Services and Support available to Lewisham families


Lewisham Autism Support – Service commissioned by Lewisham and delivered by the National Autistic Society

Families can be referred to Lewisham Autism Support via the Communication Clinic at Kaleidoscope. They offer advice on Autism its meaning and strategies to support autism, education, statutory benefits and other financial support, education, other groups and services that can support families of children and young people up to the age of 18yrs.

Call: 020 8699 3066


The National Autistic Society – National Charity

The leading UK charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for autistic people. You can access their information and support via their website, specifically the “About Autism” section. Or you can call them.

Call: 0808 800 4104


Drumbeat ASD Outreach team

The team are based in Drumbeat School, Brockley site. They are specialist team providing support in primarily in schools who have autistic pupils. They also run a pre-school service, which involves visits to early years settings and they run a play group for the under 5’s called the TOM TOM group. The group runs on Fridays at the Beecroft children’s centre. The team run workshops for parents/carers in addition to drop-in groups for the families of young people with autism in addition to a drop-in group where those diagnosed with autism can attend

Call: 020 7635 9022


SIGNAL – Local charity providing “Support, Information, Guidance &News for Autism in Lewisham

Set up and organised by parents and carers of children who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder to support families. They run monthly coffee mornings. Monthly Evening meetings which can included, talks from experts or adults who are autistic.
They have a Borrowing Library, lending books, journals, DVD’s, CDs and computer programs. They run, trampolining and swimming clubs. A teen meetup group. A girls group and have family trips during the school holidays, plus an annual family party.

Call: 07946 632 477


Autism is my Superpower – Drop-in sessions for Parents & Carers of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Social Communication needs

A chance to meet other parents and carers in a similar situation for support, information and a chance to share experiences. The group runs at Bellingham Children and Family Centre, 109 Randlesdown Road, SE6 3HB

Call: 020 8695 6236


Portage Team – Based at Kaleidoscope, the service is for pre-school children who have a developmental delay. Part of the National Portage Association

Portage is a regular home visits service, working in partnership with parents/main carers of pre-school children with developmental delay e.g. ASD, supporting the
development of play, communication, relationships and learning, tailoring the strategies to support individual needs of the child and family and multi-agency working.

Call: 020 7138 1100 (ask to be transferred to the Portage team)


CONTACT (Lewisham) – National charity for families with disabled children up 25yrs old

Offering family support by helping you make connections with other families. Providing information on family need, benefits and debt, social services, education and grants. Hold regular workshops and drop-in sessions, family trips, fun days. Based at the Leemore Central Community Hub.

Call: 020 8297 8056


Carers Lewisham – Charity and member of the Carers Trust. Supporting carers of a person who is physically disabled, in ill health, mental health issues, or has a learning disability in the London Borough of Lewisham.

Offering advice and support on finance and statutory benefits, getting practical help in the home, managing the condition of the person you are caring for. Health and social care support, legal rights. Specialist support for Dementia Carers, Mental Health Carers, Parent carers, Older carers, Young Adult carers (18-25), Young carers (under 18), carers of someone who is at the end of their life. They offer emotional support through counselling therapy and training. Drop-ins twice per week and clubs for young carers.

Call: 020 8699 8686


Lewisham Disability Coalition – Works to promote equality for disabled people and to provide services that support Independent Living.

To promote the human rights of disabled people, by challenging barriers and all forms of discrimination, so enabling disabled people to gain effective personal and political power, self- determination, full participation and equality within society; To be an independent, influential, inclusive, non-discriminatory force in empowering, supporting and advising all disabled people in Lewisham; To work in cooperation with other organisations and individuals who share our vision and mission in promoting the rights of disabled people.

Call: 0208 697 0100
Address: 111 Randlesdown Road (on corner of Gramsci Way), Bellingham, SE6 3HB


Working Families – Working Families is the UK’s work-life balance organisation. We help working parents and carers—and their employers—find a better balance between responsibilities at home and in the workplace.



Down’s Friendship & Creativity Group (DFCG) – For families of children with Down’s Syndrome. Targeted programs, activities & residential breaks which help to enhance the creativity and hidden talent within our children as well as help to strengthen & improve coordination, communication and listening skills. Presentations & Seminars for parents. Genuine friendships formed with a common bond. DFCG is coordinated by PARENTS of CHILDREN with Down’s Syndrome.

Call: 07930 393942

National Autistic Society Education Rights

Advising on education rights for autistic pupils, tribunals and exclusion’s.

Call: 0808 800 4102


Lewisham SENDIASS – Lewisham Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service or SENDIASS is a free, confidential and impartial service for parents and carers, children and young people (up to 25 years). Lewisham SENDIASS offers independent support for parents and families who have children and young people with a SEND. We also provide this independent advice directly to young people aged 16 up to 25 years with SEND.

  • Information regarding the local offer, local policy and SEN/ disability law from independently trained staff
  • Advice for parent/carers, children and young people on gathering, understanding and interpreting information and applying it to their own situation
  • Personalisation of personal budgets
  • Information on the local authority’s processes for resolving disagreements, its complaints procedures and means of redress
  • Signposting children, young people and parents to alternative and additional sources of local and national information, advice and support
  • Individual casework and representation where needed including support in attending meetings, contributing to assessments and reviews and participating in decisions about outcomes for the child or young person.
  • Support for parents and young people in managing mediation and appeals to the SEND Tribunal

Call: 020 3319 2163


Lewisham Special Educational Needs Department – Local authority SEN department based at Kaleidoscope.

This team manages all special educational needs for the borough. Including school allocation and EHC assessments and planning.

Call: 020 3049 1475


The Local Offer – Every local authority in England are legally required to publish this document which sets out information and provision for children with SEN in the borough.

Information for disabled children and young people on the following:

  • Education and learning support
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Future and adulthood
  • Community



IPSEA – IPSEA is a charity who offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.

IPSEA advise on a Local Authorities’ legal duties to assess and provide for children with special educational needs Exclusions of children with special needs/disabilities Action/inaction by Local Authorities and/or schools which discriminate against children and young people with disabilities.

They seek to improve SEN policy across England using the evidence they gather via their services. They make complaints against Local Authorities, take part in Government consultations and provide training on SEN/disability law.

IPSEA also provides training on the SEN legal framework to parents, professionals and other organisations.



SOS!SEN is a national charity aiming to empower parents and carers of children with SEN to tackle successfully themselves the difficulties they face when battling for their children’s rights.

They concentrate on helping people to find their way through the legal and bureaucratic maze that is so daunting to so many.

To empower parents and carer they provide a free and friendly service including:

  • a telephone Helpline 5 days per week during term time
  • monthly drop in advice centres in some areas during term time
  • information sheets on many topics

They also offer small ‘hands-on’ one-day Workshops on such topics as:

  • Appeals Against Contents of EHCP
  • Writing Working Documents
  • Contents of EHC Plans
  • 16+ and 18+ Transfers
  • Annual Reviews
  • Enforcing SEN Provision

These can be supplemented with 1:1 sessions.  Under very exceptional circumstances we may take over a case and act as a representative.


Children with Complex needs service – Local authority Department based at Kaleidoscope

Working with families who have a child aged 0–18 years with a diagnosed disability. Provide a professional source of help and support to families with a disabled child by:

  • Assessing the needs of children and carers providing information
  • Advise on a range of issues
  • Giving ongoing support through our social work and other teams
  • Helping families to access local and national services.

Call: 020 3049 1475


Short Breaks Service – Short breaks are a way of giving parents/ carers a break from their caring responsibilities. Short breaks can also benefit the
disabled child or young person. Run by local authority from Kaleidoscope.

If you’re a parent/ carer of a disabled child you might need additional short breaks for one of two reasons:

Firstly, your child’s disability might mean that they have additional needs that prevent them from accessing the universal or mainstream short break activities that they would be able to access if they weren’t disabled. You may need extra help or specially trained staff in order to access the sorts of activities that would enable you to take a break from caring for your child.

Call: 020 3049 1475


Disability Living Allowance for Children – DLA is a tax free benefit made up of 2 components Care and Mobility. A child may qualify for one or both components.

DLA may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who is under 16 and has difficulties walking or needs more than a looked after child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability.

Call: 0345 712 3456


Carers Allowance – Allowance paid to Carers caring for someone over 35hrs per week.

You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. You won’t be paid extra if you care for more than one person. Carers Allowance can affect other benefits and you may have to pay tax.

Call: 0345 608 4321


Family Fund – Family Fund is part of the Masis group and believe that all families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people across the UK should have
the same opportunities as others.

We give grants for essential items such as washing machines, cookers, clothes, tablets, computers, bedding, and much needed family breaks. They can provide vital
information and signpost to other support services. They use their website and social media channels to share up to date information about other organisations and agencies that offer information, advice or support services to disabled children and their families.

Call: 01904 621115


Cinema Card – The CEA Card is a national card scheme developed for UK cinemas by the UK Cinema Association (UKCA).

The Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema.

The Card is also one way for cinemas to make sure they look after their disabled guests. If you require an adjustment to visit a cinema because of your disability, cinema staff should make them for you whether you have a CEA Card or not.

Call: 01244 526 016


Cerebra – Charity dedicated to helping families with children with brain conditions discover a better life together.

Offer help and information and research for children with brain conditions. They offer sleep advice and have written some fantastic guide books on Anxiety, EHC plans, DLA advice amongst many others.



A Helping Hand – Advice and organisations to help you, and your family save money, and listings of cheap or free activities.  From SLaM.

Leaflet: A Helping Hand

S-Factor Academy – Pan Disability Athletics Sessions, Ages 7 – 25yrs

Pan Disability Athletics Sessions every Saturday 11am – 12pm at Ladywell Arena. First session is free after which it will be £2.50 per child, non-disabled siblings go free.

Call: 07840 528 587


Trinity Laban – Conservatoire of music and dance

Dance ability – creative dance and imaginative play, where disabled children and their siblings can experience, explore and create movement in a fully inclusive and sensory environment.

Call: 020 8305 9398


Fun Fizzical – The Bridge Leisure Centre, Lower Sydenham, Ages 4 – 16yrs

A weekly exercise group for Children with special needs. Sessions run by Sarah Thorn and Darren Brown. Activities include trampoline, ball games, soft shapes, badminton, parachute games and dance.

Contact: Sarah Thorn
Call: 07960 898 164


Drumbeat ASD Outreach Team – Tom Tom Group, Under 5’s

A stay, play and learn group for under 5’s with Social Communication Difficulties, including ASD. Running every Friday in term time only. 9.30- 11.30 at Beecroft Gardens Primary School Children’s Centre, Brockley Road, London, SE4 2BT

Call: 0207 635 9022


Bellingham Leisure Centre, Little Rascals Soft Play – 9.30 – 12pm for the under 5’s only 3pm for all ages.

The sessions are specifically for children with additional needs.

Call: 020 8697 0043


Signal Clubs – Please check ages specifications directly with Signal

Trampoline club, Swimming Club, Teen meet-up

Call: 07946 632 477


The Albany – Heart n Soul – Heart n Soul is an award-winning creative arts company and charity. We believe in the talents and power of people with learning disabilities, providing opportunities for people to discover, develop and share this power and talent as widely as possible.

Call: 020 8694 1632


Do Your Own Thing – If you are aged 10-25 and have a learning disability then come along to Do Your Own Thing at the Albany!

Call: 020 8694 1632

Resources and useful websites

Child Mind Institute article on how to help anxious children

An Australian website created by parents around various types of support, but this page looks specifically at supporting a child with Autism around anxiety

Young Minds website for young people experience emotional or mental health issues, both useful for your child to look at or to offer some guidance around approaching conversations about anxiety

A guide for parents and carers in supporting a child or young person around anxiety

NHS pages around anxiety and disordered anxiety in children – includes information about what treatment and support you may be offered from the NHS

Sleep hygiene guidance

Example crisis card

Courses on low demand parenting

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Our vision is a world where children and families are supported effectively to build on their strengths and to achieve their goals in life.


NHS MeeTwo

The MeeTwo app provides a safe and secure forum for teenagers wanting to discuss any issue affecting their lives.


South London and Maudsley Resources for Young People

We support children, young people and their parents or carers in Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon. We also operate specialist outpatient and inpatient services that are available to people living in London, and across the UK.


Young Minds

Leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges.



The Kooth team are here to provide free, safe and anonymous online support and counselling. The whole team are made up of friendly and experienced individuals who want to help you.



NHS South East London CCG has commissioned Qwell, a free, anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing service for adults from digital mental health pioneers Kooth. The site is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and offers early preventative care and support.


Resources from Lewisham Speaking Up 

Report of the Lewisham People’s Parliament May 18th 2021 – Mental Health Day

Introduction to Mental Health Day

Anxiety Workshop Handouts

Low Mood Workshop Handout

Help with Mental Health

Accessible Activities for young people


The Albany – Heart n Soul – Heart n Soul is an award-winning creative arts company and charity. We believe in the talents and power of people with learning disabilities, providing opportunities for people to discover, develop and share this power and talent as widely as possible.

Call: 020 8694 1632


Lewisham Speaking Up
An independent charity for people with learning disabilities, who specialise in advocacy.

Call: 020 8692 1862