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Advice, advocacy and information
Action for Carers: offers information and practical support to carers
Advocacy in Surrey: offers advocacy with both health (NHS) complaints and for disabled people aged 16+.
Child Law Advice: provides specialist advice on child, family and education law.
Citizens Advice: provides free, confidential advice on everything from employment rights and benefit entitlements to family and social care services
East Surrey Carers Support Association: offers information and practical support to carers in East Surrey
IPSEA: offers free independent legally-based advice and support to help get the right education for SEND children.
Local Offer: your one-stop-shop for all things SEND. Find information ranging from childcare to leisure opportunities to events in your local area, and talk to other parents and carers through an online forum which suits your need.
Positive Autism Support and Training: support and advice for families with children with autism spectrum conditions, including PDA.
SEND Advice Surrey (previously SSIASS): provides impartial, confidential and free support to empower parents and SEND children to express their views and make informed decisions.
Special Help 4 Special Needs: Mark Brown provides practical support and advice to families to help them understand their child with additional needs.
Contact a Family: Call 0808 808 3555 free for advice about any aspect of caring for a disabled child. Open Mon-Fri, 9.30am – 5pm.
FamilyLine: Call 0808 800 5678 free if you need someone to talk to about parenting or personal issues. Open 9am-5pm weekdays, but you can request an evening call back.
SOS!SEN – Statementing and SEN support
Samaritans: Call 116 123 free, 24 hours a day, 365 days/year. There to listen: you don’t have to be suicidal to call.
Relate: offering relationship counselling, you can have free live webchat sessions with a counsellor, or organise telephone, email or face to face counselling (at a subsidised cost).
Legislation and guidance
SEN Code of Practice: read this if you are applying for an Education, Health and Care Plan
DfE SEND Guide for Parents and Carers: outlines the law, your rights, and how the system should work
SENDIST (Special Educational Needs & Disability Tribunal): handles appeals against local authority decisions regarding SEND
Money advice and grants
Turn2Us: Check which benefits you’re entitled and search for grants to help with respite or equipment.
Surrey Independent Living Council: support with managing direct payments
Family Fund: offers grants for clothing, equipment, furniture and respite
Family Holiday Association: offers breaks for families, and has lots of links to organisations that can fund breaks
GP Carer’s Prescription: is a scheme that means your GP can ask for a donation for you to spend on something you need for yourself.
Guildford Poyle Charities: offer individual grants to people living in central Guildford.
Margaret Champney Rest and Holiday Fund: offers grants to fund holidays for carers.
Byfleet United Charity: offers individual grants to people living in the Byfleet area.
The Respite Association: offers grants to fund respite care
Revitalise Support Fund: offers holidays, including grants towards a holiday, for young adults aged 18+
John Ede Trust: based near Dorking, gives financial assistance to people with learning disabilities and their families
Starburst Foundation: accepts applications for specific items for children with additional needs up to age 18. Starburst orders and pays for items direct and arranges delivery to you. Covers certain areas around the Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire borders.
Sullivan’s Heroes: funds home adaptations for children with additional needs
Respite & Short Breaks
Challengers: providing exciting and challenging play and leisure opportunities for disabled children and young people, with play & youth centres in Guildford and Farnham, and community based projects across Surrey
Cherry Trees: offers short break respite care for children and young people up to age 19 with learning and physical disabilities, and sensory impairments.
Crossroads: offers a range of support services, including respite, to families
Disabled access and special/medical needs at Gatwick: information for travelling through Gatwick
Disabled access and special/medical needs at Heathrow: information for travelling through Heathrow
Dramatize: provides theatrical workshops and events for young people/adults with learning disabilities aged 16+
Homestart Surrey: home-based parenting support to families with at least one child under five.
InterAKtive: a parent-led charity for families with children with ASD or a similar communication difficulty, to help you access support and activity events.
LinkAble: Woking-based charity offering activities and breaks for children and young people with learning disabilites
Shooting Star Chase: hospice, respite and family support service for children 0-21 with life-limiting conditions. There are two hospices: Shooting Star House in Hampton and Christopher’s in Guildford
Wheels for All: offers cycle adapted and safe cycle sessions for children with additional needs
White Lodge Centre: based near Chertsey, offers a range of services for families with children with additional needs.
YMCA East Surrey: provides short breaks services for children with SEND aged 5-18 years, and a Friday Night Project for young people with learning disabilites aged 16+.
Support groups and organisations
Barnardo’s Positive Parenting: a programme of support and advice for parent carers with children with a diagnosis/suspected diagnosis of ADHD
Can’t Go Won’t Go: information and advice for families with children who school refuse
Challenging Behaviour Foundation: can help with managing behaviours that challenge in children and young people with severe learning disabilities
Dyspraxia Foundation – Surrey group: offers meetings, a parent support group and helpline and a newsletter.
PSDS: supports children with down syndrome and their families
National Autistic Society Surrey Branch: parent-to-parent support group that organises local meet ups, workshops and family activities, as well hosting an online forum.
One Step at a Time: a weekly play/support group for parent carers with children aged 0-5 with additional needs in Earlswood.
We-Shine: is a parent-run charity for families with young children aged 0-5 with additional needs in West Surrey
The Zone: runs events for children and young people with additional needs on the Surrey/Hampshire border
Young Epilepsy: is the national charity working for children with epilepsy,based in Lingfield. Support includes a helpline and training for parent carers.
Your health and wellbeing
Free annual health checks: are offered to people aged 40-74 with no pre-existing conditions.
Free mental wellbeing services: are available to support mental health and wellbeing listed on the Healthy Surrey website
Mind Matters Surrey: talking therapies for anyone experiencing common mental health problems
Moving and handling team: offers tools and techniques to help you limit the risk to straining your back, joints and soft tissues.
Qwell. Online Emotional Wellbeing Support for Surrey parents/carers of children with SEND. Since June 2020, Qwell has offered online mental health and wellbeing support for parents and carers with children between the age of 0 to 25.
Qwell is free to use and offers one-to-one online text chat counselling sessions with trained counsellors, along with access to self-help tools and forums.
The Qwell counselling team are available from 12 noon to 10pm Monday-Friday and 6pm-10pm at weekends, 365 days a year. You can register online to access the service at www.qwell.io.
Yvonne Newbold: sharing essential SEND parenting strategies to help you lead your child beyond their anxieties, fears, confusion & extreme behavior