An independently-run forum for support and information.
Thistle's Family Forum is for family members, friends and advocates of people we support.
The Family Forum is also a safe and confidential service to discuss any issues or concerns you have.
There are four Family Forum meetings each year, run by Sylvia Lawrie, an independent consultant, on behalf of Thistle.
Sylvia has previously managed an advocacy organisation for people with learning disabilities. She is also a trained counsellor and has a daughter who is supported by Thistle. Drawing on her own personal and professional experiences, Sylvia provides information, support and advocacy for family members.
The meetings are a place to get to know other family members of people supported by Thistle and an opportunity to exchange information or air any views you have on Thistle's service.
Guest speakers are often invited as well. Previous guest speakers have included solicitors who are experts in legal matters relating to disabled people and their families, senior officers from City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils and senior officers from the Care Inspectorate. Guest speakers are selected to offer advice on subjects like guardianships, power of attorney and discretionary trusts, as well as support on welfare and financial matters.
Service leaders from Thistle often attend the meetings, but if families want to discuss confidential matters without Thistle representatives in the room, then this can be arranged.
Sylvia is an experienced advocate and can support you at meetings with social workers, housing associations, benefits agencies, solicitors. She can also signpost you to other advocates, support you through the team recruitment process and act as a mediator between families and teams.
"It is valuable to have a person who is independent and also a person who has experience of going through the system." Family member
"The Family Forum provided opportunities for family members to communicate and to gather independently of Thistle. We saw that family members were respected and valued as partners providing care and support to people." Care Inspectorate 2014