Who We Are...
Co-production partners for change!
Claire Smith - Chair
I’m Claire. I am blessed with two wonderful children. One of my children has complex SEND and health needs.
I have a background in both health and social care. I love to learn. I have completed many courses and awards in SEND and healthcare. As a parent carer I have much lived experience in neurodivergent differences, learning difficulties, mental health, EHCP’s, school difficulties and home education.
Giving families a voice is so important to me and so is recognising our young peoples strengths and talents.
Claire - Expert by Experience and Community Engagement Coordinator
Hi I'm Claire, and first and foremost I'm a mother to a wonderful son with complex additional needs. I come from a background of SEND, education and the creative industries and bring to this role my desire to improve the wellbeing of young people and their families in education, social and healthcare provisions. I am eager to reach others in the community and provide a platform for their voices to fuel positive, progressive change so our young people can have the fulfilled lives and futures they deserve.
Brian Devine - Chair of Trustees & Safeguarding Officer
First and most important I am a family man, my world revolves around my wife and son. My son is autistic, non verbal and he is the most incredible person I know.
During the time he was being assessed and diagnosed to be on the autistic spectrum, I have met some wonderful new friends.
What experience do I have, Being a farther, my son who is teaching me something new every day, I have been a trustee for a local nursery, and I am a school governor , I am also on the local Parish Council.
I know my own experience but more importantly my sons, anything I can do to learn more to help my son but at the same time if I can use what I have learnt to help others on this journey.
My hopes are that we can give our children/young adults the best future possible, ok I know at this point in time with the support available for our children/young adults and the hole family is not what it should be. I want to help bring changes not just for today but give our children/young adults and even grandchildren a proper future but the only way that can happen is together, supporting each other. It's going to be a long journey with big challenges and yes maybe 1 or 2 brick walls to navigate round but as 1 we will change things, we can change the future for the better for our children/young adults to have the support in place they you need/deserves.
Faye Churchill - Trustee
I am Faye, I am diagnosed with ADHD myself and I am also a parent carer of 3 children with a range of complex needs and mental health difficulties.
I have been involved in many different send related services over the last decade. Bringing a mixture of lived and learned experience to the management committee
Sue Willgoss - Trustee
I’m a mum, in Lowestoft, Waveney, of four, now adult, children all who have or had SEND, three with a statement/EHCP. My children had a range of SEND, ASD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Selective Mutism, Speech and Language Difficulties, Hearing Impairment, Mental Health Difficulties, Anxiety and School Refusal. I’ve worked in SEND for almost 30 years both in school, as an Independent Support Coordinator as well as voluntarily.
Sadly I lost my son Danny when he took his own life in 2018. Danny had an EHCP at the time of his death. I now work in suicide prevention both professionally and voluntarily. I have a passion for self harm/suicide prevention in young people, especially those with SEND and autistic people.
I founded the charitable organisation #LiftLoudForDanny following the loss of my son providing support for those with mental health difficulties and their carers. I was a founder member of the original Suffolk Parent Carer Network until resigning in 2017. I am also passionate about improving outcomes for our children, young people and their families in Suffolk. Things have to change.
Experts by Experience
We are very lucky to have various Experts by Experience that volunteer their time to the Forum. All the parent reps have lived experience of being parent carers of children and young people with SEND as well as some of them having additional needs and/or disabilities themselves. We are always looking to welcome more parent reps onto the Forum so if you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact us on: email@example.com