Our Latest News

Welcome Helen!

18 April 2024

We’re delighted to welcome on board Helen Cochrane as an Assistant Trainer. She will work with Bel to deliver our first ‘Top Up Training’ so Assistant Facilitators can upskill to become Lead Facilitators. The new 2 day training course also…

Facilitating HPC invigorates me

28 March 2024

Jane Ring is delivering her second course for LOOK, the national charity supporting visually impaired young people. Jane was involved in the early stages of developing Healthy Parent Carers as part of the team co-producing it. In a recent Facilitators…

A knock on effect for the whole family

27 March 2024

One of our aims is to remove the guilt parent carers feel around taking care of their own health and wellbeing. Jules from the Wirral captures this: ‘Great reinforcement and encouragement to take notice for better self care, to in…

The best course

27 March 2024

The Positivitree in the Wirral have just completed their 5th course. Claire (pictured) said it was “The best course I have attended in terms of helping me cope better with supporting my young person”. Kelly said that “Learning about CLANGERS…

I no longer feel alone and I feel held by the people that I have met.

12 March 2024

The Esteem Team in Exmouth have recently completed another Healthy Parent Carers programme. Here are some of their comments about their experiences: Clare felt “‘appreciation’ to have been invited to course where I have met some amazing people and been…

It’s nice to be understood!

15 February 2024

Jo Bloxam, from Yorkshire comments “Really enjoyed the course from start to finish. It was good to reflect on our own health and well-being and consider ways to make healthier choices in our lives. Really enjoyed connecting with other parent/carers…

The glue in my family

4 January 2024

Katie Atkinson has recently completed Healthy Parent Carers with the Kids charity in East Yorks.  “I 100% recommend the course as a parent carer – the facilitators are kind and understanding and deliver the course in a compassionate and easy…

A toolbox of strategies to use everyday

14 December 2023

Suzanne has completed the HPC course run by LOOK. “A fantastic course that I would recommend to any parent carer. Not only have I made some fantastic connections with other parent carers, I have learnt so much about myself and…

The HPC course helped me dig out some of the old me

14 December 2023

LOOK have just run their first HPC programme for parents of visually impaired young people. Sarah comments, “The HPC course helped me dig out some of the old me. It helped me to let down my bubble barriers a little….

A space designed for us

6 December 2023

Rebecca from Bournemouth reflects on her experiences of attending the Healthy Parent Carers programme: It was a great course; tbh I did worry that it would be a bit preachy and pointless. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. A big thanks…

I am kind to myself

30 November 2023

Erin, from Northumberland Family Hubs, has just finished the facilitator training. “The course has made a massive difference to my life. I have chronic illness and it’s made me reflect on the importance of taking good care of myself so…

Our Voice Enfield HPC participants meet up

28 November 2023

Last week Fleur went to visit the Enfield parent carers who have participated in the Healthy Parent Carers programme. Enfield have been running the programme for over a year now. They run it online and have found the 6 week…

Positivity from The Positivitree

7 November 2023

The Positivitree, a parent carer charity in the Wirral have just completed their first Healthy Parent Carers programme, run by facilitators Tam and Lyndsay. The programme was run in 6 weeks with 3 hour sessions, rather than the usual 2…

HPC reaching more parent carers than ever

27 September 2023

There will be at least 16 Healthy Parent Carers courses running this autumn from Bournemouth to Sunderland, The Wirral to Hull and many places in between! A big thank you to all you hard working facilitators and organisers. We’re delighted…

Northumberland Family Hubs start their training

13 September 2023

Northumberland Family Hubs have started their training with Bel and Marie. Lead facilitators will complete 3 sessions before their assistants join for the remaining 4.  

I’ve made positive, healthier changes

8 August 2023

Catherine has just finished the Healthy Parent Carers Programme run by Kids in the Lincolnshire and East Riding area. “It’s a fantastic course for parent carers. I made some wonderful friends and made positive healthier changes.”

Solihull complete their first programme

2 August 2023

Solihull Parent Carer Voice have just completed their first HPC programme with 8 participants. Lead facilitator Heather Delaney comments: It felt really emotional to complete this programme with such a lovely group. We are really proud of how far they…

Vice Chancellor’s praise for HPC success

1 August 2023

Healthy Parent Carers researcher, Caomhán McGlinchey, represented the team at a University of Exeter event celebrating venture creation. Vice Chancellor Lisa Roberts  had already heard about the programme and was keen to talk more about it with Caomhán. She said…

Academic Paper Published

12 July 2023

We’re excited that another academic paper has been published about Healthy Parent Carers. Alice and Gretchen, along with a wider team, have had their research published in the journal Health Expectations. The research was conducted in collaboration with colleagues at…

This course has changed my life!

20 June 2023

Fiona from Devon says “This course has literally changed my life – my outlook, my understanding, and my response to difficult situations. Thank you so much!”

Bedford Borough PCF reach over 75 parent carers

1 June 2023

Kerri Rennie, chair of Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum tells us that they have had over 75 parent carers go through the Healthy Parent Carers Programme. Participants have included mums and dads and include parents from a variety of ethnic…

Bel blows them away

31 May 2023

We are just back from the European Academy of Childhood Disability Conference in Slovenia where Bel wowed the audience with her presentation about Healthy Parent Carers. She spoke movingly about the joys as well as the struggles of caring for…

HPC at European Academic Conference in Ljubljana

18 May 2023

The Healthy Parent Carer Team are off to Ljubljana, Slovenia next week to present at the European Academy for Childhood Disability Conference. We are chairing a symposium titled: Promoting health, empowerment, and resilience in parents of disabled children: an exploration…

Affinity Hub wellbeing conference

10 May 2023

Bel and Julia, a member of the PenCRU Family Faculty, are promoting Healthy Parent Carers at the Affinity Hub Parent Carer Wellbeing Conference in London today. Loving the CLANGERS promotion, Julia!

An amazing programme

9 May 2023

The Esteem Team, one of our delivery partners have just completed their third Healthy Parent Carers programme with 8 parent carers taking part. Jon, a participant comments: “An amazing programme, that really raises your awareness of the importance of self-care…

Making more space in my life for me

27 April 2023

Bedford Borough have recently finished both a face to face and and online course. Kate a participant on the online course comments: “I found this a great way to think about what I am doing and how I can make…

Meet our new researchers

23 March 2023

We are delighted to have Phill Harniess and Caomhán McGlinchey join the Healthy Parent Carers team as researchers. They will be exploring the best ways to evaluate the effectiveness of HPC and seeing how we can make it more accessible…

Healthy Parent Carers at the NNPCF conference in Bristol

28 February 2023

It’s great to meet parent carer forum reps from all over the country at the conference today. Bel and Marie are two of our trainers- here in action enthusing about how great the programme is.

HPC at National Network of Parent Carer Forums Conference

22 February 2023

Bel and Fleur will be exhibiting at the National Network of Parent Carer Forums Conference in Bristol on 28th February. If you’re going to be there we’d love to chat to you.  

“I’ll miss my Thursdays”

3 January 2023

Vicky from Exmouth took part in the Esteem Team’s autumn Healthy Parent Carers Programme. “This is genuinely one of the most useful courses I have been on. The content is relevant and meaningful. I have been able to apply what…

We did lots of thinking, talking, a bit of crying, and plenty of laughing

16 December 2022

Louise reflects on her experience of the HPC programme recently run in Exmouth. “A fantastic course to either learn, or be reminded, how to take care of yourself with a group of people which have (and understand) the same challenges….

“Find those breathing spaces”

22 November 2022

“Everyone needs time for themselves and many SEN parents struggle to do this. However this programme will help you find those breathing spaces and moments to do this, I whole heartedly recommend this course for any parent carer.” Kirsty has…

Healthy Parent Carers goodie bags

15 November 2022

Sunderland Parent Carer Forum are about to launch Healthy Parent Carers in their area. They’ve put together some goodie bags to give out to their participants.

“Go for it. You won’t regret it”

3 November 2022

Michelle Marlow from Kids charity in North Yorkshire has just finished the facilitator training: “In my day job I have trained to facilitate many, many courses to support parents and young people but as a parent/carer this is the first…

Sunderland and North Yorkshire get on board

12 October 2022

Sunderland Parent Carer Forum and Kids Charity in North Yorkshire currently have facilitators on our Autumn training programme. Trainee facilitators get to experience elements of the programme for themselves before they practise delivery on each other. It’s all online using…

A facilitator reports

11 October 2022

A facilitator on the Healthy Parent Carers Programme is currently running a face-to-face group. After only 4 of the 12 sessions she tells us, “The group are really supportive of each other, and you can see relationships developing”. Peer support…

Highly Commended at National Awards Final

6 October 2022

Healthy Parent Carers was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ at the Innovate Health Care finalists awards ceremony in London on 30th September. We entered the ‘Addressing Health Inequalities’ category and were excited to make it to the final, and then be ‘highly…

Would you like to train facilitators?

15 September 2022

We have places available on the facilitator training programme starting on 4th November. The training is online and runs for 7 weekly sessions. To find out more contact Alice a.garrood@exeter.ac.uk  

Finalists in national award

7 September 2022

We are delighted to have been selected as a Finalist for this award. Healthy Parent Carers seeks to address the inequalities in health, both physical and mental, that parent carers often experience. Judges evaluating the submissions commented on the impressive…

Heather- newly trained facilitator in Solihull

4 August 2022

“Training to facilitate this course has not only given me the skills and tools to help others, but has also helped me. Learning about the CLANGERS has helped with my own wellbeing and I look forward to helping others.”

Meet Afreen

28 July 2022

Afreen has recently completed the Healthy Parent Carers Programme run by Seema and Khilna in Enfield. “It’s a really helpful and motivating programme”

Life changing

22 July 2022

Mark from Bedford has just finished the Healthy Parent Carer Programme. He comments: “Try this course it might just change your life and the way you look at it”

A Commissioner’s Perspective

13 July 2022

Chris Morris, Manager for the SEND Programme at Bedford Borough Council commissioned Bedford Borough Parent Carer Forum to train facilitators and deliver the Healthy Parent Programme to local parent carers. Chris is a great advocate of the benefits of HPC,…

New facilitators complete their training

12 July 2022

A new cohort of  8 Healthy Parent Carers Facilitators completed their training last Thursday. Denise from Shropshire commented, “I have learnt so much about myself and how important it is to look after myself, it has made me determined to…

Spreading the word across the North

29 June 2022

Last week the HPC team presented the programme to a group of charity workers and NHS staff from across the north of England. It was great to hear from the Bedford team as they shared their experiences of running the…

Mens Health Week 2022

14 June 2022

Most of our Healthy Parent Carers participants are mums, but we’re keen to get more dads on board.  Gurdeep, a dad from Manchester benefitted from the programme and is now involved in our Family Faculty. “I’m now more active, doing…

Meet Kevin our new trainer

1 June 2022

We’re delighted that Kevin Burchell has joined the Healthy Parent Carers programme as a facilitator trainer alongside Bel McDonald. Kevin is experienced in training and facilitating groups; he’s involved in other medical research projects and he is a parent carer….

Nikki recentres

19 May 2022

“This is a brilliant programme, it offers a space for parent carers to be the people beyond the parent and not only parent/ parent carers. It gave me a chance to relocate myself and remember what makes me happy, outside…

Donkey love

12 May 2022

Many thanks to Brenda for sending us this beautiful picture of her daughter. It illustrates several of our CLANGERS: Connect (with a donkey :)) Be Active, Relax.

Charlotte shares

5 May 2022

The HPC programme in Bedford has just finished. One of the participants, Charlotte, comments: “This course challenges you to put YOUR health and well-being front and centre. Give it a go it will definitely make you feel better!. Who doesn’t…

Easter Update

7 April 2022

More facilitators, more participants Having just trained 5 new pairs of Lead and Assistant Facilitators in the autumn, there are now 5 more Healthy Parent Carer programmes being run in different parts of the country ranging from Exmouth to Teesside….

‘Take Notice’ brings moments of joy

24 February 2022

A participant on the HPC programme commented in the recent session on ‘Take Notice’, “Oh I had forgotten about the small things and the moment my child laughs that gives me joy.”

British Association of Childhood Disability HPC feature

15 February 2022

The BACD February newsletter featured an article about Healthy Parent Carers. Read the full article below:

Building my ‘bounce-back ability’

10 February 2022

Parent carer Kate Evans-Jones finds practising the CLANGERS “gives me the tools to build my resilience, my bounce-back ability” You can listen to Kate’s story here.

HPC participants making small changes

8 February 2022

More feedback from one of the HPC programmes currently running. “A member of the group has applied to become a volunteer to make more connections following session 3. Connect”

“It really is relevant for parent carers”

3 February 2022

Tova is glowing about the HPC programme that she is currently participating in, run by the Bedford Parent Carer Forum. “It’s infinitely more relevant than other courses I’ve been on” “It’s extremely interactive. It’s all about us and our circumstances”…

British Academy of Childhood Disability Newsletter- HPC feature

1 February 2022


High demand from parent carers to join HPC programmes

6 January 2022

HPC programmes starting this month in Enfield, Bedford and Teesside are already oversubscribed with parent carers very keen to take part. Five programmes are starting in January and February run by newly trained facilitators in Exmouth, Enfield, Teeside and two…

Gurdeep’s experience of the HPC programme

6 December 2021

“I’m now more active, doing more for myself, accessing support, learnt tools which I have used to help my child, changed eating habits for my family.” Gurdeep S, HPC participant

The last CLANGER- Sleep

3 December 2021

Many parent carers struggle with sleep, but we all know it’s so important. Here are some of the ideas our Family Faculty came up with to help us sleep better.

The next CLANGER: Relax

3 December 2021

Taking time to relax can seem like a unnecessary luxury for parent carers, but it’s essential for health and wellbeing.

Sarah, parent carer

2 December 2021

“The clangers are now stuck in my head and in moments of stress etc. I stop and think about how I can help myself.” Sarah, HPC programme participant Autumn 2021 For all our CLANGERS click here

How Covid has affected parent carers- Karen’s experience

2 December 2021

“Getting through the last 18 months has been one of the biggest challenges our family has ever had to face. Just when we thought life with a severely disabled child who is medically complex, couldn’t get any more challenging, the…

Participants’ experiences of the programme

2 December 2021

Parent carers who have participated in the programme tell how it’s helped them. “The Healthy Parent Carer Programme is about focussing on yourself, starting to give yourself time back..”

Facilitators’ experiences of running the programme

2 December 2021

Facilitators of the HPC programme share their experiences of running it.

Eat Well

1 December 2021

Our next CLANGER encourages us to look after our wellbeing by eating healthily.

Plain Language Summary of HPC feasibility study published

11 November 2021

Here’s our plain language summary. Thanks to the parent carers who reviewed and refined it for us. We always appreciate your input. Here are some quotes from the paper: “It was really good. I came in not expecting much, to…

Give- to others and yourself

9 November 2021

It’s not just about physical gifts, but giving our time by listening to someone, giving compliments or reassurance. Also taking time to give to ourselves.

Healthy Parent Carers National Rollout plans

8 November 2021

The Healthy Parent Carers programme has been so highly praised by participants, that word is spreading of its benefits. We are currently training programme facilitators from Bedford, Enfield, Exmouth and Newcastle so that the programme can be run in those…

Time to take NOTICE

2 November 2021

A simple way to improve our wellbeing is to notice things around us, something beautiful, the present moment.

Give us an …. ‘A’

21 October 2021

On the Healthy Parent Carer Programme we learn how Being ACTIVE is important for our health and wellbeing, and we identify ways to incorporate physical activity into everyday life.


18 October 2021

Learning new skills helps our sense of well-being. Our parent carers came up with lots of ideas of ways we can keep learning. Some of the benefits are illustrated here.


11 October 2021

In consultation with our Family Faculty, we commissioned a series of graphics to illustrate the ‘CLANGERS’ – the founding principles of the Healthy Parent Carers Programme. The first CLANGER is CONNECT. Illustrated below are some of the ways we can…

HPC Team have another paper published

31 August 2021

Headed up by Jenny LLoyd and Gretchen Bjornstad, the BMJ Open have published more research on Healthy Parent Carers. This study examined the views and experiences of participants in the HPC feasibility trial so the programme could be refined to…

Research Paper Published- Congratulations Gretchen!

27 July 2021

Gretchen has had her Healthy Parent Carers paper published. You can read the full paper here.

Gretchen presents at Public Health England conference

6 May 2021

Healthy Parent Carer researcher, Gretchen Bjornstad, has been invited to present the project at the Public Health Research and Science Conference in May 2021. Her paper is ‘Healthy Parent Carers: a randomised controlled feasibility trial of a peer-led, group-based programme…

How healthy parent carers helped Kate

24 March 2021

Hear how using the CLANGERS made such a difference for Kate. “CLANGERS gave me the tools to build my resilience, my bounce-back ability” “Parent carers need resilience in bucket loads” Kate’s story  

Why Healthy Parent Carers is needed

30 June 2020

In this film, parent carers talk about why the Healthy Parent Carers programme is needed.

Facilitating the programme – new film

26 June 2020

In this film, two of the facilitators of the Healthy Parent Carers programme share their experiences.

Healthy Parent Carers film

2 December 2019

We are very pleased to share this new film, which features reflections from some of the participants in the Healthy Parent Carers project.

Healthy Parent Carers feasibility trial protocol published

25 November 2019

The protocol for the Healthy Parent Carers trial has been published in the journal Pilot and Feasibility Studies. It is available open access which means everyone can read the full text. A research protocol is a full description of the…

Programme delivery completed

11 July 2019

We have completed delivery of all six of the Healthy Parent Carers groups for this project! Our online resources are still available on this website for our participants to access until the end of the study next year. If you…

Project update

28 May 2019

This is the excerpt (Works!)


25 June 2018

Welcome to the Healthy Parent Carers project! We are excited to start the study and we are looking forward to meeting all of the parent carers who are interesting in participating!