Monthly Archives: February 2018

Volunteer opportunities: We need you!

CHESHIRE EAST PARENT CARER FORUM VOLUNTEER INFORMATION LUNCH

What do PCF volunteers do?

It can be a regular commitment (as a parent representative working with the Local Authority on areas like SEN, social care or short breaks) or a one off short term project (as a parent representative looking at a particular project or task like assessing bids for commissioning or job applicants for key SEN roles), joining our steering group to help behind the scenes, or simply agreeing to read over documents with a parents-eye-view from the comfort of your sofa.

Why?

It is very rewarding – our volunteers have found it a good way to put their experience & expertise to good use, and to feel like we are making a difference in areas that matter so much to our families.

 We can’t pay you for your time, but we will cover any travel or childcare expenses

How do I know what to do…?

We offer some training and lots of support  – it has been a great way to get some skills and experience for cv while caring commitments might stop us taking on other employment, and it’s a good way to gain (or regain) a bit of confidence and use it!

We try to send parent representatives in pairs whenever possible (and always for your first few meetings!) so you have some back up and a chance to see what happens

What if I can’t make a commitment?

We are all parent carers ourselves, so we understand that our families are our priorities and there will be times when they have to we have to drop out.

Tell me more…..?

We’re holding an event for you to come along and find out more – no commitment! Click here for full info on the volunteer information lunch

If you can’t make it to the event that’s fine – just give us a call or email and we’ll catch up for a chat

FFL: Nature crafts, baking & games (Congleton)

Friends for Leisure half term activities:

Booking is essential at all Friends for Leisure activities.

If you would like to book a place please email jade@friendsforleisure.org.uk or phone the office on 01260 275333.

Nature crafts, baking and games

Make some fantastic nature crafts, bake up a storm in the kitchen and have fun playing nature-themed games.

Friday 23rd February | 10am – 12noon | Cost £4

Trinity Church Hall, Wagg Street, Congleton, CW12 4BA

Activity Leaders: Jade & Gillian

FFL: Kickboxing taster session (Crewe)

Friends for Leisure half term activities:

Booking is essential at all Friends for Leisure activities.

If you would like to book a place please email jade@friendsforleisure.org.uk or phone the office on 01260 275333.

Kickboxing taster session

Join your friends for a taster session with Miss Powell at TGA Martial Arts in Crewe. Please wear loose comfortable clothing and bring a water bottle.

Wednesday 21st February  | 10am – 11:30am |  Cost £4

TGA Martial Arts, Thomas Street, Crewe, CW1 2BD

Activity Leaders: Jade & Hannah

FFL: Breakfast and bowling (Macclesfield)

Friends for Leisure half term activities:

Booking is essential at all Friends for Leisure activities.

If you would like to book a place please email jade@friendsforleisure.org.uk or phone the office on 01260 275333.

Breakfast and bowling;

Join your friends for breakfast followed by one game of bowling.

Tuesday 20th February  |  10am – 12noon  | Cost £10

Macclesfield Superbowl, Lyme Green Retail Park, London Road, Macclesfield, SK11 0TB

Activity Leaders: Jade & Maggie

Activ8 Play session – Shavington

Everybody Sport Activ8 Play Sessions:

Our Activ8 sessions allow children to try out new activities and let off steam without fear of being judged. Children can play on the specialist soft play equipment, and get creative with arts and crafts, supervised by our friendly coaches and volunteers. Siblings welcome.

The sessions run every fortnight and take place at:

  • Fun 4 All at Macclesfield (£3 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 18
  • Playworld at Shavington (£2 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 13

Activ8 Play Sessions – Shavington

Everybody Sport Activ8 Play Sessions:

Our Activ8 sessions allow children to try out new activities and let off steam without fear of being judged. Children can play on the specialist soft play equipment, and get creative with arts and crafts, supervised by our friendly coaches and volunteers. Siblings welcome.

The sessions run every fortnight and take place at:

  • Fun 4 All at Macclesfield (£3 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 18
  • Playworld at Shavington (£2 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 13

Activ8 Play session – Macclesfield

Everybody Sport Activ8 Play Sessions:

Our Activ8 sessions allow children to try out new activities and let off steam without fear of being judged. Children can play on the specialist soft play equipment, and get creative with arts and crafts, supervised by our friendly coaches and volunteers. Siblings welcome.

The sessions run every fortnight and take place at:

  • Fun 4 All at Macclesfield (£3 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 18
  • Playworld at Shavington (£2 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 13

Activ8 Playsession Macclesfield

Everybody Sport Activ8 Play Sessions:

Our Activ8 sessions allow children to try out new activities and let off steam without fear of being judged. Children can play on the specialist soft play equipment, and get creative with arts and crafts, supervised by our friendly coaches and volunteers. Siblings welcome.

The sessions run every fortnight and take place at:

  • Fun 4 All at Macclesfield (£3 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 18
  • Playworld at Shavington (£2 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 13

Activ8 play session: Macclesfield

Everybody Sport Activ8 Play Sessions:

Our Activ8 sessions allow children to try out new activities and let off steam without fear of being judged. Children can play on the specialist soft play equipment, and get creative with arts and crafts, supervised by our friendly coaches and volunteers. Siblings welcome.

The sessions run every fortnight and take place at:

  • Fun 4 All at Macclesfield (£3 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 18
  • Playworld at Shavington (£2 per child) – children and YP aged 3 – 13

Inclusive Sport Activity Hub – Crewe

EVERYBODY LEISURE – ABILITY FOR ALL ACTIVITY HUBS (AGES 3 – 18)

 

Our Activity Hubs are a fortnightly multi-sport and play session supporting children with a range of disabilities to be physically active.The Activity Hub consists of a variety of activities including special themed events and quiet areas, based on consultation, to keep participants engaged.

Activities will be age appropriate to ensure young people enjoy the session, develop social skills and explore their abilities.

There are opportunities for parents to join in with the activities or leave their child while they use the gym, attend a fitness class or just enjoy a brew in our Taste for Life Café.

At the end of each Activity Hub there is the opportunity for the family to join the public swim for an hour.

Inclusive sport Activity Hub – Crewe

EVERYBODY LEISURE – ABILITY FOR ALL ACTIVITY HUBS (AGES 3 – 18)

 

Our Activity Hubs are a fortnightly multi-sport and play session supporting children with a range of disabilities to be physically active.The Activity Hub consists of a variety of activities including special themed events and quiet areas, based on consultation, to keep participants engaged.

Activities will be age appropriate to ensure young people enjoy the session, develop social skills and explore their abilities.

There are opportunities for parents to join in with the activities or leave their child while they use the gym, attend a fitness class or just enjoy a brew in our Taste for Life Café.

At the end of each Activity Hub there is the opportunity for the family to join the public swim for an hour.

Activity Hub – Macclesfield

ABILITY FOR ALL ACTIVITY HUBS

 

Our Activity Hubs are a fortnightly multi-sport and play session supporting children with a range of disabilities to be physically active.The Activity Hub consists of a variety of activities including special themed events and quiet areas, based on consultation, to keep participants engaged.

Activities will be age appropriate to ensure young people enjoy the session, develop social skills and explore their abilities.

There are opportunities for parents to join in with the activities or leave their child while they use the gym, attend a fitness class or just enjoy a brew in our Taste for Life Café.

At the end of each Activity Hub there is the opportunity for the family to join the public swim for an hour.

Activity Hub – Macclesfield

ABILITY FOR ALL ACTIVITY HUBS

 

Our Activity Hubs are a fortnightly multi-sport and play session supporting children with a range of disabilities to be physically active.The Activity Hub consists of a variety of activities including special themed events and quiet areas, based on consultation, to keep participants engaged.

Activities will be age appropriate to ensure young people enjoy the session, develop social skills and explore their abilities.

There are opportunities for parents to join in with the activities or leave their child while they use the gym, attend a fitness class or just enjoy a brew in our Taste for Life Café.

At the end of each Activity Hub there is the opportunity for the family to join the public swim for an hour.

Activity Hub – Macclesfield

ABILITY FOR ALL ACTIVITY HUBS hosted by EVERYBODY LEISURE

 

Our Activity Hubs are a fortnightly multi-sport and play session supporting children with a range of disabilities to be physically active.The Activity Hub consists of a variety of activities including special themed events and quiet areas, based on consultation, to keep participants engaged.

Activities will be age appropriate to ensure young people enjoy the session, develop social skills and explore their abilities.

There are opportunities for parents to join in with the activities or leave their child while they use the gym, attend a fitness class or just enjoy a brew in our Taste for Life Café.

At the end of each Activity Hub there is the opportunity for the family to join the public swim for an hour.

Silly Milly & Jolly Molly’s Show! (Hebden Green)

Hosted by Cheshire & Warrington Carers’ Trust

This event is for children who have additional needs and their families. It will be held at Hebden Green School, Winsford as our final event for the BBC Children in Need Project which funded 11 events at the school over the last year. To celebrate Silly Milly and Jolly Molly will be entertaining the children with circus skills, magic, music and more! We will also have crafts in the bungalow, sensory fun in the Immersive Learning or just chill out in the sensory room. No need to book just turn up. Please sign in at the main hall which is located via the rear playground and this is where the show will be from 1pm-3pm.

“Postcards from the Aspie World” Seashell Trust, Stockport

If you care for a child or young person with autism and severe learning difficulties, you are eligible for a comprehensive range of support from Seashell Trust.

This is the sixth of several sessions aimed at helping families deal with everyday issues like mealtimes, communication, behaviour and looking for ways to help your child become more independent.

Hayden is part of Seashell Trust’s catering team and she was involved in developing a training package used to help families and professionals better understand autism. ‘Postcards from the Aspie World’ features cartoons drawn by Hayden and her family to describe her feelings about growing up with autism. During her presentation, Hayden will talk about the cartoons and what she wanted people to understand from them.

This session will give you a great insight into what life is like for someone with autism and ADHD – who is surrounded by people who don’t quite get it.

The speaker may be recorded to share with families who are unable to attend. If you do not wish to be filmed, please sit behind the camera.

Click here to book your place on eventbrite

If you have any questions, please contact our Outreach team at 0161 610 0741 or email –admissions@seashelltrust.org.uk

Cerebra – workshop using the DLA guide (AI, Crewe)

Open to Anyone with a child with a brain condition (including neurodiversities)

Workshop aims to give parents the skills, in conjunction with Cerebra’s DLA Guide, to be able to complete the DLA claim form themselves. It also looks at the common problem areas, bust some of the myths and gets parents to assess whether they are getting the correct rate of DLA for their child (if they already claim it) and if not, how to go about challenging. Related benefits are also looked at briefly. There are case studies for attendees to work on.

Please book via email kirstie.scott@autisminclusive.org.uk

Cerebra Disability Living Allowance Workshop (Space4Autism)

Cerebra will be holding a free workshop on using their DLA Guide. the main focus of the workshop will be giving parents the skills, in conjunction with Cerebra’s DLA Guide, to be able to complete the DLA claim form. They will also learn about the issues of problem areas around claiming DLA and question whether they are getting the correct rate of benefit.

if you are interested in attending please book via info.space@hotmail.com

AGM: Focus on Children & young people’s Mental Health

You are invited to Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum’s Annual General Meeting!

In addition to reviewing the year gone by, appointing officers / steering group and planning for the year ahead, we will be have speakers and information about mental health support and services for our children & young people aged 0 – 25

More information (including how to book!) to follow…

Everybody Leisure Holiday Session (Macclesfield)

Wednesday 21/2/18

Come along with the whole family and join us for an afternoon of fun multi-sport activities including ten pin bowling, soft archery, football, bouncy castle, arts & crafts plus much more. There is also an opportunity to join the public fun swim after the main sports session.

Where: Macclesfield Leisure Centre

Time: 1:30pm to 3:30pm

Cost: £3.60 per person

Please book in advance to reserve your place(s) as sessions numbers will be limited. Siblings and friends welcome.

Everybody Sport Inclusive Session (Sandbach)

Wednesday 21/2/18

Come along with the whole family and join us for an afternoon of fun multi-sport activities including ten pin bowling, soft archery, football, bouncy castle, arts & crafts plus much more. There is also an opportunity to join the public fun swim after the main sports session.

Where: Macclesfield Leisure Centre

Time: 1:30pm to 3:30pm

Cost: £3.60 per person

Please book in advance to reserve your place(s) as sessions numbers will be limited. Siblings and friends welcome.

 

Volunteering for the Parent Carer Forum – info & lunch

CHESHIRE EAST PARENT CARER FORUM VOLUNTEER INFORMATION LUNCH

What do PCF volunteers do?

It can be a regular commitment (as a parent representative working with the Local Authority on areas like SEN, social care or short breaks) or a one off short term project (as a parent representative looking at a particular project or task like assessing bids for commissioning or job applicants for key SEN roles), joining our steering group to help behind the scenes, or simply agreeing to read over documents with a parents-eye-view from the comfort of your sofa.

Why?

It is very rewarding – our volunteers have found it a good way to put their experience & expertise to good use, and to feel like we are making a difference in areas that matter so much to our families.

 We can’t pay you for your time, but we will cover any travel or childcare expenses

How do I know what to do…?

We offer some training and lots of support  – it has been a great way to get some skills and experience for cv while caring commitments might stop us taking on other employment, and it’s a good way to gain (or regain) a bit of confidence and use it!

We try to send parent representatives in pairs whenever possible (and always for your first few meetings!) so you have some back up and a chance to see what happens

What if I can’t make a commitment?

We are all parent carers ourselves, so we understand that our families are our priorities and there will be times when they have to we have to drop out.

Tell me more…..?

We’re holding an event for you to come along and find out more – no commitment!

If you can’t make it to the event that’s fine – just give us a call or email and we’ll catch up for a chat

Friends for Leisure – coffee & cake evening fundraiser (Congleton)

Cake, refreshments, games, fundraising & info – and it’s all in a good cause!

Friends for Leisure has two youth groups in Congleton that will be coming together for one-night to raise vital funds for the charity. CYG and 15Up will be hosting a coffee and cake fundraiser on Thursday 22nd March, 5pm – 6:30pm at Trinity Church Hall, Wagg Street, Congleton, CW12 4BA.

They have also invited a number of local organisations [including CEPCF!] to come along and promote the services that they provide.

CEIAS Workshop – Completing “Section A”

Cheshire East Information Advice and Support Service are holding a workshop to help parents to complete Section “A” (Parent and Child Views) of the Education Health and Care Plan. If you are a parent and you are in the process of, or thinking about a request for an Education Health and Care Plan Needs Assessment, come along and gain some useful advice and tips. If your child or young person already has an EHCP you may find this helpful if you would like to add further information to section “A” of the plan.

Hosted by Cheshire East Parent Carer Forum, this is a free event open to parents and young people in Cheshire East.

For more information, or to book your place, please email ceias@cheshireeast.gov.uk or call them on Tel: 0300 123 5166

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CASCAIDr – The Centre for Adults’ Social Care – Advice, Information and Dispute Resolution

What is CASCAIDr?

CASCAIDr is a new national advice charity, providing specialist legal advice about everyone’s rights to have their needs for care and support decided lawfully, reasonably and fairly.

Click here to visit the CASCAIDr website

What does its name stand for?

The Centre for Adults’ Social Care – Advice, Information and Dispute Resolution

What is its aim?

To reinvigorate the rule of law within local government and that part of the NHS responsible for commissioning care and support packages for those with complex health needs.

We aim to empower and support people, their carers and practitioners to resolve disagreements about access to services – and, in doing so, ensure that those suffering disability or an impairment are not needlessly dragged into poverty or despair.

 

Why is it needed?

Whilst there is a growing understanding of the impact that austerity measures have had on social and health care provision, few are aware of the complexity of legal duties, powers and responsibilities owed to our most vulnerable members of society.

Most people only seek support or come to rely on social care services and funding in times of crisis.

Family members and carers, exhausted by providing dedicated care, rarely have the energy required to navigate referral processes or complaints procedures to secure fair processes and lawful packages of care.

As none of us can know our own future, we all need public sector decision-making to be properly governed by the law and sound legal principles.

 

What sort of problems will CASCAIDr be taking on?

Access to funded advocacy rights;  whether assessments are compliant with the law; whether councils are following the statutory Guidance; rights to funds for sufficient levels of care to avoid support needs escalating or sacrificing carers’ wellbeing; the legality of cuts to care plans.

 

How will CASCAIDr do this?

By providing free and outcome-focused advice and a checklist and a pre action protocol letter to individuals with problems that are within our ‘free scope’ list.

CASCAIDr will also provide chargeable but low-cost advice on a wider range of problems, to those needing support in relation to submitting complaints and accessing other remedies.

 

What has crowdfunding have to do with CASCAID’s strategy?

Where issues can’t be resolved through dialogue and a barrister has given a positive opinion on the merits of the case, CASCAIDr may support crowdfunding to secure legal challenges. This not only strengthens an individual’s position, but also supports widespread lawful decision-making by clarifying any areas of uncertainty in the current legal framework.

What sort of people will CASCAIDr help?

Individuals – service users, carers, relatives, brokers, advocates, appointees, attorneys, deputies. Charitable Organisations – providers of care and support, and advocacy organisations with charitable status…

What about non-charitable organisations? Can they get help from CASCAIDr too?

Non-charitable organisations and individuals seeking advice outside CASCAIDr’s charitable scope can source chargeable but affordable advice from CASCAIDr Trading Ltd. All profits of that company will directly fund the provision of free legal advice through the charity’s work.

What does CASCAIDr’s service include?

  • A telephone helpline – 4 days a week – for a booked half hour free ‘steer’ for people who are not sure if they’ve even got a legal problem
  • A referral form for people to fill in online
  • Volunteers to help people to express all the relevant detail of their predicament, if they are struggling
  • Expert advisers who will produce the checklist and letters that are the free output
  • Support and guidance for those who want to crowdfund to bring formal legal proceedings.

What can people expect?

CASCAIDr advisers will:

  • Analyse a situation for omissions to comply with the Care Act or public law principles
  • Give the client a checklist to take back to the council/CCG
  • Write a letter in the form of a pre-action protocol letter, setting out what’s not been done correctly
  • Seek advice on the client’s behalf, from a direct access barrister
  • Consider helping the client crowdfund so that council or CCG knows that the client can, if required, challenge unlawful decisions in Court.

Is there anything that CASCAIDr won’t do?

We won’t

…act as a gun for hire: we care about our credibility and we won’t put forward a case just because you’d like us to, or would pay us money to do so – we care about the coherence of the legal framework, and aspire to supporting the achievement of a sustainable social care system;

…take your matter on, if it’s not within our advisers’ expertise – on which our judgement must be respected as final;

…act for both sides to a dispute, unless specifically asked, by both sides, to mediate with regard to the legal strengths and weaknesses of the parties, based on an agreed statement of facts.

 

Does CASCAIDr offer training on the legal framework?

We’ll be offering affordable training, too, in the form of webinars and lectures for universities, charitable providers and advocacy organisations.

Any organisation that is not charitable will be able to purchase the same services from CASCAIDr TRADING Ltd, our trading subsidiary, albeit at a slightly higher rate – with all net profits going back to the Charity.

Both organisations will be run on a shoe-string – no employees, just self-employed advisers and volunteers. We will have some expenses, obviously, but aim to be one of the lowest cost advice charities around.

Where will all the money come from?

Members of the public, organisations such as care providers, housing associations and, large foundations interested in social justice.

All donations attract GiftAid or will be tax deductible for corporate bodies, because we are a registered charity.

We want “Collaborating with CASCAIDr, to uphold legal rights’ to be a badge of pride, one day, for sophisticated health and social care businesses!

Are there people who’ve already benefited from CASCAIDr’s support?

Yes. We already have the stories and some photos for this range of happy beneficiaries

  • service users who were told that they could only expect the cost of a service that no other reasonable authority could have thought of as suitable;

 

  • clients who have been able to win back services for their psychological and emotional wellbeing;

 

  • young people evicted from care homes simply because their relatives made complaints, restored to secure status and supported to move on, after proper planning;

 

  • carers who have been supported to pull back from levels of care that were killing them, once proper services were obtained for their loved one;

 

  • parents of severely disabled people, supported to fight cuts that had been suggested without any rational reason, other than austerity;

 

  • clients who’ve been denied CHCs,

 

  • businesses whose clients have been supported to dispute illicit top-ups

 

  • clients who’ve been helped to fight illicit charges levied outside the Care Act rules

 

  • a client helped to remain in his mother’s home because of having given up his own accommodation to help care for her

 

  • a man who was supported to explain why he would not be moving his mother from her care home, or paying any more top-ups, since the council’s documentation was not compliant with the legislation.

 

Ways to share in our journey:

Visit our website www.cascaidr.org.ukand catch up on some of our early good news stories, where our advisers have already changed people’s lives, by use of legal principle.

Get on Social Media!

  • Twitter: @CASCAIDr – please follow us here
    • Mention/Tweet about @CASCAIDr – for hashtags we’re going to be using #socialcare, #CASCAIDr, #isitok, #carecrisis and #LovingLegalLiteracy
    • PLEASE re-tweet our fundraising ‘call to action’ Tweets 4-15 December
    • View or subscribe to our lists on @CASCAIDr
  • Facebook – CASCAIDr’s organisation page, click here to view
    • from that page, please like, comment on and share CASCAIDr posts …
  • LinkedIn – look up Belinda Schwehr and connect here
    • you may also like to join the special interest group Adult Social Care Legal Developments – click here to view

Want to volunteer? Click here

Want to advise? Click here

How to Donate –

  • Please, please DONATE (MyDonate.bt.com charges only 15p for the card transaction, or 65p for a credit card…)
  • All individuals’ donations will ultimately attract GiftAid, when HMRC gives us a certificate!
  • We get 25% extra if you eventually complete our GiftAid declaration, so that’s massive!
  • If you’re a higher rate tax payer, and you give us £8, we’ll get £10 and you’ll get £2 back! So for £6 from you, we get £10! How great is that?
  • All corporate donations are tax deductible, as we are a registered charity.

Help us fundraise

  • You can set up your own fundraising sub-page on bt.com, if you’d enjoy doing ANYthing that will raise funds and awareness! You need to register in person on that link and then it will set you up with a sub-page, linked to CASCAIDr’s bank account. Tell us!
  • You could start a collection at your workplace or pass on this document link to interested colleagues.
  • You can send this Twitter Moment (here) on to contacts on WhatsApp, for free, once you’ve opened the link to the Moment on your phone.

Get in touch?

Telephone 01252 560 856 or email trustees@cascaidr.org.uk or belinda@cascaidr.org.uk

EHIPs & Short Breaks questions: response from Cheshire East Short Breaks Team

We have received the following response to our members’ questions from from Keith Martin and the Children with Disabilities Short Breaks Team.  We will contact all members with details once we hear about future briefing events.  

Remember, if you need to contact the team you can do so by calling 01625 378083 or sending an email to Shortbreaksteam@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Q: What is EHIPS?
Please can we have a description / definition – is it for the benefit cared for and / or carer? 

Early Help Individual Payments (EHIP’s) form part of the Local Authorities Short Break Support for Parent Carers of Disabled Children.  The second part of the Short Break Support is the commissioned services that provide activities and clubs.

An EHIP is an annual payment of up to £1,000 for parent carers of disabled children under the age of 18 to purchase support for themselves that would enable them to take a break from their caring responsibility.  The payment is for the parent carer, however the support that is purchased should be meaningful for their child.

Q: Who is eligible?
What criteria are applied – does it remain unchanged while CCiL are managing? If so please state clearly what current criteria are and what they will be from transfer

If a child is receiving High Rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA), either care and or mobility component or a young person aged 16 or 17 is receiving Personal Independence Payment  (PIP) either care and or mobility component then the parent carer is eligible for an EHIP’s.  We use DLA and PIP as our eligibility criteria as this is a way of us determining that the child has a disability without having to undergo an assessment.  Although we use Department of Works and Pensions (DLA and PIP) as our eligibility, EHIP’s are not part of the Benefit System, they are solely administered as part of our Short Breaks Local Offer

This will remain unchanged whilst the Cheshire Centre for Independent Living (CCIL) manage the EHIP’s process.  CCIL will cease to manage this contract from April 1st 2018, when EHIP’s will move to the New Short Breaks Team. 

We will continue to use this eligibility criteria after 1st April 2018, however we are going to expand the criteria as we are aware that recent changes in DLA and PIP has meant that some children and young people previously able to access them no longer can.  To ensure that these children and young people are able to access support we will also consider children and young people eligible for an EHIP if they could not access any of our commissioned support without an EHIP, for example a child who could only access one of our activity groups with 1:1 support.  This will be determined on a case by case basis for those children and young people not in receipt of DLA or PIP.

Q: What can it be spent on?
Please give a clear definition, including examples of what is and isn’t acceptable. 
Members have cited several instances where their claim seems to meet the description, but has not been allowed, leaving them out of pocket
This situation then leaves others fearful of spending the benefit as they cannot afford to risk being left out of pocket themselves

EHIPs can be spent on support that provides the parent carer with a break from their caring responsibility, whilst ensuring something meaningful for the child. 

Good examples of the use of EHIPs:

  •  Paying for a carer or personal assistant to take the child or young person out on an activity
  • Paying for a carer or personal assistant to accompany the family on a holiday
  • School holiday clubs
  • Membership to a sports club or gym for the child or young person
  • Fees for a youth club or other social clubs, that are not already part of our commissioned short break services
  • Specialist disability swimming lessons or trampoline clubs
  • Paying for your child or young person to attend a residential break

Q: Please share the guidelines referred to previously, that set out the requirement that parents have to be separate from their child / YP in order for it to constitute a short break for the parent

The national statutory guidance requires local authorities to provide short breaks that give parent carers a break from their caring responsibilities.  If for example a parent uses their EHIP to pay for a holiday in which they accompany their child, this does not constitute a short break, as the parent is there caring for the child.  If however the parent uses the EHIP to pay for a carer to accompany them on the holiday, who will take responsibility in whole or in part for caring for the child or young person, then this does constitute a short break.  The same might apply to buying a Merlin card for a carer to take the child out so a parent can have a break. The Short Breaks Team will be able to give families advice on how best they can use their EHIP’s

The statutory guidance that all local authorities have to work too is entitled ‘short breaks for carers of disabled children’ which we have included as a link below.  EHIPs constitutes part of Cheshire East’s short break ‘local offer’, this is the short breaks that are available to children, young people and their families without having to undergo an assessment of need, either through the National Assessment Framework for Children in Need and their Families or the Common Assessment Framework.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/short-breaks-for-carers-of-disabled-children

The Children Act 1989 (“the 1989 Act”) states that local authorities have a duty to provide, as part of the range of services they provide for families, breaks from caring for carers of disabled children to support them to continue to care for their children at home and to allow them to do so more effectively.

Q: What options are available for families whose children’s / YP’s needs are too complex for them to be go to activities without their primary carer?
Many parents have raised that they can no longer spend the money because of the requirement to be away from the child / yp – esp where there are attachment issues
Please can you share the alternative routes, including links to the charities mentioned by Cat, and direct payments

In terms of short break activities, this issue is about choice for parents and carers.  You should not be made to stay by our commissioned providers as by doing so you are not being given a break from you caring responsibilities.  If however you are given the choice to stay, for example to attend a parent coffee morning being run by the same provider and you decide for yourself that you would like to stay, that is fine.  Ultimately you must feel as parent carers that you have the ability to make a decision for yourself about whether you would like to stay or not. And not have the choice taken out of your hands.

If a child or young person is not able to access any activity independently or with a carer, therefore the parent carer is unable to receive a break from their caring responsibility, then EHIP’s is not the best way of supporting the child or young person.  In this situation we would be very happy to complete an assessment or to signpost families to providers outside of our short breaks local offer

Q: What reassurance can you offer to families whose previous experiences with Social Services has left them reluctant to try again?
Many parents have raised that they are not willing to go through the process of applying for SS assessments. They have experienced intrusive assessments (for example questioning them on their criminal background, drug / alcohol consumption, checking their standards of housekeeping, the child’s bedding, how safely the bleach is stored etc…) only to be told that as they are coping they do not qualify for any additional support. If this is no longer the experience then this is a great opportunity to explain what has changed & to reassure users.

These issues have been acknowledged by the authority and as a direct result of the feedback previously received from parent carers via the parent carers forum and others working with disabled children we have established a specialist children with disabilities social work team and the new short breaks team.  All members of both teams have experience of working with disabled children.  We have already received positive feedback from many parents and others across the wider disability network that this is improving assessment and service delivery.

We hope that these developments will reassure parent carers that we are committed to improving how we support disabled children and their families in line with our statutory responsibilities.

The lack of co-production at early stages of this process and ongoing lack of clarity in communications has led to a general feeling that the changes have not been made for the benefit of our members’ families, but to cut costs.  
A full communication would be an opportunity to publicly state that this is not the case and explain the benefits of the changes that have been made.

Representatives from the parent carers forum and individual parent / carers have been involved in seven engagement events over the last three years. This engagement has been enhanced by a parent / carers quick quiz, direct calls to recipients of EHIPs and through feedback via commissioned services. The development of a good short break support offer is a priority and the engagement with parent / carers has provided effective influence and direction to the redesigned offer.   Representatives from the parent carers forum are currently involved in the task and finish group that has been set up to ensure that the transition from our current contract with CCIL to the short breaks team is as seamless as possible.

It is regrettable that there is a general feeling that changes are not being made for the benefit of carers and I can categorically state that all the work that has been completed over the past many months has been with an aim to improve services, not as a cost cutting exercise.  The local authority’s legal duties around short breaks are to ensure that parent carers receive a break from their caring responsibility; there is no duty upon the local authority to provide Early Help Individual Payments to families, the authority could have taken the decision as many local authorities have across the country to directly commission support and signpost families directly to it.  After consultation with the parent carers forum we decided to maintain Early Help Individual Payments for parents to give them greater choice concerning how they receive breaks from care.  If this was solely a cost cutting exercise we surely would have ceased providing EHIPs.

We intend to publish an EHIP’s fact sheet as part of our local offer ‘Livewell’ webpages over the coming days and will establish EHIP’s surgeries that will operate through day and early evenings across the authority. These surgeries will be an opportunity for any parent, currently receiving EHIP’s and new cases, to discuss any EHIP issue with a member of the short breaks team

Cat Linde the short breaks team manager is currently identifying dates and venues and we will then publish and promote these events.