Happy Christmas from Cumbria's SEND Partnership

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Christmas banner

Image description: Festive Cumbria SEND partnership banner showing a smiling girl, dressed in outdoor winter clothing, standing in front of a christmas tree. Text reads Happy Christmas from Cumbria SEND partnership. The Cumbria SEND partnership logo is wearing a santa hat.


In this edition:

Please note: this is a shorter, festive edition of Cumbria's SEND Partnership newsletter. We will be back to our longer format in the New Year, along with all our regular features.


SENDAC's Sabrina on helping to shape SEND services

Sabrina smith

Sabrina Smith is a parent carer and Acting Chair of SEND Alliance Cumbria (Cumbria's parent carer forum).

Here she tells us a little bit about SENDAC's work and her passion for driving positive change.

"SEND Alliance Cumbria (known as SENDAC for short) is Cumbria's new parent carer forum. Every local authority must have a statutory partnership with a SEND parent/carer group, and here in Cumbria we are that group. We are a newly formed group of volunteers, all of us parents or carers of young people between the ages of 0 and 25 with additional needs and/or disabilities.

"I am currently Acting Chair of SENDAC, and our aim is to help families and children's voices be heard through-out services. We aren't a support group as such, although we will certainly signpost families to support groups and services where appropriate. Our role is to reach out to families and listen to their concerns and stories. From these we get an overall view of what is working well and where things are going wrong. Our job then is to take that information to the decision makers within Cumbria County Council and the NHS, and work with them to make improvements so things get better for our children.

"I work in a local school as a higher level teaching assistant, where I work closely with young people with SEND. I also have two children, one with additional needs. My passion is to improve outcomes for these young people, and I believe that having family voices at the centre of conversations and decision making, through SENDAC, will help to make this possible.

"All parents and carers of children and young people with SEND, aged 0 to 25, are very welcome to join SENDAC. Your child doesn't need to have a diagnosis, and membership is free. Parents and carers can be as active as they want to be, from simply joining to receive newsletters, right up to volunteering for the Steering group, and everything in between. Anyone interested can email Hello@sendac.org to join or find out more.

"Personally, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas, and hope that 2022 brings a little more stability and a lot of positive change for our children and our families."

Sabrina Smith- Acting Chair - SEND Alliance Cumbria

Image description: head and shoulders photo of Sabrina Smith, a white woman with long dark blond hair, wearing a black top and smiling at the camera.


Free workshops to provide advice and support for parents and carers

Skills for people

Skills for People, an organisation providing support for people with learning disabilities and autism, are running a series of workshops in North Cumbria in association with Carlisle Mencap.

Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) is recommended as the best way to support people with behaviour that challenges. This free three session course has been created by parents and PBS trainers, and is for parent/carers of children with additional needs in North Cumbria. Other workshops are planned for families in other areas across the region later in the year.

All workshops will be held on Zoom, with links to the sessions sent prior to the meeting.

The course will be held over three separate workshops as follows:

  • Friday 28th January - An introduction to positive behavioural support, helping you to better understand your child's behaviour.
  • Friday 4th February - A more practical workshop, looking in more detail at strategies for supporting your child.
  • Friday 11th February - Creating an individual positive behavioural support plan for your child, with additional support and guidance to help with this.

Each workshop will run from 10:00am until 12:30pm, with a chance for questions until 1pm.

Parents and carers can book their free place by emailing Jillian Allan on jillian.allan@skillsforpeople.org.uk or phoning the Skills for People office on 0191 281 8737 

Image Description: Skills for People logo. A white door key on a dark blue background. White text on a blue background reads skills for people.


Could you help shape the LINK social prescribing service?

link logo

Image description: LINK banner showing silhouettes of hands in different pastal colours above a light blue rectangle. Text reads LINK building local links that matter to you. Link is our social prescribing service for children and young people in Cumbria and our service aims are to SMILE, support, motivate, inclusion, link, empower.

LINK is the children and young people’s social prescribing service that works alongside GP practice teams in Eden, Keswick and Solway, and Longtown and Brampton. LINK is hosted by Barnardo's.

The LINK workers support the emotional health and well-being needs of children and young people, aged 5 to 19, whilst establishing what is important to them as individuals.

The LINK team are currently looking for parents and carers to help them shape and grow the service. They are inviting parents and carers to go along to one of their parent/carer feedback sessions to find out more about what is on offer, help identify what gaps there are for children and young people with SEND, and help the service learn how they can best support these children and young people and their families.

The feedback sessions are on Wednesday 26th January at:

  • 12:00 - 1:00PM and
  • 6:00 - 7:00PM

Both sessions will be held on-line using Microsoft Teams.

To book a place at either session, parents and carers can email linkcumbria@barnardos.org.uk or call 07874795426 to speak to a member of the LINK team.


You are invited: neuro-developmental pathway for Cumbria workshop

In January there will be an opportunity to get involved in planning the monitoring and mapping of Cumbria's neuro-developmental pathway

The workshop is on 17th January, 13:00 - 16:00, and will be held online using Microsoft Teams. This is the second of two workshops facilitated by the Council for Disabled Children (CDC), which seeks to develop an outcomes led neuro-developmental pathway in Cumbria. Those who did not attend the first workshop are very welcome to join the workshop on the 17th January.

These workshops build on previous sessions delivered by the CDC to plan how strategic outcomes will be embedded in the neuro-developmental pathway, to ensure families have a positive experience of being on the pathway, and that it leads to improved life outcomes for children and young people.

Workshop 1 (already held) included:
• Developing a draft vision for the pathway, based on Cumbria’s strategic outcomes and system-wide principles
• Learning from good practice examples of other ND pathways
• Identifying key elements to build into Cumbria’s new pathway

Workshop 2 will include:

• Summary of Workshop 1

• Evidencing progress towards the vision

- How will we know if families are experiencing the pathway positively
- How will we know if children and young people are living better lives as a result of being on the pathway?

• Mapping provision

- What do we already have locally and how does it contribute to better life
outcomes?
- Who can access it and how?
- What is missing?

• Developing a workplan

- What can we do to strengthen provision locally?

All stakeholders with an interest on this work are invited to attend, including SEND practitioners and parents and carers.

Register for the workshop by 14th January

Please note: EventBrite does not work well on Internet Explorer. Please use Chrome or Edge browsers to book.


Oliver wins new service logo competition

SB logo

In February 2022 Cumbria's Short Breaks Activities service is changing, and the children with disabilities team held a competition to design a new logo to help launch the new service.

The competition was open to all children in Cumbria with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), and young people with SEND from the All of Us forum chose the winning design.

The winner was Oliver Walmsley from Carlisle, who created the wonderful 'Some Breathing Space' logo (shown right). Counsellor Sue Sanderson and service manager Di Routledge presented Oliver with his prize of some lego and a certificate during a special school assembly.

Well done to Oliver on his well deserved win!

Image Description: Winning logo design showing a green ribbon curling downwards behind blue lettering. Text reads some breathing space, short breaks services.

SB winner

Image description: Photo of Oliver receiving his winner's certificate from Councillor Sue Sanderson and Di Routledge, service manager. Also pictured is Oliver's mum. All are standing in front of a colourful noticeboard and are smiling at the camera.


Merry Christmas

Image description: Father Christmas in his red sleigh, full of presents, being pulled through the night sky by two reindeer. Below are green tree tops, and above are snowflakes and stars. Text reads Merry Christmas.

And finally...

virtual meeting

a message from the whole SEND Partnership to families of children and young people with SEND in Cumbria:

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We look forward to being back with you all in 2022 and continuing to drive improvements to SEND services across Cumbria that we all want to see. 

In the meantime, for anyone needing extra support this Christmas you can find information and support on the Ways to Welfare page

Image description: Cartoon of a computer screen showing an online meeting. There are six figures of differing ethnicities and genders in squares on the screen.