Happy Birthday Shropshire Family Information Service #WeAre12

We like birthdays at the Family Information Service (FIS), mainly for the #cake but it also offers the opportunity of reflecting on years gone by and achievements and milestones along the way.

On 5th May 2012 we celebrate 12 years since the service was first launched. To commemorate this milestone and the 76,800 enquiries we’ve dealt with, we will be holding a week of digital events under the heading #WeAre12.

We are continually working to expand the ways that parents and carers can gain access to quality information, advice and support and as part of our birthday celebrations we wanted to build on the work we have been doing with social media and were keen to explore new technologies.

The activities we have planned for the Birthday Week means we can add to the variety of channels through which the Family Information Service is already (Facebook and Twitter) available, and offer help to parents who prefer to use the internet and social networking sites as a way of gathering information to support them in their role as parents.

Research shows that 70% of parents feel they need advice and support in their parenting role. Yet most are either unaware of the services that already exist or they have difficulty accessing them. We offer free, impartial information, advice and support on all aspects of family life, providing options and possibilities that might otherwise remain unknown and therefore inaccessible. It is a statutory requirement under the Childcare Act. We reach out to parents and carers to make these possibilities a reality, linking families to services and providing an early intervention in terms of information provision and support.

So, apart from eating cake all week, what have we got planned?

Today – we are launching this new blog page, which is aimed at sharing news, information and tips for parents and carers. We will also have guest blogs from others in children, young people or family services and also from parents who have kindly shared their experiences of being a parent. We’ll love to hear from you if you want to write a blog – it can be on anything and everything you think others would like to read – get in touch if you’re interested. We’ll be blogging everyday this week so why not ‘Follow’ the blog so you get regular updates.

Tuesday 1st May – we will launch a new Google Plus account for the FIS. We are one of the first (if not the first) FIS to launch on Google Plus, there is a lot of wait and see what happens, to see if it takes off the same as Facebook/Twitter – but we figured we wanted to be one of the first – also statistics showed that the highest proportion of users are male – so we’re guessing it’s a good way to also target dads.

Wednesday 2nd May – we are doing a live ‘Ask us a Question’ on Facebook from 8-9 in the evening – once the children are in bed. You can ask us anything and we’ll try to help as best we can. Put the date in your diary.

Thursday 3rd May – we are doing a live tweet of enquiries as they come in as a way of showing the range of requests for information we can help with – it really is anything and everything. We will be using the hashtag #FISlive

Friday 4th May – we will be distributing infographics showing info and stats on FIS enquiries, childcare in Shropshire and our on-line information Directory. We are also issuing Wordles on the types of enquiries we receive and feedback from service users.

Saturday 5th May is our official birthday, so we’ll mainly be eating cake and posting a blog evaluating the week.

We’d love to hear any feedback you have on the events we have planned or any comments you want to make about the service. We hope you will join us in eating cake and celebrating our 12th birthday.

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