Home School Link Worker
My name is Laura Sweetland and I am the Home School Link Worker at Manor Mead Virginia Water.
My working hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (8.15am – 4.45pm) and I can be contacted as follows:
Phone: 01344 842308 (main office number)
Mobile: 07841 622657
Please do get in touch if there is anything that I might be able to help support you or your child with. I am here to offer emotional and practical help and advice to those families who may be experiencing long or short-term difficulties. Please do contact me with any query, problem or worry (no matter how big or small) and I will do my best to help.
The kinds of things that I might be able to help support you with include:
- Providing information on local activities, short breaks, play schemes and resources.
- Assisting with accessing services (e.g. social care), making referrals where appropriate.
- Help and guidance on completing forms (including induction pack forms), applying for grants, supporting with DLA applications/renewals, etc.
- Supporting at meetings (both at school or in the home).
- Helping to address and overcome barriers affecting your child’s learning experience.
- Supporting your child with any aspect of their well-being either in school or at home.
- Inviting you to coffee mornings and in school workshops to give you an opportunity to meet/socialise with other parents, and to learn about additional ways to support your child.
- Being a friendly face and listening ear to address any worries or concerns you may have.
I am happy to visit you at home or school, or meet for a coffee if anything is troubling you.
I look forward to meeting you soon.
Links for parents and carers
This page has a wide variety of links to useful websites and resources and is split into the following categories:
- Information, Advice & Support
- Leisure & Short Breaks
- Health & Wellbeing
- Charities & Funding
If you need assistance accessing any of the links or would like to arrange a home visit to go through the information in more detail, then please do contact your Home School Link Worker:
Elizabeth Harrow (Manor Mead Shepperton): firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Sweetland (Manor Mead Virginia Water): email@example.com
Elizabeth and Laura would also be keen to hear from you if you have any recommendations of services or websites that are not listed below.
Information, Advice & Support
- Home Start Surrey (https://homestartsurrey.org/)
Home Start provides free home-based parenting support to disadvantaged and vulnerable families, if they have at least one child under five.
- Action for Carers (https://www.actionforcarers.org.uk/
Action for Carers provide valuable support for all of Surrey’s carers – including Young Carers (see below), Adult Carers and Professionals working with carers. Call: 0303 040 1234 or email: CarerSupport@actionforcarers.org.uk to find out more about the support groups, social events and services that they offer.
- Surrey Young Carers Support (www.surrey-youngcarers.org.uk)
Provides support groups and activities for young carers/ siblings. Tel. 01483 568269
- One minute guides to Early Help and Children’s Services (https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/children/families/support-and-advice/early-help-for-families-level-2-resources)
Children Services and Early Help in Surrey has many different aspects. These one-minute guides have been created to help your understanding of some of the support, services, and processes in Surrey. The guides are based on common themes in our enquiries and are separated into topics.
- Children’s Single Point of Access (https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/children/social-care/contact-childrens-services)
Information on how families can access support for their family through Children’s Services.
- Special Needs Jungle (https://www.specialneedsjungle.com/)
Parent led information and resources and informed opinion about children and young people aged 0-25yrs.
- BRAAIN (www.braain.co.uk)
BRAAIN (Be Ready ADHD ASD Information Network) is a Surrey based group run by parents of ASD and ADHD children. They understand the challenges parents and children face.
- Cerebra (https://cerebra.org.uk/)
Cerebra is the national charity helping children with brain conditions and their families discover a better life together.
- SEND Advice Surrey Parents Partnership (www.sendadvicesurrey.org.uk/)
SEND Advice Surrey provides independent and confidential advice and support to parents/carers who have children with special educational needs. Their service includes help with paperwork and help to understand your legal rights. Contact the Helpline on 01737 737300
- Surrey Local Offer (www.surreylocaloffer.org.uk)
Surrey's Local Offer website is a directory of all children's services in the county, including education, leisure and childcare.
- Family Voice Surrey (http://www.familyvoicesurrey.org/)
FVS giving Surrey parents a strong collective voice, a forum to share knowledge and empowerment to improve opportunities for our children.
- Sos!sen https://sossen.org.uk/
Sos!sen is a national charity aiming to empower parents and carers of children with SEN. They offer free, friendly, independent and confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). They concentrate on helping people to find their way through the legal and procedural maze which is so daunting to so many who try to obtain satisfactory provision for a child’s special needs
- Freemantles Outreach (https://www.freeoutreach.org.uk/Resources/
Freemantles Outreach is a part of the Surrey Autism Outreach service and support primary schools in the west of Surrey. Their aim is to support pupils with Autism and related difficulties within their school setting and the staff who work alongside them. They do this through school visits and through providing a range of training opportunities. The team also give email or telephone advice to both parents and professionals.
- Kids (www.kids.org.uk
This website has been specially designed for children who have Special Educational Needs or disabilities. The website shares advice, support and information about events happening all over the country. There are also pages dedicated to supporting your child's learning at home.
- Radar Key (www.radar-shop.org.uk/)
A radar key enables you to access disabled toilets when out and about. Especially useful if your child cannot queue or cannot cope with the noise of hand-driers.
- Caleidoscope (https://caleidoscope.org.uk/)
Caleidoscope CIC is not for profit community organisation supporting families with autistic children, offering individual support and training for parents. Our mission is to break the stigma of autism, raise awareness and promote social inclusion.
- The National Society for Epilepsy (https://epilepsysociety.org.uk/)
NSE, the largest medical charity for epilepsy in the UK, provides information and support to people affected by epilepsy.
- The National Autistic Society’s Surrey Branch (www.nassurreybranch.org/)
A group which provides support to parents in Surrey of children with Autism, including workshops, parent support groups, advice and information.
- Family Information Service SEND Support: (https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/children/families/send-support)
A free, impartial information service for families with children aged 0 to 19 (up to 25 for young people with a disability or special educational need).
- Face2Face - Befriending group for Fathers - email: firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.whitelodgecentre.co.uk/application/files/4116/7872/1827/Dads2Dads.JPG
Supported by Face2Face service at White lodge the Dads2 Dads group offers a new monthly drop in for Fathers or male caregivers of children with additional needs.
- Surrey Independent Living Charity (SILC) (https://www.surreyilc.org.uk/home)
SILC helps people with disabilities, and others who use or want to use Direct Payments, to live independently and to arrange the support and services they require.
- Free Bus Pass Scheme for Disabled People (https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/buses-and-other-transport/tickets-and-discounts/disabled-people/renew)
Information on applying for a concessionary bus pass for disabled people.
- Contact (https://contact.org.uk/)
Contact (formerly Contact a Family) is the only UK-wide charity providing advice, information and support to the parents of all disabled children.
- Mencap (https://www.mencap.org.uk/)
Mencap is the leading UK charity for people with a learning disability and their families.
- Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)
The Citizens Advice service provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities.
They also have a list of crisis contacts: https://www.caew.org.uk/crisis-contacts/
Leisure & Short Breaks
- Surrey Short Breaks for Disabled Children (https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/children/support-and-advice/children-with-disabilities/surrey-short-breaks-for-disabled-children)
Surrey Short Breaks for Disabled Children funds voluntary organisations and SEND schools to provide short break services, including after school clubs, holiday schemes, home-care and more.
- Disability Challengers (https://disability-challengers.org/)
Disability Challengers is a children's charity which supports 1,000 disabled children and young people in over 50 play and youth schemes every year.
- LinkAble (https://www.linkable.org.uk/)
Supporting children and adults with learning disabilities for over 30 years.
- White Lodge (https://www.whitelodgecentre.co.uk/what-we-do/children-and-young-people/play-and-youth-clubs/holiday-clubs)
White Lodge offers holiday clubs for 4-12 year olds in Spelthorne, Runnymede and Elmbridge. Call the Play and Youth Clubs team on 01932 567131 or email: email@example.com to register.
- YMCA East Surrey (https://www.ymcaeastsurrey.org.uk/children/disability-activities/short-breaks-5-11/)
Yippee is YMCA East Surrey’s warm and welcoming playscheme for children aged 5-11 with a wide range of disabilities and complex needs.
- Crossroads (https://crossroadscaresurrey.org.uk/)
The Crossroads service is about giving time - improving the lives of carers by giving them time to be themselves and have a break from their caring responsibilities.
- Surrey Wheels for All (https://matthewwing.wixsite.com/surrey-wheels-for-al)
Since it started it has become increasingly involved in cycling related training, bringing cycling to disabled people, encouraging people with poor health to take up cycling and working with excluded communities.
- Companion Cycling (http://www.companioncycling.org.uk/index.php/contact-us/)
Companion Cycling is a scheme which enables people who are unable to ride “solo” cycles for whatever reason, to enjoy the pleasure of cycling with a companion in the delightful and traffic free surroundings of Bushy Park, adjacent to Hampton Court in South West London.
- Bikes Not Barriers (https://www.getcycling.org.uk/wheelchair/)
Bikes Not Barriers is part of Get Cycling, a registered Community Interest Company that promotes cycling for transport, health, fun, leisure and the environment.
- 'Dramatize' (http://www.dramatize.co.uk/)
Dramatize is a professionally run, fun and friendly Community Interest Company. Using theatre and movement workshops, they provide a range of theatrical workshops, events and educational programmes catering for adults with learning disabilities aged 16 - 40, within both SEN and mainstream schools and organisations.
- Thomas Centre (https://www.thethomascentre.co.uk/)
The Thomas Centre is a Holiday Park for children and young adults with autism and related conditions, and their families and carers.
- Hartlands Holiday Centre (https://www.spectrumbreaks.co.uk/)
Hartlands is a holiday centre on the Isle of Wight for families with children and adults with autism.
- Harriet Davis Trust (www.harriet-davis-trust.org.uk)
This trust has an autism-friendly house in South Wales.
- Calvert Trust (http://www.calvert-trust.org.uk/)
Accessible outdoor activity breaks and courses for people with disabilities, together with their family and friends.
- Wetwheels (https://wetwheelsfoundation.org/)
Wheelchair accessible powerboats in Portsmouth; offering sightseeing, fishing and fun!
- Autism Friendly Film Screenings (https://dimensions-uk.org/get-involved/campaigns/autism-friendly-cinema-screenings/autism-friendly-screenings-adjustments/)
Autism Friendly Film screenings in partnership with Cineworld, Odeon, Showcase and Vue cinemas. Every month, each participating cinema shows a different film from a selection of new releases and classics including Pixar animations, Disney adventures and many more films suitable for all age ranges.
- Beach Huts for the Disabled (https://www.bournemouth.co.uk/things-to-do/accessible-beach-huts-p2234983)
Introducing the UK’s first purposed designed fully disabled accessible beach huts – available for hire at Bournemouth’s multi-award winning Boscombe seafront.
- Camp Mohawk (https://www.campmohawk.org.uk/)
Camp Mohawk is open to families, groups and some short breaks. See the website for details of dates and how to book.
- Thames Valley Adventure Playground (http://www.tvap.co.uk/)
Thames Valley Adventure Playground, near Maidenhead. Indoor and outdoor activities for children with all types of special needs. Secure perimeter!
- RDA Horse-riding (www.rda.org.uk/)
Several stables affiliated to Riding for the Disabled run sessions specifically aimed at children with special needs. The website below gives further information.
Health & Wellbeing
- Welfare/ Health Support Surrey County Council (Welfare/Health support - Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk) Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008
- Parents/carers struggling with behaviours or neurodevelopmental difficulties. 7 days a week phone line5pm-11pm, daily Call: 0300 222 5755 (Option 3 ASD option 4 ADHD)
- Free 24/7 mental health crisis line for children (6 years plus), young people/families/carers. (Open all day & night 7 days a week).Call 0800 915 4644 to talk with a professional for advice and support.
- Qwell Counselling (https://www.qwell.io/)
Qwell offer online emotional wellbeing and mental health support. Surrey have enabled access for all parents of SEND children, just click on the 'Join Qwell' button on the website's homepage to get started.
- Surrey Mindworks (https://www.mindworks-surrey.org/)
Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service
- Learning Space (https://www.learningspace.org.uk)
Learning Space is a children’s emotional well-being and mental health charity that provides individual and group support for 5 – 18 years olds in Surrey.
- The Maypole Project (https://www.themaypoleproject.co.uk/)
A National helpline for all those affected by the illness or disability of a child of any age.
- Counselling Directory (https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/)
Counselling Directory was set up to connect those in distress with a wealth of information and the ability to search for the most suitable counsellor or psychotherapist.
- BBC Parents’ Toolkit – Supporting Wellbeing of children with SEND (https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zh9v382)
User friendly resources to help support your child’s emotional wellbeing (both Covid and non-Covid related).
- NSPCC wellbeing guide (https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/childrens-mental-health/depression-anxiety-mental-health/)
Information on supporting children with anxiety and depression.
- Anna Freud (https://www.annafreud.org/parents-and-carers/)
Advice and guidance for parents on supporting children and young people with poor mental health and wellbeing.
- National Autistic Society Mental Health Guides
National Autistic Society guidance around different types of mental health difficulties.
- Nutritionist Resource - Loveable Lunchboxes! (https://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/loveable-lunchboxes
Collaborating with their UK network of family nutritionists, Loveable Lunchboxes aims to help you create healthy, tasty and altogether more loveable lunchboxes for your children.
- Sensory Direct (https://www.sensorydirect.com/)
Offering OT equipment such as weighted blankets (offer a money back scheme).
- Kingcraft Ltd (https://www.kingkraft.co.uk/)
Offering OT equipment such as Protac Ball Blankets (offer 'try before you buy' scheme).
Charities & Funding
- Children with Special Needs Foundation (https://www.childrenwithspecialneeds.co.uk/)
The foundation was established in 1995 with a sole purpose to help children with special needs in the Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire region.
- NewLife Charity (https://newlifecharity.co.uk/)
NewLife specialises in providing equipment for individuals with disabled children up to 18 years of age, regardless of how they acquired their disability.
- Roald Dahl's Marvellous Family Grants (https://www.roalddahlcharity.org/what-we-do/information-for-families/)
Roald Dahl’s family grants support children who have a serious illness that could be life limiting. They support grants of up to £1,000 for physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, hydrotherapy and counselling, travel (including parking), accommodation and subsistence costs whilst a child is in hospital, specialist equipment, for example specialist seats and walkers, epilepsy monitors etc. Art, music or play therapy and everyday items that will improve the child’s quality of life and keep them out of hospital longer e.g. furniture, white goods, and clothing (where this is required because of the child’s condition). This list is not exhaustive.
- Children Today Charitable Trust (https://www.childrentoday.org.uk/)
Supports children and young people under 25 who have a disability. Provide grants for specialist equipment such as electric wheelchairs, walking aids, adapted trikes, lifting aids and sensory equipment.
- Lifeline 4 Kids (http://www.lifeline4kids.org/)
Supports children and young people under 18 with disabilities and special needs. The charity will purchase specific requested items or equipment on behalf of the individual for example electric wheelchairs, sensory toys and mobility aid.
- The Percy Bilton Charity (https://www.percy-bilton-charity.org/)
Supports children and adults with a physical/learning disability. One-off grants are given towards goods, furniture, carpets and flooring (up to £250 where there is a health and safety issue) and essential clothing. Applications must be made on behalf of the individual through a support worker, OT or NHS.
- The Boparan Charitable Trust (https://www.theboparancharitabletrust.com/Contact/)
Supports children and young people up to the age of 18, who have a disability or life limiting conditions. Grants are given for (this is list is not exhaustive), powered and manual wheelchairs/trikes (up to £1,500), specialist buggies and car seats, walkers and standing frames, hoists, P Pod chairs, therapies (including speech and language, occupational therapy, food therapy, behavioural therapy. There are exclusions. Please see the website for further details and application form.
- Children’s Hope Foundation (https://www.childrenshopefoundation.org.uk/)
Supports children and young people up to the age of 25. Grants are given for medical equipment or treatment, which may help in the management of a condition or disability. Grants are also given to purchase equipment such as a computer that help with educational support.
- Happy Days Children’s Charity (https://www.happydayscharity.org/)
Supports children and young people aged 3 to 17 who have additional needs. The charity also supports children with learning difficulties, children with acute, chronic or life limiting illnesses. They provide grants for respite breaks in the UK. This could be from a day out at a zoo or a week in an adaptive holiday home.
- A Smile For A Child (https://www.asmileforachild.org/
Supports disadvantaged and disabled children in the UK. Grants are made for sports equipment, lessons and specialised wheelchairs.
Supports young people aged between 2 and 20 who have special needs. Grants can be used to support conventional and alternative therapies. Examples include art therapy, music therapy, Makaton sign training, and cranial osteopathy. The charity states, “This list is not exhaustive and we will consider requests for other help along similar lines”.
- Caudwell Children (https://www.caudwellchildren.com/)
Young people under 18 who have a disability or serious illness. The charity can provide 70% - 80% of the following costs, powered wheelchairs, specialised buggies and rain covers, therapy tricycles, multi-sensory equipment, sports equipment, selective dorsal rhizotomy and specialised car seats and car harness.
- Sunny Days Children’s Fund (http://www.sunnydaysfund.org.uk/)
Supports children under the age of 18 who have a medical condition or disability and their families. Small grants are given for a wide range of purposes including medical equipment, white goods, hospital travel expenses, sensory equipment and more.
- Variety, The Children’s Charity (https://www.variety.org.uk/)
Supports children who are seriously ill or have a disability. Grants are made for equipment such as monitoring equipment, feeding tubes or hoists or mobility equipment.
- Able Kidz (http://ablekidz.org/)
Supports children and young people under the age of 18 who live in the UK and have a disability. Grants are given to support education of children with disabilities. Typically funding is given towards extra tuition, computers, specialist educational equipment and educational software.
- QEF - Queen Elizabeth Foundation (https://qef.org.uk/)
QEF is a leading disability charity working with people with physical and learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries to help them gain new skills and increase independence for life
Disability Living Allowance (under 16)
Support available to help residents within Surrey access grants for energy efficiency improvements or to help with fuel costs.
- Surrey County Council - Financial Support
- Surplus to Supper
Fresh food that would otherwise have gone to waste is redistributed for free to support local foodbanks, schools, care homes, shelters, clubs, religious organisations and more.
They also have a shop on Saturdays and Sundays 11.30am – 1.00pm where you can go for good quality food and leave whatever donation you can afford.