A Skegby help group set up to help families in the area facing a crisis has grown into a national helpline and campaigning organisation.
Mum of eight Sheila Riley knows from first hand experience that families can sometimes face problems which seem insurmountable and help is often difficult to find.
With three of her own children having Autistic Spectrum Disorder, (ASD) which affects social interaction, communication and behaviour.
Sheila has built up years of experience of dealing with all the problems that may build up to a crisis point for many families.
Last year Sheila decided to share the knowledge and experience she has gained in dealing with her own situation by setting up the charity Supporting Parents In Crisis (SPICUK).
Sheila (51) said: “ We are a charity that was set up to provide parents with information and support for serious problems they might be suffering from.
“We realised that whilst there are various charities for children, there was a serious lack of support for their parents and caregivers.
“Things such as not having enough money, bullying and divorce or separation cause a serious negative impact on parents and their children yet there are not many places parents can turn to for help when these things happen.
“I know from 18 years of my own experience that getting access to things like education and support can be very frustrating for parents and carers.
“A lot of services are all over the place, disjointed and they don’t talk to each other. It takes someone to bring them all together.”
SPICUK help families facing social services intervention, children with disabilities, autism, behavioural issues and bullying among a whole range of issues.
Advice is given to those needing it all around the UK.
Sheila said: “I would say to anyone if you feel that you are in a crisis, please contact us as we do not turn anybody or any problem away.”
“Often when social workers get involved parents come to us worried about what is coming next and they don’t know the system.
“We support, signpost and advocate for these parents.
“We guide them through the social service system and stand by them at meetings and help to prevent the removal of their children where possible.
“We can go with them and hold their hands at Social Services meetings so there is someone there on their side.
“With parents of ASD children we guide them through the diagnosis and can also help with the new EHCP forms to ensure their child can access a good education.”
“There are short respite breaks available for parents and a lot don’t know you can get that sort of help.
“You can get up to 80 hours a year where a carer comes and takes the child out.”
SPICUK can also help with debt and benefits advice and foodbank referrals.
The group is also campaigning for a more open Family Court system in the UK.
Sheila said: “Sometimes children are taken from their families for the wrong reasons.
“We believe that justice can only be achieved when everyone involved in a court hearing have to be made accountable for what they say and do.”
The group meets once a month on Wednesdays from 10am-12noon and once a month on Fridays from 7-9pm at Healdswood Community Centre, Skegby,
There is a coffee morning every Friday Morning at 10am Hetty’s on Main Street, Huthwaite.
Personal meetings with parents and families requiring support can be arranged. Contact parents in Crisis on 07847878812, for help and advice.
The group has a website http://spicuk.weebly.com/blog.html#/ and can be found on Facebook.