SEND Partnership Cumbria: News February 2022

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In this edition:


Alison brings parents and partners together to drive positive change

Alison May

Alison May is the commissioning manager for children and maternity at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Here she tells us about her connection to SEND in Cumbria, and her work to improve services.

"Recently I have taken on a new role as Commissioning Manager for children and maternity at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). In my previous role as Commissioning Support Manager at the CCG, I led on, or supported a variety of children’s programmes, some of which were SEND related including Transforming Care to improve support for children and young people with autism and/or learning disabilities, nursing within Special Schools and improving the commissioning of individual packages of care.

"My previous experience of working with families, especially those with SEND in crisis, will help me ensure that support for SEND families remains a high priority for Cumbria. Working so closely with families has given me a good insight into how things work, and sometimes how and why they don't work. I feel privileged to have had this experience, and will use it to ensure SEND services stay high on the agenda as the clinical commissioning groups in Lancashire and South Cumbria are reorganised later this year into a single statutory Integrated Care Board. 

"I sit on a number of SEND improvement working groups, including those related to emotional health and wellbeing, preparing for adulthood, and engagement and coproduction. I am also leading a project in Lancashire and South Cumbria focusing on the sensory processing needs of children and young people with SEND, alongside occupational therapists and parents and carers. The project has identified gaps in service provision, and created a proposed strategy for this. This has been presented to various boards across the counties to help rally support and get 'buy in' from senior colleagues in education, health and social care. My aim is to get the strategy agreed, and then work with parents and partners to co-produce the details of how it will be delivered. In addition, this work led to the creation of an online sensory education session, which was recorded and is available on Cumbria's SEND Local Offer website. Feedback from the session was very positive, with parents and carers finding it especially helpful.

+ VIEW THE SENSORY EDUCATION SESSION

"I would like to say a big 'thank you' to everyone who has contributed to the sensory processing work so far. I continue to be blown away by the relentless enthusiasm of parents and carers to get involved and work together for change, despite already being immensely busy, and all the additional constraints and pressures created by Covid. It's a great example of good partnership working. We need to keep the dialogue going between commissioners and families, as we can help best when we know where the problems and issues are. Please do keep giving your feedback via the Post Box on the SEND Local Offer website, and using the SEND families section of Healthwatch Cumbria to tell us about your experiences both positive and negative.

"I look forward to continuing this important work with families and other partners across the region, and to moving things forward positively for children and young people with SEND in Cumbria."

+ POST FEEDBACK USING THE SEND SERVICES POST BOX ON THE LOCAL OFFER WEBSITE

+ LEAVE FEEDBACK ON SEND SERVICES USING THE HEALTHWATCH CUMBRIA WEBSITE

Alison May - Commissioning Manager - Children and Maternity, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group

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Get involved and upcoming events

Inclusive apprenticeships - kick start a new career!

Apprenticeships

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is taking place between 7 to 13 February and the Apprenticeship Team at Cumbria County Council are hosting a series of live online events to share career tips and advice and spread the word about the up and coming apprenticeship opportunities that go live on 1 March.

Young people with SEND and their families are invited to go along to these free events to find out more about what an apprenticeship with Cumbria County Council can do for them. The events will also be a great opportunity for parents and carers to chat directly to the team about how their young person will be supported through an apprenticeship. All events throughout the week are fully accessible and inclusive, and there will be information available about how young people with SEND can be supported to apply for and work in an apprenticeship at Cumbria County Council.

Event Schedule

  • Monday 7 February  6pm - All about apprenticeships and building the future 
  • Tuesday 8 February 5.30pm - Getting started, top tips and writing an application, 6pm - Working in the virtual world
  • Wednesday 9 February 5.30pm - All about apprenticeships and building the future 
  • Thursday 10 February 5.30pm - Apprentice Q&A session - with current apprentices, 6pm - Top tips on interview skills 
  • Friday 11 February 10am - All about apprenticeships and building the future 

+ VIEW FULL SCHEDULE OF APPRENTICESHIP EVENTS AND LINKS TO JOIN

The Apprenticeship Team have also launched a fantastic new website filled with lots of great content to show prospective new starters what’s on offer.

+ VIEW THE NEW APPRENTICESHIP WEBSITE

+ SUBSCRIBE TO GET THE LATEST APPRENTICESHIP NEWS

Image description: National apprenticeship week banner, two pink speech bubbles, one large and one small, on a white background. Text reads National apprenticeship week 2022, 7-13 February, cumbria.gov.uk/apprentice

 

Understanding barriers to healthcare - can you help?

Children North East is completing research to understand what makes it difficult for families and young people to access healthcare.

They would be interested in speaking to anyone who experiences barriers to accessing healthcare, whether that means not using services at all, struggling to attend appointments, or attending appointments but finding it a challenge for any reason. 

Children North East are aware that this may be a problem for families of children and young people with SEND, and would love to hear from them. If you can spare 30 minutes for an informal interview, please get in touch with the team.

+ EMAIL GRACE DOWSWELL FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE UNDERSTANDING BARRIERS TO HEALTHCARE PROJECT

Those who take part will receive a £10 Love2Shop voucher from Children North East as a thank you for their time.

 

Campaign to engage potential foster carers launches in Cumbria

Foster carer banner

Image description: Fostering written in pink text on a white background. The o in fostering is replaced with a green heart. Text reads fostering with Cumbria County Council.

Foster carer photo

A new campaign has been launched across Cumbria to encourage more potential foster carers to come forward in 2022, especially those who can offer homes to older children, sibling groups and those with disabilities. 

The pandemic, along with more children coming into care each month, means there is an urgent demand for foster carers for children and young people of all ages across the county. 

There are more than 700 children and young people in care across Cumbria and while the council supports around 275 foster carers already, they are always looking for more potential foster carers to join ‘Cumbria’s biggest family’.

In Cumbria there is a particular demand for more carers for slightly older children and siblings who need permanent or long-term placements.  One of the most rewarding things about being a long term foster carer is that it allows people to have a huge and long lasting impact on the life of a child, which will help them flourish.

Being brought up within one family, often over several years, gives young people in foster care more consistency and a greater sense of belonging. It also helps a child to settle within a local community and develop positive relationships.

Attend an upcoming event:

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a foster carer, but you're not sure if you have everything you need or don’t know where to start, then you can attend the upcoming virtual information event on Zoom:

Foster carers come from all walks of life but must be over the age of 21, have a spare bedroom in their home and have an empathetic, caring, and resilient nature.

For further information

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Prism Arts want to hear from families in West Cumbria

Prism Arts is a charity working with adults and young people who have learning disabilities and/or autism. They have been delivering accessible arts projects for over 30 years.

Based in Carlisle but working throughout Cumbria, their mission is to deliver arts programmes that empower people with disabilities to drive their own creative journey and develop as artists, leaders and advocates for change.

Like many organisations, the pandemic has had a big impact on their ability to deliver services. They had to find new ways of working in order to continue delivering arts provision to service users and participants. New methods, new tools and some ‘outside the box’ thinking has enabled the team to redesign their programmes so that opportunities are not only more flexible and responsive to change but more person centred and free to be driven by the talents and interests of participants.

Prism Arts work closely with service users and families across the county, and are currently keen to find out more about West Cumbrian communities particularly, and identify needs relating to arts provision. They want to develop meaningful opportunities for creative interaction, that enhance the learning experience and are delivered in a way that’s helpful to local groups and families.

They have created a short survey to find out more. Answers will then be used to inform product and service development.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

+ START THE PRISM ARTS WEST CUMBRIA SURVEY

+ VISIT THE PRISM ARTS WEBSITE

 

Come along to the March SEND Q&A sessions for parents and carers

Q&A send leads

The latest regular Q&A sessions with SEND senior leaders are coming up.

The sessions will be held using Microsoft Teams on 14th and 16th March.

Parents and carers can choose from

  • an afternoon session at 1pm on Monday 14th March 
  • an evening session at 7pm on Wednesday 16th March

Although not a platform to resolve individual issues, the SEND leads will be able to provide advice and information on services, procedures and systems, and signpost to other services and sources of information.

Dan Barton, Assistant Director for Education and Skills and Sally Senejko, senior manager for SEND and inclusion at Cumbria County Council will be joined by colleagues from the clinical commissioning groups within the NHS.

SEND Alliance Cumbria, the new parent carer forum, will also be available at both sessions to provide advice and support from a parental perspective.

To book a place at either Q&A session, parents and carers are asked to email Hayley Stewart, stating whether you would like to attend the morning or evening session.

+ EMAIL HAYLEY STEWART TO BOOK YOUR Q&A PLACE

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SEND news

New targeted short breaks activities service - frequently asked questions

From 1st February targeted short break (TSB) activities in Cumbria for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are changing. 

The new approach is about increasing the number of children and young people who can access Targeted Short Break activities and widening the coverage across the county, and also doing this via a consistent process that is fair for all children.

The launch of the new service has raised many questions. To help answer these a Frequently Asked Questions document has been created which addresses many of the issues raised by families over the last few weeks.

+ VIEW THE FAQs FOR THE NEW TARGETED SHORT BREAKS ACTIVITY SERVICE

Any parents who continue to have concerns, or whose child's needs cannot be met by the new service, are asked to contact their Social Worker or Area Child and Family Worker, and they will be in touch for an individual conversation.

+ VIEW CONTACT INFORMATION FOR AREA CHILD AND FAMILY WORKERS

Additionally, Cumbria County Council are hosting two online Q&A sessions next week which are open to everyone. The sessions are on:

  • Tuesday 8 February at 11:30am
  • Thursday 10 February at 7:00pm

+ EMAIL HAYLEY STEWART TO JOIN THE SHORT BREAKS Q&A SESSIONS

+ READ MORE ABOUT THE SHORT BREAKS STATEMENT AND OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION ON CUMBRIA'S SEND LOCAL OFFER WEBSITE

 

Council for Disabled Children publish their Winter Digest

CDC logo

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) have recently published their latest round up of news, events and activity for parents, carers, young people and practitioners to read.

+ READ THE CDC'S WINTER DIGEST


Regular features

Your CAMHS and Learning Disability Service questions answered

Q&A

Jean Hamilton, Clinical Services Manager for CAMHS and Learning Disability services at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

In November we asked if you had any questions for Jean about the services she manages. Here she answers your questions...

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Do the North Cumbria Children and Young People’s services (CYPS) work with children with Autism?

The Core CAMHS, CEDS (certified eating disorder specialist), and ADHD services do work with children who have autism if they have a co-occurring mental health disorder which requires specialist mental health treatment. Our Children’s Learning Disability and Behaviour Support Service offers an Early Intervention Service for Children with autism up to age 11 or, if they have a co-occurring learning disability, up to 18 years.

Every effort is made to make reasonable adjustments to support the young person to access our services.

What happens when a referral is rejected?  

Referrals are jointly triaged with the MyTime service. If referrals are not appropriate for MyTime, Specialist CAMHS, or CEDS services we will signpost the family to other relevant services.  The ADHD service has a separate referral process and will signpost referrals which do not meet their criteria to other sources of advice and support.

How long are the waiting times? 

There continues to be a high demand for children and young people's services. We aim to meet referral to treatment targets and need to prioritise interventions based on the assessed risk level. In line with the national picture, our service has been affected by the recent upsurge in Covid 19 cases and this has had an impact on staffing and service provision. The Core CAMHS service is currently meeting the 18 week target of referral to treatment time for 84% of referrals. This is closely monitored and we are striving to improve this.

Call for questions

Call for questions - Ruth Illman, Principal educational psychologist will be answering your questions about the psychological and specialist advisory teaching services.

+ EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS FOR RUTH ON THE PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICE AND SPECIALIST ADVISORY TEACHING SERVICE.

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What's new on Cumbria's SEND Local Offer?

Local offer signpost

Cumbria's SEND Local Offer website is the 'one stop shop' for information and advice for all things SEND related. 

We have a continuous improvement group of parents, carers and SEND practitioners from across education, health and social care, who meet regularly to develop new content and improve accessibility to the site. If you would like to join the group, please contact Hayley Stewart for more information.

What's new on the Local Offer?

  • A new emotional wellbeing and mental health digital support guide has launched, which includes specific advice related to SEND

+ VISIT THE EMOTIONAL WELLBEING AND MENTAL HEALTH DIGITAL SUPPORT GUIDE

  • An online sensory education session, developed with parents, carers and occupational therapists, was held in November 2021. You can now view a recording of the session and access the resources from the session on the Local Offer

+ VISIT THE SENSORY EDUCATION SESSION

  • A new children's audiology webpage is now available on the Local Offer. The service are looking for feedback from parents, carers and young people on the page. 

+ VISIT THE CHILDREN'S AUDIOLOGY PAGE

+ GIVE FEEDBACK ON THE CHILDREN'S AUDIOLOGY PAGE

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SEND resources

Special Care Dentistry pathway

SEND logo

The Special Care Dentistry Pathway is a service covering the whole of Cumbria for both children and adults, provided by North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust .

Special Care Dentistry is concerned with the improvement of oral health of individuals and groups in society, who have a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, emotional or social impairment or disability, or more often a combination of a number of these factors.

The Specialist and Special Care Dental Services are complimentary to, not in competition with, dental practitioners on the high street. One of the guiding principles is that they do not provide care for clients who could be treated by high street dental practitioners.

Acceptance for treatment is subject to defined criteria and patients will usually be seen for an episode of care and then discharged back to the referring practitioner. Patients with more complex special needs may continue to receive care with the team on an ongoing and regular basis.

Who can refer?

Treatment will only be offered following an assessment initiated by the receipt of a completed referral form. Referrals are accepted from a range of healthcare professionals and those involved with the holistic care of vulnerable adults and children including:

  • General Dental Practitioners
  • General Medical Practitioners
  • Medical and Dental consultants
  • School Nurses/Specialist Nurses/Health Visitors/Allied Health Professionals
  • Looked After Children Team
  • Social Workers
  • Community Mental Health Team
  • Learning Disabilities Team
  • Residential and Nursing Home Managers

Please speak to your current dentist, a member of the health team you work with or your social worker and ask them to make a referral if you think your child or young person would benefit from this service.

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Tips on completing the Disability Living Allowance form

Contact, the charity for families with disabled children have some top tips for parents and carers on completing the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) application form. 

The application form is lengthy and can be overwhelming to fill in, especially as it goes against a parent's natural instinct to celebrate your child's achievements, and instead asks you to think about all the things they find difficult and need help with. The advice from Contact offers practical advice about completing the form, and support and reassurance about the sections that can be emotionally difficult.

+ VIEW 'TIPS ON COMPLETING THE DISABILITY ALLOWANCE FORM' FROM CONTACT

 

National charities collaborate to create useful 'Parent's guide to...' leaflets

Contact logo

Three national charities have collaborated to collate useful information and advice for parents and carers of children with autism, a learning disability, or both.

Contact, the National Deaf Children's Society and See-ability have teamed up to create three leaflets giving advice on oral health and dental care, eye care and hearing care. The leaflets are informative and easy to read.

deaf children's society logo
Seeability

+ VIEW 'A PARENTS' GUIDE TO ORAL HEALTH AND DENTAL CARE'

+ VIEW 'A PARENTS' GUIDE TO EYE CARE'

+ VIEW 'A PARENTS' GUIDE TO HEARING CARE'

 


And finally...

virtual meeting

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

We hope that you are finding these newsletters useful. If you would like us to cover any specific SEND related topics, or would like to see introductions or Q&A articles from specific people or services, please do let us know. 

+ GET IN TOUCH WITH THE SEND NEWSLETTER.

We continue to acknowledge the additional anxieties and pressures faced by many of our SEND families throughout this pandemic, and assure you that we will work together to continue to support you as restrictions are eased. 

We want to assure you that we remain committed to delivering the improvements which we know are vital to ensure Cumbria does it's very best for children and young people with SEND and their families.

You can find information and support on the Ways to Welfare page. As the end of another very difficult year approaches, we wish the very best for you and your family.

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