On new ventures, SEND reforms, social enterprise & The Local Offer


TLO-logo (2)News Update: Launch date of The Local Offer – http://www.thelocaloffer.co.uk – Tuesday 22nd April.

I am tottering on a precipice of discovery, just weeks away from the launch of The Local Offer, a social enterpise and national web-based brokerage service on behalf of children and young people (0 – 25 years) with special educational needs and/or disability.

It is a demanding and challenging time, not least in that this new venture draws on great reserves of courage and confidence, reserves that I admit have been depleted somewhat over the challening past year.

As luck would have it, I am called in for my second post-cancer treatment check up with my oncologist, just a few days before the anticipated launch date of The Local Offer. I have decided that if I were to wait for a perfect moment, or a perfect year, or the very best of health, or the best of finances, to create something new, I might wait for ever…

What has given me courage and fortitude, these past few weeks and months, has been the great enthusiasm with which my social enterprise has been greeted, and the instant and unflinching trust of several national organizations who have already committed to coming on board, ahead of the site and service launch. Very brave and bold of them, and I am indebted to their vision and faith.

My especial thanks to Riding for the Disabled and Service Children’s Support Network, who, in the very early days of publicity about The Local Offer, have bowled me over with their enthusiasm and vision for the future

Links to both organizations are here – http://www.rda.org.uk/

Riding for the Disabled


girl and father

Now, with a strong team of support, there is much to do to ensure the success and long term sustainability of this venture, not just to those willing to come on board prior to the launch of The Local Offer, but for all those parents and carers out there, who struggle to find and gain the services and support they so badly need. Schools too, can often have a narrowly defined view of what services (typically those retained by Local Authorities) should take a dominant role in service delivery, in meeting the identified needs of a child through a Single Plan, or Statement of SEN, or an Education, Health and Care Plan. Sometimes, with the best of wills, there are not enough hours in the day to research every provider in a locality, and not enough incentives to change the direction of service acquisition..

As the SEND reforms take hold and begin to shape our landscape, I have a vision that that provision for all CYP on a single plan or with a EHC Plan, will take into account the needs of the child within the family or home context that arise during a 24 hour day, 7 day week, 52 week year. That would truly transform special educational needs provision.

Providers of education, health and social care services within the following categories are invited to subscribe to The Local Offer to showcase the great diversity and excellence of provision across the 9 regions of England and throughout the 152 Local Authority districts –

  1. Consultancy services
  2. Practitioners
  3. Community and Voluntary sector
  4. Representation & Advocacy

Early Bird discounts on subscriptions are available until Friday, 18th April.

If you have any queries about The Local Offer, as a provider, commissioner, school, parent or carer, please do not hesitate to contact me – heather@hmstack.com

Swimming for the disabled


Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering, ‘it will be happier.’

Alfred Tennyson





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