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Parents and Carers Focus Group

The Parents and Carers Focus Group is a network for parents and carers at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.

The purpose of the Parents and Carers Focus Group is to support students and staff who are already caring for children or relatives, or who are expecting to do so in the future. The Group organises regular informal meetings, where we discuss parenting issues with each other, as well as seminars, swap shops and so on. There is also a Facebook group for related discussion.

Recently, we have held sessions on HR issues for parents and carers (see links below), training on basic life support for children (what to do if a child chokes or stops breathing), and seminars on sleep issues, fussy eaters, social media use and raising bilingual children. We also feed back to the wider EDI initiative on issues that are important to working parents. The Group's chairs (currently Jon Clayden, Nicole Hofmans and Salma Samsuddin) are happy to answer questions at any time. Below are some useful links to institute, UCL and third-party web pages which are relevant to current and to-be parents and carers.


Pregnancy and Leave

Ultrasound scan


Returning to Work and Beyond

Child looking at butterfly


For Parents of Disabled Children

  • Contact is a UK-wide charity that supports families of disabled children, whatever their condition or disability, with information and advice
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is the main benefit available to children with a condition or disability, is not means-tested, and can provide help with costs arising from a disabled child's additional needs
  • Personal Independence Payments have replaced the DLA for over-16s

Maternity and Paternity Mentoring

Having children is already dizzying enough, and it can involve a lot of effort to work out what options are available to you, when it comes to leaving and returning to work. Maybe you feel that you'd like advice on striking a work-life balance that suits you. To help make these transitions smoother and clearer, maternity and paternity mentoring is available through the EDI mentoring focus group at the institute. If you are interested, please email ICH.Mentoring@ucl.ac.uk for further details.


For Carers of Adults

UCL's Parents and Carers Together (PACT) network caters to carers of adults as well as children, with events specifically aimed at the former. It deals with issues such as

  • part-time and flexible working,
  • techniques and strategies for communicating with colleagues and/or managers,
  • dealing with discrimination and stereotypes,
  • managing expectations of other staff,
  • challenging inappropriate comments,
  • emerging technology and its impact, and
  • establishing and maintaining a work-life balance.

The Faculty Carers' Fund is also open to carers of adults, and can help you financially to be able to attend meetings, conferences or workshops.


GOS ICH Core Hours

Core hours are 10am–4pm. This means that all regular meetings concerning research or governance, including committee, staff, research group meetings and departmental seminars should be held between 10am and 4pm. This should help those with caring responsibilities to attend. Meetings can be held outside these times if they are one-off or termly events, but only if there is plenty of notice so that colleagues can make necessary arrangements. These meetings should have minutes if relevant so that those who cannot attend can remain informed.


Contact Us

If you have any questions, or if you wish to be added to the Parents and Carers Focus Group Mailing list (edi-carers@ucl.ac.uk), please contact Jon Clayden, Nicole Hofmans or Salma Samsuddin.