Where to go for Help

Finding the organisations and people that can support you and your family can take some effort. Together with parent carers in Surrey, we have created this guide to help you find your way around some of the best-trodden paths.

Advice, advocacy and information

  • Action for Carers: offers information and practical support to carers
  • Surrey Jndependent Living Council: offers advocacy with both health (NHS) complaints and for disabled people aged 16+.
  • Advocacy in Surrey: Advocacy to support individuals, carers, young carers, through any stage of a Care Assessment, Support Plan and/or Review including Safeguarding. Also includes Prison Advocacy and non instructed Advocacy.
  • Child Law Advice: provides specialist advice on child, family and education law.
  • Citizens Advice: provides free, confidential advice on everything from employment rights and benefit entitlements to family and social care services
  • East Surrey Carers Support Association: we must advise you that East Surrey Carers Support Association has now ceased trading. This is a link to their Facebook page with a list of organisations that might be useful to you.​
  • IPSEA: offers free independent legally-based advice and support to help get the right education for SEND children.
  • Local Offer: your one-stop-shop for all things SEND. Find information ranging from childcare to leisure opportunities to events in your local area, and talk to other parents and carers through an online forum which suits your need.
  • SEND Advice Surrey (previously SSIASS): provides impartial, confidential and free support to empower parents and SEND children to express their views and make informed decisions.
  • Special Help 4 Special Needs: Mark Brown provides practical support and advice to families to help them understand their child with additional needs.
  • Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity: offers consultations, assessments, tuition and other support to children and adults with dyslexia and other SpLDs. Financial help is available so that everyone who needs support can access it.


  • Contact a Family: Call 0808 808 3555 free for advice about any aspect of caring for a disabled child. Open Mon-Fri, 9.30am – 5pm.
  • SOS!SEN: – EHCP and SEN support
  • Samaritans: Call 116 123 free, 24 hours a day, 365 days/year. There to listen: you don’t have to be suicidal to call.
  • Relate: offering relationship counselling, you can have free live webchat sessions with a counsellor, or organise telephone, email or face to face counselling (at a subsidised cost).
  • Mindworks Surrey: offering emotional well-being and mental health advice
  • Mental Health Foundation: Their vision is for a world with good mental health for all. With prevention at the heart of what they do, they aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems so that people and communities can thrive. They will drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to live mentally healthier lives, with a particular focus on those at greatest risk.

Legislation and guidance

Money advice


  • Family Fund: offers grants for clothing, equipment, furniture and respite.
  • Family Holiday Charity: offers breaks for families, and has lots of links to organisations that can fund breaks.
  • GP Carer’s Prescription: is a scheme that means your GP can ask for a donation for you to spend on something you need for yourself.
  • Guildford Poyle Charities: offer individual grants to people living in central Guildford.
  • Revitalise Support Fund: offers holidays, including grants towards a holiday, for young adults aged 18+.
  • John Ede Trust: based near Dorking, gives financial assistance to people with learning disabilities and their families.
  • Starburst Foundation: accepts applications for specific items for children with additional needs up to age 18. Starburst orders and pays for items direct and arranges delivery to you. Covers certain areas around the Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire borders.
  • Sullivan’s Heroes: funds home adaptations for children with additional needs.

Respite/Short Breaks

  • Challengers: providing exciting and challenging play and leisure opportunities for disabled children and young people, with play & youth centres in Guildford and Farnham, and community based projects across Surrey.
  • Cherry Trees: offers short break respite care for children and young people up to age 19 with learning and physical disabilities, and sensory impairments.
  • Crossroads: offers a range of support services, including respite, to families.
  • Disabled access and special/medical needs at Gatwick: information for travelling through Gatwick.
  • Disabled access and special/medical needs at Heathrow: information for travelling through Heathrow.
  • Dramatize: provides theatrical workshops and events for young people/adults with learning disabilities aged 16+.
  • Homestart Surrey: home-based parenting support to families with at least one child under five.
  • InterAKtive: a parent-led charity for families with children with ASD or a similar communication difficulty, to help you access support and activity events.
  • LinkAble: Woking-based charity offering activities and breaks for children and young people with learning disabilites.
  • Shooting Star Chase: hospice, respite and family support service for children 0-21 with life-limiting conditions. There are two hospices: Shooting Star House in Hampton and Christopher’s in Guildford.
  • The Children’s Trust: https://www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/short-breaks
  • Wheels for All: offers cycle adapted and safe cycle sessions for children with additional needs.
  • White Lodge Centre: based near Chertsey, offers a range of services for families with children with additional needs.
  • YMCA East Surrey: provides short breaks services for children with SEND aged 5-18 years, and a Friday Night Project for young people with learning disabilites aged 16+.

Support groups and organisations

  • Barnardo’s Positive Parenting: a programme of support and advice for parent carers with children with a diagnosis/suspected diagnosis of ADHD.
  • Challenging Behaviour Foundation: can help with managing behaviours that challenge in children and young people with severe learning disabilities.
  • Dad Matters: Dad Matters Surrey exists to support dads to have the best possible relationship with their families. The Dad Matters staff provide 1:1 peer support to dads, to help build their confidence with forming a close bond with their baby; signpost and support dads to access services and information to help make sense of being a dad; and support dads with anxiety, stress and mental health awareness.
  • Dyspraxia Foundation: offers meetings, a parent support group and helpline and a newsletter.
  • PSDS: supports children with down syndrome and their families.
  • National Autistic Society Surrey Branch: parent-to-parent support group that organises local meet ups, workshops and family activities, as well hosting an online forum.
  • We-Shine: is a parent-run charity for families with young children aged 0-5 with additional needs in West Surrey.
  • The Zone: runs events for children and young people with additional needs on the Surrey/Hampshire border.
  • Young Epilepsy: is the national charity working for children with epilepsy,based in Lingfield. Support includes a helpline and training for parent carers.

Your health and wellbeing

  • Health Surrey: this website helps you find self-care information.
  • Free Mental Wellbeing Services: are available to support mental health and wellbeing listed on the Healthy Surrey website.
  • Mind Matters: talking therapies for anyone experiencing common mental health problems.
  • Moving and handling team: offers tools and techniques to help you limit the risk to straining your back, joints and soft tissues.