Parent support groups and befriending

We run regular, informal support groups across Brighton & Hove and East Sussex for parents of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We also offer one-to-one befriending for those parents who need more individual support.

Brighton & Hove groups

Find out more about all our parent carer support groups for families in Brighton & Hove.

East Sussex groups

Find out more about all our parent carer support groups for families in East Sussex.

About our groups

You can drop in to any of our regular, friendly groups across Brighton & Hove and East Sussex – no need to book. At our groups, you’ll meet other parents and carers who know what it’s like to bring up kids with additional needs. Sometimes we’ll have sessions on particular issues you want to know more about; sometimes we’ll ask for your views on a topic or service so we can feed back your concerns to the people who plan services. But mostly, we’ll just be having a cuppa, a cake and a good chat!

Between sessions, if you wish, you can stay connected to the parents you have met via our lively WhatsApp groups.

Our partnership with the parent carer forums

Our parent support groups are run in partnership with the local parent carer forums for Brighton & Hove and East Sussex. Delivering these groups together means we can be more efficient and responsive in the way we offer advice (Amaze) or engage parents’ views (PaCC and ESPCF) on the development of the services they use.

Read more about our co-delivery of parent support groups.

Read more about how Amaze and the local parent carer forums work together to represent the views of families with disabled children and young people.

The Parent Carers’ Council (PacC) is the parent carer forum for Brighton & Hove. Find out more about PaCC at https://paccbrighton.org.uk

ESPCF is the parent carer forum for East Sussex. Find out more about ESPCF at https://espcf.org.uk

One to one befriending

We offer one-to-one befriending for parents who need a bit more individual support, perhaps around the time of their child’s diagnosis or when they are going through other challenges. Our volunteer befrienders are all parents of children with additional needs themselves. They are trained and supervised by Amaze.

How does befriending work?

An Amaze support and engagement worker will talk to you on the phone first to explain more about befriending and work out what you need. If we can help, you will then be matched to a befriender with similar experiences who will support you for up to six months. The support is flexible and can range from weekly to fortnightly visits or just keeping in touch via phone, text or email.

It may not be possible to match you to a befriender straight away, in which case you will be held on a waiting list.

For more information contact Marie Baker via [email protected] or on 07484 051755.

Be a volunteer befriender

Are you a parent or carer of a child or young person with SEND? Do you have the knowledge and experience to support other parents? If so, why not become a volunteer befriender?

Other local parent carer support groups

There are groups for parents of children with any disability and some groups for children with specific disabilities such as autism or Down syndrome.  

Find out about local parent carer support groups on your Local Offer or Family Information Service or Community Directory. 

Brighton & Hove’s Inclusion Support Service (BHISS) runs regular coffee mornings for parents of children with autism and in East Sussex, CLASS+ (part of the Communication, Learning and Autism Support Service) runs regular coffee mornings for parents of 5-16 year olds with autism. Get details of CLASS+ coffee mornings and services on the CLASS+ Facebook page or on Education East Sussex’s Facebook page. 

The local parent carer forums in your area may also run their own groups or events where parent carers can get together to find out about specific topics or just have a cuppa.  Brighton & Hove’s Parent Carers’ Council (PaCC) runs regular coffee mornings in Moulsecoomb, Hangleton & Knoll and Whitehawk. Find out more from: