Help! Where to go for advice and support?

Last Updated: 21st April 2020

At whatever stage you are as a parent of a child / young person with additional needs we welcome you to our Local Offer.

Our Local Offer aims to enable you to find:

  • Support groups
  • SEND Service providers
  • Schools
  • Activities
  • Events
  • Information

West Sussex: Key Support Services

Navigating the often complex public services put in place to help your child can be confusing and stressful but there are a number of organisations that can help you with direct information, advice and support.

Benefit Advice

The Benefits Advice Service provide advice for Families and Carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. They can support in form filling, reviews, appeals and tribunal representation. They are a free service that can provide one off support or on going support if needed. Find out more

Information, Advice and Support (SENDIAS) Service

Information, Advice and Support Service (SEND IAS) The West Sussex SEND Information, Advice and Support Service provides impartial information, advice and support to parents and carers of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. Go to their website to find out more.

Early Help (EH)

Early Help (EH) is a range of coordinated services for children and families from 0-25 years old. Within the EH service there is a ‘whole family’ approach to support, with the aim that we give all children the best start in life and make it easier for families to get the help they need. Find out more


Portage is a home visiting educational service for very young children with significant support needs. Portage provides support for families by working alongside parents offering practical help and ideas to encourage a child’s emerging skills. Find out more

Reaching Families

Reaching Families is a parent-carer led charity established to "empower, inform and care for parents and families of children with special needs and disabilities in West Sussex." We achieve this by the delivery of information, training and support groups to parent-carers. Find out more

Making Sense of it All - Reaching Families now have a new 3 part course see the description below for more information and a link to the course in the Local Offer events section.

'A new three-part online course designed to provide an introduction to all the key issues and challenges common to parent-carers. It aims to empower parents of children undergoing or who have recently undergone diagnosis but is helpful to any parents who feel they need an overview of key subjects like coming to terms with diagnosis, handling stress & building resilience, where to go for information and advice, gaining the support of other parent carers, accessing benefits and external support, accessing other key services and opportunities in West Sussex.'

Dates of sessions: Wednesday 30th September 10.30 - 12.30 Wednesday 7th October 10.30 - 12.30 Wednesday 14th October 10.30 - 12.30.

You can book a place on eventbrite, booking the for the 30th of September will also book you in for the following dates.

Special Education Needs Assessment Team (SENAT)

Special Education Needs Assessment Team (SENAT) SENAT is responsible for considering requests for education, health and care needs assessments, for conducting these assessments and for monitoring and reviewing children and young people who have Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs).

Short Breaks

Short breaks provide fun, leisure and social activities for children and young people with addition needs and disabilities outside the school day. This enables them to try new experiences, learn new skills, develop confidence and have fun! Find out more

West Sussex Parent Carer Forum

West Sussex Parent Carer Forum (WSPCF) are an independent charity run mostly by parent volunteers; they represent parent/carer views to various organisations and professional bodies to improve county/health/social care services for disabled children, young people and their families. Find out more



Really helpful resources and guides free for parent carers from CONTACT are available on their website