SEND Summer Partnership Picnic focuses on working together

On a hot mid summer’s day on 21st June we held our SEND Summer Partnership Picnic at Congleton Town Hall. The event, attended by around 100 children, young people, parents, carers and professionals aimed to develop some co-production principles following feedback from our SEND inspection earlier this year.

During the session, the attendees spent time working together on a number of fun activities, including arts, crafts and willow weaving whilst suggesting some principles of good co-production. Visitors were asked to think about three questions:

  • What helps us all to work well together?
  • What stops us from working well together?
  • What should good co-production look like?

Guest speaker was Stuart Dunne, from Youth Focus North West, who described co-production in Cheshire East as a simple idea: children, young people, parents and organisations having the skills, knowledge and ability to work together, create opportunities and solve problems.

We received lots of feedback to the session with attendees describing good co-production as:

“Listening to each other” 

“Be patient, listen, everyone has an opinion”

“Being open and honest about what is possible or not possible”

“Everyone feels they have ownership of the finished product”

The idea for a get together was originally proposed by Mandy Dickson, Co Chair of the Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum. Mandy said:

“The day was about sharing our experiences, understanding and learning about each others’ daily struggles and achievements whilst having some fun. As a parent carer forum representative we work together with SEN agencies co-producing like a critical friend. I hope that everyone got the most out of the day and I hope events like these can help us work together to make it better for all our children in Cheshire East.”

Cat Duffy, member of Cheshire East Youth Council who supported the event said:

“I have a fair few friends who have SEND needs and I want to help make sure they have the chance to have a good and equal quality of life in the future. One of the recent things that has been started is the SEND youth forum which helps give the children and young people within it the chance to have their voice heard as well as letting them be around people who have a very good understanding of the issues they face daily.”

It’s not too late to get involved in our co-production charter, if you would like to give us your views on what good co-production looks like, complete our online survey. Deadline for responses is 30 September 2018.

To view all the images from the event, visit our online photo gallery and if you have any comments or questions, please contact us at