Sometimes the most useful people to offer support are other parents who have been there before you. There are quite a few regular parent-to-parent support groups that meet locally.
Some are general groups for parents of any child with a special need or disability; some are groups for parents of children with a specific condition or disability.
General ‘disability’ support groups
Amaze coffee mornings for parent carers in Moulsecoomb, Hangleton & Knoll and Whitehawk
Amaze (in association with local community projects) runs regular, friendly coffee mornings for parents of children with SEN, disabilities, health problems or behavioural issues in Moulsecoomb, Hangleton & Knoll and Whitehawk.
The Moulsecoomb coffee mornings take place at Moulsecoomb Primary School on the second Tuesday of the month. The Hangleton and Knoll coffee mornings are on the fourth Tuesday of the month at St Richard’s Community Centre on Egmont Road in Hangleton and the Whitehawk coffee mornings are on the last Thursday of the month at The Whitehawk Inn. All parents and carers from schools and neighbouring areas are welcome. Each session gives parents the chance to get together for a cuppa and a chat as well as to hear some expert advice from one of the services or groups who work with families of kids with SEN and disabilities in Brighton and Hove. For details of future dates visit our events page. For more information, email [email protected] or call Paolo on 01273 234862.
Brighton Pebbles is a parent-run group for families with disabled children aged 4-14 who live in Brighton and Hove. They run a weekly drop-in at the Manor Road Gym in Whitehawk which welcomes families with children with any disability, in special or mainstream schooling. Pebbles also organises monthly social and leisure activities and even getaways to places like Knowles Tooth Family Centre in Hurstpierpoint. Most activities are subsidised wherever possible. Pebbles stress they are not a childcare service and that parents/carers are expected to accompany their children at all times. Call 07506 105265 or email [email protected] You can find full details of Pebbles activities on the Brighton Pebbles website.
This regular social group for fathers and male carers of children with additional needs meets in the function room of the Stoneham Pub in Hove on the last Thursday of every month, from 7.30-9.30pm. To let them know you are coming contact Face 2 Face befriender, Reza, on [email protected] or David, Keyworker scheme Co-ordinator at Seaside View, on 01273 265 825 or [email protected]. They have a closed Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/dadsgroupbrighton
Dad’s Running Group
This running group for local fathers and male carers of children with additional needs take place on the second Saturday of every month at either Preston Park or Hove Park , alternating monthly. The group meets outside either Hove Park Cafe or Preston Park Chalet Cafe, for a 10 minute warm up at 8.45am. The Park Run then starts sharp at 9am. It is a friendly all abilities 5km run so don’t worry if you’re not sure you can run that yet. They have a tea/coffee/cake in the park cafe afterwards to warm up or down! To let them know you’re coming contact Face 2 Face befriender Reza at [email protected]or [email protected]
Early Birds Support Group (formerly Wee Ones)
Early Birds is a support group for parents of premature babies. They meet twice a month, every 2nd and 4th Wednesday, at West Hove Children’s Centre, West Hove Infants School from 10am till 12 noon. Call 07832 350332, or email [email protected] for more details.
Kaleidoscope is a group for parents and carers of children with physical disabilities. There are two groups: Little Wheels is for parents of children aged 0-8 and provides early support and info, regular swimming sessions and meet-ups. Wheels is for parents of 8-16s and they organise regular leisure activities. Contact Gillian on 07788 924940 (Little Wheels) or Sandra on 07946 344220 (Wheels).
Little Darlings is an after school club for children aged 0-8 with any additional needs and their parents or carers. They meet on Wednesdays at Hollingdean Community Centre. They also run summer activities. Call 07799 414837 or visit https://hollingdeancommunitycentre.org.uk/activities/little-darlings
Sweet Peas parent and toddler group for children with special needs meets on Fridays, from 12.15 to 3pm at Tarner Children’s Centre, Ivory Place, Brighton. Call Amanda on 07917 887526.
Worthing KiDS and Dapper Snapper (WKDS)
WKDS is for families across Sussex who have children with special needs up to age 15. They run regular get togethers, outings and activities including dance, drama and swimming clubs. Call 07570 768893 for more details or visit the WKDS website.
Support groups for specific conditions
Can’t find the group you are looking for?
If you know of any regular groups that are not listed here, please contact [email protected] and tell us all about them.
If you cannot find a group that’s suitable for your child’s specific condition here, Contact a Family may be able to help. They are in touch with hundreds of groups across the UK and can even give advice on setting up your own group. Call them on 0808 808 3555 or visit the CAF website.