TWO Tavistock mothers have set up a friendly support group to help combat the loneliness of caring for a child with special educational needs (SEND).

Janette and Sarah are inviting parents who want to meet others with children with SEND to join them on the first Friday or third Wednesday in the month at 10am at the Stannary Brewery on Pixon Lane. The group is also staging a one-off session on Wednesday (May 15) evening from 6pm to 8pm.

Sarah, who has a son aged 12, said: “Our group is for anyone with caring responsibilities who has problems and issues they might want to share with others in the same situation.

“In these cases and many others that carers have to overcome, it’s common for so many of us to think we are the only ones having to deal with issues and feel very isolated trying to cope on our own.

“The group is here to help each other and talk in a safe welcoming community where we will not feel judged. It’s true that a problem shared is a problem halved.”

Janette has had her own battles with the local education authority over securing appropriate education for her son who has been out of school for 18 months as a result of waiting for a decision.

She said: “Since we started the Facebook group for parents like us we have tapped into a lot of need and interest but the problem is trying to meet in person when families have so many extra commitments such as work on top of their caring responsibilities. So, we’re trying out the evening session to gauge interest.

“Even if people just want to se a friendly face and a laugh over shared experiences, our group provides the space for that. If they have specific problems then there’s always someone who can help or we can help them navigate the statutory support services.”

Another parent said: “For a SEND parent/carer the only people who truly understand are in the same boat as you. Having a friendly support group which understands helps stop you feel alone.”