Contact a Family North East Bulletin

8th January 2016
Activities & Events
1) Contact a Family Sleep Workshops – places still available
In conjunction with Scope, we are running a further two free Sleep Workshops in January as follows:
Wednesday 20 January 2016 in the Lantern Room, Durham Town Hall, Market Place, Durham DH1 3NJ
Wednesday 27 January 2016 at My Place, North Street, Middlesbrough TS2 1JP
Both workshops will run from 10.00am-2.00pm and will include lunch and refreshments
We have had lots of bookings for these but there are still spaces available so if you are interested, please let us know as soon as you can so we can reserve you a place.
These workshops will be facilitated by trainers from the Children’s Sleep Charity who have a specific background in working with children with additional needs who have sleep difficulties. The workshop will look at sleep patterns, common sleep problems and how to address these using cognitive behavioural techniques and resources to try at home.
Places on these workshops are open to any parent/carers of children aged 0-19 with disabilities and/or additional needs from anywhere in the North East region. If you would like to book, please email or call 0191 213 6300 Help with childcare or travel costs is available upon request
2) Alan Shearer Centre – Free Activities
The following free activities are taking place at the Alan Shearer Centre, West Denton Close, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 7LU during January and February 2016:
Saturday 16 January 2016 - World Religion Day; A look at some of the religions and beliefs from all 4 corners of the world.
Friday 22 January 2016 - Prepare for Chinese New Year Their Live and Learn arts & crafts session will have a special oriental theme.
Saturday 23 January 2016 - Make a Robot! Lots of materials for you to build your own model robot and a prize for the best!
Monday 25 January 2016 - Burns Day Celebration Neeps and tatties in Browne’s café and the haggis piped in by a bagpiper!
Monday 8 February 2016 - Chinese New Year What does the Year of the Monkey hold for you? Our fortune cookies may tell you.
Tuesday 9 February 2016 - Pancake Day Sweet or savoury, we’ll have the recipe and all the ingredients ready for you.
Wednesday 10 & Thursday 11 February 2016 - Bramley Apple Week! Bake some tempting treats made with our traditional English Bramley apples.
All organised activities take place between 12.00-2.00pm unless otherwise stated
Booking is essential. For more information, please call Centre Manager, Amanda Head, on 0191 267 8118
3) Cinema Screenings
Dimensions autism friendly screenings in January include:
The Peanuts Movie on Sunday 10 January 2016 at 10.00am. (Teesside)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12A) on Sunday 24 January 2016 at 11.30am. (Metrocentre, Silverlink and Darlington)
Hotel Transylvania 2 on Sunday 31 January 2016 at 10.00am at just £1.00 a ticket (Gateshead,Cramlington and Hartlepool)
Read full details on the Dimensions website
Access Cinema: Sensory Friendly screenings at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle:
Zarafa (dubbed) (PG) on Sunday 17 January 2016 at 10:30am
Pan (PG) on Sunday 31 January 2016 at 10:30am
Tickets are just £4 for everybody. Carers with a carer’s pass or accompanying the holder of a Max Card, HUB Card or CEA pass will be admitted for FREE (one companion per party). To book tickets, join our Access Cinema mailing list, or find out more about Access Cinema, please call their Box Office team on 0191 227 5500.
Full details can be found on the Tyneside Cinema website
4) Disability Swimming Sessions
These sessions will be held on selected Saturdays from 5.00-6.00pm at Hadrian Leisure Centre, St Peter's Rd, Wallsend, NE28 7LQ
starting on Saturday 16 January 2016.
This new time will allow participants to access the pool at a quieter time and make full use of the facilities available on a more consistent basis. The centre has a pool hoist to improve access from the changing facilities into the pool, with no need for lifting by a carer.
There are also Changing Places facilities, with larger changing rooms if required, providing fully accessible changing.
Sessions are open to all ages at a cost of £2 for children and £3.80 for adults.
Participants must attend with a carer; up to two carers per swimmer can enter for free. For more information, contact 0191 643 2025.
5) Free Wheelchair Skills Workshop
This Go Kids Go workshop is a great chance for young wheelchair users to meet other young wheelchair users and to learn skills to help you become more independent. Extra wheelchairs are also provided for mums, dads, brothers and sisters to join in with the games. They welcome young people aged from 2 to 18 years. TV presenter Ade Adepitan learnt his skills with them. Why don’t you?
This workshop will be taking place on Saturday 30 January 2016 from 9.30am–3.00pm at St Leonard’s Catholic School, North End, Durham DH1 4NG (please bring along a packed lunch).
To reserve a place email or telephone 01482 887163
6) In It Together Workshops - “ Social Skills and Making Friends"
The In It Together Parent Participation Network present this workshop for parents and carers of children/young people with additional needs. Trainers will be Kath Lennon & Pauline Stavely, Specialist Teachers from the Northumberland LISTs (Locality Inclusion Support Teams) which provide educational support and advice.  The workshop will run as follows:
Wednesday 3 February 2016: Bell View Centre, Belford
9.30am - 11.45am:  Children pre-school to 10 years old
12.30pm - 2.30pm: Children and Young People over 10 years old
Monday 8 February 2016: Choppington Welfare
9.30am - 11.45am:  Children pre-school to 10 years old
12.30pm - 2.30pm: Children and Young People over 10 years old
Thursday 11 February 2016: Corbridge Youth Initiative
9.30am - 11.45am:  Children pre-school to 10 years old
12.30pm - 2.30pm: Children and Young People over 10 years old
Places are free to In It Together members (sign up for free at their website) or £20 for non-members. Book early to avoid disappointment!!
Refreshments will be provided.
For further information or to book your place, contact Elizabeth Richardson on: 07729 192909 or email:
7) Useful Vision February Activities
Useful Vision provides positive opportunities and activities for vision impaired children aged 0-19 and their families in the North East. All activities are free to families registered with them. February activities include:
Family Activity Day at Newburn Activity Centre. Join us at Newburn Activity Centre and have a go at lots of exciting sport activities! Activities available will be; Trampolining, Climbing, Archery, Interactive Room, Sensory Room, Soft Play and Adapted Bikes (weather permitting). Sunday 14 February 2016, 12-3pm.
Family day at Sunderland Museum& Winter Gardens. Discover the history of the city from its prehistoric past to the present day. Visit the Koi Carp in the Winter Gardens, climb to the top and look down over the canopy at the tropical plants and astonishing water features. Explore L.S. Lowry’s work in the Art Gallery and make a Lowry Landscape with buildings, ships, people and animals. Explore real objects from Sunderland’s industrial past. Take part in the coal scavenger trail around the Museum. Monday 15 February 2016, 10.30am-3.30pm.
Family Visit to Dorman Museum, Middlesbrough. The Dorman Museum houses a large collection of items from the fantastic to the fabulous, celebrating Middlesbrough's heritage. Enjoy our exclusive ‘Scented Garden’ workshop; looking at what makes our garden grow and why, talking about what sort of plants we like to grow in our gardens and identifying the lovely fragrances of our most popular herbs. Learn the process of hand-made fragranced paper. Visit the galleries and other facilities at the museum. Thursday 18 February 2016, 10am-2.30pm.
If you would like to register for any of these activities please contact the office on 0845 604 8491 or email
8) Newcastle Personal Health Budgets Event
This workshop is for people with Learning Disabilities, families/carers, supporters or professionals from Newcastle and is taking place on Tuesday 23 February 2016 from 10.30am-1.00pm at Skills for People, Key House, Tankerville Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 3AT.
A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between you and your local NHS team. The aim is to give people with long term conditions and disabilities greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.
Places are limited so to request your free place at this workshop please contact Skills for People on 0191 2818737 or email
Don’t forget, if you are looking for more local activities that your children and young people can take part in, take a look at your Local Authority Local Offer website.  If you don’t have this web address, please email us with details of which Local Authority you live in and we can send you the relevant link.
Local Services
1) Caudwell Children – Job Opportunity
A job opportunity is available for a Family Support Officer for Caudwell Children - Newcastle upon Tyne and surrounding areas
Details are:
Salary – competitive
Duties and Responsibilities
·         To support families, drawing up support plans, ensuring these are implemented and evaluated under the guidance of the Family Support Coordinator
·         To recruit, train and manage a team of volunteers to provide practical and emotional family support across the charities defined areas
·         To ensure all volunteers are trained and are pro-active in assessing and reviewing risk
·         To ensure the needs of the families we work with are regularly assessed, recorded and reviewed using a ‘person centred’ approach, involving all stakeholders
·         Contribute to the process of carrying out regular service user feedback
·         To assist with the monitoring of outputs, performance and providing the necessary support for individuals and teams
·         To deliver planned outcomes, to evaluate and review their effectiveness and impact
·         To develop and maintain effective relationships with a network of different partner agencies including Statutory and Community and
·         Voluntary Sector service providers
·         To ensure that the work of the service is consistent with local and National strategies
·         To ensure that all agreed outputs and service standards are met
·         To ensure the work of the project complies with Equal Opportunities, Health & Safety and other policies of Caudwell Children.
·         To provide regular verbal and written reports to the Family Services Coordinator
·         To maintain confidentiality at all times in accordance with agreed policy
·         To undertake any other duties in line with the aims of the post as necessary
·         Ability to drive and have access to a vehicle
Required experience:
·         Experience in a social care or volunteering field: 1 year
·         Required licence or certification:
·         Driving licence essential
To apply or for more details, please email Michelle Dias on
1) A big thanks to all who supported Contact a Family with our campaigns in 2015
As 2016 begins, we take a moment to reflect on 2015 and how with your help, we managed to achieve an impressive campaigning record with over 13,000 of you getting involved with our e-campaigns by signing a petition or writing to your local MP.
See our website for more details
2) Contact a Family SENDirect
SENDirect has been carrying out research to find out about the choice and quality of provision for children and young people with additional needs. We’ve spoken to local authorities and providers, and now we want to hear from you!
We would like parent carers, providers and local authority professionals to share their views and experiences with us by completing this short survey, which should only take around 10 minutes to fill in. The results from the survey will be used as key findings in our ‘State of the Nation’ report which will be released in February. The report aims to highlight what families say they want and need for their children.
If you have any questions about the survey, please email