Victoria Mitchell

Victoria moved to Devon with her family in 2014, and has two boys with SEND.  She has worked in both education and social care with children and young people with additional needs, and is also involved in The Scouts.

Victoria is passionate about the difference receiving quality support and services at the right time makes.  She has been involved in the forum since intial talks to create a new Forum for Devon families at the end of 2019 and wants to help improve services for all families.

In her own time Victoria enjoys spending time in her camper van at the beach or on the moors.

Julia Bonell 

Julia moved to Devon with her family in 2011 and has four children, two with SEND, one of whom has an EHCP. She previously worked in the NHS as an intensive care nurse, but since moving to Devon has become involved in her local community, running a playgroup in her village and becoming a Scout Leader in the closest Beaver Colony.

Since her children’s special educational needs have become more evident, Julia has become more and more aware of the challenges faced by children and young people with SEND and their families. She believes that working with decision makers to hold them to account and offer a solution based approach to change is the most effective way to make things better, both locally and at regional or national levels.

In her spare time, Julia loves exploring the beautiful Devon outdoors with her family, especially the quieter spots on Dartmoor or the south coast of Devon. She has run the London Marathon for the national communication charity Afasic, and would love to do more running.

How we’ve started small but are growing every day!

  • After a bit of a false start in September 2019, we really got going as a Forum in January 2020. The co-chairs have been making connections and meeting lots of new people.
  • We’ve mapped health services across Devon and we’re working to connect with key people to make sure we’re effective in sharing families’ experiences
  • We co-facilitated 10 short breaks workshops across Devon in January and February. This gave us a chance to meet lots of parent carers and talk to them face to face. More information is available here. When the recommendations are published, everyone will have the opportunity to check they are right.
  • Our Facebook group has grown to nearly 300 since it was started in March!

How we make a difference

  • We’ve recently co-produced information with 0-25 Team, care and health about coronavirus and its impact. We’ve aimed to answer key questions and explain clearly what children with SEND and their families can expect in this difficult time
  • Parent Carers regularly represent the Forum at meetings with education, health and care leaders, commissioners and other professionals
  • We work in partnership with Devon Information Advice and Support
  • We also link up with other Parent Carer Forums locally like Plymouth and Torbay, as well as the National Network of Parent Carer Forums so that families can influence regional as well as national change
  • You can get in touch anytime to share any big issues or to feedback when things are working well here.
  • Sign up for our newsletter to hear first about any events or

Devon Parent Carer Forum works with families within Devon county council area, even if your child or young person accesses education or health in another authority.  Families need to join the forum in the area in which they pay their council tax, however we work together with our neighbouring forums to get feedback on the lived experience of services that families may use in a neighbouring authority. 

Links to our neighbouring Parent Carer forums are below;

Plymouth – https://www.plymouthpcv.co.uk

Torbay – http://www.torbaypcf.org.uk

Dorset – http://www.dorsetparentcarercouncil.co.uk/

Somerset – https://somersetparentcarerforum.org.uk