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Groups in lockdown: what’s on offer for parent carers and young people

As we head towards a year since the first lockdown began, the isolation is really starting to take its toll for many of us. Whether you’re a parent carer, burning out from being in a caring role 24/7, or a young person with disabilities, struggling without people your age to talk to, peer support groups can help.

Whilst we can’t meet in person right now, there’s still plenty of support and connection available! Whether by Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, or more creative solutions…

We’ve put together an update, letting you know what’s on offer at all our groups right now, plus groups from local parent carer forums ESPCF and PaCC:

Groups for young people

Amazing Futures East Sussex

We offer support to young people with SEND aged 14 to 25.

We’re pleased to be able to offer:

  • a variety of Zoom based activities, including an art club, catch ups and quiz night
  • pre-bookable group walks along the seafront in Eastbourne – only walking in pairs and strictly socially distanced. Brave the winter weather and get active outdoors!
  • one to one support walks with Claire
  • an active Whatsapp group

(Our socially distanced walks are permitted under current guidance from the National Youth Agency, and meet current exercise guidelines from the government.)

If you have questions, or would like to get involved, contact Claire Piper on 07484 915 038 or email claire@amazesussex.org.uk

Amazing Futures Brighton & Hove

We offer support to young people with SEND aged 14 to 25.

We are not currently meeting in person, but we are running small Zoom groups, including:

  • art group
  • young women’s group
  • young men’s group
  • group for young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
  • group for young people who are LGBTQIAU

Please contact sue@amazesussex.org.uk or call Sue on 07483 111 648 if you’re interested and would like to find out more.

groups for parent carers

East Sussex

Face 2 Face “Kids Squad” and “Escape”

Following in the footsteps of the successful and popular groups that run in Brighton & Hove, we’re keen to reach out to East Sussex parent carers and offer support in the best way possible.

We currently offer two WhatsApp groups for parent carers of children with ASC:

  • Kids Squad – for parent carers of children up to 10 years old
  • Escape – for parent carers of children aged 11+

These groups are proving to be a wonderful resource, where members are able to give and receive support during these very challenging times.

In the near future we aim to offer Zoom meet-ups as well. This would be a space to share, and an opportunity to focus on specialist areas such as PDA and sensory issues, or invite guest speakers to join us.

To find out more or get involved, contact Kathy on 07484 526 707 or email kathy@amazesussex.org.uk.

ESPCF virtual drop-ins

East Sussex Parent Carers Forum (ESPCF) is holding weekly virtual drop-in sessions, open to all parent carers in East Sussex. ESPCF want to hear directly from SEND families about how they are coping during the third national lockdown. The forum warmly encourages any parent carers in East Sussex to come along and share their experiences – you don’t have to be a member and there is no need to book.

Topics which have cropped up so far include vaccines for carers, juggling home-school and work, where to seek further info and advice, and access to IT equipment, plus simply checking in and offering each other support.

ESPCF also use the sessions as an opportunity to feed back to the local authority and clinical commissioning group about the issues and experiences being raised (if parents give their consent for this).

Upcoming dates and Zoom links.

For more details, email info@espcf.org.uk.

Face 2 Face Dads Group

Are you a dad or male carer of a child or adult with special educational needs or disabilities? Are you struggling to find like-minded men to talk to that understand the situation you find yourselves in? Then please feel free to join us at “The Dads Group”.

We are a group of fathers of kids with additional needs that normally meet up monthly in Brighton in a friendly pub atmosphere. At the moment we meet over Zoom instead, and welcome dads in East Sussex to join us as well. We meet on the last Thursday of the month. We discuss our experiences caring for our children, share information, but most of all support and understand what dads, new and old, are going through. We also keep in touch on our closed Facebook group.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, please email Darren on dazmonkey72@googlemail.com for more info.


Brighton & Hove

Face 2 Face Breakfast Club

We offer connection and support for parent carers in Brighton & Hove.

Our Breakfast Club group has an active WhatsApp group where parents connect most days. We also meet on Zoom every two weeks on a weekday at 10am.

We run fun competitions, prize draws, and have a selection of guest speakers. Some upcoming topics and speakers include: cultural talk, Integrated Team for Families, Amazing Futures career support and peer support services, teen talk. The Zoom meetings are hosted by Louise and Val.

If you have questions, or would like to get involved, contact Louise at louise@amazesussex.org.uk

Face 2 Face Autism Group

Our Autism Group is for parent carers in Brighton & Hove with a child under 8 with autism. We have a WhatsApp group, and run Zoom sessions every three weeks, in the evenings from 8pm. Upcoming themes include: wellbeing dance lessons, nursery SENCO, and a parents pamper evening. The Zoom meetings are hosted by Louise and Ruhiya.

If you have questions, or would like to get involved, contact Louise at louise@amazesussex.org.uk

Face 2 Face Dads Group

Are you a dad or male carer of a child or adult with special educational needs or disabilities? Are you struggling to find like-minded men to talk to that understand the situation you find yourselves in? Then please feel free to join us at “The Dads Group”.

We are a group of fathers of kids with additional needs that normally meet up monthly in Brighton in a friendly pub atmosphere. At the moment we meet over Zoom instead, on the last Thursday of each month. We discuss our experiences caring for our children, share information, but most of all support and understand what dads, new and old, are going through. We also keep in touch on our closed Facebook group.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, please email Darren on dazmonkey72@googlemail.com for more info.

PaCC coffee mornings

The Parent Carers’ Council offers coffee mornings for any parent carers in Brighton and Hove who have children with disabilities or additional needs.

Currently meeting online using Zoom, we offer two monthly sessions:

  • Second Tuesday of the month, for families living in East Brighton
  • Third Tuesday of the month, for families living in West Brighton

To find out more, contact Paolo on 07484 051 753 or email paolo@paccbrighton.org.uk.


If you’re struggling and would like to speak to an Amaze SENDIASS adviser, contact us on 01273 772289 or email SENDIASS@amazesussex.org.uk

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