Who we are

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Who we are

In this section

New WPCC Committee Member & Lead Parent Representative for Engagement
Annual Update Event Overviews
WPCC Promotional leaflet
Meet the team
WPCC Organisation 2017
Parental agreement
Safety policy
Terms of reference
Vacancies at WPCC
Related sections
Contact us, Short breaks, Membership


Founded in 2008, the WPCC is an independent, voluntary organisation which is managed and run by parent carers, for parent carers.


We strongly believe that our children and young people should have

  • The same opportunities as their brothers, sisters and peers
  • Fair access to the support they need to live their lives
  • Families who feel supported in their caring roles


We have a membership in excess of 2500 parent carers across Wiltshire whose children range in age (0-25yrs) and in the type of special educational needs and/or disabilities they have. These include mental health, physical, sensory, learning,communication, challenging behaviour, autistic spectrum disorders and health conditions that require complex care.

Our story

Before they set up the WPCC, Wiltshire parents Maurizia Quarta and Catherine Dawson had, like many others, been frustrated by their almost daily battles to get the support their families needed in order to lead an ordinary life. In 2008 there arose an opportunity to see improvements in support services, when Wiltshire Council invited parents and carers to a meeting about a new programme called Aiming High for Disabled Children (AHDC).

Aiming high for disabled children

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The AHDC programme was developed by central government following a national review of services that highlighted how, in many areas, services were not meeting the needs of disabled children and young people or their families. In particular, families wanted regular breaks from their caring responsibilities and improved access to a range of leisure and social opportunities for their children, often referred to as ‘short breaks’. Young people also expressed a wish for improved support during the transition into adulthood. The aim of the AHDC programme was to bring about radical improvements in these services.


Significant additional funding was then made available to local authorities in order to achieve a successful transformation. More importantly, the programme also set out clear expectations about how local authorities should work in partnership with parents and carers. This was to ensure that future services would be designed to meet more fully the needs of families. The involvement of parents and carers in designing services is known as ‘parent participation’.

The WPCC is born
When central government subsequently made available some additional grant funding for the development of parent participation, Maurizia and Catherine were awarded a grant to set up the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC). We now have over 2500 members and an enthusiastic team of parent representatives who meet regularly with key professionals responsible for designing and providing services.

A nationally recognised approach

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In the last 4 years, parent participation has significantly influenced the way in which some services are now delivered in Wiltshire, including the Short Breaks Scheme and transition to adulthood. We are proud that the model of participation we have helped to create is highly regarded at a national level and was cited as a case study in the Green Paper Support & Aspiration : A new approach to Special Educational Needs and Disability published in March 2011.


Whilst the involvement of parents and carers in designing services was initially introduced as part of the AHDC programme, the long term vision for parent participation was to introduce it across all services. Thanks to the strong rapport that we have with our local authority and our joint approach to working together, we are well on our way to achieving this in Wiltshire and the portfolio of services we are engaged with continues to grow.

Committed to the future of parent participation
There are, of course, improvements that we would still like to see, and there are more services we would like to work with, but we feel confident and optimistic about the future. Wiltshire Council is committed to working with parents and carers and continues to fund our organisation. During these financially challenging times, we believe this is a testament to the value and importance that our local authority places on parent participation.

Find out more about what we do, who we work with and our current projects, or join us now and have your say.