DVD telling the stories of 10 Cardiff carer families

Real stories of Cardiff families in digital project

Posted: 03 March 2011  

An innovative DVD – featuring the moving and inspiring stories of how 10 Cardiff families have coped with issues including autism, disability, drug use, and lone-parenting – was launched at Cardiff City Football Ground today by Cardiff Parent Network, which is run by children’s charity Action for Children-Gweithredu dros Blant.

The ‘What’s Your Story’ digital storytelling project aims to help improve local services for parents and carers by giving local parents and carers an unusual opportunity to describe their experiences of family services.

“Through this exciting project Cardiff parents and carers have created short films about the things that are important to them in their lives. Their stories are mix of unusual and everyday events, and provide a powerful snapshot into their views and experiences of family life,” said Rachel Kelly, Cardiff Parent Network Coordinator.

“The film is moving and as diverse as the people involved. Their stories highlight the challenges and demands of modern family life, and the important role of parents in improving Cardiff’s family services. The 10 stories capture just a small number of many that could have been developed.”

Melanie Harrison, who is a single mum to 19-month-old Leona, said: “My story is about how I got to my life now. I would find it helpful if there were more groups and activities where I could meet young parents, and other places to visit with groups.”

Bina Khan has two sons, Areez (11), who has special needs, and Khaleeq (7). Bina said: “If we had more respite for Areez, it would have allowed me to spend more time with his brother. It was impossible to take Areez out anywhere because he would just run away and his brother missed out going to a lot of places. It is always underestimated how much a sibling of a child with special needs is also affected.”

James Jackson, father of Sam (8) who has profound deafness and learning difficulties, said: “Life is messy and nothing is perfect, but with perseverance and good support we can give our children a good upbringing and make their childhood a happy one.”

The project was launched last year, when Cardiff Parent Network commissioned artist Katrina Kirkwood to facilitate a digital storytelling project with 10 parent members. The participants provided their own images for their stories, including photographs and videotape.

Katrina Kirkwood said: “The 10 stories are for me 10 memorable encounters with deeply caring parents who are passionately determined to give their children the very best start in life, however hard and complicated the circumstances, and who, in the process, are discovering hidden depths in both themselves and their children.”

Cardiff Parent Network, which celebrates its fourth anniversary this month, helps bring parents and carers together to share experiences and involve them in the planning and development of services for children, young people and families in Cardiff. Based in Llanrumney, it is funded by Cardiff Children and Young People’s Partnership.

Cardiff Parent Network wants to involve anyone who has a child or young person aged between 0-25 years old. For more information call 029 2036 0556 or visit www.cardiffparentnetwork.org.uk.

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