EXTRA TIME – STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION
In the summer of 2015, children’s disability charity Extratime carried out a comprehensive stakeholder consultation with parent carers, professional partners, children and young people and their own staff team, funded by the Blagrave Trust and the Sussex Community Foundation.
The review cost approximately £5,000 and was conducted by an external consultancy. It included:
Six interviews with a range of professional stakeholders, including statutory and voluntary sector colleagues.
A service user survey circulated to existing or potential Extratime users to ascertain views about their experiences of Extratime services. 160 responses were received.
The findings identified a significant unmet need for Extratime existing services across the city and gaps in service provision which we have been to address. It also emphasised the trust in Extratime held by parent carers of children and young people with additional needs and disabilities.
In the words of Extratime:
The stakeholder consultation was a fantastic learn as it gave us the opportunity to listen to the young people and families who use Extratime clubs and schemes and to our professional stakeholders and front line staff. From this we were able to map the gaps in service provision and importantly make some of the improvements required.
For example, the consultation identified a lack of out of school leisure services for young people with additional needs aged 16 plus and the need for weekend play and leisure activities for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. In response to this we have set up two new services in partnership with existing partners YMCA and with inclusive dance company Rounded Rhythm. We are also exploring options for family weekend activities.
The stakeholder consultation enabled us to respond to opportunities in the external environment and create the robust evidence base (from consultation as well as our new internal financial management and monitoring processes) required to bid for the tender. The most significant of these is with West Sussex County Council, with whom we have just secured a substantial new contract to deliver four short breaks services in two areas in West Sussex.
This evidence base and the improvements to our financial management systems also supported by Blagrave have also enabled us to respond positively to the ongoing funding reductions imposed by Brighton and Hove city council. The data we have collected presents a compelling argument which has won further support for Extratime services across the city.
By consulting with hundreds of parent carers of children with additional needs and disabilities, our professional colleagues and our own broad staff teams throughout the summer 2015, we have been able to ensure that all future development of Extratime services is informed by the experience of the young people we support. This robust evidence base also supports our input into the SEND Review, our advocacy for families with statutory decision makers, and the development or new services for disabled children and young people across Brighton and Hove and West Sussex.
If you have experiences to share with us and the wider community about good practice or examples of listening to young people, then feel free to get in touch.