All about our Family Champions

Our Family Champions are parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities and additional needs aged 0-25.  Together they represent the lived experiences of SEND families from across Essex. They might belong to a large support group, or just a couple of parents occasionally meeting for coffee (when that is possible!). 

All our Family Champions are supported by their Family Champion Lead – based on where they live in Essex.    

Meet our Family Champion Leads

West Essex – Kiri Keane

Hi, I’m Kiri – the Family Champion Lead for West Essex.

Whilst being part of running a local parent support group, I realised lots of parents were facing difficulties and had trouble understanding the paths they were on.  I see my role with Essex Family Forum as a really exciting chance to make sure that parents and carers’ voices are heard to effect real change.

You can contact me at:

South Essex – Paula Farrow 

Hi, I’m Paula – the Family Champion Lead for South Essex.

I work with our Family Champions to represent the voice of parents and carers in discussions with the people that provide services to our children from Education, Health and Social Care.  I believe that being able to have honest discussions and working in a truly collaborative manner will help to achieve the best outcomes for our young people.

You can contact me at:

Mid Essex – Claire McConnell

Hi, I’m Claire – the Family Champion for Mid Essex

Having twins with a variety of additional needs, I have spent a number of years navigating the wonderful world of SEND, which is a full time job in itself.   I’m very excited to now be working for Essex Family Forum, and to play my part in helping to shape a better, and more inclusive future that all of our wonderful young people deserve.  

You can contact me at:

North East Essex – Sarah Abeyratne

Hi, I am Sarah the Family Champion Lead for North East Essex.

In being a part of Essex Family Forum I feel very fortunate to be able to be in a position where I can be part of something that can have a positive impact on the SEND journey. I really look forward to engaging with as many parents and carers as I can in order to give them the chance to share their experiences which will help them and others.

You can contact me on:

Meet some of our Family Champions from across Essex: