Many parents/carers caring for a child or young person with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are juggling lots of things at once and dealing with complex issues. Getting appropriate support and information for your child becomes your priority and in many cases your own wants and needs get lost and forgotten about – as individuals, couples and families.
On this page you'll find information about local services and support groups who can support you in your role as a parent carer.
The Buzz Network – short breaks for families with disabled children SHOW
The Buzz Network is a service funded by Southampton City Council for parent carers of children with additional needs. Through signing up to The Buzz Network you can have access to:
- A coordinator for advice, information and regular newsletters
- Play and activity schemes
- Community-based activities
- Max Card or Max Card Plus
Visit the Buzz Network page for eligibility criteria.
Unpaid Carers Support Southampton SHOW
Previously 'Carers in Southampton', Unpaid Carers Support Southampton are moving to Citizens Advice Southampton (CAS), with the support of Southampton Voluntary Services.
This change is in effect from Monday 3 April 2023.
They will no longer be based at Meon House, Portswood Road. In addition, their current website will be closed from Saturday 1 April. There will also be a pause to their events schedule whilst they settle into their new home at Citizens Advice Southampton (CAS).
The new service will be called Unpaid Carers Support Southampton. An update on the launch of the new website will be released very soon. In the meantime, visit Unpaid Carers Support Southampton.
A carers card is a simple way of verifying your status as an unpaid carer whenever you need to.
You can use it in situations where you are required to identify yourself as a carer, such as:
- When you are asked for proof you are a verified carer
- In healthcare settings to be included in the conversation around medical planning for the person you care for
- With an employer if you want to be recognised as a working carer and request additional support due to your caring role
To qualify you must live in a postcode served by Southampton City Council (SO14-SO19), be over 18 and provide unpaid care for an adult or child. Apply for a carer card.
How can you contact Unpaid Carers Support Southampton? You will be able to contact them as usual Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm:
Telephone: 023 8083 2253
You can also view their Facebook page.
They'll still be here to answer any questions and support you. Thank you for your patience during this period of transition.
Southampton Parent Carer Forum SHOW
We are a friendly group of parent carers who have children and young people with SEND aged 0-25 years. We support and train parent carers to enable them to have input and be involved with shaping services alongside the professionals who provide health, education, adult and social services.
Our shared mission is to improve and enhance the experiences and opportunities of children and young people with additional needs by enabling parents and carers to be heard and be at the heart of decisions about development and delivery of services in Southampton. The forum will represent the views of the collective community and not an individual voice. The role of the forum is not to advocate for individual families and will signpost to specialist services.
View further information about the Southampton Parent Carer Forum.
Contact – Listening Ear SHOW
You might be struggling emotionally and looking for strategies to help you cope. Or maybe you just need to talk to someone who understands the extra challenges you face and who can point you in the right direction to get the support you need for your family.
To help, the Listening Ear service offer 1-1 telephone appointments with a family support adviser for parent carers looking for a listening ear, reassurance and practical and emotional support.
Contact – information and advice SHOW
Contact are a charitable organisation that offer useful advice and information to families with children and young people/adults with additional needs. This could be advice and information around benefits, support services, a live chat option and general support and advice.
Visit the Contact website.
NHS – Steps to Wellbeing SHOW
Steps to Wellbeing is a NHS funded service that is available to support adults that are experiencing difficulties with their mental health and/or wellbeing.
Following a chat and an assessment, they can offer various services and support strategies, some of which include cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling.
You can self refer to the Steps to Wellbeing service on the NHS website.
A parent-led organisation supporting families whose children have Autism/ADHD and/or mental health needs.
This group is the primary link between Southampton Specialist CAMHS, The Autism Assessment Service and families. They offer advice clinics with CAMHS clinicians on autism, ADHD and mental health issues. They have face to face support groups, professional speakers and link with Adult Mental Health and Crisis Care Services for advice clinics and other information.
As well as offering 1:1 support and advocacy they represent families views across the city. Re:Minds also have a sensory and book library families can borrow from and they run Re:Minds ReCharge, a wellbeing and resilience course for families.
Visit the Re:Minds website.
No Limits SHOW
No Limits is an award-winning, local, independent charity providing a unique combination of prevention, early intervention and crisis support to young people, based on a nationally evidenced model.
They provide information, advice, counselling and support through a range of services available ‘under one roof’.
To have a look at the services that they offer and get help, visit the No Limits website.
Southampton Autism Support Service (SASS) SHOW
Welcome to the journey of Autism. Southampton Autism Support Service (SASS) support families with their journey whether they are at the starting point or on the road. They offer 1-1 support to parent/carers with signposting to relevant agencies, advocacy at meetings for school, CAMHS, housing etc. SASS can support with form filling and paperwork. They also offer peer to peer matching as well as a group to meet others in similar situations. SASS promote to reduce isolation for families and hope to increase confidence and acceptance.
Their Autism family support workers can help with:
- Diagnosis support (pre/during/post)
- School advocacy/representation
- Parental EHCP applications
- Benefit and housing support
- Social care support
As a service they also offer:
- Access to group support including guest speakers on various topics
- Online emotional support via Facebook
- Peer to peer pairing
- School absence support and confidence building sessions
- Life skills workshops
- Autism workshops
Contact Southampton Autism Support Service with any support needs or for more information. Visit the Southampton Autism Support Service website.
Southampton SENDIASS SHOW
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) is a contracted service with the Local Authority and is based at Rose Road. This offers a free and impartial service to parents or carers living in Southampton whose children have SEND.
Rose Road is a Southampton Charity established in 1952. They have been providing information and advice services to families since 2009. They pride themselves on providing the information families need, via factsheets on our comprehensive website, telephone support and face to face support where it is needed.
Families can reach SENDIASS on the local rate helpline number 0300 303 2677 or by email at email@example.com.
Do you struggle with acronyms/abbreviations? – Jargon Buster by Southampton SENDIASS SHOW
Do you struggle with the acronyms and abbreviations describing services or professionals on some of the information (e.g. reports or documents) that you receive about your child(ren) or young person(s)?
Here's a really useful jargon buster provided by Southampton SENDIASS.
BRAAIN UK SHOW
When you are not sure where to turn, BRAAIN will give you the information you need. From details on specialist schools in the area, to accessing professional help, to finding out about clubs for your children and support groups for you. BRAAIN are here to help make life a little easier on this journey.
Wherever you are in the diagnosis process, BRAAIN is here to help. Parenting a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or other special needs is amazing, tough and sometimes isolating.
Visit the BRAAIN UK website.
Positive Path Foundation SHOW
Our primary mission is to nurture friendship, social skills, independence and work opportunities for individuals with high-functioning ASD or physical challenges. We also offer therapy, mentoring, sibling support, play therapy and time-out respite to assist the entire family living with special needs.
Positive Path Foundation operates in all areas between Eastleigh in Hampshire and Poole in Dorset.
Age group 3 years to 40 years.
Family hubs SHOW
A sure start family hub is a place where children, young people and their families can go when in need of help and support or would like access one of our activities. The staff within the sure start family hubs will help you find and get help from different services in the area and will be able to give you information, advice and support.
Young Carers SHOW
Young Carers are children and young people under 18 years old whose lives are affected by caring for siblings who may have additional needs and/or disabilities.
The Disabled Person’s Parking Badge Scheme (Blue Badge) SHOW
The Disabled Person’s Parking Badge scheme, also known as the Blue Badge scheme, provides a national arrangement of disabled parking concessions for people with severe mobility difficulties who travel either as drivers or passengers.
You may also be eligible for a Blue Badge if your child has a cognitive/neurodiverse disability, such as autism, which may lead to a lack of awareness of danger and therefore a need for safe and easily accessible parking.
View more information and how to apply for a Blue Badge.
You can also apply for a Disabled persons bus pass, for more information, view the travel for disabled people page.
Our Carer Aware e-learning course may also be of interest to you.
Also, keep an eye out on the SEND Local Offer Facebook page for events/coffee mornings and information that may be useful to you and your family.
For families with disabled children Contact offer a free helpful guide for families with children, young people and adults with disabilities. This consists of a 92-page booklet that puts all essential information in one place for carers — no matter where they are in their journey. Order a copy of the guide.