As parents of children with a disability or long term illness life can be incredibly demanding. Many parents spend so much time fighting for support and services for their children that they don’t have time to think about themselves.

If you haven’t already stopped to consider your own emotional and physical health now is the time to do it.  We would love to discuss your situation with you and help you to put together a ‘plan’ to take care of yourself. Part of this plan may include using some of our services:

  • Response Line for guidance and a chance to speak to someone who understands

  • Connections with other local organisations

  • Peer support groups (currently suspended until further notice)

  • Regular Newsletter and emails

Due to the COVID-19 situation, our Chief Executive made the difficult decision to suspend all carer face to face meetings in steps to protect the wellbeing of carers, the person being cared for, volunteers, staff and the wider community.

Carers Support are still taking referrals; however, the main impact has been on the group activities in which carers, staff and volunteers are in close proximity contact. The focus of the charity’s resources will turn to their core strengths:

  • Emotional support

  • Carer Contingency Planning

  • Carer Assessments

  • Practical guidance (including equipment and grants)

  • Information provision

The teams are working tirelessly to enable delivery of peer to peer support, using a combination of phone and online methods, so carers are receiving the invaluable support needed in our local community.

We also include some resources which may be of use to you during the COVID-19 situation.

Useful Equipment

Links to other organisations

Information and networking events

All things SEND on 14th July 13:00-16:00 is brand new for West Sussex Parent Carer Forum, and they are very excited to be able to run this virtually. We hope that it will appeal to parents that can’t always make our events due to childcare and/or work commitments as they can drop in and out as needed. Please pre-book with West Sussex Parent Carer Forum for the meeting code and nominate which provider you wish to visit. Click here for more information and booking.

West Sussex Local Offer is the local authority’s website with information about support, services, training workshops, activities and places to go for families.

Reaching Families 

Free handbooks about services and support available in West Sussex; Downloadable fact sheets and Free Workshops and Training for parents e.g.: Challenging behaviour, Sleep issues, Support in schools; Educational health Care Plans; Understanding Anxiety.  Click on the images below to download the handbooks.

Local Authority Support

Requesting a Child & family assessment

MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub)

Tel: 01403 229900

Children and Family Centres

Parents/Carers with children aged 0 – 19 (25 with special needs) can call or go along to their local Family Centre to ask for advice and support for their family.

They are a central point of access holding information about all local services for families. Family workers  can set up Early Help plans to liaise with schools and other agencies to support the family. They can refer to services based in their own centres and in the local area.  Find your nearest Children and Family Centre.

Brothers and Sisters

Brothers and Sisters of children with a disability are often called Young Carers. This is because although they may not be directly involved in caring, their home life, school life and friendships are affected.

West Sussex Young Carers 

Sibs is a national organisation helping parents to understand and support their children through workshops, information and advice.  A website with information and the opportunity to ask questions and share experiences with other children.

Benefits

Robert Hayes –  (WSCC Welfare Benefits Adviser) Specialist Advisor for families and Children with SEND has been on extended leave since July 2019. He may return in November, on a phased return/light duties, however may then be away from work again, early in 2020. Basic email cover is being provided and families are being signposted to Scope’s benefits helpline and other sources of support.

• Scope Free disability helpline, Monday- Friday 8am- 8pm, Saturday – Sunday 10-6pm 0808 800 3333
• Scope Textphone: Use Type Talk by dialling 18001 from a textphone followed by 0808 800 3333

Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services – online, by phone and face to face.

• Cerebra’s DLA guide, please find here.
• Carers UK also provide information here about PIP.

Disability rights Benefit Fact sheets 

Cerebra 

Education

West Sussex Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS) – help and support for parents in getting the right education for their child. Advice and one to one support with statutory assessments and statements or Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) annual reviews, appeals and tribunals.

IPSEA – free independent legally based advice around getting the right education for your child. Advice line, Tribunal advice line and downloadable template letters and resources.

Funding

Compass Card – gives discounts on leisure, transport and activities for families in Brighton and Hove and West Sussex.

Family Fund

Training

Reaching Families workshops

Mind workshops and online training

Useful Information

Activities and play schemes for children – West Sussex County Council fund different organisations to run activities for children which they call Short Breaks. The activities help them to develop confidence, socialise, build skills for independence and have fun. Some activities don’t require the parent or carer to stay which allows them a short break from caring for their child.

West Sussex Parent Carers ForumRun by parents for parents. Parents can call or e-mail for advice and information around caring for a child with a disability. Web site provides information about Events, Workshops, Training, Campaigns and Support groups across the county. Very active Facebook page/Twitter advertises Events and allows parents to ask questions, swap ideas and support each other.

Aspens (formerly Autism Sussex) Advice line, 1 – 1 behaviour clinics, Workshops, Training and Support groups for parents;   1-1 support and group activities for children and young people with ASC, Support for Siblings. Aspens are currently offering a 30 minute virtual family support clinics.

The Challenging Behaviour foundation – Charity for people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges.

Cerebra 

West Sussex SEND Short Breaks have put together a simple and easy to use COVID 19 Short Breaks site. This link  takes you to resources you may find useful for learning, summer holiday ideas, support and advice and exercise, as well as support for you.

Our Services