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Carers and families receive much needed support

Carers and families of children with a disability often feel socially isolated and overwhelmed with the complex and difficult circumstances associated with supporting a child with special needs.

To help support these carers, Families Supporting Families (FSF) with the support of nib foundation, will be running Carer's Café Plus workshops that will allow them to share information and experiences and build their capacity to support their child with special needs.

"By facilitating these workshops we provide an opportunity for carers to connect and learn from guest speakers and each other. These workshops help to reduce the sense of isolation carers often experience, as well as increasing their wellbeing and strengthening resilience," Bronwyn Thoroughgood from FSF said.

"People from across the Hunter have the chance to attend, which will provide them the support and social re-connection they need in a safe environment," she added.

Mrs Tanya Jolly, a parent of two children with special needs, believes in the importance of carers and families surrounding themselves with a strong support network.

"Caring for a child with special needs can be exceptionally challenging and a lonely journey. These gatherings and workshops are a great opportunity for carers and families to come together and celebrate the uniqueness of our children," Mrs Jolly said.

"It also provides a forum to learn from the experiences of other people in similar situations," she added.

nib foundation Chairman, Keith Lynch said funding support from the foundation will also enable FSF to hold six informal Carer's Café gatherings and an annual dinner in 2015, in addition to the workshops.

"We're pleased to help a small volunteer run charity to provide a variety of opportunities for local families to choose the level of support they need which will empower them to build their own capacity to support their child," Mr Lynch said.

"The project provides carers with a supportive environment that combines education with the invaluable benefits of networking with other carers and support services," he added.

The next Carer's Café Plus workshop will be held on 21 May at Diggers at Newcastle City, Mayfield. Guest speaker, Craig Moore is a Newcastle based clinical psychologist who is highly experienced in working with children and adolescents. His area of expertise in challenging behaviours will be valuable for parents and carers. He will address the complexities associated with the use of technology with the aim of helping parents and carers to feel more confident in their approach to its use in the home.

For more information about the event please see Families Supporting Families.