About Parent Carer Forum York

The Parent Carer Forum York is an established and recognised group who work with parents and carers of children or young people with additional needs or disabilities (0-25) who live in York. We are a voluntary organisation.

Our aim is to ensure that provision and support from Health, Education and Social Care are informed by the expertise and lived experience of parents and carers. In order to ensure we are representing parent / carer voice correctly we:

  • Organise and attend  social events
  • Offer peer support
  • Share information and signpost services
  • Work closely with professionals within York


Come and join us at the Parent Carer Forum:

  • Meet up with parents and carers who share your experiences and have useful tips
  • Gain access to our social media and newsletter, which gives detail of local support and events
  • Give your voice to shape services in health, education and social care....you are the experts!

Meet Our Team

Jennie Hitchins (Joint Chair)

A headshot of a lady with brown hair and glasses.

Jennie is parent to two girls. She is passionate about representing the lived experience of families to shape the services for our children with additional needs. Jennie has worked both in education and the NHS and currently teaches Professional Healthcare Practice to adults training to be health professionals. Alongside this she is kept very busy supporting her children and, if she has any spare time, spends it playing music and with friends.

Emma Smith (Joint chair)

A photo of a lady with brown hair, glasses and a grey jumper.

Hi, my name is Emma and I am mum to 2 children. My youngest child has complex needs and attends mainstream school with full time 1-1 support. Improving the services in York is really important to me to ensure every family's voice is represented. I am also a Makaton tutor and love working with families, settings and businesses to promote communication for everyone. In my spare time I volunteer at York Hospital sharing Makaton stories and songs with families. I also love running and catching up with friends.

Mary Simpson (Engagement coordinator)

Mary has worked in the field of special educational needs for more than twenty years. She has previously worked in mainstream secondary schools and for the local authority. She is a mum to three and nana to five and is trying (hard !) to stay young by spending time with family, travelling, learning Italian and having fun.

Steering Committee

We have a number of dedicated parent carers who meet regularly to shape the forum. If you would like to join the steering committee please let us know.

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