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Local Offer Coronavirus Advice and Information

 

We know this is a very anxious time for SEND families in Manchester. We’ve pulled together some information that we hope will be of help to you.

If you are a parent or carer of a disabled child or young person under 25, sign up to our Participation Register. This is a way of getting our latest newsletters and finding out about other sources of support. We are also on Twitter. Follow us at: Manchester Local Offer @MCRLocalOffer

If you would like to sign up for our newsletter, see here.

If you have a question or there is a topic you would like us to cover during this difficult period, please get in touch. 

The Local Offer Team

Email: localoffer@manchester.gov.uk

www.manchester.gov.uk/sendlocaloffer

  

Returning To School In Manchester - FAQ

 

The following FAQ have been prepared with the help of the Public Health team in Manchester to give parents and carers as much information as possible around the return to school.

Here is a letter to parent/carers about the return to school in Manchester from Isobel Booler, Head of schools quality assurance & strategic SEND.

Further information is also available on the government Coronavirus website for parents/carers about what changes and measures to expect in schools in September and for parents/carers with children in a specialist setting.

For more SEND advice and resources around the return to school, see the 'Schools & Home Learning' section.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

 

Q. Is it compulsory for my child to attend school from September?

A. Yes; from the start of the next academic year in September, it is compulsory for children of all school years to attend.

EARLY YEARS - Attendance in early years settings is not compulsory, but we hope children will return to their setting or take up their early years offer in September.

FURTHER EDUCATION - All young people aged 16-18 are covered by the Raising of the Participation Age policy, so young people are expected to stay in learning until they are 18. This might be in a school sixth form, a college, an apprenticeship, traineeship or a job with recognised training. If you are concerned that your young person does not have a place in further education or needs help finding employment, please get in touch with the Connect service: email eet@careerconnect.org.uk or whatsapp 07973 936418.

 

Q. Will I be fined if my child does not attend school?

A. School attendance will be compulsory again from September, this means that it is parents’/carers’ duty to ensure their child attends regularly.  Schools and local authorities have a duty to follow up absence and will once again be able to issue fixed policy notices but we know that some children with SEND may need to transition back to school more gradually. Please speak to the class teacher or SENCO about how they can support you to get your child used to attending school again.

 

Q. How safe will schools and colleges be?

A. Our schools and settings can provide a well-managed environment, to reduce the risk of infection. Public Health England is clear that if settings do this, the risk of transmission will be lowered. These measures include:

● changes in pick up and drop off arrangements, improved signage and one-way movement systems;

● ensuring pupils and staff do not attend if they or someone in their household has those coronavirus symptoms;

● washing hands more often than usual;

● promoting good hygiene around sneezing/ coughing into tissue, which is then put in a bin;

● cleaning frequently touched surfaces and equipment;

● changes to classroom layout and timetables to reduce contact;

● regular deep-cleaning;

● grouping pupils in a ‘bubble’ designed to help with infection control.

 

Q. What will a ‘bubble’ look like?

A. This very much depends on the setting your child attends. The main priority is to reduce contact between people as much as possible. This will be achieved through pupils being placed in ‘bubbles’.  Some ‘bubbles’ may be as small as 30 whereas in larger primary schools or secondary schools, ‘bubbles’ may be a whole year group. To reduce contact between pupils:

● ‘bubbles’ may have different start and finish times;

● ‘bubbles’ may have break times and lunch times in separate areas of the school;

● school timetables may be adjusted.

 

Q. How often will pupils wash their hands during the day?

A. Schools will be washing their hands as soon as pupils enter the school, at regular intervals throughout the day and before going home.  Staff will help pupils learn these routines and provide lots of prompts and support, if needed.

 

Q. How safe is it to use bathrooms at school/college?

A. Settings will be taking additional steps to ensure bathrooms are kept clean, including:

● being cleaned at regular times throughout the day;

● being cleaned thoroughly each evening or before school and this will include cleaning specific ‘touch points’ throughout school e.g. door handles, light switches etc.

 

Q. Will staff be using personal protective equipment (PPE)?

A. Wearing a face covering or face mask in schools is not recommended. PPE will only be used if a child or young person becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus whilst in their school and needs direct personal care until they can return home. Also, those children and young people whose care routinely already involves the use of PPE due to their intimate care needs, will continue to receive their care in the same way.

 

Q. My child has been shielding – will they have to go back to school/college?

A. The government has advised that children and young people who were shielding are now able to return to education.

A very small number of children and young people with certain medical conditions may be advised by their health professionals that they should continue to have their needs met at home.   If you are unsure whether this is the case for your child, please speak to your GP or consultant.  Schools and colleges have a duty to provide work and resources for children and young people who are unable to attend for medical reasons and to work with families, and health and social care staff to put in place the provision in the EHCP. Where children and young people are not able to attend their setting because parents are following clinical or public health advice, absence will not be penalised. Please contact your school SENCO if you wish to discuss how school will meet your child’s medical needs.

 

Q. What would happen if somebody at school developed Covid symptoms during the day?

A.

● If anyone shows symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day, they will be taken to a designated room.

● Staff will wear PPE equipment if necessary to provide support.

● Parents/next of kin will be contacted and the person will be expected to be collected from school immediately and will be advised to follow stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection. They must self-isolate for at least 7 days and should arrange to have a test to see if they have coronavirus. Other members of their household (including any siblings) should self-isolate for 14 days from when the person showing symptoms first had symptoms.

 

Q. My child is really anxious about going back to education.

A. Some children and young people will have been attending education last term, but most will have been at home for a long time and may feel anxious about returning.  Schools, colleges and settings have done lots to prepare for children and young people coming back. Staff will be able to provide support for children who are anxious, struggle with changes to their routine, have lost some of their skills or have other additional needs.

Educational psychologists and health staff have written some booklets for children young people and parents to help with the return to education.  They are called ‘Back to School’ and can be found in the 'School & Home Learning' section of this Local Offer coronavirus webpage.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership also have some helpful resources, including short films about returning to school and college. Each link contains relevant information to children and young people with SEND and their parents/carers.

A safe return to learning – primary schools

A safe return to learning – secondary schools

A safe return to learning – further education

 

Q. Will my child’s EHCP review still take place?

A. Schools and colleges have been carrying out reviews online or by telephone during the summer term.  We expect most reviews will take place in this way in the autumn term as well, to minimise the number of visitors to schools.  The local authority EHCP team is working to statutory deadlines for new requests for assessments, reviews and consultations.  If you have any concerns about your child’s EHCP please contact the SENCO or Information, Advice and Support Manchester.  Telephone: 0161 209 8356 or email: parents@manchester.gov.uk

 

Q. How will my child travel to school?

A. Due to social distancing, the capacity of public transport and school bus services may be reduced. We would encourage alternative means of transport (walk, cycle, car), where possible, to ensure there are places on public transport for those children who have no other options.

SEN transport. The local authority still has a duty to provide free home to school transport for all eligible children of school age.  Section 508b of the Education Act allows local authorities to provide this in alternative ways. This can include providing personal travel budgets to pay mileage to parents/carers to take their children to education.  If your son or daughter currently receives home to school transport, you will be contacted by school or the Travel Co-ordination Team to discuss the best way of getting your child to school or college safely.

 

IAS Manchester Helpline

 

Information Advice & Support Manchester (IASM) Helpline

IASM has extended its helpline hours during the coronavirus pandemic. It operates between 8.30am-4pm, Monday to Friday - 0161 209 8356.

This will be the answer machine so please leave a name, phone number and message and the service will call you back as the calls are answered in order. The answer machine is on 24 hours.

Alternatively, email a message to the parents@manchester.gov.uk, giving your name and message with a phone number and they will call you back.

The majority of calls are answered on the same day but if late it will be a next working day call.

 

About IASM

IASM offers information, advice and support to children, young people and parents/carers about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This includes health and social care where it is linked to education.

It’s a free, confidential and impartial service, based in the city and commissioned by Manchester City Council.

IASM has its own, independent website: www.iasmanchester.org

 

Schools & Home Learning

 

This section is in the following categories:

  • Advice around the return to school
  • Updates from the Government & other organisations
  • Psychological support
  • Home-learning resources

For FAQ questions around the return to school in Manchester, see the special section on this webpage.

 

ADVICE AROUND THE RETURN TO SCHOOL

 

Back To School Packs

Staff from Educational Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, and CAMHS in Manchester have put together some ‘Back To School’ packs. They’ve been written for Manchester's autistic students but will be relevant for many other children and young people and their families. There are packs for: Schools & teachers, Parents, Young people, Younger children.

 

Back To School Resource

Contact, the charity for families with disabled children, has published lots of new back to school information for families in England. You can find everything you need to know about your child's return to school, including answers to some of your top concerns and questions, the latest government guidance and useful resources to help both you and your child feel better prepared for the return to school.

 

Beyond Words - Two New Stories

Beyond Word have two new free wordless stories to support all primary school children - mainstream and SEND - in returning to school. Lenny and Lily in Lockdown’ and ‘Lenny and Lily Return to School’ . Beyond Words have other free downloadable resources, including Beating the Virus and Having a Test for Coronavirus.

 

CDC Resources

The Council for Disabled Children has a series of resources - ‘Responding to Covid 19 - Innovation and best practice in the education, health and care sector during the pandemic’. This shares learning and good practice on how children’s health, care and education services have adapted and innovated in response to Covid-19 whilst continuing to provide high levels of care for children with SEND. The CDC has also collated a list of back to school resources that you may find useful.

 

Down’s Syndrome Association

Guidance around planning for your child’s return to school.

 

Mental Health Resources Around Return To Education

There are some new resources responding to issues and concerns from children and young people about the return to school or college. They can be found in the Mental Health pages of Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership’s website and include films around SEND issues, featuring children and young people, giving reassurance about precautions being taken and how the new normal looks.

Primary schools, Secondary schools, Further Education - Each of these includes a SEND video and downloadable resource pack

Government guidance - Guidance for parents and carers, guidance for re-opening – including special schools and supporting children and young people with SEND

The resources draw on the views of children and young people from COVID-19 research studies compiled by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

 

National Autistic Society Resources

The National Autistic Society has guidance for parents on the return to school.

 

Returning To School Resource

Alliance for Learning have a free downloadable booklet, ‘Returning to school post COVID-19 – Helpful resources for school and home’. It has lots of useful links in lists, including SEND children, mental wellbeing, bereavement, the return to school – and poems!

 

Returning To School - Top Tips

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has produced this sheet of top tips to help your child with the return to school, especially if they find change difficult to handle. It suggests some of the ways they can gain a sense of control over the uncertainties.

 

Risk of Infection

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the return to school and the risk of infection – This information from Manchester City Council has been prepared with the help of the city’s Public Health team – EnglishChinesePunjabiUrduBangla.

 

Story To Support The Return To School

A story written to help primary aged children explore feelings about returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Supporting Transition

Guidance on supporting autistic young people to transition to secondary school remotely.

Digital Stories are short videos showing who the child is, including their strengths and preferences, rather than focusing on their difficulties and challenges. They can help professionals and schools learn about children before they transition in September and also be used to support assessments for EHCPs. The Autism Community Research Network at Southampton [ACoRNS] have created some short videos and resources about this creative way of telling the individual story.

The Big Transitions for Autistic and SEND Pupils After Lockdown - This online course offers practical help, advice and resources to help prepare your autistic and SEND children for the big transitions as lockdown begins to ease. It’s free for a limited period and aimed at parents, teaching staff and senior leaders.

 

Transport To School

 The Government has published new guidance on transport to school and other places of education, giving advice on safe travel to educational settings and managing risk.

 

Welcome Back From CDC

The Council for Disabled Children has been looking at the questions that schools, colleges and parents have been raising about returning to school safely.  As part of this, they recently surveyed Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support (SENDIAS) services to get a feel for concerns, challenges and solutions. See this Welcome Back To School from Dame Christine Lenehan, CDC Director.

 

 

UPDATES FROM THE GOVERNMENT & OTHER ORGANISATIONS

 

Ministerial SEND Roundtable – September 2020

On 15 September, key stakeholders of the SEND sector attended the SEND Joint Ministerial Roundtable to give evidence and share views on how children, young people and families and the organisations that work with them have operated during the pandemic. Read about it here.

 

Open Letters From Government Minister - Latest 2nd September

During the coronavirus crisis, MP Vicky Ford, the Minister for the Department of Education / Department of Health & Social Care has written several open letters to all children and young people with SEND, their families, and those that support them:

2nd September - Letter about the return to school

21st July - Letter about the return to school

May 30th - Explaining how the wider opening of schools and other educational settings may affect families.

 

Ofsted Announcement - August 2020

Ofsted has announced that visits to local areas in autumn will focus on offering support to strengthen Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) systems as England begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

 

 

Education Updates - July 2020

Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been commissioned by the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care to support local areas to improve their SEND systems. Read more here.

In early July, the Department for Education published detailed guidance to support schools and colleges to fully reopen in September 2020 and early years and childcare providers from 20 July. See more here.

 

School Closures - Updated June 2020

The changes cover children at registered childcare providers (including nurseries and childminders), primary and secondary schools and further education colleges. This is for both state-funded and independent schools. Read more about school closures here.

 

Educational Guidance for Vulnerable Children and Young People - May 2020

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those children and young people up to the age of 25 with education, health and care (EHC) plans. Read more information and guidance for vulnerable children and young people

 

Council for Disabled Children FAQ
During the Pandemic, the Council for Disabled Children received questions from parents and carers and shared them with the Department for Education (DfE) and colleagues with specialist knowledge. You can find all of them here

The CDC also has extensive resources for families, including Government Guidance and learning resources to support home schooling.

 

Virtual SEND Tribunals

HMCTS guidance on how to join telephone/video hearings.

 

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT

 

Anxiety Based School Avoidance Guidance 

This new guidance document is a tool for parents/carers and schools to talk to children and young people regarding their anxieties and to provide strategies to encourage school attendance. It’s been co-produced by Manchester City Council, One Education Educational Psychology Service, parents, health services, and schools and colleges across the city. Read more in this Manchester City Council information on SEN support in mainstream schools.

 

Educational Psychology Support
OneEducation Educational Psychologists offer phone consultations to parents/carers of children and young people with an autism diagnosis from the Bridge, the Winnicott Centre and Carol Kendrick Unit. You can have a problem-solving conversation relating to any aspect of your child's education. This might be issues around learning, behaviour, anxiety and mental health needs. To book this, please send an email with your name and phone number: autism.edpsych@oneeducation.co.uk 

 

Parent/Carer Home-school Survival Kit

Advice and tips around home-schooling and taking care of your wellbeing.

 

 

HOME-LEARNING RESOURCES

A-Z of Sensory Learning Activities: Special Education & Inclusive Learning’s A-Z has lots of ideas for sensory activities, like play with foil and material.

ChatterPack – Free SEND Resources: ChatterPack is a voluntary-run, special educational needs and disabilities hub. See their free speech and language, OT, and many other SEND resources for families and schools.

DfE Resources: Home learning resources for children and young people with SEND  Online science, PE, wellbeing and SEND resources for home education

Educational Comics for Dyslexic Children: Dekko Comics provide comics that help dyslexic children with their literacy skills and schoolwork, covering Maths, English, Science etc. They are now available free online for the COVID-19 period.

Healthy Schools Manchester: Primary and secondary health and wellbeing challenges, like 'Draw Yourself Sunshine' and 'Happy Place'.

Home Learning For Visually Impaired Children: Henshaws have put together a range of activities including quiz-making, baking and storytelling to help make learning at home fun. Explore their ideas here

SEND Technological Resources: Information on SEND technological resources to aid learning at home.

Sensory & Messy Play Activities: As a goodwill gesture at this time, Empowering Little Minds is offering four free weeks of Parent & Teacher Support and Sensory & Play Training, as well as Sensory & Messy Play Activities for children with SEND.

Sensory Dispensary: Free resources created by two SEND teachers, aimed at children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.  

Sensory Projects: A bank of FREE resources from Sensory Projects for those looking for activities to do whilst staying home and staying safe.

Skills for Life Manchester: The Skills for Life project supports the development of key life skills for young people and has become a feature of many school’s curriculums across Manchester. The SEND Independent Living Resource is a great way of helping young people to identify and practise areas at home where they may need help. See the library blog for more information and links to useful resources.

Special Needs Jungle Resources: The Special Needs Jungle has SEND resources for learning at home, as well as coronavirus information.

Ways to Learn Through Play: This SEN Resources blog has short You Tube videos on different ways to learn through play, like activities with leaves and collecting rain.

  

 

Education Health & Care Plans

Annual Reviews

We have asked schools, colleges and settings to make arrangements with families to hold annual reviews of EHCPs by telephone or online, and to ensure that the views of children, young people and their parents or carers are central to these reviews.

 

EHCP Funding

There have been some queries from parents about where the money for EHCPs is going. The funding that schools and colleges receive is remaining the same - including the funding for EHCPs. This allows education settings to pay their staff and continue to provide resources and support for all their students. As your son or daughter has an EHCP, the school, local authority and health service may not be able to deliver the exact provision described in the EHCP during this time, but we are required to use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to support children and young people with EHCPs. If you feel your child needs more support, please contact the school, college or therapist to discuss. You can also discuss your concerns with the Manchester Information, Advice and Support Service.

 

EHCPs – Changes In Law (June 2020)

In this short video, Andy Lomax from Information, Advice & Support Manchester outlines the temporary changes in the law around Education, Health and Care Plans.

  

Free e-learning: Holistic Outcomes in EHC Plans

This free, self-guided course from the Council for Disabled Children takes all the key elements from their popular live training and repackages it into a series of online modules. Suitable for parent carers and family members.

  

Learning Resources

Schools and colleges have been providing learning and fun resources for children and young people to complete at home. If you do not have access to technology at home, please contact your school or college to ask if they can provide paper-based resources. 

 

Meeting Your Child's Needs (Summer Term 2020)

For most children and young people, including those people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, it has been safer to stay at home with their families during the current period.

For some children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), parents/carers and schools/colleges have decided that the needs of the child or young person can be best met if they continue to attend their education setting. The local authority has asked educational settings to work with parents/carers, health and care staff to assess whether your child should attend school/college or whether it is still safest having their needs met at home. If you are not happy with the outcome of the assessment please speak to your child's school (and/or social worker) in the first instance. If you need any further support contact Manchester Information, Advice and Support for on 0161 209 8356 or by email parents@manchester.gov.uk

 

New Requests & Amendments

The Statutory Assessment Team is continuing to deal with new requests for assessment and amendments of EHCPs. If your child is due to move from nursery to school, from primary to secondary, from school to college, or is making any other kind of transition, be assured that the Statutory Assessment Team is still carrying out consultations with education settings. It also continues to work with heads and SENCOs to make sure settings receive the information they need to be able to provide the right support for your child when they join them. If you have concerns, please contact the team on: sen@manchester.gov.uk

 

SEND Tribunal – Pilot Extension

In April 2018, the Department for Education began a national trial to extend the powers of the SEND Tribunal to hear appeals and make non-binding decisions about health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care plans. The trial was due to end on 31 August 2020 but has been extended to 31 August 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis. A toolkit with new resources is available here.

 

 

Short Breaks guidance & FAQ

 

During the coronavirus crisis:

  • Short Break Reviews can be done over the phone
  • Families just need to call 0161 219 2125 during the dedicated Drop In times
  • The SRT worker will call them back if they prefer

 See more on the Short Breaks information page.

 

A small number of families have children with significant support needs that are usually met through a short breaks provider coming into the home.  This might be to help the parent by providing sitting services or personal care for the child/young person. Other families may receive support from a provider to take the child/young person out of the home to access community activities.

During this time, the local authority is advising parents/carers to consider whether it is absolutely necessary to their own and their child’s needs to have a short breaks provider visiting their home. 

If this is necessary to keep the child safe and to prevent carer burnout, the Well Child charity has produced some useful advice on how to manage carers coming to the home. The charity also has some advice on keeping children with complex needs safe at this time.

If it is essential for a child’s wellbeing that they continue to be taken out of the home by a befriending service provider, both the child and provider should follow government guidance on handwashing and social distancing.  The provider should ensure the child/young person is only out of the house for the one hour a day permitted and is kept away from crowded areas to allow for social distancing. The worker should avoid taking the child on public transport.

If any member of the household or the service provider suspects they have the virus, they should immediately self-isolate and follow all government health guidance.

The local authority is working with short breaks providers to make sure they can stay in business and continue to provide their usual short breaks services to families once the Coronavirus emergency is over.

 

Overnight short breaks

The vast majority of disabled children are safest staying within their own household.  Children and young people who receive a residential overnight short break can continue to do so only if the parent/social worker and provider agree that the child/young person will be safer continuing to receive this than being looked after full time at home.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Can we still have the targeted direct payment for a befriender during these times?

In the current circumstances we can’t agree to you using your direct payment for a befriender unless there are exceptional reasons, however we will support you to look at other ways this payment could be used. You could use your money to buy equipment for your child to use at home to keep them occupied or help them get some exercise, while you get a break.

Ideas for using your direct payment: what about a television subscription, equipment such as games, sensory toys, I pads, 3D Virtual stuff, big tent for the garden / indoors, cookery equipment, indoor mini gym equipment.

These are just some ideas, if you are not sure what you can spend your money on, contact the Specialist Resource team 0161 219 2125 or your social worker. 

 

My child has a specialist short break payment can we still have this payment as my Personal Assistant says she is happy to carry on?

If the only way your child’s needs can be met is through help from a Personal Assistant, yes, as long as you are following Public health England guidance.  

Sessions may need to take place in the home. Look at the guidance from Well Child charity.

 

If my Personal Assistant is not happy to continue can I still pay them?

If you employ your own Personal Assistant, you could ask them if they are willing to bank the hours they normally provide for use later in the year.  You could pay your PA for the next month while you both review the situation.  The PA may be entitled to government support while they are not able to provide short breaks services to families.

The local authority is working with agencies that provide personal assistance and befriending services for families, to make sure they are able to continue offering services once the Coronavirus situation is over.

 

Will my short break service still continue?

This will depend on the service you are receiving.   If your service provider is not able to operate at this current time we may consider a direct payment if appropriate to your family’s needs. For instance, if you normally receive a befriending service to take your child to the gym, we could look at providing a direct payment for play or exercise equipment that your child can use at home.

 

If the child/young person is accessing school would this count as a short break?

The local authority will be able offer a payment rather than a service.

Many schools will be able to offer some support to children of key workers and vulnerable children, including disabled children over school holidays, so check with your child’s school as this may provide the break you need currently.

 

Can I use my direct payment to pay a member of my family?

The government guidance on minimising contact with people outside your household also applies to family members. It is especially important for older people, such as grandparents who are over 70 or who have underlying health conditions to stay and home. 

You could use your direct payment to buy play equipment which other members of the family who live in your household could use with your disabled child.

 

What about playschemes? If they are not running will there be an alternative?

Schools can continue to offer support to vulnerable children and children of key workers over school holidays. Speak to your school about what is available.

For most children who would usually attend a play scheme, but would be safer in the current situation staying at home, we will consider the use of direct payments as an alternative so families can buy appropriate play equipment.

 

I have overnight short breaks will these still continue?

The vast majority of children with significant health needs will be safer staying at home. If you feel you need to continue with overnight short breaks, speak to your social worker and the overnight provider. 

 

What help will I get through this time?

  • Regular updates / resources through this Local Offer coronavirus page and newsletters.
  • Information on this page about where to get help and also from Manchester City Council's coronavirus information hub.
  • Connection with other parents though the Manchester Parent Carer Forum and the Parent Champions Facebook Page sharing loads of good stuff:
  • Virtual Drop Ins – dates advertised on Manchester Local Offer.
  • Extended hours on the IAS Helpline.
  • Much greater flexibility about how you can use your direct payment

 

My child is bored at home. How can I keep them occupied?

All schools are sending out resources to pupils who are at home and putting resources on their websites. Manchester special schools are also sharing resources on their websites that are suitable for primary and secondary pupils with special educational needs. These include fun things you can do with your child, not just lessons. 

Schools are also contacting all pupils who are at home at least weekly.

You can find resources on this Local Offer coronavirus information page in Stuff To Do and Schools & Home Learning.

Encourage your child to keep in touch with their friends and relatives through phone calls or social media following the national on-line safety advice.

Other parents will also have great ideas to share about what activities they have tried - see here for links.

 

I was due for a short breaks review - how will this now happen so I can continue to get short breaks support?

Your social worker or specialist resource team worker will contact you to arrange for your support to continue if you still need it until they can arrange for a proper review.  They may need to change the type of support you receive - for example, you may be given a direct payment, so you can buy play equipment.

 

I am on the waiting list to have my assessment for a short break - will this still be going ahead?

A member of staff from the Specialist Resource Team will contact you by phone or email to do a short breaks assessment. At the current time the only short break we can offer is a direct payment for play or ICT equipment to keep your son or daughter occupied at home.  We will support you to find a way of using a direct payment that best meets your family’s needs. Once services are operating normally again if you would like to change to a service you can request a review of your short breaks by contacting the Specialist Resource Team 0161 219 2125 or your social worker.

 

Emotional & Mental Wellbeing

 

This list has information in two categories:

  • Families with SEND children
  • General

See 'Young People' for specific services for the under 25s

 

FAMILIES WITH SEND CHILDREN

 

New Helpline For SEND Families - June 2020

There’s a new helpline to support autistic people, people with learning disabilities, and their parents and carers affected by the coronavirus crisis in Greater Manchester. The helpline is staffed by counsellors from Respect For All and will run for at least six months, depending on demand and the current situation. Call 0161 532 4075. See the website for current times. While this isn’t a free helpline, Respect For All will call you back so you don’t have to take the cost of the calls.

 

Advice For Autistic People & Their Families

The National Autistic Society has this page of helpful information around dealing with the crisis.

 

Autism Podcast

This podcast - Coronavirus and helping children with autism - focuses on practical tips like how to help manage anxiety, maintain structure, and explain the situation to young people.

 

Challenging Behaviour – Supporting Your Loved One At Home

An information sheet from the Challenging Behaviour Foundation.

 

Coping With COVID-19 Isolation

A helpful factsheet about supporting children with a learning disability /ASD, produced by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

 

COVID-19 & Autism

Papyrus has some tips for dealing with the impact of the outbreak on the mental wellbeing of young people with Autism.

 

Down’s Syndrome Association - Zoom Check-ins

Weekly check-ins on Zoom, every Thursday at 1pm, for people who have Down’s syndrome, their support, and families.

 

Educational Psychology Support
OneEducation Educational Psychologists offer phone consultations to parents/carers of children and young people with an autism diagnosis from the Bridge, the Winnicott Centre and Carol Kendrick Unit. You can have a problem-solving conversation relating to any aspect of your child's education. This might be issues around learning, behaviour, anxiety and mental health needs. To book this, please send an email with your name and phone number: autism.edpsych@oneeducation.co.uk 

 

Greater Manchester Support

For a list of COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing resources in Greater Manchester see here. They’ve been grouped under topic headings to make it easier to find what you need, including learning disability, ADHD and autism.

 

Help For Children & Young People With A Visual Impairment

Sight Advice FAQs - includes guidance around talking to children about coronavirus.

 

Reassuring Deaf Children

The National Deaf Children’s Society has a blog about supporting and reassuring deaf children at this time, with some useful links.

 

Sense Connect

Sense Connect has several programmes to help tackle social isolation at this time:

Virtual buddying service - Matches a disabled person with a volunteer to socialise over the phone, by videocall or letter. For individuals of all ages with complex communication and sensory needs.

The Sense Specialist Services runs virtual group activities and individual sessions for children/young people aged 0-25 who have a multi-sensory impairment or a single sensory impairment and additional needs. There are also virtual support groups for parents and carers.

An online project supports the wellbeing of young people aged 5-18 with caring responsibilities. It includes group and one to one sessions where young people can share their experiences and interests with fellow siblings or young carers.

 

Supporting Children Who May Be Especially Vulnerable

Place2Be's Principal Educational Psychologists suggest some ways to support children who may be especially vulnerable at this time of uncertainty.

 

Supporting Neurodiverse Children In Challenging Times

A 12 minute You Tube video by a paediatrician about supporting children in challenging times like self-isolation.

 

 

GENERAL

 

Anxiety UK Support

Anxiety UK have Coronanxiety Support and Resources and a Helpline Monday-Friday 03444 775774, 9.30am-5.30pm.

 

Bereavement Support

If you’ve been bereaved and need support or advice, call the Greater Manchester Bereavement Service on 0161 983 0902 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm (except Bank Holidays), Wednesday 9am-8pm or visit their website.  

There is also the NHS Bereavement Helpline. It is staffed by trained nurses and can offer guidance and advice on dealing with grief and loss. NHS Bereavement Helpline - 0800 2600 400, Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.

Cruse has some special resources, including ‘Grief & Isolation’ and dealing with funerals at this time.

Caribbean & African Health Network offers a Bereavement Service for people affected by the loss of a loved one to COVID-19.

Winston’s Wish offers information and guidance on supporting bereaved children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak. There is also this guidance sheet from One Education.

Writer Stephanie Nimmo has created a free audio version of her book ‘Goodbye Daisy’ on You Tube. She hopes it will help children, particularly those with learning disabilities, with their emotions around the death of a loved one at this time.

 

COVID-19 Recovery Support Group

The Manchester COVID-19 Recovery Peer Support Group is for people who would like to talk to others going through a similar experience. The group meets online every Wednesday evening from 6pm. People can call in or join on a tablet or laptop (expenses provided for data if needed). Please text 07702 668169 with your name or email val.bayliss-brideaux@nhs.net at Manchester Health and Care Commissioning.

 

Crossroads Together have free online sessions for carers to get together and have a natter at this difficult time. Run by carer advisors, you can find out about them here.

 

Domestic Abuse - Support & Advice

Manchester City Council has information on help and support around domestic abuse and what to do if you’re in a situation. If you need to get off the page quickly for any reason, there’s an exit button which takes you to an unrelated website.

 

Ear For You: Helpline For BAME Families

This Greater Manchester Service offers support to any black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) family who are self-isolating, recovering, bereaved, or have family members who need help. Call 07862 279289/07894 126157 or text HELP and someone will get back to you. Open 7 days a week 10am-6pm. http://www.nestac.org.uk/

 

Give Us A Shout

Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help. Text Shout to 85258.

There is also a crisis text service for deaf people. It’s free and available 24/7 to provide immediate support. Text DEAF to 85258.

 

Greater Manchester Support

For a list of COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing resources in Greater Manchester see here.

 

Living Life To The Full

Living Life To The Full is a suite of free online self-help courses and resources that you can access at home or on the go. It teaches life skills and shares tools to improve wellbeing and resilience. There’s ‘Living Life To The Full’ for low mood and stress in adults, ‘Reclaim Your Life’ for people living with long-term conditions and the ‘Enjoy’ series for soon to be and new parents. You can register and go, pause and repeat elements as many times as you like. The e-books have been translated into a range of languages spoken in Greater Manchester. Find out more here.  

 

Manchester Counselling Over The Phone Or Video

Manchester’s Community Development Initiative (CD) offers counselling by phone or video link. It’s free of charge to people who are not working. If you’re on a low income (below £30k) you will be offered low-cost therapy at reduced rates.

 

Manchester Infant Mental Health Service

The CAPS Parent Infant Mental Health service (PIMHS) supports the emotional wellbeing of Manchester babies through the first two years of life. It can help parents who have previously lost a baby or experiencing loss; have had difficult or traumatic early life experiences; experiencing domestic abuse; using substances to manage their feelings; or are affected by any other life experience that prevents them from connecting with their pregnancy or responding to their infant's emotional needs. If you have concerns, they encourage you to get in touch:

North Manchester - 0161 203 3261. / Email - mft.northmanchestercaps@nhs.net

Central Manchester - 0161 227 9960/ Email - mft.caps.central@nhs.net

South Manchester - 0161 902 3423/ Email - cmm-tr.southmanchestercamhs@nhs.net

 

Manchester Mental Health 24/7 Helpline

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have extended their helpline to respond to the needs of their service users and carers. It is now 24/7 and can be called free of charge any time, day or night, if you feel your mental health is beginning to suffer – 0800 953 0285.

 

Manchester Self Help Services

Manchester’s Self Help Services (part of Big Life Group) is still open and accepting referrals. They provide free therapeutic support for anxiety and low mood to the whole of Manchester and work with people over the phone and through video calls. You can be referred or self-refer. You can also email pws.manchester@selfhelpservices.org.uk or call 0161 226 3871.

 

Mental Health Resources Around Return To Education

There are some new resources responding to issues and concerns from children and young people about the return to school or college. They can be found in the Mental Health pages of Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership’s website and include films around SEND issues, featuring children and young people, giving reassurance about precautions being taken and how the new normal looks.

Primary schools, Secondary schools, Further Education - Each of these includes a SEND video and downloadable resource pack

The resources draw on the views of children and young people from COVID-19 research studies compiled by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

 

Mind Listening Service

Manchester Mind’s Listening Service for adults is for anyone over 25 who lives in Manchester and is struggling with their mental health, social isolation, or worries and anxieties. Ring 0161 769 5732 between 10am and 2pm (if phone lines are busy or you call outside of these hours, leave a message and someone will get back to you). You can also email info@manchestermind.org. See the Young People section for an update on the service for under 25s.

National Mind has guidance on looking after your wellbeing at this time.

 

One Education Advice About Talking To Children

A guidance sheet from One Education on Talking to Children About Coronavirus.

 

SilverCloud – Free Online Therapy

SilverCloud is available for all Greater Manchester residents. This is a free, online therapy programme to help with stress, anxiety, low mood and depression during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

Samaritans

Whatever you’re going through, the Samaritans are there 24 hours a day. Call them free at any time, from any phone on 116 123. They also have advice if you’re worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Sleep Help

Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, mentally and physically. You may be finding it harder to get a good night’s sleep at the moment. Resources are available from Public Health England at Every Mind Matters.

 

South Asian COVID-19 Wellbeing Support Service

This is a new support service provided by a partnership of five community organisations in Manchester. It includes one to one support, befriending, chai and chat and webinars. See this leaflet for more information.

 

Talking To Your Child About Coronavirus

Guidance for parents from Young Minds. Also Ten Tips From Our Parents Helpline.

 

World Health Organisation - Helping Children Cope With Stress

Advice on helping children cope with stress at this time.

  

Coronavirus Updates & Info

 

This section has the following categories:

  • Information in alternative formats & languages
  • Face-coverings & Reasonable Adjustments Card
  • Shielding Advice
  • Test & Trace System
  • COVID-19 Recovery
  • Other

Also see 'Support From Organisations'. 

 

INFORMATION IN ALTERNATIVE FORMATS & LANGUAGES

 

Accessible COVID-19 Videos: The NW Training and Development Team now have 45 videos in their You Tube library that explain coronavirus restrictions and support for people in a simpler way. The team shares an update most days to make sure that people have accessible, accurate and up to date information about COVID-19.

Autism Educator: A social story, including social distancing and not being able to go to the usual places. Read more

Autism Support: NHS North West Boroughs Healthcare Foundation Trust has produced a COVID-19 booklet for autistic adults. There is also some coronavirus guidance from the National Autistic Society – ‘How you can support your autistic friends and neighbours’.

Books Beyond Words: Free, wordless storybooks to support people at this time. Includes ‘Good days and bad days in lockdown’ and ‘When someone dies from coronavirus’.

Children's Guide To Coronavirus: Child-friendly guide from the Children's Commissioner.

Charlie & The C Monsters: 'Charlie & the C Monsters’ is a short film designed to explain without words how COVID-19 is spread and prevented - bridging language, literacy and impairment barriers. It’s been created by Together! 2012 CIC and is suitable for all ages and abilities.

Coronavirus Videos: This series of helpful videos for people with learning disabilities around coronavirus, includes ‘I Think I Have Coronavirus’, ‘Wearing A Facemask’ and ‘How Shops Are Different Because Of The Coronavirus’. There is also a playlist for carers of people with learning disabilities, including ‘Talking Together About Coronavirus’ and ‘Supporting The Person You Care For - Anxiety About Coronavirus’.

Covibook: A resource in 18 different languages, explaining Covid 19 to children. Here's the English version

COVID-19 Community Resource Hub - Manchester: Manchester City Council has a resource hub of public health information around coronavirus in languages and alternative formats. This includes information on Staying Safe (hand washing, staying home, face coverings etc), COVID-19 symptoms, the Test and Trace system, and help to get connected online.

Easy Read Coronavirus Posters: UPDATE - THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN CLOSED. Keep Safe have published easy read posters explaining the Government's updated lockdown guidance. Other posters include If You Get Ill, Getting Tested, Foodbanks and Wearing Facemasks.

Getting NHS Help: Easy-read, May 2020: NHS England has produced easy-read information on getting NHS help during the coronavirus outbreak. It includes information on hospital appointments, medication, getting help from a dentist or optician, and looking after feelings.

Getting Tested - This easy read leaflet about getting tested - produced by partners in the city - also includes information on avoiding scams.

Pandemic - A Social Story: A story about coronavirus and pandemics, using large print pictures. Read here.

Signhealth Updates In BSL: Daily coronavirus updates in British Sign Language (BSL) from The Deaf Health Charity Signhealth (NB. Updates go up until the end of July).

Social Distancing, June 2020: This short video from NWTDT/Pathways Team simplifies the government guidelines on the relaxation of distancing and may be helpful for people with learning disabilities.

STARS autism resources - social stories relating to coronavirus.

Stuck Inside – Free Book To Support Children : Stuck Inside is a new illustrated book by Dan and Kathryn Allman about COVID-19. It’s been written and illustrated with children in mind, to help them understand what is going on and why it’s important to stay indoors. The book is available to download as a PDF or as a free eBook.

Talking To Children About Coronavirus: Guidance from One Education.

Test & Trace: COVID-19 resources about how the Test and Trace system works have been put together in the city (late July 20). It includes information in British Sign Language, easy read, and languages.

The World Has Turned Upside Down - a story for autistic children which can be enjoyed by any family. There are worksheets too!

Videos In Languages: AskDOC have produced videos with Manchester Health & Care Commissioning (August 20) that share key messages about the importance of social distancing, hand washing, wearing a face covering and getting tested: English https://youtu.be/AMbakfJ1nLY, Urdu https://youtu.be/Mwxj0KKCnUc, Sylheti https://youtu.be/k20GwaAQPqo, Gujarati https://youtu.be/OjI6mU465TI, Arabic https://youtu.be/9HHG8QTU12g.

Women's Voices Video In Urdu: Women’s Voices in Manchester have made a video to explain in Urdu the importance of social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks and contacting the 111 service for advice.

 

 

FACE-COVERINGS & REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS CARD

 

Reasonable Adjustments Card - July 2020

As you’re going around the city, here is a downloadable card for SEND families explaining that reasonable adjustments may need to be made. It has been produced by Manchester Parent Carer Forum with the support of Manchester City Council.

 

Face Coverings Exemptions Toolkit

The Disability Unit and Public Health England have developed a new Face Coverings Exemptions Toolkit (August 20). It has some useful visual cards and posters to raise awareness and inform others of an individual’s exemption from using coverings and their rights.

 

Government Face-covering Advice & Exemptions - July 2020

Government advice on when to wear a face-covering and exemption cards to print and put on mobile phone. See here.

 

Face-coverings & Travel In Greater Manchester - June 2020

In line with Government advice, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) now expects everyone to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport, unless they are exempt. You have to provide the covering but it can be a simple scarf or bandana.

TfGM has produced a flash card for people exempt from wearing face coverings. The card is available on request from the Customer Services team, which can be contacted by phone 0161 244 1000 (Monday to Friday 7am to 8pm, weekends 8am to 8pm) or through this TfGM website contact form. Your card will be emailed to you as a file which can be printed off or shown as a flash pass on your phone. The cards will also be available in Travelshops across Greater Manchester.

While staff may ask a passenger without a face covering if they are aware that it is compulsory to wear one, they have been advised to accept any valid reason a passenger may give for not wearing one and not to ask for further details. See this letter from TfGM with more information, including a list of exemptions.

 

 

SHIELDING ADVICE

 

Updated Guidance On Shielding - August 2020

The Government has updated their COVID-19 guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable. You can see the guidance here, including an easy read version.

 

Shielding Guidance - June 2020

Children and adults who are listed as clinically extremely vulnerable are now allowed to go outdoors once a day in your household group. This should be done while maintaining social distance - keeping two metres apart - from others. Here’s some information from the charity Contact.

  

 

TEST & TRACE SYSTEM

 

Understanding The Test & Trace System - June 2020

The Government has brought in the Test and Trace system to help ease the national lockdown. Here are the guidelines on test and trace and how it works. As there’s quite a lot of information, this Q&A interview with David Regan, Director of Public Health in Manchester, may make it easier to understand. It’s important to remember that you should still continue to follow social-distancing guidelines and stay at home as much as possible.

 

Test & Trace Resources

COVID-19 resources about how the Test and Trace system works have been put together in the city (late July 20). It includes information in British Sign Language, easy read, and languages.

 

Test & Trace Scams

People are being advised to be wary of scammers pretending to be from the NHS and getting in touch about coronavirus contact tracing. See this advice on Manchester City Council’s website. This easy read leaflet about getting tested - produced by partners in the city - also includes information on avoiding scams.

 

 

COVID-19 RECOVERY

 

COVID-19 Recovery Support Group - July 2020

The Manchester COVID-19 Recovery Peer Support Group is for people who would like to talk to others going through a similar experience. The group meets online every Wednesday evening from 6pm. People can call in or join on a tablet or laptop (expenses provided for data if needed). Please text 07702 668169 with your name or email val.bayliss-brideaux@nhs.net at Manchester Health and Care Commissioning.

 

Your Covid Recovery

Your COVID Recovery is an NHS website to support recovery from the long-term effects of COVID-19. It includes information from rehabilitation experts about how to manage ongoing symptoms and health needs at home, and signposts to sources of support.

 

 

OTHER

 

Manchester COVID-19 Plan - July 2020

The Manchester COVID-19 Local Prevention and Response Plan sets out what Manchester is doing to prevent the further spread of the virus and how it responds to outbreaks.

 

Emergency Self-advocacy For Disabled People

The COVID-19 guidelines being used in the UK mean that disabled people may not receive the same access to treatment. The Greater Manchester Coalition for Disabled People has put together some emergency self-advocacy tips (April 20).

 

What You Can & Can't Do - Updated June 2020 

The Government has updated the guidance on what you can and can’t do – including guidance around outdoor activity, transport and work spaces. See here.  

  

Your Child’s Health During Coronavirus

Whilst it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured. There are concerns that families are presenting children late with serious conditions/Covid19 because of anxieties about attending hospitals. See this advice sheet from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Healthier Together.

 

Stuff To Do

 

This information is in the following categories:

  • Arts & crafts
  • Dance & physical activity
  • Gaming & virtual activity
  • General activities - inc. city museums & galleries
  • Learning through play
  • Music making & drama
  • Storytelling
  • Yoga & mindfulness

 

ART & CRAFTS

Access Arts

Access Arts has great free resources for children, young people and parents to use at home. This includes mark making and drawing exercises, making worry dolls from twigs and old clothes, and creating finger puppets from bits and pieces around the home.

 

Creative Takeaways

Free Creative Wellbeing Packs are available for neurodivergent young people in Manchester aged 13-25. All participants receive a creativity wellbeing pack in the post, one-to-one or small group virtual sessions via FaceTime or WhatsApp, and access to online creative wellbeing activities via YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.

It’s a project by Starling, a charity that uses creativity and the arts to amplify the lived experience of neurodivergent young people. Sign up using this online registration form. If you’d like to see a bit more about Creative Takeaways, see these YouTube videos. You can also find Starling on Instagram - @starlingcio. Contact Katie: starlingyouth@gmail.com, 07535 473930.

 

The Horsfall 

The Horsfall, the creative programme of 42nd Street, has regular creative activities on Instagram.

 

Visit Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery has reopened its doors. The Gallery will be open four days a week, Thursdays to Sundays, between 11am and 4pm each day. A one-way, accessible route, with benches, has been created though the building that will allow visitors to see many of the highlights of the collection, plus a brand-new introductory gallery. Entry is by booking – book your ticket here. You’ll be given a timed slot and will need to wear a face-covering, unless exempt. If you have any special access requirements, call 0161 235 8888.

 

DANCE & PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Access Sport

Access Sports has lots of free home activities, with options for all ages and disabilities. They have live exercise sessions, ideas for play, and activity around wellbeing to help keep you healthy and happy at this difficult time. Sign up for their weekly newsletter.

 

Bumble Bee Physio

Bumble Bee Physio have a series of videos of past live physio sessions on their Facebook page. These are suitable for a range of children including PMLD, and adapted Joe Wicks PE. See their Events page on Facebook.

 

Community Gyms & Swimming

Community gyms and swimming pools in Manchester are opening up. See Leisure Activities on Manchester City Council’s coronavirus page. This has links to Mcr Active information, which answers questions about safety and social distancing measures. All sessions must be booked in advance online or using an app before you visit. We suggest you read the information to get an idea of the restrictions in place to help you decide whether or not it’s for you at the moment.

 

Dance Classes From Flamingo Chicks

Flamingo Chicks are offering free, inclusive dance classes. This includes a space-themed dance, Cinderella & Chemistry, and a relaxation session for parents and carers.

 

Dance Syndrome

Dance Syndrome are offering a free disability led dance session via You Tube and Facebook. Donations welcome. They also have lots of live sessions, including Street Dance and Contemporary Dance.

 

GAMING & VIRTUAL ACTIVITY

 

Minecraft

The National Association of Therapeutic Parenting has launched a server for young people on Minecraft Java Edition. It’s for anyone under the age of 18 (the typical age range is 9-14) and is for all SEND young people to access. They’ve added trauma-friendly extras to the game such as:

  • The children can build a safe space that no one can enter or destroy
  • If the child trashes their world during a meltdown, the moderators can restore the world 
  • Moderators have been trained to help children cool down   

If you would like more information, email thehideout.minecraft@gmail.com.

 

Spectrum Gaming

Spectrum Gaming is a friendly and accepting community for autistic young people aged 13 and above who have a shared passion for gaming. They can make friends, play games together and have fun. The group was set up by autistic advocates in Greater Manchester who oversee the community but all decisions are made by the young people. They run daily events and competitions and have a variety of safe ways for young people to chat with each other and develop positive relationships. They can also support individuals to set up their own games or YouTube channel. Find out more on their website.

 

Therapeutic Forest 

The Therapeutic Forest runs free alternate sessions of foraging treasure hunts, virtual forest school and outdoor yoga every Saturday for SEND young people aged 8-18. Spaces are limited - sign up here.

 

GENERAL ACTIVITIES

Activity Resource From Mencap

To help in these unusual times, Mencap have created some resources to help with keeping busy and having structure to the days and weeks – Coronavirus: Ways to keep busy. This includes crafts and games, activities for daily walks, and a garden activity pack.

 

Allsorts in Manchester

Behind the scenes, staff in Manchester’s buzzing arts, culture, fitness, youth and music scenes have been busy finding ways to bring recreation to you at home. Visit the Allsorts To Do At Home page for loads of great stuff to do, and to sign up for the weekly Allsorts To Do At Home bulletin.

 

BBC Bitesize

The BBC have a SEND parents’ toolkit, including videos and information on mindfulness, helping to keep children calm, music activities and home-schooling.

 

I Spy Nature Activity

The People’s History Museum piloted a new resource with SEND families. Lots of banners in the museum are decorated with patterns and images inspired by nature. The ‘I Spy…Nature Activity’ encourages families to look in their gardens or go for a walk to see how many they can find. See the Manchester Parent Carer Forum’s website for more information.

 

Museums & Galleries In The City

Most of the city’s museums and galleries are now open. Check out each site for visitor information, including opening hours, whether you need to pre-book, and how coronavirus safety might affect your visit:

Manchester Art Gallery (see video), National Football MuseumMuseum of Science & IndustryPeople’s History MuseumHOME, Manchester MuseumWhitworth Art GalleryCastlefield Gallery, Museum of Transport Greater Manchester

 

Play Areas In The City

Manchester's play areas in parks are now open. Find more information here.

 

Sensory Rooms

Disabled Living have sensory rooms at Redbank House, north of the city centre. The rooms have a calming and interactive atmosphere with fibre-optic strands across the floor, twinkling lights, bubble tubes, water beds and much more. Each 1hr session costs £10 per participant – parents and support workers free of charge.

 

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY

A-Z of Sensory Learning Activities

Special Education & Inclusive Learning’s A-Z has lots of ideas for sensory activities, like play with foil and material.

 

Sensory & Messy Play Activities

As a goodwill gesture at this time, Empowering Little Minds is offering four free weeks of Parent & Teacher Support and Sensory & Play Training, as well as Sensory & Messy Play Activities for children with SEND.

 

Home Learning For Visually Impaired Children

Henshaws have put together a range of activities including quiz-making, baking and storytelling which make learning at home fun! Explore some of their ideas here

 

Sensory Dispensary

Free resources created by two SEND teachers, aimed at children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.  

 

Ways to Learn Through Play

This SEN Resources blog has short You Tube videos on different ways to learn through play, like activities with leaves and collecting rain.

 

MUSIC MAKING & DRAMA

Garden of Music

Garden of Music on Facebook has a list of free, fun and educational music making apps and websites.

 

Jamboree Sensory Sessions

Oily Cart, an inclusive theatre company, have shared three interactive, creative sessions inspired by the sensory moments in their show ‘Jamboree’. They have also created a closed Facebook group for families with a young person who relates to the world in a sensory way. This has sensory activities and ideas for home, resources, and links to organisations that might be useful.

 

Singing Hands

You Tube videos of songs and stories signed in Makaton.

 

Soundabout

Fun, interactive music making sessions on Facebook, including morning sessions each week day and an after school club. For people of all ages with Profound & Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) and Specific Learning Disability (SLD).

 

STORYTELLING

Sensory Stories & Attention Autism Activity

Riverside School in Kent has free sensory stories and Attention Autism Activity videos.

 

Sensory Stories By Pete Wells

Free, downloadable sensory stories and podcasts aimed at SEND children, with titles like ‘Sheldon Snail’s Sunbathing Session’ and ‘Millie The Mermaid Who Couldn’t Swim’. Includes a special ‘Beat The Covid Blues’ story!  

 

Sensory Stories From Manchester Libraries

Manchester Libraries have two sensory stories - 'Wake Up, Lydia!' and 'Monkey & Me' as well as lots of other fun stories and crafts on their Manchester Libraries’ YouTube channel.

There's a weekly bulletin for children and families full of ideas and resources from Manchester Libraries and partners. Sign up here.

They have also compiled a list of library services for customers with visual impairments. This includes ClearVision, a postal lending library of children’s books designed to be shared by visually impaired and sighted children and adults.

 

Storyline Online

Free videos featuring actors reading children’s books alongside illustrations.

 

Story Massage

The Story Massage Programme has free sessions on Facebook. It’s a fun and interactive way of combining the benefits of positive touch with the creativity of storytelling and is fully inclusive for all ages and abilities.

 

The Book of Hopes

Completely free for all children and families, this extraordinary new collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures has contributions from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators. The Book of Hopes aims to comfort, inspire and encourage children during lockdown through delight, new ideas, ridiculous jokes and heroic tales.

 

YOGA & MINDFULNESS

Cosmic Kids Yoga on You Tube has lots of free, animated videos around fun themes.

  

Benefits, Money & Household

 

This information is in the following categories:

  • Support from your Council
  • Benefits, finance & grants
  • Digital & online support
  • Employment
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Transport

 

SUPPORT FROM YOUR COUNCIL

Manchester City Council has a coronavirus information hub, with regular updates around schools, housing, leisure facilities, bin collections etc. This includes advice around Benefits and Money.

The Council also has a dedicated helpline to help residents cope at this time. It can help with a range of needs, including delivery of food and medication, and managing fuel top-up payments. Call 0800 234 6123 on Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm, Saturday 10am-2pm. A text messaging service has also been set up. Text 078600 22876 and your message will be responded to by the next working day.

 

BENEFITS, FINANCE & GRANTS

 

Benefits Update - October 2020

Contact’s updated DLA and PIP guides explain what happens to DLA and PIP renewals during the coronavirus pandemic and what parents should do if they’re not sure what's happening with their child's claim.

Contact has also updated its factsheet on claiming Universal Credit (UC) for a young disabled person.

 

Carers Benefits Blog

For updates around welfare and benefits, see the benefits blog on the Carers Manchester site.

 

Contact - Benefits & Money Advice

Useful information from Contact, the charity for families with disabled children, around benefits and money.

 

Carers Network Information - July 2020

See this Carers Network bulletin for updates on the rental evictions ban extension, furlough, United Utilities scheme, Statutory Sick Pay, benefits repayments, Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

 

Emergency Fund For Unpaid Carers - Mid-May 2020

A fund of £200,000 has been made available to carers in Manchester who need additional support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be used for a range of purposes including transport costs (including taxis) or fuel, furniture, emergency delivery of food and one-off practical costs to help with the caring role at this time.

 

Family Fund: Grants For Families - Mid-May

The Government has announced that the Family Fund will receive funding of £37.3m in 2020-21. This includes £10m for grants to help low income families in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Families with children that have complex needs and disabilities can apply for grants for vital equipment - such as computers, specialist equipment and educational toys - to make their lives easier while maintaining social distancing measures. It can also help with the cost of goods or services, like washing machines and refrigerators. The grants are typically worth £400 to £500 per family but vary depending on need. See the Family Fund website for how to apply.

 

Free Income Checks

Are you worrying about money and making ends meet? Are you accessing all of the financial support available? There is lots of support available to get you and your family through this crisis and to help in the longer term. Greater Manchester Law Centre offer a free confidential income check that will review benefits, grants and other support that may be available. Call 0161 769 2244 or email incomemax@gmlaw.org.uk. For further information see their website.

 

Grants for School Uniform & Other Educational Resources

Applications can be made to the Mynshull’s Education Foundation for grants for school uniform and other resources that might support SEND children and young people. They have to be 25 and younger and live in the City of Manchester and adjoining areas. Applications need to be made by a professional (eg. Tutor, social worker, SEND worker). There isn’t a set deadline when they need to be made; they are reviewed, processed and taken to trustees as they come in. The fund is administered by Gaddum – call 0161 834 6069 or email trustfunds@gaddum.org.uk to request an application form or make a query.

 

Help With Debts, Bills & Borrowing - If you’re not working or furloughed at the moment due to COVID-19, visit www.manchester.gov.uk/helpinghands for advice and support on a range of topics, including debt advice, food banks and mortgage repayments.

  

School Uniform Programme - THIS HAS NOW CLOSED & ALL RESOURCES ALLOCATED

In mid-June, Wood Street Mission opened their free SmartStart school uniform programme. It’s for families with children aged 4-16, living in Manchester and Salford and finding it hard to provide the basics on a regular basis. It’s on a first come, first served basis until the funding has gone. See the website for more information and how you can be referred by a worker.

 

WellChild – Vital Services & Supplies: WellChild, the charity for children with exceptional health needs, has a COVID-19 Direct Response Service to assist where families are suffering financial hardship in accessing vital supplies. Families can self-refer or be referred, using the form on the website.

 

 

DIGITAL & ONLINE SUPPORT

 

AbilityNet IT Support

AbilityNet’s digital accessibility services are still available at this time. Volunteers provide free IT support to people with disabilities of any age. They also have lots of other free resources and information. Helpline 0800 269 545 (freephone and minicom) during UK office hours or send an email to enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk.

 

Free Computer In Every Home Programme

MyOutsourcedIT are a Manchester based company that refurb and donate computers to families free of charge. See the poster here.

 

Staying safe online

As many families spend more time online, cyber security threats and fraud are increasing. Here's some guidance to help keep you safe and secure:

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

 

Employment Support 

If you’re a Manchester resident who has lost your job, are worried about possible redundancy or have had your hours reduced due to COVID-19, there is support available. The Council and partners can help you to gain new skills, retrain and find new work. Register your details on the Help to Get Work page and they will be in touch to help you access the support you need.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Energy Advice

As more people have been at home, bills may have been rising.  The Energy Advice Team at Citizens Advice Bureau can help – this might be advice around energy efficiency measures, negotiating with energy suppliers, and grant support. See their website for contact details and their Out of Advice Service (7pm-10pm, 7 days a week). Energy Works at Groundwork Greater Manchester also offer support over the phone around energy issues. This includes advice around switching suppliers, pre-payment meters, and freezing rates where eligible. See their COVID-19 flyer for more information.

 

 

FOOD

 

Feeding The Family On A Budget

During Lockdown, Bite Back 2030 issued some advice on how to feed kids at home on a budget.

Manchester City Council shared information on help with food costs while schools were closed.

Love Food give advice about how to make food stay fresher and last longer; they also offer ideas on what to do with leftovers. You can find out about where to store food to help it last longer and recipes that make the most of the food you have and prevent waste.

 

Food Banks In Manchester

Greater Together Manchester - comprehensive list of food banks in Manchester: http://greatertogethermanchester.org/find-support/food-banks/

Manchester Central Food Bank: https://manchestercentral.foodbank.org.uk/

Manchester South Central Food Bank: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/manchestersouthcentral/

Most also do toiletries like soaps, sanitary products nappies etc.

  

 

HOUSING

 

Housing Guides 

There are some housing guides (Oct 20) for autistic and/or learning disabled people:

Renting a home

Needing help due to threat of eviction

They have been produced by the Greater Manchester Autism and Learning Disability Housing Implementation Group. There are also guides for housing associations, private landlords, and housing support organisations in Greater Manchester. They can all be found as downloads to the left of our National Autistic Society page.

 

Manchester City Council 

The Council’s coronavirus information hub has information around housing.

 

Manchester Citizens Advice

For information on support options around mortgages and renting during the pandemic, contact Manchester Citizens Advice – see their website for contact details and their Out of Advice Service (7pm-10pm, 7 days a week).

 

 

TRANSPORT

 

Update on Ring & Ride – September 2020
The Ring & Ride service is operating as normal, with some restrictions and enhanced safety measures. Seat spacing allows a minimum of one metre between passengers. This increases the capacity to six passengers, which means some group bookings can resume. For more information on the safety measures, fares, how to register and to book a journey, visit the Transport for Greater Manchester website.

 

 

Support From Organisations

 

This information is in two categories:

  • SEND organisations
  • General

 

SEND ORGANISATIONS 

 

Complex Care In Lockdown: Simple Stuff Works have Complex Care in Lockdown You Tube videos, including Keeping Active, Simple Positioning, and Supported Lying.

 

Council for Disabled Children: The Council for Disabled Children has pulled together extensive resources for families. There’s Government Guidance, learning resources to support home schooling and the results of the CDC’s FAQs shared with the Department for Education (DfE).

 

Disabled Living: Disabled Living can offer advice about products and equipment at this challenging time. On the right side of their homepage, you can sign up to receive their newsletter, which includes information about their virtual Kidz to Adultz exhibitions.

 

Down's Syndrome Association: Lots of information from the Down's Syndrome Association, including learning at home, benefits and financial help, and fun and relaxing things to do.

 

Down’s Syndrome Support Group: The South Manchester Down’s Syndrome Support Group produced a packed newsletter in May, including online training and coronavirus guidance. There’s also things to do, like their online Chatterbox Club, including ‘Sing and Sign with Jen’ and ‘Yoga with Sandra’.

 

Lifted – Supporting Parent Carers: Lifted works to improve the health and well-being of parent carers using the service. Based in Manchester, they offer one to one support, guidance and advocacy, and assistance with completing forms. They are currently offering support over the phone, Facebook and email. See their website for further details.

 

Manchester Deaf Centre: WAITE - Well-being, Advocacy, Information, Training and Employment Service - is a ’One Stop' shop, five days a week, to support D/deaf individuals. Support includes help with benefits, employment and discrimination. To learn more, get in touch with:
Mark Woodall 07557 095854 Mark.Woodall@manchesterdeafcentre.com
Anita Kanji 078253 46935 AnitaK@manchesterdeafcentre.com
Dipti Patel 075570 95929 dipti@manchesterdeafcentre.com

Here is the September issue of their newsletter.

 

Manchester Deaf Centre Advocacy Service (Part of WAITE): This service provides various support in areas such as housing, benefits, employment, discrimination, letter translation, booking interpreters etc. to improve the everyday lives and well-being of D/deaf people. Appointments are available in person or by video on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10am – 2pm. Email: waite@manchesterdeafcentre.com, 0161 273 3415.

 

Manchester Parent Carer Forum: The Manchester Parent Carer Forum has a Coronavirus SEND Information Hub with a range of information relevant to SEND families, including Education, Health and Frequently Asked Questions. They also have a Facebook page, sharing news and information relating to the crisis.

 

Manchester Transport for Sick Children: They have undertaken a thorough Risk Assessment and offer a continued service within COVID-secure guidelines. If you need the service or have queries, please contact Beverley Hoyle, Funding & Communication Manager, Beverley@transportforsickchildren.org, 0161 443 4122.

 

Mencap: Mencap has a range of advice and information and news updates, as well as an online forum where people can ask questions, share experiences and offer support. 

 

National Deaf Children’s Society: The Society has up to date guidance, a families blog post, a helpline and new 24/7 Interpreter Now Service.

 

NW SEND Regional Newsletter: This special edition of NW SEND Regional Network Newsletter from March brought together a wide range of sources and relates to early years and school-age children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. Here is the September issue.  

 

RNIB: Coronavirus updates from the RNIB, as well as a helpline 0303 123 9999, 8am-8pm weekdays and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

 

Scope: Scope regularly update their COVID-19 information. They have lots of advice around work, money, getting food, medicine and essentials, and cerebral palsy and coronavirus. (Helpful note: When you click on a category, it doesn’t take you to an information page straight away. You get a list of topics that you need to select from.)

 

Sibs: Sibs supports brothers and sisters of disabled children and adults. They are on Twitter and Facebook and regularly update information for adult siblings around coronavirus questions.

 

Together For Short Lives: The charity has a Coronavirus Q&A, giving answers to the frequently asked questions on their helpline for parents and carers of children and young people with complex health needs.

 

Visual Impairment – Resources For Families: A specialist in the education of children and young people with visual impairment has pulled together some useful resources on her website, including relaxation, wellbeing and Facebook groups.

 

WellChild – Vital Services & Supplies: WellChild, the charity for children with exceptional health needs, has COVID-19 Information & Resources for Families. They also have a COVID-19 Direct Response Service to assist where families are suffering financial hardship in accessing vital supplies. Families can self-refer or be referred, using the form on the website.

 

 

GENERAL

 

Support From Manchester Council: Manchester City Council has a dedicated helpline to help residents cope at this time. It can help with a range of needs, including delivery of food and medication, and managing fuel top-up payments. Call 0800 234 6123 on Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm, Saturday 10am-2pm. A text messaging service has also been set up. Text 078600 22876 and your message will be responded to by the next working day.

The Council also has a coronavirus information hub, with regular updates around schools, housing, leisure facilities, bin collections etc.

 

CarerLinks – Crossroads Together: CarerLinks offers a range of services to help unpaid carers improve their health and wellbeing, including one to one support, advice, advocacy, and signposting. They can also offer support with applications, like carers allowance and blue badges. You need to be referred to the service by a worker - you’ll find a leaflet and referral form to the left of this information on the Local Offer.

 

Carers Manchester: There is a new information and advice service for carers in the city. Carers Manchester is part of the new Carers Pathway in Manchester and is being delivered by Gaddum, Manchester Carers Forum, LMCP and Wai Yin. Advice workers answer queries or signpost you to the relevant service, with the service available in Urdu and Chinese. It replaces the current carers helpline, successfully delivered by Manchester Carers Centre for many years. Manchester Carers Centre is part of this exciting new partnership and will continue to offer other services to Manchester Carers. Helpline: 0161 543 8000 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm, except bank holidays), email: contactpoint@carersmanchester.org.ukFacebook and Twitter.(August 2020)

Carers Manchester Newsletter - September's edition.

 

Citizens Advice – Out of Hours: Citizens Advice Greater Manchester have an Out Of Hours Advice Service by telephone, SMS, and Facebook Messenger between 7pm and 10pm, 7 days a week. Call or SMS to 0161 850 5053.

 

Caribbean & African Health Network: The Caribbean and African Health Network (CAHN) have a number of online activities via Zoom in response to community requests. See their COVID-19 page for information. They also offer a Bereavement Service for people affected by the loss of a loved one to COVID-19.

 

Domestic Abuse - Support & Advice: Manchester City Council has information on help and support around domestic abuse and what to do if you’re in a situation. If you need to get off the page quickly for any reason, there’s an exit button which takes you to an unrelated website.

 

Manchester Carers Centre: The Manchester Carers Centre telephone helpline for unpaid carers is available Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4pm. Call 0161 27 27 27 0 for information, advice or emotional support around COVID-19 or your caring role in general. They also have online coronavirus information relating to carers.

 

Resources For BAME Communities: GMCVO has put together a list of resources for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, including information in different languages, support for refugees and religious burials.

 

South Asian COVID-19 Wellbeing Support Service: This is a new support service provided by a partnership of five community organisations in Manchester. It includes one to one support, befriending, chai and chat and webinars. See this leaflet for more information.

 

Welcome Back Manchester: As lockdown eases and more people go into the city centre, it’s important to share the latest health advice and reassure people. Support is available on the road to recovery. Visit www.welcomebackmanchester.com and get a #MCRHUG.

 

Manchester Local Offer Newsletters

 

Our newsletters are a great place for news and information related to the coronavirus crisis and services to support you. You can find them here with an idea of what's in each one. 

There are several ways you can subscribe to receive the Local Offer newsletter:

 

Young People

 

This information is aimed at SEND young people up to the age of 25 and is in the following categories:

  • Arts & creativity 
  • Emotional & mental wellbeing
  • Gaming & virtual activity
  • Support from organisations

 

ARTS & CREATIVITY

Creative Takeaways

Free Creative Wellbeing Packs are available for neurodivergent young people in Manchester aged 13-25. All participants receive a creativity wellbeing pack in the post, one-to-one or small group virtual sessions via FaceTime or WhatsApp, and access to online creative wellbeing activities via YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.

It’s a project by Starling, a charity that uses creativity and the arts to amplify the lived experience of neurodivergent young people. Sign up using this online registration form. If you’d like to see a bit more about Creative Takeaways, see these YouTube videos. You can also find Starling on Instagram - @starlingcio. Contact Katie: starlingyouth@gmail.com, 07535 473930.

 

The Horsfall

The Horsfall, the creative programme of 42nd Street, has regular creative activities on Instagram.

  

EMOTIONAL & MENTAL WELLBEING

New Helpline - June 2020

There’s a new helpline to support autistic people, people with learning disabilities, and their parents and carers affected by the coronavirus crisis in Greater Manchester. The helpline is staffed by counsellors from Respect For All and will run for at least six months, depending on demand and the current situation. Call 0161 532 4075. See the website for current times. While this isn’t a free helpline, Respect For All will call you back so you don’t have to take the cost of the calls.

 

42nd Street

42nd Street offers online support to young people in Manchester. Check their website for more information on this and updates about the service.

 

Anna Freud National Centre 

The Anna Freud National Centre for children and families has some advice and information around mental wellbeing during this time.

 

Kooth

In response to the current situation, free online counselling is now available for all young people aged 11-18 across Greater Manchester - see this news update. It’s free, safe and anonymous - find out more at https://kooth.com.

 

Manchester Mind

Manchester Mind have free services for young people that they have adapted at this time. See their website for information about counselling, advice, their Listening Ear helpline and virtual Wellbeing Café.

 

Mental Health Support in Manchester 

An online leaflet has been produced for children and young people to support their mental health and wellbeing. It includes information on free digital services, like Kooth and Shout, and local helplines.

 

Myplace Eco-Therapy Sessions

The Myplace project offers free weekly online eco-therapy sessions for young people in Lancashire, Manchester and north Merseyside. They help reduce loneliness, provide connection to nature and to others, and offer support and fun in safe, small supportive groups. Young people aged 16-24 can self-refer online. 12–15 year olds can be referred by organisations and agencies using this form (to the left of the page).

 

Papyrus

Papyrus’ HOPELINEUK is for children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide. It is also for anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide. Call: 0800 068 4141, Text: 07860 039967, Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org, opening hours: weekdays 9am – 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm – 10pm.

 

Sleep Advice For Teens

Here is some sleep advice for young people, answering questions like ‘How much sleep do you really need?’ and ‘Why do you sleepwalk?’

 

The Mix

The Mix is a free and confidential multi-channel service for the under 25s. It has lots of tips and information around dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

 

Young Minds

Young Minds has suggestions for what to do if young people are anxious about coronavirus and how they can look after their mental health. Madeleine, 19, shares how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected her mental health as an autistic person.

 

GAMING & VIRTUAL ACTIVITY

 

Minecraft

The National Association of Therapeutic Parenting has launched a server for young people on Minecraft Java Edition. It’s for anyone under the age of 18 (the typical age range is 9-14) and is for all SEND young people to access. They’ve added trauma-friendly extras to the game such as:

  • The children can build a safe space that no one can enter or destroy
  • If the child trashes their world during a meltdown, the moderators can restore the world 
  • Moderators have been trained to help children cool down   

If you would like more information, email thehideout.minecraft@gmail.com.

 

Spectrum Gaming

Spectrum Gaming is a friendly and accepting community for autistic young people aged 13 and above who have a shared passion for gaming. They can make friends, play games together and have fun. The group was set up by autistic advocates in Greater Manchester who oversee the community but all decisions are made by the young people. They run daily events and competitions and have a variety of safe ways for young people to chat with each other and develop positive relationships. They can also support individuals to set up their own games or YouTube channel. Find out more on their website.

 

Therapeutic Forest 

The Therapeutic Forest runs free alternate sessions of foraging treasure hunts, virtual forest school and outdoor yoga every Saturday for SEND young people aged 8-18. Spaces are limited - sign up here.

 

SUPPORT FROM ORGANISATIONS

The Proud Trust

The Proud Trust can provide digital support for LGBT+ young people at this time. Check out their website for updates to the service.

 

Website For Deaf Young People

The Buzz is a website for deaf young people with resources at this time.

Local Offer Virtual Drop In

 

We need to work in different ways at the moment so our Local Offer Drop Ins will be virtual for now. 

The next Local Offer Drop In is on Wednesday 14th of October 10am - 12 noon.

See our Local Offer Drop In page for information on phone and social media contacts for this event.