It is important to look after your own needs as a parent or carer.

Carers support/assessment

If you care for someone and need support you can request a carers assessment from the social care team at the council. You are entitled to an assessment regardless of the amount or type of care you provide and the assessment is not dependent on your financial means.

To get a carers support/assessment if you care for an adult (18 years plus), call 01702 215008 or email and write `Adult Social Services` in the message.

If you care for a child (up to 18 years), call 01702 215007 or email first contact referrals and write `Children's Social Services` in the message.

Carers support organisations

Carers First provide support, information, help and advice for unpaid carers aged 18 and over who are supporting someone in Southend. Find out more here: Carers First website.

Southend Carers also provide support.

Support is also available for young carers aged under 18 through Southend Carers and the Southend Youth Support Service through Cool Club and Chil Club.

Looking after yourself as a carer

You may find these resources helpful: advice and information from Carers First and Self-Care for parents and carers from the Anna Freud Centre.

The Southend Neurodevelopmental Guide and the Supporting Your Neurodiverse Child guide also have some helpful information.

The Listening Ear service run by Contact provides one to one telephone appointments for parent carers seeking emotional support.

Meeting other parent carers and support groups

Talking to other parent carers of children with SEND can really help. There are a number of organisations and groups in the local area, some of which are focused on particular areas of need, but others are more general. Some groups run training for parent carers. You can find a selection of local support groups and organisations here.

There are also a number of national support organisations.

Southend Family Centres offer a warm welcome for all, providing a range of services and support. For parent carers of children with SEND aged up to 12, there is the the Triple P Stepping Stones course. You can find out about it here: Stepping Stones Triple P

Southend SEND Independent Forum (SSIF) are the Department for Education funded Parent Carer Forum for SEND families in Southend. SSIF are a part of the Southend SEND Partnership, working with the Council, NHS and other partners to represent the voice of parents, carers and their children. They also run monthly coffee and chat sessions. You can contact SSIF at

Each month the Southend Council SEND Team run friendly drop-in SEND Surgeries for parent carers to ask questions and get support and advice on a range of SEND related topics.

Book recommendations and resources

Local parent carers of children with SEND have shared book and resource recommendations with us. Find out more here.

Independent advice and support for SEND

SENDIASS Southend are the Special Educational Needs and Disabiliities Information, Advice and Support Service for families in Southend.

SENDIASS Southend ensure that children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their parent carers have access to impartial information, advice and support so that they can make informed decisions about matters relating to their special educational needs.

Find out more on the SENDIASS Southend website.

Families of children under 5

If your child is under 5 you may be able to get support from the Early Years SEND Support Service in the Southend Council SEND Team. The team also run a Play and Development Group for under 5's with SEND and the Southend Early Autism Support (SEAS) course.

You may also be eligible for support from A Better Start Southend Family Support Workers for social communication needs.

Short Breaks and respite

Short Breaks are fun, interesting and safe activities for children and young people with disabilities. Short Breaks benefit both disabled children and their parents/carers:

  • children benefit from new interests, relationships and activities
  • parents can attend to their physical and mental wellbeing and maintain and develop social networks

Find out more about Short Breaks here: Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People or contact Childrens Social Care on 01702 215007 or email

You may also find this information about Direct Payments useful: Children with Disabilities - Direct Payments

Financial support and benefits

The money, housing and legal section of the SEND Local Offer has information about a range of issues including finance and benefits advice; and lists organisations that are able to provide support.

You can also find information about Carers Allowance on GOV.UK