Empowering families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities


Reaching Families Coronavirus Survey


Reaching Families are pleased to present our report into the challenges faced by families of children with SEND during the coronavirus pandemic.

Our online survey of over 400 West Sussex families points to major challenges in parental exhaustion, mental health and wellbeing, homeschooling, shopping, and looking further ahead, preparing our children for returning to school.

We are using the findings from the report to adapt our services, share with local partners and urge central government to do more to support families of children with SEND during the course of the pandemic. Our grateful thanks to everyone who participated in the survey.

Stay Connected: e-Bulletin

We hope you are all well and enjoying this lovely weather and the freedom to be out more.

Here is this week’s e-bulletin with links to relevant articles and information, and details of what we have coming up next week. We are also continuing to update the Coronavirus FAQs and the Fact sheets on our website.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week - Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic Reaching Families can offer support through its affordable counselling service.

SNJ "In Conversation" First episode: Coronavirus and disabled children’s mental health

Special Needs Jungle have launched a new feature - SNJ “In Conversation” where one of their team interviews someone about an interesting or current issue in the SEND sphere.

Dear Prime Minister, not all education in lockdown is equal

Written by Lilia Blower, a year 10 student with ADHD and Dyspraxia, giving a first hand experience of education in lockdown.

Preparing Autistic & SEND Children for going back to school – when we don’t know when that will be

Free practical help and resources to help you prepare Autistic and SEND children to go back to school when the time comes.

How has lockdown affected your sibling child/children?

Sibs have produced a short survey to find out about the impact lockdown and the pandemic is having on siblings of a child with disabilities, SEND or a long term health condition.

£37 million to support children with complex needs

The multi-million-pound settlement will help low-income families with seriously ill or or disabled children with the cost of equipment, goods or services.

West Sussex Blue badge scheme offers temporary relaxation on renewal

West Sussex have confirmed they will not issue Penalty Charge Notices for some expired Blue Badges until 30 September 2020.

Reaching Out across Sussex

SEN Magazine have featured an article on how Reaching Families has had to adapt fast and modify its approach to continue to reach families during the pandemic.

Geek week is coming…

Short Breaks are hosting a week of online activities for the half-term holidays around the theme ‘Geek Week’ - a celebration of hobbies, interests, fandom and fun!

And finally…

A local teenagers determination earns him national recognition

Alazar Sahele a 14 year old from Horsham has won Bikeability’s Trainee of the Year award by his determination to find solutions to cycling, rather than focusing on the barriers his cerebral palsy presents.

We hope you find some of the above helpful, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to access any support or if we can help you with anything further.

From all of the team, we hope you have a lovely bank holiday weekend.

Coming up next week

Umbrellas Virtual Support Group

2 pm - Wednesday 27th May
Email: admin@reachingfamilies.org.uk

Guardian article


Please see an article published in The Guardian this week written by our Director Brian O’Hagan, making a powerful case to government that they need to provide more support to our families during the pandemic.

Photograph: Janine Wiedel Photolibrary/Alamy

Reaching Families: Coronavirus Action Plan

Owing to the Coronavirus pandemic Reaching Families has cancelled its programme of activities for the summer term. This includes all of our support groups, training workshops, Face -2- Face befriending and group counselling. Once the current lockdown has been lifted we will look to restart all of the above work as soon as possible.

However, Reaching Families is not closing during the Coronavirus pandemic, in fact we expect to be busier than ever. The times we so suddenly find ourselves in requires us to reinvent how the organisation works, to use technology and creativity to reach families in need, to find new ways of ensuring parents and families stay connected. With that in mind we have developed a Coronavirus Action Plan that will ensure we can still deliver key service during these difficult times. Please see the accompanying poster for the broad outline of our plan. For more detailed information please visit our Stay Connected page.

Stay Safe
Stay Connected

Co-op Local Community Fund

Reaching Families has been chosen by the Co-op Local Community Fund to be one of their charity partners for 2020. Co-op members can choose to support Reaching Families every time they purchase Co-op branded goods, 1% of which you can opt to be donated to our charity. If you are not a Co-op member but would like to join please use the following link: https://coop.co.uk/membership.

Click on the logo below to view our Co-op Community Fund page:


Co-op Local Community Fund