Coronavirus support from Amaze

Coronavirus - support from Amaze

At Amaze we continue to do all we can to keep services and support going during coronavirus/Covid-19. Your local parent carer forums PaCC in Brighton & Hove and ESPCF in East Sussex are still active too, particularly via their social media.

Covid-19 has changed some of how we work. We may be doing things differently or taking longer to do them. Amaze (and PaCC and ESPCF) employ a large number of parents and carers who have been supporting their children at home. Our staffing is also affected by sickness and self-isolation. We also have to ensure that our services adhere to the latest government advice about staying safe during the pandemic.

Check below for how each of our services is currently operating.

SENDIASS Helpline
All our team are working from home and are still offering a full Helpline service. We continue to offer information, advice and support for parent carers and to young people with SEND. Please call us with your questions and concerns about education, health and social care.  And we are still able to offer some follow up casework support (by phone and email) for more complex issues for parent carers and young people with SEND. Covid-19 has thrown up so many challenges for families that the helpline is extra busy, so it’s a good idea take a look at our website information first and see if the answer you need is there.

For a more informal way to ask questions, find out the latest information and hear from other parents we are running some SENDIASS Zoom workshops on different topics. If there isn’t one about the topic you need you could suggest we run one. Check our events page for details of any coming up soon

How to access/contact us:

You can contact us by phone 01273 772289 or email sendiass@amazesussex.org.uk . All calls go straight to voicemail at the moment, so please leave your contact details and an outline of your query.  It may take a little longer for us to respond to you than usual but please be reassured that we will respond as quickly as we can.

Looking Forward
The Looking Forward team are working from home, using Zoom and the phone for meetings so that young people don’t have to go to the Amaze offices.

We support young people with SEND to plan for the future by looking at their options in education, employment and training. By identifying a career aim, we can support young people to plan the steps they need to achieve their goals. Parent carers are welcome to join in our meetings as they can be so important to finding, and keeping, the right placement.

Looking Forward is open to all young people with SEND age 14-25 with or without an Education, Health and Care Plan.

How to contact us:

Please email or phone Liam Ryan: liam@amazesussex.org.uk / 07483 111659

Face2Face befriending service

Brighton and Hove

We are actively offering support and connecting parents even though we can’t offer face-to-face visits from our befrienders in the usual way. We continue to work to support families who have been referred to our service by telephone, text and emails. We had started doing some outdoor meetings, but these are on hold again for now. We are continuing to match new families to befrienders.

During the lockdown, our Brighton & Hove Face2Face groups are meeting virtually. The Breakfast Club, Autism group and Dads group are all now meeting online as well as keeping in touch through social media. If you would like to join one of these groups, please contact Louise at the address below for further details.

How to access/contact us:

Please email Louise Howe, Face2Face project worker, on louise@amazesussex.org.uk

East Sussex

We are actively offering support and connecting parents even though we can’t offer face-to-face visits from our befrienders in the usual way. We continue to work to support families who have been referred to our service by telephone, text and emails. We were carefully starting some outdoor meetings, but these are on hold for now. We are continuing to match new families to befrienders.

We have two Face2Face groups in East Sussex. We asked East Sussex parents what sort of group was needed most and you said groups for parents of children and young people with autism. There is a group for parents of under 11s and one for parents of over 11s. The Face to Face Dad’s Group also welcomes fathers from East Sussex now it is meeting online. We hope to start more groups soon, including for parents of 16 to 25 year olds so let us know if you are interested.

How to contact us:

Please email Kathy Johnson, Face2Face project worker on kathy@amazesussex.org.uk

Amazing Futures
Amazing Futures groups in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex have been meeting online or as one to one walk and talk sessions. But we are now restarting groups as things ease up in Spring 2021. Get in touch to find out what is happening now or starting soon.

Brighton & Hove

If you’re not already involved, but you or your young person is interested in being part of Brighton and Hove Amazing Futures, please contact Sue (contact details below).

How to access/contact us:

Please contact Sue Winter on sue@amazesussex.org.uk  or call 07483 111648 (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays).

East Sussex

Amazing Futures will take referrals for the regular groups in Bexhill and Eastbourne but also these two groups:

Amazingly active – our peer support coach training has an ongoing programme – where you can have fun learning how to safely support young people to exercise and be more active. These peer support training sessions in partnership with Defiant Sports resume in January 2020. The amazingly active sessions co-delivered by the new peer support coaches will run in the new year.

Amazine magazine group – young people are welcome to join the focus group helping to create Amazine – our magazine for and by young people in Sussex with SEND.  Join the focus group and have fun working on content, taking photos and creating artwork.  This project is coordinated by Amy Goble. You can contact her on amy@amazesussex.org.uk or phone 07494 121322.

How to access/contact us:

Email claire@amazesussex.org.uk or call/text 07484 915038.

Benefits work: DLA and PIP Service

We are working hard to maintain our offer of direct support to families to claim DLA and PIP. Earlier in the Covid pandemic DLA and PIP awards were extended but now people are being asked to renew. There are so many families needing help with these renewals that you may have to wait a bit longer if you want help with a new claim in the next few months. We are giving priority to renewals and to claims for people who have to switch from DLA to PIP. This is because if these claims do not get done in the time allowed, families will have benefits stopped that they are already relying on.

If you are thinking of making a first claim for DLA and PIP you can get prepared for this by reading the information in the Money Matters section of this website. Then call us if you need help so we can plan with you how best to help. The helpline can offer initial advice, point you to the right factsheet and help you book on one of our DLA or PIP workshops on Zoom.

Although we cannot meet families and young people face to face, we are able to contact you by phone or email. Conversations with you are likely to be shorter but more frequent as we gather all the information we need to make a strong claim. Let us know if English is not your first language, so we can think about who can best help us get started.

Wherever possible, we will offer you as much help as you need to draft typed notes that get tagged into the claim pack. We understand how hard it is to get extra copies of important information about your child or young person right now. If you live in Brighton & Hove, we have a protocol for safely picking up your supporting evidence and signed claim pack. We can also photocopy original documents, collate everything and post your claim by special delivery. Unfortunately, we do not currently have sufficient funding to offer this copy and send service in East Sussex.

Your child’s DLA or PIP award may have been extended for 6 months, but the DWP is now sending out these renewal packs with a short deadline. If you need more time contact the DWP to ask for this. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible, if a lot has changed since you last claimed and you need help with a review.

If a young person, aged at least 16 and getting DLA, has been invited to claim PIP and you have a PIP claim pack, do ask for extra time, if you need it. Remember the bar is set higher for PIP than DLA, so it’s worth making sure you have all your evidence available before making the claim. The DWP are restarted some face to face assessments for PIP in May, but will still mostly make decisions on papers or using a phone assessment.

How to access/contact us:

You can contact us by email sendiass@amazesussex.org.uk or phone (01273 772289). All calls go straight to voicemail at the moment, so please leave your contact details. We are currently replying to calls within a day or two.

Compass Card
The Compass Team is working from home, but still fully operational. We’re processing Compass Registration Forms and sending out new cards and encourage anyone who needs to renew their card or apply for the first time to get in touch. You can print out a registration form on the Compass Card website, or email the team and we’ll get one in the post to you. And there’s a new online registration form for families in West Sussex  https://www.registercompasscard.org.uk/ An online form for Brighton & Hove will follow soon.

More and more Compass Card Partner venues are starting to reopen and, if the weather is kind, there are lots of fun, outdoor places to go. Check the Offers page of our website for details or use our App.

We’re also inspiring Compass Card families, parent carers and young people with a series of three ‘Leisure, Learning and Lock-down‘ guides. And we’re posting ideas and information on leisure on the Amaze Compass Card Facebook page and Twitter feed.

How to contact/access:

email compass@amazesussex.org.uk

website www.compasscard.org.uk

Facebook www.facebook.com/AmazeCompassCard/

Twitter twitter.com/AmazeCompass

PaCC coffee mornings for parent carers (Brighton & Hove)
Our regular coffee mornings for parent carers in Moulsecoomb, Whitehawk and Hangleton & Knoll are now meeting regularly on Zoom. We stopped meeting face to face last year due to Covid-19 but, mindful that many SEND families are experiencing a higher level of isolation and very challenging times, we decided to diversify the way we keep in touch.

We contacted all the families who are in the different coffee morning lists. Parent carers were asked which method of keeping in touch they prefer. It could be that a parent is happy to be contacted by email and text once a month, others maybe prefer a chat on the phone but most people are happy to come to our monthly online coffee mornings and we are back to having themes or speakers sometimes.

We will continue to be with you, listen to your worries and your daily stories. We will be able to refer you to Amaze SENDIASS or other services, if you need some specific advice and/or support.

We are also keen on recording any recurrent issue or problem so that the Parent Carers’ Council (PaCC) can represent you when attending meeting with Local Authority or other service providers.

How to contact/access:

Email Paolo at Paolo@paccbrighton.org.uk or call 07484051753

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