Faith Unoarumhi set up AidExcel Support Services after over 15 years working for a similar organisation in a South London borough. She could see that families with disabled children from black, ethnic minority and refugee communities were finding it hard to work their way through the different systems – and so were not always getting the services that they needed.
As a parent of disabled children herself, Faith could see what the problems were – and knew that with the right kind of personal help she could make a difference.
Faith started by providing personal advice to a small number of parents, and then as word got around and demand for her help increased she found herself with a waiting list. The next step was to recruit a management committee, set up an organisation and start to apply for funding so that she could reach more families.
AidExcel works is a parent led organisation staffed by volunteers who are trained to provide information and advice on a range of issues faced by families with disabled children. These include accessing benefits, finding services and developing skills.
Sometimes it can just be a matter of helping with form filling – all that jargon can be so confusing.
Or it could involve putting parents in touch with one another to share their experiences.
Other times it could be supporting a parent at a meeting with their child’s school.
AidExcel also work with local organizations to make sure that the needs of parents from minority groups are understood and taken into account when new services are planned, or when the local authority want to know what parents think.