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Parent Carer Information Bulletin February 2013

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

Sunderland Parent Carers’ Group

The next meeting will take place on

Thursday 14th February
10am – 12 noon
at Sunderland Carers’ Centre, Thompson Park, Thompson Road, Sunderland SR5 1SF

Jackie or Keith Brazier from Southwick Health and Community Forum will attend to explain what kind of activities and courses they can offer parent carers.

Washington Parent Carers’ Group

The next meeting will take place on

Wednesday 27th February
10am – 12 noon
at Rainbow Family Centre, 34 Elliott Terrace, Concord, Washington NE37 3AE

Houghton Parent Carer Coffee Morning

The next coffee morning will take place on

Monday 11th February
10am – 12 noon
at Houghton Primary Care Centre, Brinkburn Crescent, Houghton-le-Spring DH4 5HB

The NHS Health Trainers will be attending to offer free mini health MOTs.

We look forward to seeing you.

Lisa Watson and Wendy Greenhow

Parent Carer Development Workers

Sunderland Carers' Centre

For more information please contact Lisa Watson or Wendy Greenhow at Sunderland Carers’ Centre

Tel: (0191) 549 3768.

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) 549 3768.

Discussing the proposed Children and Families Bill

Do you have a child or young person who has a long term illness, disability or special educational needs? If yes, did you know that the government are proposing changes to school action, school action plus, formal statutory assessments (statements), social care provision and health in 2014? This proposal is called the Children and Families Bill.

Sunderland, Washington and Coalfields Parent Carer Council, Sunderland Carers’ Centre, Sunderland City Council and NHS South of Tyne and Wear are working together to keep you informed of the upcoming changes for your family. If you would like to find out more about what these changes would mean for you and your family, please check this you tube link:

Discussing the proposed Children and Families Bill

Share your views on the Bill

As you will discover on the you tube link, the local council are very keen to hear what you think about these changes so they can take this into consideration when they plan their “local offer”.

To gather these views, Sunderland, Washington and Coalfields Parent Carer Council are holding a free event at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday 13th February, registration from 9.30am, start at 10am until 2pm. This is to give you a chance to speak to a variety of people, find out more information and share your thoughts.

If you are interested in coming along please email or ring Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 549 3768.

Sunderland City Council logoShort Breaks for Disabled Children Consultation

Sunderland City Council would like to hear the views of parent carers on short breaks – for example youth projects, Sea View Road West, school summer schemes and direct payments. You do not have to be currently receiving a service to share your views, as they are keen to hear from everyone.

They have started their commissioning process (asking projects to bid to deliver a service) so that they can look at where they are going to be spending their short break budget over the coming years. They really need your help to hear what you think works and what you would like to see happen in the future.

If you would like to share your views you can complete a questionnaire - click here

Carers Breaks and Opportunities Scheme

The Carers Breaks and Opportunities Scheme is now open to applications from parent carers of disabled children and young carers.

The scheme offers carers the chance to take a break from their caring responsibilities and take part in opportunities that they would like to do and that will help to maintain or improve their quality of life. It can also provide care to the person cared for while the carer is away from their caring responsibilities.

Carers can apply for up to £500 once a year (£250 for young carers). This is a free service and the decision to give funding is based on the carer's individual caring circumstances, not their income.

To apply to the scheme please contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 549 3768.

Click here for more information about the scheme

Sunderland City Council logoDisabled Children's Taster Sessions

Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellness Centre

Wednesday 20th February

9am - 12 noon

Taster sessions for all families of disabled children.  Due to the success of the previous event, Sunderland City Council are pleased to invite you to come along and try various activities including:

  • Sensory Room (10am - 12 noon) - EXCLUSIVE USE
  • Soft Play ( 10am - 12 noon) - EXCLUSIVE USE
  • Short Tennis (9am - 12 noon) - EXCLUSIVE USE
  • Swimming Fun and Floats Session (10am - 12 noon) - EXCLUSIVE USE between 10am - 11am and then a general swim session between 11am - 12 noon

Cost - £2.70 per child (free entry for carer)

For further information call (0191) 561 5901 or call into the Centre and ask at main reception.

Transitions Support Group

The next meeting of the Transitions Support Group will take place on Thursday 28th February, 10.30am – 12 noon, at Sunderland Carers’ Centre, Thompson Park, Thompson Road, Sunderland SR5 1SF.

The group is open to all carers of young people going through transition from children’s services to adult services.

For more information please contact Eibhlin Inglesby or Helen McAdam on (0191) 549 3768.

ADHD Support Group

The Sunderland ADHD Support Group will no longer be holding meetings due to low attendance.

If you need help and information you can phone Mandy Colman on (0191) 519 2461 or 07788211154 or email

You can also visit their Facebook page.

Playgroup for Hearing Impaired Children

The next Playgroup is on Monday 4th February, 1 – 3pm, at Highfield Children’s Centre, Ford Road, Ford Estate.

There is also a Valentine’s theme party on Saturday 16th February, 10.30am – 12.30pm, at Ryhope Community Centre, Black Road, Ryhope.

For more information please email

Useful Vision logoUseful Vision Activities

For families in the North East who have children with a visual impairment. The following activities have been arranged:

Activity morning at Stephenson Railway Museum, Middle Engine Lane, North Shields, Sunday 17th February, 10am - 12 noon. Dress up in Victorian costume and have your photo taken on one of the trains, make your own hat, model train or puppet, guess who the case belongs to in the old parcel van, enjoy free time around the museum and join the working steam train for a 30 minute ride.

Fins and Flippers hydrotherapy sessions for parents with toddlers and tiddlers, 9.15am - 10.30am, Thursday 14th and 28th February and every Thursday in March at the Hydrotherapy pool at Cedars School Sports College, Ivy Lane, Low fell, Gateshead, NE9 6QD.

Look Good Feel Fine workshop for girls aged 11 and over, Monday 18th February, 10am - 3pm, George Hardwicke Centre, 5 Wellington Square Shopping Centre, Wellington Street, Stockton TS18 1RG. In association with Second Sight this course gives girls and young adults practical and informative advice about basic skincare and make-up techniques. Sessions include understanding different skin types, the range of products available, how to achieve successful make up application with little or no vision, useful beauty aids and equipment, diet and health, hairstyles, colour and clothes. Limited places, booking essential

Family Fun Day and Swim Session, Sunday 24th February, 1 – 5pm, Central Hall, The Dolphin Centre, Darlington DL1 5RP. Experience animal encounters with Jay and his friends including Maku the Meerkat, arts and crafts activities with TwOttOdo, face painting and nail art, chill out tent provided by Sensory Spaces. Useful Vision families have exclusive use of the smaller swimming pool and slides from 4 - 5pm. Café on site open all day.

Cookery Skills Course in association with Second Sight on Saturdays 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd March. Ashington Children’s Centre, Alexandra Road, Ashington, Northumberland NE63 9EF. This course aims to ensure that vision impaired children gain a greater understanding of how best to use their residual vision and other senses when preparing food. Children are given the opportunity to try out specialist equipment and learn new techniques to enable them to feel more confident and safer when carrying out a range of kitchen tasks. The course runs for 4 weeks, every Saturday in March. Each session lasts for 2 hours and each child will be allocated a morning or afternoon session. Places are limited.

Bounce baby and toddler group. Drop in and meet other parents and have a chat then chill in our music and movement session with Piccolo Music. Siblings are welcome too. Parents are welcome to bring a sandwich. Tea, coffee, juice and biscuits will be provided. The next session is on Monday 5th March 10am - 12 noon, Silksworth Tennis and Wellness Centre, Silksworth Lane, Sunderland SR3 1PD.

All the events are free to families registered with Useful Vision. They welcome children whatever their level of ability. If you would like to book a place at any of these events, please email or call Useful Vision on 0845 604 8491.

Click here to visit the Useful Vision website

New families – it’s easy and free to register!

Father and son in the library.Activities at Sunderland Libraries

Chinese New Year Craft Activities
Saturday 9th February, 10.30 – 11.30am, City Library and Arts Centre
Come along and take part in Chinese New Year craft activities for the Year of the Snake. All children under the age of 8 years must be accompanied by a parent/carer.

Storybag Session
Monday 18th February, 10.45 – 11.45am, Washington Green Library
Come along and decorate a storybag to take home. All children under the age of 8 years must be accompanied by a parent/carer.

Bear Fun!
Wednesday 20th February, 2 – 3pm, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Come along to the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens for our preschool session. Join in with fun and games in the Teddy Bear Story exhibition and then follow Blueberry, our Bookstart bear, over to the City Library for bear stories and rhymes.

Half Term Craft Activities Monday 18 – 22 February
Celebrating 90 years of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter, Sunderland Libraries will facilitate Egyptian themed craft activities. For further information please contact your local library closer to the time.

Read Regional Poetry Workshop with poet Anna Woodford
Thursday 7th February, 2 – 3.15pm, City Library and Arts Centre
To book a place contact City Library on (0191) 561 1235

Read Regional Poetry Readings
Thursday 7th February, 3.15pm, City Library and Arts Centre
Poets Seni Seneviratne and Anne Ryland will read and explore poems from the Read Regional poetry collection. For more information contact City Library, as above.

Sunderland Royal Hospital Meet and Greet Service

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer support and assistance to patients with disabilities and their carers when they come to hospital for outpatient appointments, investigations or visiting, e.g. if you are not sure where a particular department is, a volunteer can accompany you to the correct location. Contact PALS on

0800 587 6513 a few days beforehand so that arrangements can be made.

Autism Friendly Film Screening - Wreck It Ralph

Dimensions have joined forces with Odeon Cinemas to host an autism friendly screening of the animated film, Wreck It Ralph (Rating to be confirmed, 2D), 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 10th February at 11am. Tickets can be bought from the cinema, online through the Odeon website or by calling Odeon’s Accessibility Helpline on 0800 138 3315 between 11am and 8pm.

Click here for more information about autism-friendly screenings