An update from minister for vulnerable children and families, Vicky Ford, regarding SEND advice and the Corvid-19 response has been published today Tuesday 24th March 2020. You can access the letter here.

During this time you may want to talk to someone about your concerns. There are many parent to parent support networks, local and national organisations who can help.

Parent to parent support networks

Somerset Parent Carer Forum CIC runs an online virtual support group. Any parent carer of a child or young person who has Special Educational Needs and /or Disabilities (SEND) is welcome to join this. You can join the group Finding Your Way group here. To ensure the group remains secure you will be asked to answer a couple of questions before entering the group, please check your others box in messenger.

& Breathe Yeovil is a parent led group run by parents of children at Fiveways school for parents and carers of children or young adults with learning disabilities. The group is open to families who do not attend the school.

In Touch is a Community group for parents/carers and children with disabilities and/or additional needs. The group is based in the West Somerset area.

Contact run an online community where parents on children and young people with SEND can discuss concerns and share Information.

Local support and Information

Ups and Downs is a charity that supports individual family members and/or families as a whole, who have a child with Down Syndrome and require some of our happy and optimistic information. The family support team are available Monday to Thursday 9:30 am – 3:00 pm on 01278 691100 or via email

Somerset County Council’s contact centre can provide a range of Information and signpost to local services. You can contact them on 0300 123 2224. The opening hours are 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

The Local Offer provides information on the services available for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) aged between 0 to 25 and how to access them. You can view the Somerset’s Local Offer 0-25 website here. The local offer also contains a list of support groups that run in Somerset, including condition specific groups.

National support and Information

The Autism Helpline enquiry service provides impartial, confidential information along with advice and support for autistic people and their families and carers. Call them on 0808 800 4104
Monday to Thursday 10am-4pm and Friday 9am-3pm

Contact run a free helpline for parents and carers in any part of the UK with a disabled child aged from birth to 25. Your child can have any kind of disability or additional need, and you do not need to have a diagnosis. Call them on 0808 808 3555 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday, free from UK landlines and UK mobiles. Press 1, to speak to an education adviser, press 2 for all other helpline enquires.

There is also a lot of useful information on the Contact website which can be accessed here.

Mencap provide a range of information on their website which maybe useful. There have an online Community. In addition they have a helpline available from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. You can ring 0808 808 1111 or email

Scope Uk run a free helpline which provides practical information and emotional support when it’s most needed. They are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm. Saturday to Sunday 10am to 6pm. Contact them on 0808 800 3333 or

The booklet Supporting Children with Learning Disability/ASD Coping with COVID-19 Isolation, gives lots of practical advice for parents. You can access the booklet here.