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Parent Carer Information Bulletin August 2011

Welcome to this month’s information bulletin for parents and carers of disabled children.

Please note: The Parent Carers’ Group and the Parent Carer Coffee Mornings will be taking a break over the summer school holidays. The next meetings will take place in September.

Parent Carers’ Group

The next meeting will take place on

Thursday 8th September
10am – 12 noon
Sunderland Carers’ Centre, 12 Toward Road, Sunderland SR1 2QF

Parent Carer Coffee Mornings / Afternoons

Monday 12th September
1pm – 3pm
Red House Academy (Youth Centre)
Rutherglen Road, Red House, Sunderland SR5 5LN

Tuesday 20th September
10am – 12 noon
Sunningdale School, Shaftoe Road, Springwell, Sunderland SR3 4HA

Monday 26th September
10am – 12 noon
Houghton Leisure Centre, Station Road, Houghton-le-Spring DH4 5AH
Guest speaker from Cerebra, the charity for children with brain related conditions.

We look forward to seeing you.

Lisa W. and Wendy

Information, Activities and Events

For more details on any of the information, activities or events mentioned below please contact the organisations directly or Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 567 3232.

Short Breaks Consultation

The Children Act 1989 places a duty on local authorities to provide breaks from caring for carers of disabled children to support them to continue to care for their children at home and to allow them to do so more effectively. The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 give more detail on how local authorities must fulfil their duty to provide breaks from caring, including a requirement to produce a Short Breaks Statement outlining the range of short break services available, who they can be accessed by and how.

Short breaks give disabled children and young people the opportunity to participate in enjoyable leisure activities while also giving their parents/carers a break from their caring role. Short breaks can take place after school, at the weekend and in the holidays, and include overnight breaks.

In Sunderland, a short break is part of a continuum of services which support disabled children aged 0-18 and their families to live ordinary lives.

A draft short breaks statement is currently being written and a final draft is due to be presented very soon.

Bearing this in mind we would like to invite you to come along to the Carers’ Centre on Thursday 15th September from 10am until 12 noon to discuss your thoughts and feelings about short break provision in Sunderland.

Autism Friendly Film Screening at the Metrocentre Gateshead

Dimensions have joined forces with Odeon Cinemas to host an autism friendly screening of new release, Mr Popper’s Penguins, in cinemas across the country. They want as many people as possible to come along so that they can make film screenings aimed at people with autism or learning disabilities a regular event.

What makes the screening autism friendly? The lights will be on low, the volume will be turned down, you’ll be able to take your own food and drinks and you’ll be able to move around the cinema if you like.

The nearest screening will be at the Metrocentre Odeon on Thursday 11th August at 11am. Tickets go on sale on 2nd August and can be bought as normal from the cinema or online through the Odeon website For more information click here.

Support workers/carers can attend for free with a CEA card. To find out more about the CEA card please see below.

Cinema Exhibitors Association (CEA) Card

The CEA Card is issued by The Card Network. The card entitles the card holder to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema, provided a full price ticket is purchased for the card holder. You can apply for the card if you receive Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance or registered as a blind person. The card is issued to the person who requires assistance to enjoy the cinema. In this way, there is no restriction on the accompanying person, family friend, care worker etc. as long as they are capable of offering the required assistance and are aged 16 or over. The card costs £5.50. For an application form ring 0845 123 1292 or click here.

Rough Guide to Accessible Britain – Family Days Out

The third edition of ‘The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain – Family Days Out’ is now out in print and available to access for free online. Produced in collaboration with Motability, it features reviews of over 75 accessible venues, attractions and days out across the UK. To access the guide, click here. Blue Badge and Disabled Persons Railcard holders can order the guide book for free through the website, or by calling 0800 953 7070.

National Deaf Children Society (NDCS) Family Weekend

The NDCS Family Weekend will take place from Friday 7th – Sunday 9th October at the Mercure George Washington Hotel, Washington. It is for families with deaf children who have been newly identified within the last 18 months. The weekend will give families the opportunity to meet other families and staff from NDCS and will include speakers and activities for children. The weekend is free and all accommodation and meals are included. Places are limited and need to be booked in advance. Contact Ailsa Morrison on 0141 354 7856, email or visit

National Deaf Children Society Fun Day

For families with deaf children aged 0 – 12 this free family fun day will take place at Down on the Farm, Stoneygate, Houghton-le-Spring on Saturday 24th September, 11am – 4pm. There will be a special NDCS area open only to deaf children and their families. See a wide range of animals. Enjoy the play zones including tractor rides, barrel train rides, quad bikes, giant sandpit, giant tube maze, inflatable slides, racing car track and adventure play ground. There will also be an information stand with information on childhood deafness. Pick up free publications and meet the NDCS staff in your region. For more information and to pre-book visit

Useful Vision – New Bounce Group for Sunderland area

Useful Vision provides activities, events and family support to families who have blind and partially sighted children. Bounce is the Useful Vision group for mothers and toddlers, pre-school and nursery children. The next Sunderland group meeting will take place on Tuesday 13th September, 10am – 12 noon, at Silksworth Tennis and Wellness Centre, Silksworth Lane, Silksworth, Sunderland SR3 1PD. The group has exclusive use of the soft play area and use of the new Sensory Room. For more details ring Susan Cullingworth on 0845 604 8491 or email

Useful Vision Family Fun Day at The Alan Shearer Centre

Useful Vision is holding a fun day for families who have blind and partially sighted children on Wednesday 24th August, 10am – 2pm, at The Alan Shearer Centre, West Denton, Newcastle NE15 7LT. Facilities available include interactive sensory rooms, ball pool, sensory cave, hydrotherapy pool (bookable on arrival), new music room, internet café, extensive gardens and woodland walk. Extra activities include arts and crafts, face painting and magic balloon man. Bring your own picnic for the garden or visit the café on site. To book places contact Useful Vision on

0845 604 8491.

Sunderland Libraries – Storysack taster sessions

Bring along your child’s favourite book and decorate a colourful storysack. All materials are free and sessions are suitable for children and their parents/carer. Booking is preferable, but not essential. For more details please contact the relevant library below.

East Herrington Library, Tuesday 2nd August, 2pm – 3.30pm
Shiney Row Library, Thursday 4th August, 2pm – 3.30pm
Washington Millennium Centre Library, Tuesday 23rd August, 11am – 12.30pm

Free Summer Craft Activity at Fulwell Windmill

Try a range of crafts activities every Wednesday from 27th July to 31st August, 1 – 3pm.

Cerebra – E-learning survey

Cerebra, the charity for brain injured children and young people, are currently reviewing their E-Learning services. E-Learning stands for electronic learning and it enables them to provide online access to their latest research, information, education and training to best suit the needs of parents and carers caring for children with brain-related neurological conditions and professionals working with them. Cerebra would like parents’ feedback to help them improve and provide effective and engaging online learning resources. Click here to take part.

North East Autism Society Family Summer Activity Days

NEAS Community Services have activities available to families living with an autistic spectrum condition over the school holidays: Monday – Friday at Thornhill School, Thornholme Road, Sunderland (including bouncy castle, climbing wall, archery, face painting, storytelling, arts and crafts, football, basketball) and Tuesday – Thursday at Hetton Lyons Park, Houghton-le-Spring (including canoeing, kayaking, grass sledges, bell-boating). There are two sessions per day at 10am – 12 noon and 1pm – 3pm. Each session costs £4 per family (payment in advance). To book call (0191) 514 2748.  Click here for more information.

Life Card

Life card holders receive discounts and special promotions at Sunderland’s leisure centres, sports facilities and Wellness Centres. If you are a young person aged 3 – 18 and living in Sunderland you can receive a Life card for free. Adult cards cost from £2. If you receive carers allowance, income support or other benefits the cost is £2. Application forms are available from any leisure centre or click here.