Support networks and services for children and young people with SEND

The main support agencies providing general help and advice for parents and carers of children and young people with SEN and disability in Herefordshire are:

Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support service (SENDIAS)

The SENDIAS service provides free information, advice and guidance to parents and carers of children and to young people, in education or training up to the age of 25, who have a disability and/or special educational needs.

They can help you and your son or daughter play an active role in their education or training and can advise you on what you should expect from statutory agencies and at key transition stages in your son or daughter's life.

Herefordshire Carers Support

Herefordshire Carers Support is a registered charity. It provides practical support and advice to carers in Herefordshire. A carer is an adult or child, who provides unpaid support to someone who couldn't live independently or whose health or wellbeing would deteriorate without this help. The charity particularly aims to support and meet the needs of parent carers.

Other support agencies in Herefordshire

These agencies provide support and advice for the particular needs of children and young people with SEN or disability and their families, as listed in their information.

ACSYL - building community support

ACSYL builds support networks for people who are isolated by disability, mental health challenges or some other factor. Membership is open to any family that has one or more vulnerable member, whether or not they receive services from their Local Authority.

ACSYL believes that everyone needs and deserves the support of friends. Sometimes, particularly when people are isolated, this means building intentional friendships. ACSYL builds circles of support for people who want and need them - trusted supporters who will be there for them even when parents or family are no longer around. Visit the ACSYL website.

Autism West Midlands

Autism West Midlands offer support and specialist care for children on the autism spectrum and their parents and families. They also offer training for families and the professionals who help them. They have six residential homes and two supported living establishments. They provide support in the community to hundreds of people and their families.

The ASSERT team at Autism West Midlands operate a weekday phone advice service from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. They take calls from parents, carers and professionals who need advice, information and guidance on any SEN-related issues, including:

  • SEN reforms - what the changes mean for you
  • Transition to adulthood
  • Self-directed support including Personal Budgets
  • EHC Plans and Statements


Acorns Children's Hospice

Acorns Children's Hospice offers a network of specialist palliative nursing care and support to babies, children and young people aged 0 - 18 years who have life limiting or life threatening illnesses and their families, including those that are bereaved.

We provide a holistic service to meet the needs of children and young people and their families. This includes short break provision, end of life care, therapeutic and psychosocial support, sibling and family support.

The most local hospice is:

  • Acorns for the Three Counties (350 Bath Road, Worcester WR5 3EZ), covering Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire

Families can refer themselves and/or be referred by paediatricians, GPs, social workers or community nurses.

All referrals need to be supported by the child's consultant to confirm they meet the acceptance criteria.

  • Acorns for the Three Counties
  • Address: 350 Bath Road, Worcester WR5 3EZ
  • Telephone: 01905 767676

For other hospices and more information, please visit:

Contact a Family

Contact a Family is a UK-wide charity providing advice, information and support to the parents of disabled children, no matter what their disability or health condition. They offer free support and advice on a wide range of topics. These include benefits, staying out of debt, rights of families, education and research. They can also put families in touch with others having similar experiences.

  • Free national helpline: 0808 808 3555
  • Regional telephone: 0121 415 4624
  • Email:
  • Address: Prospect Hall, 12 College Walk, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LE

The Contact a Family directory covers many different conditions and needs along with relevant support networks for families.

Herefordshire Disability United

Herefordshire Disability United (HDU) is run by people with disabilities, for people with disabilities. Its committee members come from a broad variety of backgrounds with a wide range of experiences and skills. HDU provides a voice for disabled people and an opportunity to speak out on local and national disability issues. This may include concerns about education, employment, transport, housing, independent living and economic independence.

For more information and contact details please visit Herefordshire Disability United.


KIDS works with disabled children, young people and their families. As part of a project sponsored by the Department for Education, KIDS has worked with a number of partners to develop resources to support families and carers of disabled children and young people to explore how personal budgets and the local offer will benefit them.

To find resources to help you navigate the reforms to Special Educational Needs and disability provision visit the KIDS website.

Marches Family Network

Marches Family Network provide social opportunities, respite and help for disabled children and assistance, friendship and advice for their families. Their family support worker helps families to fill in forms, puts them in touch with other families who have a child with a similar disability, and helps to build good support networks.

Parent Carer Network in Herefordshire

The Parent Carer Network in Herefordshire is run by and for parents whose children have disabilities and or special educational needs. We aim to provide peer support and information to parents. We also work closely with local service providers, community groups and local businesses to improve the social, educational, employment and housing opportunities for people with disabilities and those who care for them.

We recognise that our caring responsibilities will in many cases continue into our child's adult life and we aim to support parent carers and their children or adult children regardless of age.

We are a parent led service run entirely on a voluntary basis. Membership is free to anyone interested in improving the lives of parent carers, people with disabilities and their families.

The Parent Carer Network meets every third Wednesday of the month at the Royal Hotel in Ross-on-Wye. We meet from 7.30pm but meetings are very informal so feel free to join us when it is convenient for you. If nothing else you can enjoy a drink with friends.

The Parent Carer Network can be contacted at:

There is also a new group being established in North Herefordshire and South Shropshire. For more details visit their North Hereford and South Shropshire Facebook page.