Charity launches new version of its parent-carer book

Project manager Brian O'Hagan, second left, at the launch of the Reaching Families guide dm1501605a SUS-151205-132849008
Project manager Brian O'Hagan, second left, at the launch of the Reaching Families guide dm1501605a SUS-151205-132849008

THE second edition of a popular handbook for parents and carers has been launched by West Sussex charity Reaching Families.

More than 500 copies of Making Sense of It All were sold in the first week, following a launch at Haskins Garden Centre in Angmering.

The first edition of the handbook proved highly popular, with 2,000 copies sold.

It has now been updated to reflect major changes in the delivery of education, benefits, health and social care to children with special needs and their families.

The book also contains updated information on national and local services, a new chapter on the needs of siblings and a directory of private fee-paying businesses, which paid to be included in the guide.

Project manager Brian O’Hagan thanked parents and professionals from West Sussex County Council and others from the voluntary sector for their contributions and support.

“It’s a 60,000 word book, so we are both reliant on and grateful to parents and colleagues for their support in getting it finished,” he added. “It’s a mammoth task.

“The demand has been incredible. It is proof positive of parents’ need for information, which remains the single biggest obstacle to parents and families accessing services.”

Debbie Kennard, deputy cabinet member for children and families, spoke and the launch, saying she was proud to be associated with Reaching Families and commended the charity on its work.

“They deliver a vital service and none more so than the information provided in Making Sense of It All,” she said.

“It can only help improve the support parents are able to access for their children.”

Reaching Families was established by parent-carers to ‘empower, inform and care for parents and families of children with special needs and disabilities in West Sussex’.

The charity achieves its mission through a number of projects and services, including training on a wide variety of issues, outreach to parents and families across West Sussex, and a support group for parents of children with special needs attending mainstream schools.

The charity announced that it will now begin work on a second guide designed for parents of older children about to make the transition to adulthood, a period which is known to be highly stressful for parent-carers and young people with special needs.

The charity hopes to publish this guide in the autumn. Visit