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Parent Carer Information Bulletin January 2015

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

Parent Carer Coffee Mornings

Please note our parent carer coffee mornings are now open to any parents and carers of children with special educationals needs and disabilities up to the age of 25.

Sunderland Parent Carer Coffee Morning

The next meeting is on

Thursday 8th January
10am – 12 noon
at Sunderland Carers’ Centre, Thompson Park, Thompson Road, Sunderland SR5 1SF

Washington Parent Carer Coffee Morning

The next meeting is on

Wednesday 14th January
10am – 12 noon
at Rainbow Family Centre, 34 Elliott Terrace, Concord, Washington NE37 3AE

Houghton Parent Carer Coffee Morning

The next meeting is on

Monday 19th January
10am – 12 noon
at Houghton Primary Care Centre, Brinkburn Crescent, Houghton-le-Spring DH4 5HB

We look forward to seeing you there.

For more information please contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (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.

F.L.A.S.H. Autism Friendly Christmas Party

F.L.A.S.H. (Families Living with Autism Support & Help) will be a Autism Friendly Christmas Party on:

Monday 29th December
12 noon - 3pm
at NE38 Sports Bar, Washington NE38 8DG

£2 per person

Activities will include: festive cake and biscuit decorating; card making and messy play; bouncy castle; tombola; raffle and games.

For tickets contact Darren Connolly Tel: 07720237316 or email

Snow White Pantomime – Relaxed Performance

There will be a relaxed performance of this year’s Snow White Pantomime at Sunderland Empire on Friday 2nd January at 2pm.

It caters specifically for families and people with learning or behavioural disorders such as ASD and ADHD by creating a more relaxed atmosphere. The sound can be lowered and lights dimmed in the auditorium; no one will be asked to be quiet; audiences can come and go; there will be a quiet space with activities and fidget toys for anyone wishes to leave the auditorium; and a pre-show familiarisation visit is available.

To book please contact the Central Access Line on 0844 871 7677 (Mon – Sat, 9am – 10pm, Sun 10am – 8pm). For any queries contact the Creative Learning Manager on (0191) 566 1056 or email

Members of Sunderland People First open the Safe Place at Sunderland Carers' CentreSafe Places growing across the city

Sunderland Carers’ Centre signed up to the Sunderland Safe Place Scheme and became a Safe Place in September. Since then the scheme has been officially launched and there are now around 30 Safe Places across the city.

The Safe Place scheme aims to provide vulnerable people, particularly those with a learning disability, with a safe place to go to where help can be summoned if they are feeling worried or upset while out on their own in their community.

Staff members receive training from Sunderland People First and a Safe Place sticker is displayed at participating venues.

Click here to see a map of Safe Place locations

Find out more about Safe Places – click here to watch the Sunderland Safe Place Scheme video

Independent Support logoIndependent Support

Does your child have special educational needs or disabilities?

Does your child need help transferring from a statement of special educational need to a new Education, Health and Care plan?

Or are they requiring special educational support for the first time?

Sunderland Carers’ Centre provides an Independent Support service which offers advice and support to children and young people up to the age of 25 with special educational needs and disabilities and their families who need help to obtain an Education, Health and Care Plan.

For more information please contact Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 537 5740 or email

Click here to read the Independent Support leaflet

Health Transition Team

The Health Transition Team is a small team of nurses who work in learning disabilities in Sunderland offering advice, support and guidance to families and children with learning disabilities with health needs in transition between the ages of 14 to 19 years of age.

Click here to find out more about the team

ADHD Support Group

Are you a parent of a child with ADHD? The Sunderland ADHD Support Group is run by parents themselves and they offer each other advice and support.

The next meetings will be on Monday 12th January and Monday 26th January, 11.30am – 1pm, at SNYP, 272 Southwick Road, Southwick, Sunderland SR5 1DD.

For more information please email

ESPA Open Event

ESPA (Education and Services for People with Autism) is a specialist college which was set up by parents of children with autism back in the 1980s and celebrated its 25th anniversary in July 2014. In that time they have helped more than 1,400 students learn new skills and prepared many for independent living. Today they offer both day college and residential facilities in Newcastle and Sunderland, catering for young people aged 16 to 24 from across the autism spectrum.


Working in partnership with Sunderland College and Barnardo’s, they will be delivering a new, flexible study programme from September 2015 called Pathways and are inviting applications now. This will be in addition to their established curriculum and provides students with an alternative offer. Pathways will be delivered over three to four days, both at ESPA and at work based learning facilities at Sunderland College and Barnardo’s.


To give parent / carers and young people more information about this new programme, ESPA are holding an open event on Tuesday 3rd February 2015 from 6pm - 7.30pm at Bede Tower, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR2 7EA.

To find out more and register a place at the launch event, please visit the ESPA website or email or call 0191 510 2611.

Transition Support Group

The next meeting of the Transition Support Group will be on Thursday 29th January, 10.30am – 12 noon, at Sunderland Carers’ Centre.

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

For more information please contact the Carers’ Centre on (0191) 5493768.

Sunderland, Washington and Coalfields Parent Carer Council logoSunderland, Washington and Coalfields Parent Carer Council

The next meeting of the Parent Carer Council will be on:

Friday 16th January

10am – 12 noon

at Sunderland Carers’ Centre

New members welcome.

For more information please contact Wendy Greenhow at Sunderland Carers’ Centre on (0191) 549 3768.

Arts Connect

Newcastle Arts Team have started a programme called Arts Connect. It's made up of Art Connect, Dance Connect, Music Connect and Sport Connect.

Its purpose is to help children with additional needs who are able to join in with mainstream extra-curricular groups which are already available in the community. If your child can access these groups but would need or benefit from one-to-one support to help them participate, then Arts Connect will provide this. There is a funding package for each child participating, which means this support will be found and paid for by the Arts Team, in consultation with parents and carers.

You can also contact Claire Dixon (Dance Connect) on 07855553527 and she will do her best to pass on information about all the other groups (Sports / Music / Arts) as well as Dance, or let you know who to contact.

Social Inclusion Youth Projects

There are five youth projects for young people aged 13 to 19 years with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD) and one for young people aged 19 to 25 years.

These projects offer different activities to meet the needs of each individual young person.

For more information about the projects please contact Angela Mills, Social Inclusion Co-ordinator

Tel: (0191) 561 7401 or email

Useful Vision logoUseful Vision Activities

Useful Vision helps families with blind or sight impaired children get the most out of life. They run fun activities for children from 0 to 19 across the region. All the activities are free to families registered with them.

Click here for details of the activities taking place in January

If you would like to register for any of these events, be put on the mailing list for future activities or to find out more contact 0845 6048491 or email