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Parent Carer Information Bulletin December 2011

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

Sunderland Carers' Centre logoParent Carers’ Group

There will be no meeting in December.

The next meeting will take place on

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

Parent Carer Coffee Mornings

There will be no coffee mornings in December.

The next coffee mornings will take place on

Tuesday 17th January
10am – 12 noon
Sunningdale School, Shaftoe Road, Springwell, Sunderland SR3 4HA

Monday 23rd January
10am – 12 noon
Houghton Primary Care Centre (behind Houghton Leisure Centre)

We look forward to seeing you.

Lisa Watson and Wendy Greenhow

Parent Carer Development Workers

Sunderland Carers' Centre

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.

Sunderland City Council logoShort breaks statement for disabled children

The Children Act 1989 places a duty on the council to provide breaks from caring for carers of disabled children. This supports the carer to continue to care for their children at home and allows 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 includes overnight breaks.

Sunderland City Council’s Short Breaks Statement is now available on their website - click here

Sunderland Carers' Centre logoChristmas Coffee Morning – Monday 5th December

Following the tremendous success of our last coffee morning in September the Carers’ Centre is pleased to announce a special Christmas coffee morning is taking place on Monday 5th December, 10.30am – 12.30pm at the Carers’ Centre, 12 Toward Road, Sunderland SR1 2QF.

Why not shake off the winter snow and chills and join us for a well-deserved cuppa? To really kick-start Christmas there will be an opportunity to pick up some great stocking fillers, handmade crafts, cards and of course cake… all made by our own Christmas elves! The proceeds from the day will go towards the new Carers’ Centre building.

Net buddy logoNetbuddy

Netbuddy – – is an award-winning website for parents, carers and learning disability professionals.

It is a space to hunt for ideas, swap tips and access information on everything from brushing teeth to challenging behaviour.

All the information on the site is submitted by people with first-hand experience of learning disability, and is organised under quick searches such as ‘Dressing and undressing’, ‘Out and about’, ‘Behaviour’ and ‘Routines’.

There are also practical information packs on subjects like financial help and jobs and training, plus a friendly interactive forum.

A tip from Net Buddy“The idea for Netbuddy came about when my son was small,” said Netbuddy founder Deborah Gundle, whose son has learning disabilities.

“I spent so much time and energy solving day-to-day problems, which I felt sure other people had encountered. Netbuddy works because people in the special needs community like to support each other.

If there’s an opportunity to help someone else, they nearly always will.”

For more information click here

Useful Vision logoUseful Vision – Bounce Christmas Party

Bounce is a Useful Vision pre-school group for children who have vision impairment and additional needs. The group will have a Christmas Party on Tuesday 13th December, 10.30am – 12.30pm, at Silksworth Tennis and Wellness Centre.

Enjoy a fun and relaxing session with Piccolo Music in the sensory room followed by Christmas buffet and treats in the soft play area. Siblings and grandparents are welcome as always.

To book your place please contact Susan on 0845 604 8491, text 07544301166 or email

Christmas Drop-ins at ShARP

Shiney Advice and Resource Project (ShARP) are holding Christmas drop-ins on 6th, 13th and 20th December with free tea, coffee, mince pies and mulled wine as well as free advice sessions, craft activities and toddler group. Santa will be there too with a free gift for children (limited one per person). All welcome! For more information please contact ShARP, 17 Beatrice Terrace, Shiney Row Tel: (0191) 385 6687.

D’ArtE Courses

Disability Arts Empowerment (D’ArtE) are running a series of free courses at Houghton Racecourse Community Access Point starting in December including:

‘Absolutely Positive’ – Find ways of improving your confidence, self-esteem and motivation and find ways of dealing with everyday stress;

‘Taste 4 Life’ – learn how to feel better in mind and body and feel healthy from inside and out;

‘Art Adventures Recycled’ – turn unwanted trash into new and desirable furnishing or presents for family and friends;

‘Computer Safety’ – learn how to keep your family safe online.

Activities are run on a regular basis for 8 week each on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10am – 12.30pm. To book please contact Anna on 0191 300 1022 (internet line, dial all the numbers).

Sunderland City Council logoSunderland Libraries Christmas Activities

Sunderland Library Service is offering a range of free children’s activities in all local libraries and in the City Library and Arts Centre the week beginning 19th December.

For more information please contact your local library. You can also click on the links below:

Children's Christmas Programme

Washington Library and Customer Service Centre

Houghton Library and Customer Service Centre

Sandhill Centre Library and Customer Service Centre

City Library and Arts Centre

Bunnyhill Library and Customer Service Centre

The City Library and Arts Centre are also offering activities for children and adults on Thursday evenings and Saturdays during December. For more information please contact City Library and Arts Centre on (0191) 561 1235.

Click here for December activities programme

Children aged eight years and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Santa at Fulwell Mill

Visit Santa in his grotto at Fulwell Windmill on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December from 12 noon – 3.30pm. There will be music, activities and face painters to entertain everyone whilst waiting to see Santa in his workshop.

This popular event is made possible with the help of the ‘Friends of Fulwell Mill’ who are a group of active volunteers who have a passion and commitment to the Mill. If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer at the Mill please contact Janet Robinson on (0191) 561 8413 or email

Autism Friendly Film Screening – Happy Feet 2

Dimensions have joined forces with Odeon Cinemas to host an autism friendly screening of Happy Feet 2 in cinemas across the country.

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 Sunday 18th December at 11.30am. Tickets go on sale on 13th December and can be bought as normal from the cinema or online through the Odeon website For more information visit the Dimensions website

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

Want to find out about future autism friendly film screenings? Get details via email by clicking here

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 visit

Fairy Tale Family Fun

The magic of fairy tales will fill Sunderland City Centre this Christmas. Mowbray Park will be transformed into an illuminated winter wonderland with a magical fairy tale village, fairground rides, a story telling tree and lots more. There will be story telling sessions in libraries and in the Hatkata (in Mowbray Park) with the Snow Fairy. There is even going to be a fairy tale trail around the city centre to enjoy. There will also be activities at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. For more information visit the Sunderland Live website – click here

Click here for the Christmas in Sunderland Guide