Contact - Newsletter

Activities & Events
Local Services

Activities & Events

1) Free Universal Credit and PIP Workshop

This workshop has been organised by Contact in partnership with Autism Support Allerdale and Copeland and will take place on Monday 5 March 2018 from 10.00am-2.00pm at St Marys Church, Church Road, Harrington, Workington CA14 5PY.

The morning session will include an overview of Universal Credit and the afternoon will focus on Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The workshop will be facilitated by Rachael Turnbull, Contact’s Finance and Welfare Parent Adviser.

The workshop is open to any parent/carers of children and young people aged 0-19 with any disability or additional need.

If you would like to book a place, please email Victoria Haughan at

2) Circus Starr 2018

We have once again been given some free tickets from the fantastic Circus Starr for their show this year which is taking place on Saturday 5 May 2018 at Carlisle Racecourse, Durdar Road, Carlisle CA2 4TS. We will have a limited number of tickets available for each of the two performances taking place at 2.00 and 5.00pm.

We will be emailing you soon to let you know how to apply for tickets so keep looking out and get in touch then if you would like to join us at this fantastic free family event.

3) National Time to Talk Day

Mental Health problems affect one in four of us every year.

This event is taking place on Thursday 1 February 2018 from 10.00am-2.00pm at Moorclose Community Centre, Needham Dr, Workington CA14 3SE and there will be lots going on, Free activities, Freebies, Free advice and information or just come along grab a free cuppa and have a chat with like-minded people. Exercise is great for your mental well-being so get involved in Cumberland FA fun sessions and have a kick around with your friends if you are feeling energetic or try a relaxation class. Booking not essential just turn up on the day.

To find out more contact Russell Maddams from Cumbria County Council on 07909 537638

4) Dyslexia Open Evening

West Cumbria Dyslexia Association are holding another of their very popular Drop-In sessions where you can find out more information about support and technology. The drop in is being held on Tuesday 6 February 2018 from 7.30-8.30pm at Lakes College, Lillyhall, Workington

Pop in for a chat with their experts and try out games and apps that are excellent learning aids. Find out about their Saturday Schools and how your child can gain extra support from qualified teachers.

No booking is required, but if you want to find out more about the association, see their website

5) Makaton Training

Beginners Workshops (12 hour course) - £150 per participant
This course provides an introductory workshop for family members, parents, carers and workers who need to use Makaton in everyday situations. At the end of the course participants should have the confidence and skills to begin to use Makaton in their daily interactions with children and adults.

This 4 week course will run as follows:
Thursday 22 February 2018 until Thursday 15 March 2018 from 5.00-8.00pm at Allerdale Day Opportunities, 21A Carlton Road, Workington, CA14 4BX (Tutor - Susan Oglanby)
Friday 23 February 2018 until Friday 16 March 2018 from 9.30am-12.30pm at James Rennie School, Carlisle (Tutor - Michelle Walton)
Friday 4 May until Friday 25 May 2018 from 9.30am-12.30pm at James Rennie School, Carlisle (Tutor - Michelle Walton)

Follow-Up Workshops (12 hour course) - £150 per participant
This course will revise the signs and symbols learned during the Beginners’ Workshop and learn the signs and symbols for Stages 5 - 8 of the Core Vocabulary.

This 4 week course will run from Thursday 17 May until Thursday 14 June 2018 (not including 31 May 2018) from 5.00-8.00pm at Allerdale Day Opportunities, 21A Carlton Road,
Workington, CA14 4BX (Tutor - Susan Oglanby)

If you would like to book a place on any of the above courses please contact Debbie Wilkinson, Regional Makaton Tutor by email at or call 01228 554286

6) Barnardo’s Carlisle Children’s Centre Activities

Multi-Sensory & Soft Play - A free multi-sensory & soft play session for children with additional needs and their family. Suitable for children aged 0 – 8 years regardless of their level of ability or level of mobility. You and your child can share a range of playful sensory experiences that promote healthy development of the sensory systems, while having fun in the under the sea themed soft play centre. Enjoy exploring new textures, sights & sounds, climbing, sliding or crawling through the obstacles and make new friends.

New days and times for these activities as follows:
Every Tuesday from 10.45–11.45am (Term Time only)
Every Thursday from 5.00–6.00pm
Carlisle Children’s Centre – Harraby Community Campus, Edgehill Road, CA1 3SN

The Multi-Sensory Rooms at Harraby Community Campus and Newtown Children’s Centre, 19-21 Shadygrove Road, CA2 7LD are special environments to support your child’s interaction, discovery and communication. Encourages stimulation of the senses – sight, sound, touch, and smell. The sensory rooms are available for children aged 0-5 years living in Carlisle (0-8 years for children with special needs and disabilities)

Following a brief induction, the room can be booked for a 45 minute session by parents or practitioners. To book an induction or to book a session, please contact Sarah on 01228 401042
Bookable opening times* are Mondays 9.00am to 12.00pm, Tuesdays 9.00am to 5.00pm and Fridays 9.00am to 12.00pm
*inductions will take place outside of these times

Free swimming sessions for children with additional needs aged 10 years and under & their immediate family. Every Sunday until 25 March 2018 from 1.00–2.00pm at Morton Pools, Richard Rose Morton Academy, Wigton Road, CA2 6LB
Whilst a lifeguard will be present at each session, children must be supervised. For children aged 0-4 years old the ratio is 1 adult to 1 child and for children aged 5-8 years old the ratio is 2 children to 1 adult.

February Half Term Activities

Come along and take part in some fun, free activities in the School Holidays. Come and meet the Children’s Centres staff, make new friends, share experiences and receive support. These activities are for children with additional needs or disabilities and their immediate family. Ages vary per activity.

Swimming for children aged 0–10 years on Sunday 11 and 18 February 2018 from 2.45–3.45pm at Morton Pools, Richard Rose Morton Academy, Wigton Road, CA2 6LB

Soft Play for children aged 0–8 years on Tuesday 13 February 2018 from 10.45–11.45am at Whale of a Time Soft Play, Harraby Community Campus, Edgehill Road, CA1 3SN

Sensory Messy for children aged 0–8 years on Wednesday 14 February 2018 from 10.30–11.30am at Denton Holme Community Centre, Morley Street, CA2 5HQ

ALL children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.

Please contact Carlisle Children’s Centres on 01228 223417/01228 593810 to discuss how they may be able to support you and your child to fully access and enjoy their activities.

7) Cumbria Frame Football

Cumbria Frame Football are holding a taster session on the Sunday 4 March 2018 from 12.00-2.00pm at University of Cumbria Fusehill Street, Carlisle CA1 2HH

This taster session is for children with Cerebral Palsy without frames aged 4-16 with the view to setting up a permanent club to help children with confidence, mobility, social and football skills.

If you would like further information, please call Chris Dunn on 07933021682 or see their Facebook page

? AUTUS Cumbria Seminars
AUTUS Cumbria is holding a seminar “Transforming Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Condition) organised in conjunction with Mind Body Breakthrough Ltd. It will cover:
Effective coping strategies for managing Generalised Anxiety Disorder and panic attacks connected to ASC.
Understanding how anxiety disorders become ingrained in the mind and body and how they can be transformed.
Basic first aid treatments for panic attacks.
The seminar will be held on Saturday 24 March 2018 from 1.00-5.30pm at Furness General Hospital Lecture Theatre. Fees: adults £12.50, 15-18 years £7.50.
A seminar “Understanding Autism for those working in the Criminal Justice System” will be held on Tuesday 17 April 2018 from 6.30-8.30pm in Ulverston.
You can book places for both seminars via the AUTUS Cumbria Facebook Page

Local Services

1) Cumbria Parent Carer Forum (CPCF)

The forum is a constitution of parent carers of children and young people with disabilities and/or special educational needs in Cumbria. Their aim is to make sure the needs of children/young people (0/25) are met. They understand the challenges you face on a day-to-day basis, because they are parent carers too. They organise events where parents can meet with each other. They can tell you about most up-to-date sources of information for your child/young person. They are here to give parent cares a voice. By joining the Parent Carer Forum, you can work together to improve services for children/young person.

Membership is free, join today! If you would like to become a member of the Cumbria Parent Carer Forum please complete the form on the website. Membership provides you with the ability to keep in touch with parent carers throughout Cumbria. When you join, you will also receive a Max Card; Cumbria County Council agreed to fund 1500 Max Card cards, which is a discount card for certain venues both locally and nationally.

For more information, visit the CPCF website or email Celean at or

2) Young People First: Access All Areas

Young People First: Access All Areas is recruiting young people with learning difficulties, aged between 10 and 18, across Cumbria.

Young Inspector and Activity programmes: They recruit and support groups of young people to recognise services that they find difficult to access, and train them to conduct ‘Accessibility Audits’.
Using input from young people they create activity programmes for people to attend and take part in a range of activities such as canoeing, Arts & crafts, museum visits etc. Following the activity the young people carry out an informal audit of the activity/venue and provide feedback to the organiser/service and work together with the staff to create solutions to make sure that the service is accessible for all.

This project is a fantastic opportunity to young people to: Engage in their community, expand their knowledge of local services, meet new people, develop independence & confidence, help make premises/venues throughout Cumbria more accessible and have fun whilst doing so!!

They are constantly looking for new people to join the project. There is no official referral process for young people to join the project, any interested parties just need to contact them for more details.

Workshops and Activities: They run a range of workshops and activities at schools, youth centres, service providers, day services etc. Workshops and activities are designed to promote accessibility and the importance examples of workshops include: overcoming barriers, increasing confidence, treasure hunts etc. If you would be interested in them running some activities to any groups you run please just let them know.

Training: Their team of young inspectors designed training that they run to staff at services and organisations to help make them be more accessible. The training focuses on things such as: what’s it like for young people with disability when accessing a new service, barriers the young people face and what services can do to help them overcome them. If you would be interested in the team of young inspectors running some training at your organisation please just let them know and they can arrange a date.

Audits: They are currently looking for new activities/services to audit. Taking part in audits is an opportunity for you to promote your service, possibly attain some new customers/participants and demonstrates your desire to be known as fully accessible. All organisations who take part in the audits and are deemed accessible receive an certificate from us supported by Children in Need which demonstrates that you have been deemed as being accessible for young people with learning difficulties by young people with learning difficulties. If you would be interested in their young inspectors attending your activity/service to try it, learn more about it and carry out an audit please let them know.

For more information on any of the above, please contact Chris Tolley on 01228 550696 or email


1) No Education, Health or Care plan yet? What can you do?

For the past 3 ½ years the new framework for special educational needs (SEN) has been gradually rolled out in local authorities in England. Statements of special educational needs have been replaced by Education Health and Care (EHC) plans, with transfers from the old to the new taking place in a phased way. The final deadline in law for this process is 1 April 2018.

Some local authorities are on target for meeting this deadline, but many are not, and parents will naturally be anxious about what happens next.

Contact's SEN team have some tips. See our website for full information and don’t forget to get in touch if you have any queries. You can call our National Freephone Helpline on 0808 808 3555.

2) Contact looking for families with experience of Universal Credit roll out

Over the next two months we'll be focusing on Universal Credit and the impact of its roll out on families with disabled children. We are continuing to campaign for three changes to Universal Credit rules which are unfair to families with disabled children:

Reverse cuts to the lower disabled child element under Universal Credit, which will see 100,000 families with disabled children worse off by £1,600 each year
Remove rules that mean Universal Credit is stopped when a disabled child is in hospital for six months
Remove rules that mean Universal Credit is stopped when a disabled child lives away from home such as in residential school

We need your help to campaign for these changes, please see our website for details of how you can get involved.

3) Equipment for disabled children

Did you know, Whizz-Kidz provides a range of mobility equipment to children and young people with a physical disability to give them independence at home, at school and at play.

The NHS should always be a family’s first port of call for mobility equipment. However, if your local NHS Wheelchair Service does not provide equipment to meet the essential mobility needs of your child then Whizz-Kidz may able to help.

See their website for full information.

4) New good practice resource: Education, Health and Care Plans: examples of good practice from year 9 and beyond

Back in December 2016 the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) published: “Education, Health and Care plans: Examples of good practice” that contains a wide range of tips and examples that still remain relevant today across the age range for children and young people with EHC plans. The reaction to this resource has been very good with over 55,790 views at the Council for Disabled Children website and 17,165 downloads to date. To help ensure this resource is widely seen by those who work directly with families CDC has also distributed over 5,000 hard copies across England and they know many trainers and partner organisations are using this free guidance as a tool when delivering training at local level.

To complement this earlier resource and respond to the learning needs of the sector CDC has now developed and published a new good practice resource called: “Education, Health and Care Plans: examples of good practice from year 9 and beyond.” This time with a particular focus on how plans should evolve for young people from year 9 reviews onwards, as their journey into adulthood builds momentum. CDC would recommend that you use this resource to complement the first guide.

Like the first resource the purpose of this document is to support the development of skills in writing good quality EHC plans that meet both the letter and the spirit of the Children and Families Act 2014.

You can access this new resource and/or download the document by visiting the CDC website

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