We are the voice for Parent Carers of children & young people 0-25yrs with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities in Bedford Borough.
We feed back your views to Education, Health, Social Care and other departments that provide SEND services.
We are passionate about improving services for our children & young people, we’ve all had different experiences so we need to hear your views.
We hold regular Coffee Mornings and other events for parents to come along, give their views and meet other parents. We also run training sessions for Parent Carers. If you would like to find out more or become a member please contact us or complete our online membership form here
Meet Our Steering Group
Kerri is Mum to Reece and Finlay. Reece has ADHD, moderate learning difficulties and severe dyslexia which has meant he has received an Education, Health and Care Plan. Finlay has a diagnosis of Dyslexia. Both of them have attended mainstream schools.
Kerri joined BBPCF as she wanted to inform and empower other parent carers of children with SEND as well as to take the voice of the parent carers to the people who make decisions about our children's lives.
In 2019 Kerri took over the role of Chair and hopes to keep challenging the system so that all of our children can achieve their goals.
Lee is currently Treasurer for BBPCF. He has lived in Bedford for 17 years moving here with his wife and two sons. His eldest is an Insulin dependent diabetic, an example of a hidden disability. He also had several issues whilst in the education system resulting in being in receipt of a full statement of needs and this has persisted into young adulthood.
This led Lee into becoming involved in his education, serving as a school governor and Chair of Governors at a variety of schools across Bedford, while Lee tried to understand what support he would get or was supposed to get. As well as highlighting the lack of support once school has finished. This led Lee into teaching, after spending 28 years in Banking and Finance, returning to University to qualify as a Primary Teacher currently holding a position of Year 6 teacher and Behavioural Lead at a local Primary Academy.
Lee’s interest in how those with more challenging issues navigate the education system and early adulthood has led him to being elected previously to serve on The Children and Young Peoples Select Committee as well as gaining experience on school admissions panels.
Val’s role is to maintain effective and efficient running of Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum (BBPCF) by co-ordinating all forum activity. Val joined BBPCF in 2014 and some of you may also know her from her work with Bedford Mencap and her involvement with Marlins Special Needs Swimming Club. Val also works with the Governors of BILTT which is the Multi Academy Trust comprising of St John’s, Grange and Greys Academies.
Val is mum to Alex (25) who has Dyspraxia and a Learning Disability. Alex attended Grange Academy and Bedford College. She now works part time at Sainsbury’s in Bedford and is enjoying earning (and spending) her own money! She is now moving towards independent living, spending one or two days a week away from home. Val has a special interest in young people with additional needs as they transition into adult life and attends various ‘Preparing for Adulthood’ meetings and events on behalf of the Forum.
Steering Group Member
Gary is the father of two wonderful children (Libby 7 & Jake 5) and married to his partner Lisa
In 2012 when Libby was born she was diagnosed with a rare condition called Septo Optic Dysplasia. She also has hydrocephalus, severe epilepsy and is blind. This completely changed their lives overnight. Despite all of these conditions Libby is an absolute ray of sunshine and copes extremely well with all of her complex issues. Libby is a very strong little girl and her brother Jake copes with his unusual life in an incredible way.
Gary is passionate about trying to help other parents and carers who cannot or do not know how to access the services they need and this is why he wants to try and make the changes through the work with BBPCF.
Steering Group Member
Karen is Mum to 3 beautiful and funny children; Mia (born in 2006), Lois (born in 2007) and Noah (born in 2010). When Lois was born their family were unhappily and unwillingly thrust into the world of Special Needs. Over the course of Lois's short but complex life so far she has been diagnosed with severe quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, epilepsy, dystonia and is registered as being sight and hearing impaired. However, those who know Lois know that her disabilities are not what defines her... it is her fun loving personality and wicked sense of humour that everybody falls in love with! Lois is educated within a local special needs setting and enjoys a very active social life, which includes accessing mainstream and special needs activities.
In 2013, as Karen struggled through this scary world looking for ways to help Lois and ensure she has the best chance to enjoy a happy and healthy a life as possible, she came across the Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum. She immediately recognised the good work being carried out and signed up as a Parent Rep. In January 2014 Karen officially joined the staff team as the Forum's Parent Participation Worker then later changed roles to become the Membership Secretary. In June 2016 Karen had the great honour of being elected Chair of the Forum and enjoyed every minute of her 3 years of office... moving forward she is excited to see how she can as a steering group member and Vice Chair for the Eastern Region of Parent Carer Forums , along with the other forum members, continue to play a pivotal role in shaping services for our children and young people in the local area and beyond.
Steering Group Member
Mrunal is the Co-chair and East of England representative for the National Network of Parent Carer Forums.
However, Mrunal’s most important job is being dad to Arun and Meri. Arun was born very prematurely. He has cerebral palsy, autism and an insatiable lust for life.
In his previous life Mrunal worked in the financial sector for 18 years. He left the City in 2011 and since then has worked in the charity and public sector in a variety of roles.
In 2013, Mrunal was the first chair of the Bedford Borough Parent Carer forum which he helped to set up working with Lynn Hoppenbrouwers who did most of the hard work. Mrunal stepped down as chair in 2016 and handed over to the capable hands of Karen Russell who took the forum onto new heights. Mrunal is very pleased to serve as a steering group member and is passionate about the need for families to be heard and has witnessed the difference this makes to services for their children.
Communications & Engagement
Kelly's role is to ensure we communicate with you about what we have been doing and developing new ways for both our parent carer members and our associate members to get involved in the work that we do.
Kelly has 4 children & was thrown into the world of Special Needs when her daughter was born in 2010 with Down's Syndreome. Sophie also has Epilepsy, Chronic Lung Disease, Chronic Kidney Disease and is registered blind. Sophie has attended St John's Special School since she was 3.
Kelly's son Alfie who was born in 2012 was also diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 7.
Jo is Mum to Neve who is 14 and Imogen who is 12. Neve has a chromosome 18 part duplication, a rare condition with approx. 350 in the world. She has severe global development delay, learning difficulties and ADHD. Although Neve Is able to walk short distances but she also uses her pink wheelchair, Neve is non verbal but uses some sign and also PECS as a communication tool but is very good at making it very clear what she wants. She is a very happy little girl with a cheeky streak to her. Neve has been going to St John’s Special School since 2009 when she was 3. Neve also uses Sunflower house, which is a respite facility on a regular basis. Imogen attends Lincroft Academy. Imogen is very sporty and plays for her village football team.
Jo works as a local childminder which she’s been doing for 8 years. In her setting Jo childminds children with a range of SEND Inc ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia, Anxiety, and she looks after a young person with same disability as her own daughter who also attends St John’s School. Jo has been on St Johns PTA for past 11 years and been Chair for past 5 years.
Jo has watched BBPCF grow from the very beginning in 2012 until today, she has been Vice Chair since 2015 and she has loved every minute of it. Being part of an organisation who are the voice for our SEND children is an honour and a pleasure for her. It can be very challenging but Jo is always up for a challenge.