Support groups and organisations offering help, information and advice
Support groups are an ideal way to meet other parents and carers in a similar situation, for friendship, for opportunities to socialise and to share information. Some groups are open to parents and carers of children with any disability whilst others are for those whose children have the same condition.
Every group is different according to the needs and interests of their members in the area they live.
- Is there a support group in your area? Search the Norfolk Directory to find a local support group or visit Contact a Family who are in touch with hundreds of groups across the UK. Call their freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555 or send us an email.
- Is there a national support group for your child's condition? Search for your child's condition on the Contact a Family website.
- Need help to set up your own support group?If you find that there is no national support group for your child's condition or local support group in your area, you might decide to set one up yourself. Refer to Contact a Family’s 'Why join a local support group' page or search for Group Action Pack in their resource library. You can also download the resource pack for advice on planning and reviewing the information you give to other parents.
Organisations offering help, information and advice
The following organisations offer help to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities by giving information, advice and support.
Carers Trust is a registered charity who work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. Together with their network partners they provide:
- Access to desperately needed breaks
- Information and advice
- Education, training and employment opportunities
Norfolk Carers Support is a registered charity providing specialist support to unpaid carers in Norfolk. With services for young people (ages 6-16), young adults (16-24 years old) and adults. They offer:
- Support services
- Information and advice
- Administrate small grant applications on behalf of the Carers Agency Partnership
- Host events for carers
Carers UK is a national charity for carers, both supporting carers and raising the awareness of carers. They:
- Offer expert advice, information and support
- Connect carers through carers groups and volunteers
- Campaign for carers
- Work with local authorities and other organisations to improve services for carers
Norfolk SEND Partnership, Advice, Information and Support Service is an impartial service providing information and support for young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities and parents and carers of children with special educational needs. They offer:
- Confidential telephone support and information
- Written information
- The support of a trained volunteer Independent Parental Supporter wherever possible
- And/or put parents and carers in touch with other voluntary groups and people who may be able to help
Helpline: 01603 704070 Monday to Friday 9am-5 pm
- Free independent and impartial information and support on issues that matter to disabled people and their families
- In Norfolk, Scope also provides trained volunteer Independent Supporters (IS) who can support families going through the 20 week EHCP process
Helpline: Call free on 0808 800 3333, weekdays 9am-5pm
Norfolk SEN Network can help parents:
- Through the transition of their child's statement to a new EHC plan
- Apply for an EHC plan
- Ensure that the provision outlined in the EHC plan is adequate to meet their child's needs
- Support families who wish to take their case to a tribunal hearing
Independent Parental Special Educational Advice (IPSEA) is a registered charity offering:
- Free and independent legally based information
- Advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities
Helpline: 0800 018 4016 or 01799 526771 for reduced charges if using a mobile phone (check website for opening hours as these vary)
Online Information Service form: www.ipsea.org.uk/contact/advice-and-support/information-service
Contact - For families with disabled children supports families with disabled children across the UK. They provide:
- Advice and support
- Bring families together so they can support each other and campaign to improve their circumstances, and their right to be included and equal in society.
The Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASS Network) also supply a list of SEND Information and Advice Providers.
NHS Choices the official website of the National Health Service in England. Providing information on:
- Living well
- Care and support
- Electronic referrals
- Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Mind is a registered charity supporting people experiencing a mental health problem. They offer:
- Information and support
- National and local support networks
- Legal advice service provides information on mental health related law
Infoline: 0300 123 3393 or text 86463
Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional body responsible for education, training raising standards in psychiatry. They offer:
- Mental health information and advice
Telephone: 020 7235 2351
Citizens Advice provides free, confidential and impartial advice on:
- NHS healthcare
- Help with health costs
- Dental treatment
- Private healthcare
- Alternative medicine organisations