In the lead up to last month’s Virtual SEND Local Offer Drop-in, we asked Manchester City Council to collate questions that have been asked to the various providers so we can produce an FAQ to share to parents & carers.
They kindly obliged and sent us the following questions and answers (click or tap a question to view the answer):
Ideas for using your direct payment: what about a television subscription, equipment such as games, sensory toys, I pads, 3D Virtual stuff, big tent for the garden / indoors, cookery equipment, indoor mini gym equipment.
These are just some ideas, if you are not sure what you can spend your money on, contact the Specialist Resource team 0161 219 2125 or your social worker.”
Sessions may need to take place in the home. Also, look at the guidance from Well Child charity: https://www.wellchild.org.uk/2020/03/18/seven-rules-for-managing-carers-in-the-home/“
The local authority is working with agencies that provide personal assistance and befriending services for families, to make sure they are able to continue offering services once the Coronavirus situation is over”
Alternatively, you could bank the hours you usually receive from the short breaks service and have them once life is back to normal.”
Many schools will be able to offer some support to children of key workers and vulnerable children, including disabled children over school holidays, so check with your child’s school as this may provide the break you need currently.”
You could use your direct payment to buy play equipment which other members of the family who live in your household could use with your disabled child.”
For most children who would usually attend a play scheme, but would be safer in the current situation staying at home, we will consider the use of direct payments as an alternative so families can buy appropriate play equipment.”
- Regular updates / resources through the Local Offer and newsletter. https://hsm.manchester.gov.uk/kb5/manchester/directory/advice.page?id=F3WlTVb4jZ0
- Good information about where to get help, for example food banks, other financial support https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/info/500361/coronavirus
- Connection with other parents though the Manchester Parent Carer Forum and the Parent Champions Facebook Page sharing loads of good stuff: https://hsm.manchester.gov.uk/kb5/manchester/directory/localoffer.page?localofferchannel=1-7-25&agefilters=4
- Virtual Drop Ins – dates advertised on Manchester Local Offer – www.manchester.gov.uk/sendlocaloffer
- Extended hours on the IAS Helpline: https://hsm.manchester.gov.uk/kb5/manchester/directory/advice.page?id=hJA-GcVIZlU or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Much greater flexibility about how you can use your direct payment
- One Education Educational Psychologists can help parents/carers talk to their children about Coronavirus. Help line open 9 – 12, Monday to Friday: 0161 276 0115
Schools are also contacting all pupils who are at home at least weekly.
Encourage your child to keep in touch with their friends and relatives through phone calls or social media following the national on-line safety advice.
Other parents will also have great ideas to share about what activities they have tried – see the Local Offer for links: https://hsm.manchester.gov.uk/kb5/manchester/directory/advice.page?id=F3WlTVb4jZ0“
“Your social worker or specialist resource team worker will contact you to arrange for your support to continue if you still need it until they can arrange for a proper review. They may need to change the type of support you receive – for example, you may be given a direct payment, so you can buy play equipment.”
This is the info we got from the Short Breaks page on the Local Offer:
- Short Break Reviews can be done over the phone.
- Families just need to call 0161-219-2125 during the dedicated Drop In times
- The SRT worker will call them back if they prefer.
Family Fund charity offers grants towards items for disabled children.
You can apply for a Family fund grant via https://www.familyfund.org.uk/faqs/how-do-we-apply
Please note that most of the answers above are directly quoted from the FAQs that the local authority published on the Local Offer. We have put such answers within quotes (“”) to make it clear that the answers are not our own.
Where we put our own commentary in, we separated our answers from that of the city council’s using a horizontal line and our comments are in green text. This will be clear when you’re reading each FAQ item above.
We hope this helps. Any questions, please send us a message or contact Information, Advice and Support (IAS) Manchester or visit the SEND Local Offer.