For the first time, SEND families living the city of Manchester can have free use of the Sensory Room at Benchill Community Centre in Wythenshawe. It has various sensory stimulation, including a waterbed, interactive sound wall, infinity tunnel, bubble tubes and animated projections. Each slot is for 45 minutes and on the hour, Monday 25th to Friday 29th October 10am–7pm. Up to five family/group members per session. Call 0161 946 9520 to book, using the code ‘SEND Community Offer’. There’s free parking at the venue and the 103 bus stops just outside. The Sensory Room is upstairs but there's a lift.
Redbank House Sensory Rooms
The popular Sensory Rooms at Redbank House in Cheetham Hill are back for the October half term! Free slots are available at various times during the week from Monday 25th to Friday 29th October. Manchester families only and booking essential – call 0161 214 5959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autumn Forest School
Many families enjoyed their time at the Manchester Bees Forest School in the summer. There’ll be Forest School drops in at Platt Fields Market Garden on Monday 25th, Thursday 28th and Sunday 31st October 10am-3.30pm, including a free lunch between 12 noon-1pm. These Stay & Play sessions are a special place where Manchester SEND children and their families can be themselves and use the space however they like. Enter the park at Mabfield Road and come through the main Platt Field Market Garden gate by the car park. See the website for more information.
Inclusive Sports Taster Day
There’s a free Inclusive Sports Taster Day for SEND families at Denmark Road Sports Centre on Thursday 28th October 10am-1pm. There are lots of sports on offer, including netball, boccia and rugby - just drop in. Tea, coffee, juice and refreshments provided and Manchester Parent Champions will be around to chat to parents. More information about the venue here, including parking and buses.
Autumn Bike Programme
Manccyles and Greater Manchester Youth Network (GMYN) are offering young people aged 12-16 with social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH) the chance to take part in a weekly cycling project until the end of the year. There’ll be a weekly bike ride on Saturdays 11am-3pm, including equipment, road safety and bike maintenance. Meet at Procter’s Young People’s Centre, Hulme Street, M15 5EF. Contact Euan Davies – 07534 466607, email@example.com
SEND-friendly Halloween Party
Join Manchester Parent Carer Forum (MPCF) for a free SEND-friendly Halloween celebration! It’s on Friday 29th October, 12.15-1.45pm at Longford Park Athletics Stadium in the Chorlton area. It’s an outdoor event with lots of unique, quirky, all-ability bicycles and tricycles available at the track with Simply Cycling, plus cupcake and cookie decorating, drawing and colouring activities, and a table with nibbles and light snacks. All the children will have treat bags to take home. Halloween fancy dress optional but encouraged! This event is for Manchester families with children with special educational needs and disabilities but you need to be a MPCF member to take part – join for free, then book on the event here.
Other Stuff To Do
There are now free Junior Sessions 5 years upwards, Sundays 1-2pm at the National Basketball Centre. Basketball wheelchairs supplied for the session and siblings welcome to join in. For more information, contact Dean Cavanagh at firstname.lastname@example.org, 07739 831835.
Aleiah’s Adventure - Booking Information
Aleiah’s Adventure is a children’s play about the journey of a young black girl with a hearing impairment who is introduced to the stories of inspirational black historic Mancunians. Suitable for families with children ages 7-11+ years but BOOKING ESSENTIAL as places are free but limited:
Find out about free events across Manchester in Loads To Do, including lots of free Halloween activities in the city's parks.
Free Travel Training For 14-25s
In response to the voice of young people, Manchester City Council has commissioned free travel training for young disabled people aged 14-25 living in Manchester. It develops confidence and skills in being able to travel independently on public transport or by walking and is being run through Greater Manchester Youth Network (GMYN). Contact email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 07429 351627. See the flyer here.
News About Our Drop Ins
Our next virtual drop in is Wednesday 20th October, 10am-12 noon. As usual, we’ll be sending out a list of who’s taking part a few days before. Look out for it in your inbox.
After this date, we'll be returning to face to face drop ins. The first will be in North Manchester at Manchester Youth Zone, Harpurhey on Wednesday 17th November, 10am-12 noon.
As part of the SEND Community Offer, Manchester families can access the Reward and Lifestyle Savings Group. It’s an online hub that has offers and savings in retail, lifestyle and leisure services. Through the mobile-friendly website and app, you can access discounts online and in-store across a wide range of national retailers including Asda, Tesco, Argos and Primark. You can also save on cinema tickets and venues like Alton Towers, Go Ape and SEA LIFE Manchester. Find out how to register.
You’re invited to contact Ali on the Local Offer team. Whatever the question – whether it’s about carers issues, benefits and grants, emotional wellbeing or coronavirus information - she will do her best to signpost you, wherever you are in the city. Email Ali at email@example.com or call/text 07971 587963. She usually works all day Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, and will get in touch as soon as she can.
As part of Manchester Libraries Black History Month, families can watch a free play for children - ‘Aleiah’s Adventure’. It’s about a young deaf black girl who becomes lost after leaving her family to prove her independence, leading her to the discovery of the importance of family values and growing up in your own way. It’s suitable for families with children aged 7-11+ and features integrated accessibility with British Sign Language and Visual Movement throughout. While the play is free, you need to call or drop in to libraries to book as places are limited:
Dominoes Netball Club in Manchester is proud to be hosting the North West’s first Core Inclusive ParaNetball Club in partnership with England Netball. The club takes place on the first Saturday of each month, starting on the 6th November, 10-11am, and will involve netball skills and fun games. The first three sessions are free and organiser Katie Thompson hopes to get further funding - otherwise, it will be around £3/£4 each time. The club is open to girls and boys, as well as siblings, and is at Wright Robinson Sports College, Gorton. While it’s aimed at the under 18’s, it's open to young people up to 25 with additional needs. Please book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carer Meet Ups
Meet other carers for a catch up, a brew and support with Manchester Carers Forum at Burnage Library on Friday 1st October, 5th November and 3rd December, 2-3pm. No need to book, just turn up.
There is also a peer support group in Cheetham Hill on the first Wednesday of the month from 6th October, 10.30am–12.30pm. Contact Miriam for details of the venue and more information on 07903 685 435, email@example.com.
Dad’s Drop In - Monday 27th September, 7-8.30pm This online drop in with Greater Manchester Autism Consortium is a safe space with like-minded dads to share experiences of raising an autistic child. Book on Eventbrite by 23rd September (this Thursday!).
GMAC Drop in - Tuesday 28th September, 7.30-9pm This online drop in is for parent carers to share experiences of raising an autistic child. Book on Eventbrite by 24th September (Friday).
Carers Manchester are on a Roadshow in the north of the city at the Lakeside Café, Boggart Hole Clough,Thursday 23rd September, 10am-2pm. Find out what local services are available and talk to staff about your needs as a carer.
See more on their events page, as well as their next ‘Being A Carer’ course on Tuesday 12th October.
Are you or do you look after someone who is need of internet access at home? Are you or they a Manchester resident and aged 18 or over? If so, tell Manchester City Council’s digital inclusion service and they will call you back to see if you are eligible for a free Chromebook or tablet with six months internet connection. Text or email your details, including the area of Manchester where you live, and saying you are a carer to firstname.lastname@example.org, 07860 064 128.
A new ‘Passenger Assistance’ app makes it easier and quicker for disabled people to ask for assistance with their train journeys. It’s been designed to speed up the booking process for customers and provide frontline staff with real-time information on passengers' requirements.
Guide Dogs have a new pilot scheme - Tech for All. For a limited time, they are offering iPads to children with a vision impairment aged 3-18, while secondary school-age children can choose an iPhone as an alternative. The devices are free of charge, with the only requirement being proof of vision impairment. Find out more about the service and how to apply.