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About us

We aim to be your voice

Thurrock SEND Family Forum aim to be a well-informed, connected and empowered community of families of children with disabilities or additional needs, offering support to each other and working in partnership with service providers to create quality services that meet the needs of all parent carers and their children.


We aim to provide parents and carers with a relaxed and informal place to meet to share their views on how things are going and how the borough can improve.

Why Join us?

A Voice for parents

We give parent carers a voice and provide an open channel through us with Thurrock Council and health and their service providers.

promoting equality

We aim to be an active voice in promoting disability equality and challenging discrimination on all levels within the borough

*The Parent’/Carers’ Forum is NOT used for individual complaints and issues. Concerns or complaints involving individual children, families will be signposted to PATT- Sendias service for advice and personal support.

accessible to all

We aim to be clear and approachable, accessible to all. Listen and act and most importantly feedback to our members about how your voice has made a difference for local families.

Challenging Discrimination

We aim to actively challenge Thurrock council and health to influence better outcomes for the families in Thurrock.


We use the Ladder of Participation approach, which supports the membership and the Steering Group to become involved at a local, regional, and national level as well as to develop and influence  policy making and commissioning processes.

Parent carers have parental responsibility for, and or care for, children and young people who have a Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND). Parent carer participation is when parents and professionals, commissioners and policy makers work together, recognising each other’s expert knowledge, to design, commission and deliver better services for children with SEND.

Are you a parent carer of a child with special needs?

(opens a form to fill & submit)



Forum chair

NICOLE English

Hey, I’m Nicole and I am the forum’s current chair. I’ve been involved since Contact started getting parents together and decided to take my role on to help the forum get developed and established. My background is in finance but after having children I realised I didn’t want to work in something that I wasn’t passionate about so I left for a career change.

I work for the NHS part time and in our spare family time we love watching films, going on walks and we love pets, so chances are you’ll find us in a pet shop either buying more or just supplies. 

I have 2 boys, my eldest is 9, he is a character! He had multiple disabilities and one huge personality to support them. He is the reason that I wanted to make a change for SEND children in our borough, I just hope that I can make him proud! My youngest is 4 and is crazy about anything marvel, but not DC, apparently Batman and Spiderman should never be crossed over!

I’m passionate about helping people, I am aware of all the challenges we face and I want to make sure that if we can impact on these to make them less of a struggle for us parent carers that I do it and I hope to make effective change for the kids! 

key staff and volunteers

meet the team



I’m Natasha, I have lived in Thurrock all my life. I live with my family; husband, two children and our dog.
I have always worked with children and young people, their families and adults who educate / support them. I love being a psychologist and applying the things I learn to everyday life.  I enjoy being creative, making things and journaling. I love watching films at the cinema. Being part of this forum is important to me because one of our daughters has special educational needs and I want to ensure that Thurrock services are supporting children and families as much as possible and that families have a way to share their feedback and experiences to inform positive changes.  The forum team are friendly and it’s a great group to be a member of. 




I am married with 2 children, 1 of whom is now an adult and 1 who is primary aged with SEND.

I worked in life insurance for 5 years and then moved into Local Government. I joined the early years team in 1999 and later, the Family Information Service.  I left in 2015 to concentrate on caring for my daughter. 

I enjoy Pilates and swimming. Whales & dolphins are my passion.

After attending a drop in session run by the PCF, I knew I wanted to be involved in helping families in a similar situation to mine, have their voices heard.

I’m very much a people person and feel that the PCF & it’s members are committed to listening to parents & Carers and feeding back to & requesting change from local government.



I’m Teresa Laviniere I am mum to twins Hannah and Jacob who are 10 years old. Jacob was born with a rare genetic condition called Kabuki syndrome. 

I am an interior designer and have been self employed for many years. I like being creative with Hannah and Jacob taking them to museums, festivals and different events.

 I have the health Co-ordinator role as part of the forum and its given me a chance to connect with professionals in the NHS and in the education department. To be able to give essential parent feedback to help create better awareness is something I am very passionate about.  To be part of the forum where our aim is to support other parent/carers who need advice and where we can help from our experiences. To be part of helping with the positive changes that need to come for children who have a disability and those with special educational needs.




Hi My name is Reshma and I look after equality and inclusion for the PCF

– My family… I have 2 small boys and my older son has SENs. 

– My background…I work in Employee Relation HR since 2011. 

– My likes/interests… Before kids, I would liked going on holidays and reading a good book, going to museums and galleries. I like socialising over dinner and drinks, not that any of that happens now of course.

– Why I joined the forum… I wanted to see what I can do to push the SEN agenda in our local authority and be a support to parents in their journey.



I’m a Mum of 2 and my Daughter lives with a rare genetic condition. I support the forum with social media activities and thinking of ways to reach out to parent carers digitally and get everyone involved. 


When I get the opportunity, I like to be outdoors exploring nature, Afrobeats and reading a good book. My professional background is in Human Resources and also Co-Founded a Non-Profit, Black Special Needs Parents Support Network. 


It’s important that all parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities are heard in an informal setting where they can be fully understood and get the feedback they need. That’s why I joined the forum, it also helps that everyone there is so supportive.



Hi, I’m Samantha and I’m the Forum administrator.  

My main role is to support the team and deal with administration and finance.

I have three adult daughters and one grandson and I’ve lived in Thurrock all my life.  I also do finance for two charities within Thurrock who advocate for and support adults with learning disabilities.  I have a background of HR and secretarial within the retail sector but I find working in the charity sector so much more rewarding.

When I’m not busy working, I love to spend time with my family, eating out, travelling, reading and walking with our lovely spaniel, Nora.






I’m Jackie, Mum of 2 children. I work part time as an Office Manager. Passionate about raising Autism awareness & being inclusive to all. 

We are a blended family. I recently got married to my very supportive husband, and have a very inquisitive son who is in secondary education. He has Autism & ADHD, sensory processing disorder and anxiety and now attends a SEN school. I have a caring & headstrong daughter in primary school.  As a parent of a child with SEN who has had various challenges and uphill battles with getting the right support, and finding the most suitable school for his needs, I know these things can be overwhelming & have met many parents & young people who’s voices aren’t being heard. When I found out about the forum I knew I wanted to get involved and if I can help to make a difference to parents, carers & young people in Thurrock getting their views and needs across to the right professionals, that is such a valuable opportunity.



Hi! I’m Lee-Ann and I live in Little Thurrock. I’m a mum of 2 boys who both have special education needs, who I care for full time. Prior to having children I worked in the city, for an insurance company as a claims handler, then since having children I have run a parental support group and worked as an LSA in a specialist education provision. 

During my free time you’ll find me with my head in a book, I get through at least one a week! I’m also a big film and music fan. 

I joined the forum to help bring a voice to those who feel unheard, and to try and make changes within the community to help families like ours. 


Simply complete our online membership form (link below)to get started and join the Thurrock SEND Family Forum.

become a member