and carers, if you have a talent/passion or skill which you would like to share for the benefit of advancing and supporting our young peoples mental health then please do get in touch as we are passionate about working with others either local or not, to bring the best ideas to our parents/carers.

Define Fine Parent Peer Support for children with School Attendance Difficulties 12.11.2020
Define Fine has been created by a small, committed team of parents and professionals who have lived experience of school attendance difficulties

We are a parent/carer-led organisation set up in response to the growing number of children and young people who experience school attendance difficulties. This is sometimes referred to as ‘school refusal’, or emotionally based school avoidance and may be due to unmet Special Educational Needs & Disabilities including physical or mental illness, either suspected or diagnosed, bullying or issues relating to academic pressure, or even the school environment.

We provide peer support, using our tried and tested resources and to help parents advocate for the support their children and young people need to be able to learn and achieve. We hope to build up our growing network of peer supporters, who we can train to use our guides for their own family and ultimately to then help other families experiencing attendance difficulties.

Empowering parents to be able to effectively work with professionals, should encourage not only earlier intervention, with much better outcomes, but also reduce the risk and impact of unhelpful, and unnecessary attendance prosecutions and social services safeguarding interventions. It is vital that children, young people and their families receive appropriate support, and especially in cases where professionals insist children are “fine in school, “ all are clear as to how fine is actually defined.

For us “fine in school” would mean that children are safe, healthy, happy and their needs are acknowledged and supported to able to access suitable education and learn.

We have co-produced the following guidance, based on relevant and up to date government guidance and policy which forms the basis of our support framework. We have had some success already in working with parents and professionals to develop suitable Support Plans to enable s children to access a suitable education.

October 2020 - Wow can't believe another two months has passed and we have lots to update you on what's been happening behind the scenes.  We've had another catchup session with Mason and Naomi from NSFT to keep each other updated on what is happening in PACT and in NSFT.  We were very happy to have welcomed Dr Beth Mosley, clinical psychiatrist and two of her colleagues to a Zoom workshop on 5th October where they discussed anxiety issues in children and young people.  We are currently planning the second session for November 23rd 1-2pm and the topic will be sleeping issues.  We will also be co-ordinating a webinar with Q&A session on "Trauma and it's impact" date TBA.  

We continue to feed into the i-CATS (identifying childhood anxiety through schools) study from the University of Oxford which is ongoing and will hope to benefit many primary school aged children in the future.  

We continue to have regular Zoom meetings with the PLACE network, which is a national network of parent/carer support groups much like PACT (for those caring for children/young people with mental health issues) and many of them very new.  Great to hear about and share experiences of positive practice happening across the UK and get involved in various projects and research.  This is being led by  

Since we formalised as a CIC in June we have appointed 5 trustees who will sit on our management committee and help us to make strategic decisions and share ideas and solutions.

We are very pleased to share that we have received some funding from Suffolk Community Foundation through Suffolk Coronavirus Community Fund, also we've been successful in securing some funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.  These funding grants will ensure we can continue to provide our high levels of outreach at this time via our closed Facebook group, telephone helpline, messenger and 1:1 support via Zoom or phone/messenger.  Some of this funding will also be used to ensure we can provide further training and small group parent workshops around topics which we know our parents/carers have a need for.  These will include self-harm, sleep, trauma and we will also be running small sessions for guided parent-led cbt based on the research and training from Professor Cathy Creswell (Oxford University), and SPACE (supportive parenting for anxious childhood emotions) from Professor Eli Liebowitz (Yale Child Study Centre).

Finally, phew, we have been nominated as the charity to receive a 50% share of profits from the "2021 Stowmartian calendar" by - which we are extremely grateful for :-) 

August 2020 - We have been continuing to network with local and national organisations during the last several months, and have enjoyed invitations to meet via "MS Teams" with Mason Fitzgerald, deputy CEO of NSFT and Naomi Farrow, engagement officer.  It was great to explain to them what PACT is all about and some examples of the ways we continue to support our families with their mental health.  This then led on to a meeting with Dr Beth Mosley, Clinical Psychologist and project lead  - WS Psychology in Schools Project - NSFT.  Beth has kindly agreed to lend us a mental health practitioner (or two) to attend our regular Zoom support group to offer direct feedback and support to our parents and carers on a variety of topics.  The priority being supporting our children and young people in feeling confident in going back to school in the autumn.  On 5th August Mason invited us to participate in the NSFT Service Delivery Board strategic update meeting for the agenda item "partnership working".  We discussed with around 40 senior staff members and carers leads our current offer and how we would highly value their invitation to work together to ensure all families are supported and don't fall between any gaps in services or support.  We have all agreed to move forward in this partnership working relationship and we are hopeful of positive things coming from it.

July 2020 - we have continued to offer our Wednesday #PACTtalk livestreams into our closed Facebook group and have featured (amonst others) Cath from discussing support for 3rd party victims of violent or sexual crime, Sue Wilgoss from #Liftloudfordanny talking about autism, mental health, self harm and suicidal ideation for young people, Tracy (PACT) sharing lived experience as a parent with a young person struggling with substance abuse, Claire (PACT/this girl can ambassador) talking about excercise and healthy swaps for better nutrition to keep us as health as possible.  Nancy Merfield ( joined us to talk about parental self-care and why it's so important, along with the support offered by 4yp in counselling services for teenagers. Sally Raymen (PACT) gave us a really useful insight into meditation and how it works for her - she offered resources to help, apps, books and the idea of keeping a "happy pot" to remember positive memories.  These are just a few of those we've invited and we have many more ideas and guests to come - please let us know if you have an idea for a discussion with Q&A.

June 2020 - PACT became PACT Parents and Carers Together CIC to support us in our vision of becoming sustainable into the future and ensuring we continue to offer this level of support etc. for all families in Suffolk caring for a child or young person with mental health issues.

During May 2020 Bec attended a 2 day workshop by Prof Eli Liebowitz and associate research scientist Dr Yaara Shimshoni
via webinar from the Yale School of Medicine, CT, USA. The workshop was around the SPACE programme (supportive parenting for anxious childhood emotions). Bec is the FIRST to be trained to deliver this programme in the UK and will be using these skills to support parents and carers of children/young people with anxiety in the future. Watch this space. If you are interested in this programme here is a link to find out a bit more

We were recently thrilled to learn that we have been nominated for a National Diversity Award within the 'community organisation - multi strand' category. What an honor! It's lovely to know that we continue to make a difference for our families in the area of supporting the mental health of our children and young people! If you would like to nominate us too please find the link to do so here:

Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions we are quickly developing our online offer of support for our parents and carers and have had our first few weeks of Zoom meetups on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 6-7pm.  We are also hoping to start some Facebook live sessions to chat about how to support ourselves and our families at this time.  If you would like to join as a parent/carer of a child/young person with a mental health issue here is the link:

We have linked up locally with Framlingham based charity Hour Community and also a branch of their organisation The Worry Tree Cafe who provide regular meetups and a variety of support for wellbeing and mental health in the local town.  New Worry Tree cafes are being created now across Suffolk based on their formula.  It is hoped that during and after this Covid-19 period we can work together to share ideas and help develop our offers to individuals and families going forward.

Our sincere thanks to East Suffolk Council for granting us some funding from their Covid-19 community funds to purchase a Zoom subscription to provide a safe space for our online support meetups for the next few months, also to continue to develop our support line offer for parents/carers to call if they are concerned about a child/young persons mental health and would like someone to chat to with a non-judgemental ear. (This is not a crisis service and is not 24/7) 

We continue to be really busy  nationally working with parents and carers and other organisations to help support parents to support their childrens mental health and wellbeing.  We are part of a group now of over 30 members of support group facilitators from across the country.  This is being developed by The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

We have linked up with the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust to help input into the Governments strategy to put a mental health support team into every school. We are helping to develop the manual which will be used by these teams.

We are continuing to link up with and Bec is part of their admin team. We will be running local workshops in Suffolk soon so keep an eye out for those to help support parents of children who are struggling to attend school for any number of reasons.

Bec and Clare recently attended training by Prof Cathy Creswell around parent-led cbt.  If you are interested please get in touch.

Our PACT outreach service and school attendance support services are very much up and running now, we reach out by various platforms to enable those who can't attend our face to face meetups to access support and advice as and when they feel they need it. Please contact us for details.

Bec and Clare are trained to offer The Rewind (Closure without disclosure) which is a treatment for PTSD, extremely short and no need to disclose any information - again please contact for details. Visit for more info

We have several of our parents representing us at workstream meetings at Suffolk CC, these include the CEWG (children's emotional wellbeing group), schools co-ordination committee, Childhood ACE's (adverse childhood experiences), workforce development, childhood obesity and reducing parental conflict.  If anyone would be interested in getting involved please contact us.

We continue to run our monthly support group meetups in Ipswich, Stowmarket, and Lowestoft and have been providing support, our PACT resource library, guest speakers and training information/sessions to parents. Recently we have provided a sensory processing 3 hour workshop and several guests to our meetups including Councillor Mary Evans (SCC) and Sue Bridges (NSFT Greenlight Project).  This month we will welcome Adam Dabin (headteacher for the new Sir Bobby Robson school) to our Ipswich meetup 

Bec has been invited onto the iCATS Stakeholder group (identifying child anxiety through schools) and has also been asked to support the training of practitioners for the schools mental health teams project (at UEA Norwich)

Well that's a bit about what we've been up to recently, please contact us or link up with us on social media to find out how to get involved and be a part of our important work.

Bec Jasper

PACT | Parents and Carers Together

Meetings in Suffolk

parents and carers meetings

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we have moved our support group meetups to online Zoom every Friday 6-7pm - this is for those members of our closed Facebook group.

Support for parents/carers

support for parents and carers

PACT offer free, confidential support, including information and advice to any adult worried about the emotions, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person. We offer a safe environment to support with no judgement.

Self Help Resources

self help resources

We offer a wide range of self help resources to support you and your child. These include access to books, links to online training and content, connections with other organisations and the chance to come together to chat and share ideas.