What help is there for parents/Carers of people with a disability?

Connect is a local charity that supports families of young people (0-19) with disabilities. They can offer information, therapies (such as aromatherapy, reiki and massages), access to a toy library (in partnership with Mill Green School) and a subsidised holiday at an adapted caravan in North Wales.

St Helens Carers Centre facilitate a monthly support group for parents and Carers who support children with additional support needs – Meetings take place on the last Wednesday of each month from 1pm to 2.30pm. The Carers Centre also run a ‘Parent Carer Forum’ that meets every quarter (day and evening meetings available) – the aim of the forum is to work together with other agencies to bring about positive changes, share information/experiences and to discuss and respond to issues raised. For further details about the monthly support group or Parent Carer Forum please contact the Carers Centre on 01744 675 615. The Carers Centre also have a very useful FAQ page on their website that includes information regarding diagnosis, education and support services.

St Helens Children’s Disability Service is based at the Bridge Centre, and they provide a wide range of advice and support services to parents/Carers of young people with a disability (this may include additional or complex needs, learning disabilities, sensory impairments or language/communication needs). The service covers all disabled children and young people up to the age of 19 living in the borough of St Helens.

St Helens Parent Partnership and Befriending service is a partnership of parents, Carers, the voluntary sector and the Council’s Children’s and Young People’s services. They provide up to date information, drop-in support and training on SEN and assistance in the procedure of working with schools and attending reviews.

Caterpillar Club was formed in 2009 by a group of parents who wanted to extend play, leisure and learning for families with disabled children and their siblings.

Contact a Family is a charity that provides support, advice and information for families with disabled children, no matter what their condition or disability. They run an information and advice helpline (0808 808 3555), plus encourage befriending with other families through their website.

Action for Kids support families with disabled children through their helpline (0845 3000 237) and by providing wheelchairs and mobility equipment for young people up to the age of 26. Funding for equipment may also be gained from Children Today, New Life and Family Fund.

Merlin’s Magic Wand is an international charity aiming to provide magical experiences for those who are seriously ill, disabled or disadvantaged – see their website for eligibility criteria and how to apply.

See also Aiming High for Disabled Children, a government programme for disabled children’s services in England.

Learning Disabilities
Making Space have a Carer Support Service that provides general information and advice, access to breaks, Carer development, support groups and a befriending scheme.

OAASIS (Office for advice, assistance, support and information on special needs) run a helpline (0800 197 3907) for Parents and Professionals.

The Family Carers Network links groups and organisations that support families that include an adult with a learning disability, and their key objective is to work together to promote better life chances for families that include someone with a learning disability.

Brain/Neurological conditions
Cerebra Parent Support is a unique charity set up to help improve the lives of children with brain related conditions. They have a regional Parent Support Worker who can offer face-to-face support, assistance in filling out forms and signposting. Nationally Cerebra have grants available for equipment plus factsheets and support available through their website and helpline (0800 328 1159).

Autism and Asperger’s
ASD Support Group is a local group that provides emotional and moral support for parents and Carers of children with ASD in St Helens. Meetings every fortnight provide an opportunity to gain information, support and the chance to meet other parents/Carers.

ASD Friendly is an online community for Carers and parents of people with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

OAASIS (Office for advice, assistance, support and information on special needs) run a helpline (0800 197 3907) for Parents and Professionals.

St Helens ADHD Support Group is for parents, grandparents, relatives or Carers of a child with ADHD who would like to come and chat to others about some of the issues you may be facing, or to find out information about services available to support you.

Deaf or hard of hearing
The Deafness Resource Centre have two groups (‘Happy Hands’ for 0-10 and ‘Deaf Active’ for 10-18) for D/deaf or hard of hearing children and parents to meet and socialise.

Down Syndrome
The Down Syndrome Support Group helps those affected by Down Syndrome, offering an information & advice service and an online forum to share stories and support with other families.