Skip to main content

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

  

SUMMER HOLIDAY STUFF

 

This information is in two categories.

For Manchester SEND families:

  • School Summer Play Space
  • Park Fun - Boating At Heaton Park, Community Market Garden, Family Dancing, Family Tree Top Trek, Weekend Family Cycle
  • Pedal & Picnic
  • Creative Ceramics
  • Get Outdoors With Groundwork

For all children in Manchester:

  • All Sorts To Do In Manchester
  • Holiday Buzz Playschemes
  • Bikeability courses
  • Museums & Galleries
  • Play Areas In The City's Parks
  • Community Gyms & Swimming

Don’t forget, there are all kinds of things across the country that you can get involved in virtually, like music making and storytelling!, which you can see in ‘Stuff To Do’.

 

FOR MANCHESTER SEND FAMILIES:

 

SCHOOL SUMMER PLAY SPACE

Melland High School, Gorton

Melland High School’s playing field is open to SEND families for three weeks of the holidays - Monday 27th July to Friday 14th August, between 10am-3pm, Monday-Friday. It’s a huge, enclosed space - ideal for energetic children to run around safely. Up to 50 people can be in the field at any time so it’s an opportunity to meet up with other families. You’d be welcome to take a picnic, just be aware that toilets aren’t available. Booking essential - call 0161 234 1946, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.

 

PARK FUN

Boating At Heaton Park

Fancy some free boating? Manchester SEND families can have fun on Heaton Park lake every Monday morning in August, until the 31st. Sessions last 25 minutes and can be booked between 10am-12noon. There’s a choice of swans (four-seater pedalos), dragons (two-seater pedalos) and rowing boats (seats four). Booking essential – call 0161 219 2125, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm

 

Community Market Garden

These free 2hr sessions for Manchester SEND families with the Community Market Garden in Platt Fields, includes seed balls and bug hotels, painting plant pots and pebbles, Garden Bingo, and sowing seeds to take home. Sessions are 1-3pm every Thursday in the holidays - 30th July & 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th August. Booking essential – call 0161 219 2125, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.

 

Family Dancing

No booking needed for these free, fun dance sessions for SEND Manchester families at Alexandra Park in Whalley Range. They’re led by local dancer and choreographer, Ruth Jones, and supported by local dancer, Dom Coffey. Expect a warm up, before a chance to invent your own dance grooves with your family. Please wear suitable clothing and shoes to move in, and keep in your bubble group, 1 metre away from other families. Sessions are 45 mins, twice a day – 10.15-11am and 11.30am-12.15pm on Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th and Friday 31st July, and Tuesday 4th, Wednesday 5th and Friday 7th August. Gather at the flat ground by the Russell Street entrance, Alexandra Park.

 

Family Tree Top Trek - FULLY BOOKED!

Free two hour sessions of tree-riffic bouncy adventure in the high trees are on offer at Heaton Park with Tree Top Trek. Enjoy playing high up in the trees on huge bouncy nets with super-fast slides and aerial walkways. These free special sessions for SEND families take place every Tuesday in the summer holidays, 11am-1pm, starting Tuesday 28th July, age 3 and upwards. See the website for FAQ, including what to wear. Booking essential - call 0161 219 2125, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.

 

Weekend Family Cycle

These are easy-paced SEND family rides of around two hours, with stops. Bring your own bikes and refreshments. Children and young people must be accompanied by an adult. No need to book, just turn up!

Alexandra Park, Sunday 23rd August, 12.30pm: Meet at the main entrance on Princess Road

Heaton Park, Sunday 6th September, 12.30pm: Meet at the car park near the children’s play area

 

PEDAL & PICNIC

How about a free bike ride with all the family in a local green space of your choice? All you need to do is meet at pre-arranged place, bringing a picnic, and Simply Cycling will do the rest. They’ll bring accessible bikes that all the family will be able to ride or be supported to ride, including family cargo bikes, tag-along trikes and trandems. The 2hr ride will be geared around the needs and abilities of your family, getting you out and about in the fresh air and in local places of interest and beauty. These weekday cycles are available through August. Booking essential – call 0161 219 2125, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.

 

CREATIVE CERAMICS

Sign up to get free boxes with clay, tools and step by step guidance to create fun pieces of art at home. Make some weasels - for a ceramic army to be exhibited around the country, plus one for you to keep -, and garden monsters. You'll have a couple of weeks to work on your creations before they get collected, put in a kiln and then returned to you again for glazing. You can use the clay to make your own creation if you want to! This project for SEND families has been created with Venture Arts and their artists Dominic Bennett (weasels) and Louise Hewitt (garden monsters). Booking essential - call 0161 219 2125, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.

 

GET OUTDOORS WITH GROUNDWORK

Groundwork are running free sessions with an emotional wellbeing theme in Crumpsall Park, North Manchester. It’s for young people aged 10-14, and would particularly suit those with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. Activities take place every Tuesday and Thursday in August from 12-3pm. It includes adventure den building, team building problem solving, tree identification, outdoor open space sports like tennis and skittles, creating a mini-garden to take home, and making hot chocolate with storm kettles. Suitable clothing will be needed as it will be outdoors rain or shine. Participants will get a text message the night before with the type of activity that will be delivered, as this will depend on the weather. Meet at the Visitor Centre, Crumpsall Park, M8 5SA. Healthy snacks and drinks provided.

Young people can book on as many sessions as they like. Booking essential - call 0161 219 2125, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm.

 

FOR ALL CHILDREN IN MANCHESTER:  

 

ALL SORTS TO DO IN MANCHESTER

All Sorts To Do is the go to site for what’s happening for all the city’s children. You can discover dinosaurs and fairies in the city's parks, flex your artistic skills with creative care kits, or just get some fresh air and exercise on a Manchester Green Trail walking route. Most activities are free of charge but you can also find out about paid activities, like horse-riding at Wythenshawe Park and pitch and putt golf at Heaton Park.

 

HOLIDAY BUZZ PLAYSCHEMES

Summer holiday playschemes are taking place across Manchester for the city’s children. See the Young Manchester website to find out what’s going on in your area!

 

BIKEABILITY - SCHOOL HOLIDAY COURSES

BikeRight are taking bookings for Bikeability holiday courses over the summer break. These inclusive full day courses run from 9am to 3pm and are run by qualified trainers and follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines. They’re ideal if your child missed out on Bikeability due to school closures and a great way to boost confidence and skills. Courses are very popular and fill up quickly so book online now through the BikeRight website. Children must be 10 by August 31st 2020. Bike and helmet needed.

 

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Most of the city’s museums and galleries won’t be re-opening until at least September. If you like footie, the National Football Museum is welcoming visitors from Thursday 23rd July, and the Museum of Science & Industry is opening its doors on Friday 14th August. Check their websites for visitor information at this time.

Manchester Art Gallery is reopening its doors from 20th August. 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.

 

PLAY AREAS IN THE CITY'S PARKS

All play areas in our city’s parks are now open. Please help keep them safe and stay open by following health and safety guidelines: respect social distancing, be prepared with wipes and hand sanitiser, and follow the one-way system. For more information, see here.

 

COMMUNITY GYMS & SWIMMING

Some community gyms and swimming pools in Manchester are starting to open 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. Don’t forget – general swim sessions are free in the school holidays if you’re aged 16 and under! More info here.

  

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:

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

 

UPDATES FROM THE GOVERNMENT & OTHER ORGANISATIONS

 

Open Letter From Government Minister - July 2020

Here is a ministerial letter from the Department of Education / Department of Health & Social Care to all children and young people with SEND, their families, and those that support them, about preparing for the return to school in September.

 

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.

 

Open Letter From Government Minister - May 30th 2020

Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, has written this open letter explaining how the wider opening of schools and other educational settings may affect your family.

It includes a link to recently updated guidance for special schools, specialist colleges, local authorities and any other settings managing children and young people with complex SEND.

 

SEND risk assessment - May 2020

Government guidance around SEND risk assessment in educational settings.

 

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
Each week, the Council for Disabled Children receives questions from parents and carers and shares these with the Department for Education (DfE) and colleagues with specialist knowledge. You can find all of them here. If you would like to ask a question, email CDCQuestions@ncb.org.uk.

This Council for Disabled Children (CDC) news article highlights issues relevant to SEND families around the wider opening of nurseries, schools and colleges.

 

Virtual SEND Tribunals

HMCTS guidance on how to join telephone/video hearings.

 

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT

 

Educational Psychology Helpline Manchester

Any parent/carer of children and young people with SEND in Manchester schools and early years settings can use OneEducation’s helpline - 0161 276 0118, Monday to Friday, 1-3pm. You can have a problem-solving conversation relating to educating your child/young person at home. This might be issues around learning, behaviour, anxiety and mental health needs.

They also 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. To book this, please send them 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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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!

 

Supporting Transition

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.

 

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

Down’s Syndrome Association: Guidance around planning for your child’s return to school

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

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.  

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

 

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.

 

EHC Legislation Changes - Extension June 2020

The Department of Education have announced they’ve extended the changes for a local authority to act on provisions for children and young people with EHC plans for a further month till 30th June. More information here.

 

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.

 

Meeting Your Child's Needs

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

 

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. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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


 

Short Breaks guidance & FAQ

 

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 – Monday 6-8pm, Tuesday 4pm-6pm, Wednesday 6-8pm, Thursday 10am-12 noon, Friday 5-7pm, Saturday 4-6pm. There is an answerphone at other 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.

 

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.

 

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/

 

Educational Psychology Helpline Manchester

Any parent/carer of children and young people with SEND in Manchester schools and early years settings can use OneEducation’s helpline - 0161 276 0118, Monday to Friday, 1-3pm. You can have a problem-solving conversation relating to educating your child/young person at home. This might be issues around learning, behaviour, anxiety and mental health needs.

They also 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. To book this, please send them 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.

 

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.

 

Tips For Autistic People & Their Families

The National Autistic Society has Tips for Autistic People & Families, such as putting in structure and routines to help manage anxiety. 

 

 

GENERAL

 

Anxiety UK Support

Anxiety UK have Coronanxiety Support and Resources. This includes special webinars, covering subjects like ‘How to be kind to yourself’ and ‘Feeling trapped and claustrophobic’. They have also extended their helpline hours in the evenings until 10pm and over the weekend between 10am-8pm - 03444 775774.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 any time, day or night, if you feel your mental health is beginning to suffer – 01204 483071. This isn’t a freephone number but you can ask them to ring you back.  

 

Manchester Mental Health Resource Hub

Buzz Manchester has a COVID-19 Resource Hub with useful information and signposting around a wide variety of mental health topics, including anxiety, depression, substance misuse and bereavement.

 

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.

 

Mind Listening Service

Manchester Mind’s new 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.  New resources are available from Public Health England at Every Mind Matters.

 

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 (SEND & General)

 

See further down for a list of easy-read and simplified coronavirus information.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

  

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.

 

Updated 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.

 

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.  

 

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 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.

 

Easy-read & Simplified Coronavirus Information:

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.

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

Easy Read Coronavirus Posters, May 2020: 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. UPDATE: THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN CLOSED

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

Stuff To Do

 

See the SUMMER HOLIDAY STUFF section for stuff to do in the holidays!

This information is in the following categories:

  • Arts & crafts
  • Dance & physical activity
  • Gaming & virtual activity
  • General activities
  • 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.

 

Horsfall Create & Connect

The Horsfall, the creative programme of 42nd Street, has launched #horsfallcreateandconnect. Young people can get involved in creative activities every day, helping to banish boredom and connecting with others while stuck at home. You’ll find it on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

Summer Poster Competition

Pencils, pens, and paintbrushes at the ready...PAPYRUS is launching a brand-new competition for children aged 4 to 18 to get creative with a work of art that depicts ‘Hope’. One winner will be chosen from the primary school age category, and another from the secondary school category. The winning artworks will appear on the official 2020 PAPYRUS Christmas cards. Competition closes: 28th August 2020. Winners announced mid-September. Visit their website to find out how to enter.

 

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 are doing free live physio sessions on Facebook during the week. This includes activity for babies and infants with gross motor delay and an adapted Joe Wicks session for differently able children. See their Events page on Facebook.

 

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 disability led dance sessions via You Tube and Facebook. These have been adapted so people can take part safely from the comfort of their own homes. The sessions are free – donations welcome. Find out more here.

 

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 is piloting 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.

 

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, 2pm Tuesdays and Saturdays, for people of all ages with Profound & Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD) and Specific Learning Disability (SLD).

Soundabout are also running interactive music making every Monday at 2pm until the end of August on their You Tube channel. It’s aimed at 0-5 years old with SEND, especially children with profound or multiple disabilities. You can watch the sessions afterwards if you don’t get chance at the time.

 

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 are filming a sensory story every month for younger children, including songs, rhymes and actions. Visit Manchester Libraries’ YouTube channel to view them and their other great stories and crafts.

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 – Story Massage Programme.  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, such as On The Farm, Harry Potter and Frozen. 

 

Benefits, Money & Household

 

This information is in the following categories:

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

 

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. For weekly updates around welfare and benefits, see this blog on Manchester Carers Network

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

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.

  

School Uniform Programme

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:

Government guidance on cyber security threats and being cyber-aware

House Party app advice

Manchester City Council coronoavirus related fraud information - covers shopping scams, phishing emails and price hikes

Zoom-bombing – how to prevent hackers from gate-crashing and posting disturbing content in your Zoom get-togethers

 

ENERGY

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

Bite Back 2030, has issued some great advice on how to feed kids at home on a budget. It includes useful info on how people whose children receive free school meals, can claim a £15 shopping voucher along with healthy meal ideas.

Manchester City Council has an information page on help with food costs while schools are 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

The support options around mortgages and renting during the pandemic are short-term and people may need help to prepare for what happens when they end. Manchester Citizens Advice can provide advice – see their website for contact details and their Out of Advice Service (7pm-10pm, 7 days a week). The Council’s coronavirus information hub also has information around housing.

 

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

 

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: Manchester Transport for Sick Children has 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 June newsletter .

 

RNIB: Coronavirus updates from the RNIB, as well as a helpline 0303 123 9999, 8am-8pm weekdays and 9am-5pm on Saturdays.

 

Signhealth Updates In BSL: Daily coronavirus updates in British Sign Language (BSL) from The Deaf Health Charity Signhealth.

 

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. This includes a downloadable warning poster for the front door, information for parents with ventilated children, and advice around coming out of lockdown.

They are 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.

 

Wouldn’t Change a Thing: If you are part of a UK Down Syndrome support group, health visiting team or maternity unit, you can get free copies of Wouldn’t Change a Thing’s new book. It’s designed to support new and expectant parents and maternity units in the UK by sharing stories of positive, lived experience. Get in touch at wcatbook@gmail.com.  Here’s a slideshow of the book on You Tube.

 

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.

 

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 launched a number of online activities via Zoom in response to community requests. This includes Single Mothers Peer Support Group, Afrobeats & Reggae Bash, and Health Hour. 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, including updates on Carers Allowance and tips for caring for someone with the virus.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Horsfall Create & Connect

The Horsfall, the creative programme of 42nd Street, has launched #horsfallcreateandconnect. Young people can get involved in creative activities every day, helping to banish boredom and connecting with others while stuck at home. You’ll find it on FacebookTwitter and 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 – Monday 6-8pm, Tuesday 4pm-6pm, Wednesday 6-8pm, Thursday 10am-12 noon, Friday 5-7pm, Saturday 4-6pm. There is an answerphone at other 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

While 42nd Street aren’t currently accepting new referrals to their core programme, they’re offering online support to young people in Manchester.

 

Anna Freud National Centre 

The Anna Freud National Centre for children and families has some advice and information around mental wellbeing during this time: Supporting young people’s mental health during periods of disruption

 

Kooth

In response to the current situation, free online counselling is now available for all young people aged 11-18 across Greater Manchester. It’s free, safe and anonymous -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: 07860039967, Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org, opening hours: 9am – 10pm weekdays, 2pm – 10pm weekends, 2pm – 10pm bank holidays.

 

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 useful information, such as dealing with corona-anxiety and what to do if feeling bored.

 

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.

 

Website For Deaf Young People

The Buzz is a website for deaf young people. They have blogs and vlogs to support deaf young people at this time, including top tips for staying positive, coronavirus and depression, managing change, and ways to work from home.

 

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 8th July 10am - 12 noon.

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