Useful links & support groups

Durham County Council – Register as disabled

Print form and fill in to register as disabled and also apply for a disabled bus pass. Children if eligible will also get a free carer element on bus pass.

Telephone : 03000 269425

Durham Children and Young People’s Network (CYPN)

Local authorities must keep a register of children & young people with special educational needs and / or disabilities and in Durham this is the CYPN . Register your child / young person ( 0- 25 years) to receive email or text alerts covering the latest news & developments, short break activities, events & general information, a local discount card and whilst stocks last a Max card which gives family discounts at large number of UK attractions.

Telephone: 03000 265 792

Durham SENDIASS (Durham Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service)

SENDIASS offer independent advice and support with any issues with regards to your young persons school and / or education.

Telephone: 0191 5873541 or 03000 267007

Durham Local offer

Local information on education, short breaks, health, social care, things to do, childcare, careers and training and much more for families of young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND), from 0- 25 years in County Durham.

Telephone: 03000 269995

CAMHS single point of access

County Durham and Darlington have a single point of access for referrals and self-referrals to the CAMHS services.

Telephone: 0300 1239296

Talking Changes

An amazing talking therapy service for people in Co. Durham and Darlington 16 years+ to help with common mental health problems. Open weekdays 9-5. For emergencies call 111 – 24 hrs. You can self-refer via their website here


They offer risk and resilience support services to children and young people in a variety of areas of need, such as:

  • Young carers and young adult carers
  • Children and young people effected by parental substance misuse
  • Young people who are lesbian, gay bi-sexual or transgender
  • Young people who have queries or issues around their gender identity

They also provide wide ranging support to families through the delivery of Family Intervention Projects (known as FIPs).

Telephone: 01325 731160 or email 


Offer free & independent legally based educational information , advice & support plus training on subject like EHC plans.

Telephone: 01799 582030


A new parent led SEND advocacy service in County Durham. They are a one-stop shop for children with Special educational needs and disabilities, offering help with: DLA applications; advocacy; safeguarding support; EHCP and school appeals.

First contact Service

If you have a concern about a child or young person’s welfare who lives in County Durham.

Telephone: 03000 267 979

Durham County Carers Support

A charity supporting unpaid carers 18 years+ in County Durham. They can help with information and advice, help with accessing and completing benefit and grant forms, carer breaks , carers card, carer support groups, counselling, training and give you a chance to have your say.

Telephone: 0300 005 1213

Family action / Bridge Young carers

They support children, young people and their families who have a challenging caring responsibilities.

Telephone: 0191 3832520

Family Fund

The UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people 0-17. Grants have certain eligibility requirements and you can currently apply 9 months after your last award. They can also provide a one off grant for young adults 18-24.

Telephone: 01904 550055

OT – Occupational therapy NHS

They work with children and young people from birth up to 19 years of age who have difficulties or a disability which affects their ability to carry out everyday tasks. Telephone to self-refer.

Telephone: 0191 387 6359

SALT- Speech and Language therapy NHS 

They work with children and young people from birth to 19 years old, who have speech, language and communication needs or difficulties with eating, drinking and swallowing. Telephone to self-refer.

Telephone: 01429 522717


A charity dedicated to helping families with children with brain conditions ( including Autism , anxiety and ADHD)  discover a better life together. They provide grants and training including sleep workshop etc plus a book lending service on specialist books. Their website also includes guides etc too.

Telephone: 0800 3281159

Heel and Toe

Provide free conductive education therapy to children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities in the North East and surrounding areas. They can also provide occupation therapy and speech and language therapy.

Telephone: 0191 386 8606

North East Autism Society

Services include training for parents / carers , support groups, toddler groups, education for children aged 3-19, post 19 education and social/vocational training along with supported and open employment opportunities for adults. They provide year round residential placements and an ever-increasing range of social and leisure opportunities within the North East community for people of all age.

Telephone: Check website for department number you require.

National Autistic Society

Provide individuals with autism and their families help, support and services that they can access, trust and rely upon and which can make a positive difference to their lives.

Telephone: 0808 800 4104

Learning Library

Members can borrow games, jigsaws, toys, musical instruments , discovery boxes and specialist sensory equipment some of which may be beyond the reach of the average family budget. They are delivered direct to your home for free.

Telephone: 01388 420267

Tabithas’ Toys

They loan sensory toys and equipment to children who are disabled and have complex needs. They able to loan Toys and Equipment to children who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, the loan period is 6 months. This a free service. They can loan toys and equipment to children 0 to 16 years who live in the North East of England

Telephone: 07824618204 or 07824618302

Journey Enterprises

Journey Enterprises is a local charity providing day services for young people and adults with complex learning disability. They provide activities in  three day centres (Hubs) and a wide range of activities in community. All are undertaken in small groups of friends.

Telephone: 01434 608118

Durham Portage Service

Are a home visit educational service for preschool children who have development learning difficulties, physical disability or other additional support needs.

Telephone: 03000 263 350


Support families with the best possible guidance and information. They bring families together to support each other and help families to campaign, volunteer and fundraise to improve life for themselves and other.

Telephone: 0808 808 3555

CEA Cinema card

Enables a disabled cinema user 8 years + to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema or theatre . Card costs for £6 a year but cardholder must be in receipt of certain disability benefits.

Telephone: 01244 526 016

Newcastle airport hidden disabilities information

Airports can be busy environments and they understand that for those people who are travelling with hidden disabilities this can make going on holiday a stressful experience. Website includes info on autism passports , airport social stories and other helpful information for your journey or try Passenger assistance general information for more general airport information and help available.

Bridge Bus travel card – Durham local authority operate the scheme in partnership with Arriva North East and Go North East. If you show the card to the bus driver or bus station staff they will give you extra help. 

Council for disabled children

They work to build a better childhood for every child, by championing their right to be safe, secure and supported.

The Communication Trust

A coalition of over 50 not for profit organisations. Working together they support everyone who works with children and young people in England to support their speech, language and communication.

Tel:0207 843 2526

Support Groups

Rollercoaster Support Group – An award winning,  flagship parent / carer support group for parents / carers who are supporting a child who is experiencing emotional or mental health issues in County Durham. They have groups in Chester le street or Newton Aycliffe which are held once a month and a closed Facebook page for help and advise. They have a CAMHS nurse present in person or online for any help or questions too. They also run events, training and workshops. Due to the lockdown they are running weekly zoom and facebook live meetings.

Little Treasures – Are a parent led charity who support families and their children who have autism or are going through assessment right across Co. Durham and surrounding areas . They run stay and play sessions, adult groups ( together with Autie Mates) , parent support groups and run courses and workshops . They also have a closed support group Facebook page for help and advise.

The Sensory place – A volunteer led group offering a network of support to families of children with all disabilities aged 5-18 years. They offer courses and sensory friendly events ( Including Sensory Sessions at South Durham Gymnastics and silent discos) . They can help whether your child is a sensory seeker or avoider (or both). They also have a closed facebook group

Autism Parent Support Group County Durham – A closed group purely for the Parents/Carers of children with Autism and children currently going through the diagnosis process. A place for to provide help and support to you all and somewhere you post feeling secure that we are all in it together. They get together once or twice a month in person in the Spennymoor area.

Sunshine Support Group –  An closed Facebook group originally in Ushaw Moor for any Parents/Carers who have a child with an additional need.

East Durham Support Group – A support group in Seaham which runs 1st Friday of the month for any Parents/Carers who have a child with an additional need.  They also have a closed Facebook page.

North East Autism Society Family Support – They have a closed Facebook group for any help and support plus several friendly and inclusive toddler group and family support sessions all over County Durham and other parts of the North East.

Durham County Carers Support – They run several support groups for all carers all over County Durham and a parent support group in Bishop Auckland once a month.

Sensory Processing Disorder Support Group North East England – A support group ran by Treetops Occupational Therapy. They have a closed Facebook page, run courses and training  and meet regular in Newton Aycliffe.

More links to support groups and short breaks etc on our Facebook page. 

DIRECTORY- Durham Clinical Commissioning group useful sites PDF – added 18/3/22

Benefit links

Durham welfare rights

Provide help with questions & problems on a wide range of social security benefits & tax credit issues. Open 9am – 12 noon.

Telephone: 03000 268 968