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Parent Carer Information Bulletin March 2016

Welcome to this month’s information bulletin for parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities up to the age of 25.

Parent Carer Groups

Sunderland Parent Carer Group

The next meeting is on

Tuesday 1st March
10am – 12 noon
Sunderland Carers’ Centre, Thompson Park, Thompson Road, Sunderland SR5 1SF

Guest speakers: Paul Tomlins and John Mordy from Sunderland City Council will talk with parents about school transport.

Washington Parent Carer Group

The next meeting is on

Wednesday 9th March
10am – 12 noon
Rainbow Family Centre, 34 Elliot Terrace, Concord, Washington NE37 3AE

Guest speakers: Paul Tomlins and John Mordy from Sunderland City Council will talk with parents about school transport.

Hetton Parent Carer Group

The next meeting is on

Monday 21st March

10am - 12 noon

The Hetton Centre, Welfare Road, Hetton-le-Hole DH5 9NE

Guest speaker: Contact a Family will talk about the services they offer.

Transition Support Group

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

The next meeting is on

Thursday 31st March
10.30am – 12 noon
Sunderland Carers’ Centre, Thompson Park, Thompson Road, Sunderland SR5 1SF

Guest speaker: ShARP will talk about the services they offer.

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.

Post 16 SEND Transport Consultation

Sunderland City Council invites parent carers to complete a survey about post 16 SEND home to school / college / further education transport.  The consultation closes Wednesday 2nd March.

Click here to complete

Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums - Disabled Access Day, Saturday 12th March 2016

Click here to find out what's on and where

To book call (0191) 277 2313 or email

Free transport can be arranged for any deaf or disabled person who does not have access to a car and/or cannot use public transport comfortably. Please indicate whether or not you require transport to be arranged when making your bookings.

Youth Offer Survey

Help shape activities for young people in Sunderland

There are 36,662 young people aged between 8 - 19 years across the city. Sunderland City Council is looking at what is available to young people and wants to hear from as many people as possible so they can help shape and facilitate what is available in the future.

They are wanting to hear from:

* children and young people
* parents and carers
* residents of Sunderland (without childcare responsibilities)
* workers from voluntary / community organisations and schools

Click here to take part in the short survey

Closing date: 31st March 2016

Sunderland Football Club launch Sensory Room

Sunderland AFC have become the first Barclays Premier League club to build a designated sensory room for supporters who are affected by the noise levels of the stadium seating areas.

The Nathan Shippey Sensory Room, named after a young supporter who has helped develop the first-of-its-kind project, was constructed in the Black Cats Bar during the summer and is now available for Sunderland supporters.

Click here to read more

Disability Matters Call For Evidence

Disability Matters is proud to partner with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) to promote the importance of inclusion and access for all disabled children and young people aged 0 - 25 years.

They are collecting evidence and case-studies from young disabled people, parent carers and those who work or volunteer with disabled people to highlight the many positive ways that people are:

  • working pro-actively with disabled children and young people
  • enabling inclusion
  • making services accessible

They are interested in examples that relate to all disabilities, including intellectual / learning disabilities, physical disabilities, complex needs and visual or hearing impairments.

They will compile the responses to this survey in a report that will be available in the early summer of 2016.

Get Involved

Please share your views by completing this short online survey - click here

A version of the survey can be downloaded as an easy read survey - click here

An introduction can also be downloaded as an easy read overview - click here

The survey closes on Friday 11th March.

Sunderland, Washington and Coalfields Parent Carer Council

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

Friday 18th March
10am – 12 noon
Sunderland Carers' Centre, Thompson Park, Thompson Road, Sunderland SR5 1SF

New members are welcome.

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

Learning Disability Health Promotion Team

The Learning Disability Health Promotion Team are based at Monkwearmouth Hospital.

They offer support where needed to adults with learning disabilities, families and carers to attend annual health checks where they can support to address any unmet health needs. They have a key role in liaising with other health professionals and agencies to ensure that healthcare received is co-ordinated and uninterrupted.

What the team might provide:

• Support to Annual Health Checks at GP surgeries
• Support to make reasonable adjustments at health appointments to meet individual health needs
• Support customers to have a Health Action Plan
• Support and guidance for family and carers
• Easy read health Information if required
• Workshops on health issues to small groups

Contact details

Health Promotion Team
Learning Disabilities Service
Monkwearmouth Hospital
Newcastle Road

Contact telephone numbers 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

07468710822 Graeme Ferguson
07468710823 Margaret Mather
07468710800 Emma Reid

Caudwell Children - Family Support in the North East available for disabled children

Caudwell Children offer a family support service, equipment, treatment, therapy and information.

Click here for more details

Click here to visit their website

For support and information please call Michelle Dias, Family Support Services Coordinator for the North East on 07875 206760 or email

Activities at Sunderland Libraries

Sunderland Libraries will be celebrating International Women’s day on Tuesday 8th March.

Glitz N Glamour, Talk by Meridith Towne - click here for details

From Pit Village to Buckingham Palace, Talk by Stephanie Yearnshaw - click here for details

Sunderland Libraries are holding family storytelling and rhyme time sessions at Miss Tina’s coffee shop in Beaumont Street in Southwick. The sessions are suitable for preschool children with a voluntary contribution of £2.00 per family, and take place each Thursday until 24th March 1pm – 2.30pm. Come and discover the magical world of books!

There will be a Shakespeare craft session for children on Saturday 19th March in the City Library between 11am and 12.30pm. This session is part of Sunderland Libraries programme for National Shakespeare Week.

From Tuesday 29th March each library in Sunderland will be holding children’s activities during the Easter school holidays.

Click here for dates and times

Useful Vision

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

Please see below for the March programme.

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

Learn to Swim with Useful Vision

Swimming is a very important life skill that could one day save you or your child’s life. Take advantage of our Learn to swim programme, which will consist of a 10 week course of swimming lessons, delivered by a fully qualified instructor in the Hydrotherapy pool at Cedars Academy, Gateshead. Lessons are aimed at vision impaired/Blind children aged 4 - 10 years old. Wednesdays 2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd March, 13th, 20th & 27th April and 4th, 11th & 18th May, 5.30 - 6pm or 6 - 6.30pm.

Easter visit to Preston Park Museum & Grounds, Stockton

There will be plenty of Easter themed activities and experiences, as well as a sensory storytelling session and Useful Vision exclusive workshops in potting and planting, cookery and arts and crafts. Families will have free time to explore the galleries and Victorian Street. Saturday 5th March, 10am - 3.30pm.

Bounce Baby and Toddler Group, Sunderland

Join our group specifically for vision impaired babies and toddlers. Children can let off steam in the soft play area, followed by a Music Bugs sing-along session with puppets and musical instruments. Siblings are welcome too. Feel free to drop in for a part session if you can’t make the full session. Tuesday 8th March, 1.30 - 3pm.

Young People have a Voice! Skills Workshop and Youth Forum, Cramlington

Feeling Creative? Come along to the monthly Useful Vision skills sessions! Children can express their views, take ownership of projects, plan activities and work as part of a team. There will be introductory taster sessions into many different subjects. Sessions are suitable for vision impaired children aged 10 and over. Saturday 19th March, 10am - 12.30pm.

Little Town, Newcastle

Enjoy an afternoon of role play at Little Town - an adventure for growing minds. Shop in the supermarket, prepare lunch in the restaurant, style hair in the salon, become a postal worker, police officer or member of fire crew in their vehicles and depots. Young doctors and nurses can play out their roles, as can construction workers and the stars of stage and screen in the little theatre. All Little Town areas are scaled down for children to enjoy. Jo Jingles will be there to provide Easter themed musical activities to round off the play session. Suitable for children up to 7 years old. Tuesday 29th March, 1.30 - 3pm.

Family Bowling at Starbowl, Royal Quays

Join us at Starbowl - the ideal choice for family bowling, no matter how young or old the player may be and no matter what their ability! All of the lanes are fully accessible and equipped with electronic bumpers and a plentiful supply of ball ramps and light balls. There will be a buffet afterwards for any families who would like to socialise. Wednesday 30th March, Bowling 1.30 - 3.30pm, Buffet 3.30 - 4.15pm.

Carriage Driving & Horse Riding at The Riding Centre for Special People, Three Lane Ends Farm, Bishop Auckland

There will be a 1 hour riding lesson and a 1 hour stable session, with grooming the ponies and learning about tack and stable management. Alternatively, there will be a half hour carriage driving session and a half hour small animal petting session for children who are unable to ride a horse for any reason, are unable to wear protective headgear or are in a manual wheelchair (a disclaimer must be signed). Vision impaired children are free of charge. Siblings are charged at £10 per sibling. Minimum age for riding is 4 years. RDA regulations state that no one over 15 stone can ride. Thursday 31st March, 1.30 - 3pm.

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.

There are no meetings in March, however, you can still email the group for information or visit their facebook page.