Go back a step

North East

Contact a Family provides support, advice and information for families with disabled children, no matter what their condition or disability.

In the North East, we carry out our service through our regional office in Newcastle and home-based workers. Working at a local and regional level, we have up-to-date information on local services and support for families.

Our North East team offers:

  • advice, information and support to help families to find out what is available locally
  • workshops, events and opportunities to meet other families with disabled children
  • guidance for support groups and forums to help them to reach and involve parents
  • workshops for parent/carers and for professionals working with families
  • regular newsletters and ebulletins with useful information for families

We work together with government and voluntary organisations. We also take part in local and regional networks to shape policy and ensure the needs of families with disabled children are represented.


Office address

Contact a Family North East, The Dene Centre, Castle Farm Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 1PH, 0191 213 6300, northeast.office@cafamily.org.uk

Local contacts

Jacqui Adams, Regional Development Manager 0191 213 6300 jacqui.adams@cafamily.org.uk For information on our regional work, talking at events and the development of our service

Sarah Lewis, Information Officer 0191 213 6300 sarah.lewis@cafamily.org.uk. To join our mailing list, general enquiries, information about local events, workshops and parent support groups 

Shona Chambers, Parent Adviser 07961 979831 shona.chambers@cafamily.org.uk. For advice in relation to bringing up a disabled child, workshops, information and drop ins

Helen Bailey, SEND Parent Adviser: 07930 812420 helen.bailey@cafamily.org.uk. For advice in relation to special educational needs reforms (SEND), workshops, information and drop ins

Kath Ingleby, Hospital & Hospice Parent Adviser: 07738 896474 kathleen.ingleby@cafamily.org.uk. Advice for families whose children regularly have to stay in hospital and use hospital or hospice services, workshops, information and drop ins

Victoria Haughan, Cumbria Parent Adviser: 07432 520844 or 01768 88392 victoria.haughan@cafamily.org.uk. To join the Cumbria mailing list, advice in relation to binging up a disabled child, workshops, information and drop ins

Sarah Lee, 01289 387089 or 07920 654967 sarah.lee@cafamily.org.uk. For parent carer participation and help for forums.

Alternatively, you can either email or call our freephone national helpline on 0808 808 3555 from 9.30am-5.00pm, Monday-Friday. Advisers can arrange an interpreter over the telephone if needed.

Registration forms

If you would like to be added to the North East mailing list to receive our quarterly newsletter and weekly email bulletin (during term times only), then please complete and return our registration form.

Local news

Summer Survival Tips

Below our team of Parent Advisers share some hints and tips on how to survive summer:

  • Plan ahead - look for FREE activities/coupons in local press
  • Set a budget - summer holiday activities can be costly!
  • Go outside and enjoy the weather - remember to wear sunscreen UV 15+, hat, sunglasses
  • Play in the rain too - splash in puddles
  • Go for a picnic - that you have helped to prepare OR have an indoor picnic
  • Play a board game or play cards
  • Go to the beach and build a sandcastle
  • Eat fish and chips out of newspaper
  • Read a book
  • 'Sign' a song (see www.makaton.org.uk)
  • Watch the sunset
  • Take a bus trip or go for a Metro ride
  • Bake a cake or make a pizza 'a la you'
  • Plant a sunflower
  • Visit a museum or a farm
  • Make a kite and fly it
  • Pick some strawberries
  • Take photographs every day
  • Make a 'Summer memories scrapbook' of your photographs/or create a Blog
  • Have a 'Joggers' day  (as pyjamas are for bedtime only - CaF Sleep advice)
  • Visit a friend
  • Go on a 'Mystery Tour' to somewhere you have never been before
  • Dance to different types of music - like Glastonbury in your garden!
  • Have a water fight (in the garden!)
  • Watch a new film that you have not seen before or watch an old favourite film
  • Draw with chalk
  • Make a fruit smoothie or make Ice lollies to keep you cool
  • Go on a bike or scooter ride
  • Laugh until your tummy hurts
  • Go for a swim at a local pool or paddle in the sea (stay safe near water)
  • Don't forget - Contact a Family North East and our Helpline are open if you need help and advice - 0191 213 6300

This is taken from the latest edition of In Contact, our North East Regional Newsletter. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive copies of these along with our weekly email bulletins sent out during term times, please complete our registration form or contact us at at northeast.office@cafamily.org.uk or call us on 0191 213 6300.

Local events

If your group or organisation is arranging an event, please let us know on 0191 213 6300 or email northeast.office@cafamily.org.uk


Future Steps Summer Sessions

22-26 August and 29 Aug-2 Sept (Bank Holiday Monday is 29 August 2016)
Future Steps Consultancy, Marchbank, Darlington DL3 9BL

Future Steps Occupational Therapy Consultancy are running therapy and treatment summer sessions during the summer holidays of 2016 focusing on sensory difficulties, motor ability and behaviour, as well as a 6-week handwriting course to help children maintain or increase their handwriting ability during the long Summer Holidays.

SMART Summer Sessions (Sensory, Modulation And Regulatory Treatment Sessions)

Group Intervention (Four per group) over the summer holidays, only accessible for children who are able to work in a group, without the need of a one-to-one assistant.

Delivering both Motor and Sensory Integration treatments. Five sessions (1hour 15 minutes each) over the course of five days (Unless booked on week containing Bank Holiday).

Cost is £25 per session, meaning a week of sessions would cost £125 (Unless booked on week containing Bank Holiday, in which case the cost would be £100)

EARTH Handwriting Summer Sessions

Assist with child's rhythm, formation and understanding of letters. Six-Week Handwriting Course, with once weekly 40 minute, group sessions, costing £20 per child. Can incorporate host schools font.

Group Intervention (Four per group) over the summer holidays, only accessible for children who are able to work in a group, without the need of a one-to-one assistant.

Additional £15 for handwriting resources booklet to ensure progress continues after summer sessions have concluded

For more information see the Future Steps website or call 01325 254 688 or email admin@futurestepsconsultancy.co.uk

Contact a Family's RVI Information Stand

Tuesdays 6 September, 11 October, 8 November and 13 December 2016 9.00am-4.00pm

As part of our Hospitals and Hospices Project, Contact a Family has an information stand available on a monthly basis outside the Children's Outpatient Department at the RVI/Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle.

If you are visiting the hospital with your child on one of these dates or you might be there with your child as an inpatient, why not come along and meet Contact a Family staff, including Kath Ingleby our Hospital and Hospice Parent Adviser and find out about support we are able to offer. If you would like to find out more about the project, please contact the North East office on 0191 213 6300 or email northeast.office@cafamily.org.uk


North East Autism Society Workshops

Tuesday 13 September 2016 until 18 October 2016 from 12.00-2.00pm.
Chance Community Centre, Rickerby Street, Hendon, Sunderland SR12DL

NEAS is running this free 6-week Autism Workshop course for Sunderland parents and carers The Course is based on 6 areas that will cover What is Autism; Living with Autism; Communication Differences in Autism; Sensory Differences in Autism; Emotional wellbeing in Autism and Navigating the System.

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. For more information and to book a place email kerrie.highcock@ne-as.org.uk or call 0191 410 9974


Sight North East Exhibition

Wednesday 7 September 2016 from 10.00am-4.00pm
St. James' Park Stadium, Newcastle upon Tyne

The event is the largest exhibition in the region of specialist equipment, information, support and services for visually impaired people and is attended by exhibitors from all over the country. It provides an ideal opportunity for visually impaired people and professionals working in the field to find out about the latest technology and services available.

Sighted guides will be available to those who need them. Entry into the exhibition is free and tea/coffee and biscuits will be served

If you would like any further information about the exhibition, please contact Kerry Pattison - Sight North East Event Organiser on 0191 478 5959 extension: 205


DNEX 2016

Wednesday 21 & Thursday 22 September 2016 Open daily at 10.00am
Newcastle Racecourse

DNEX is hosted by Disability North. 2016 marks the 30th DNEX exhibition and it will be opened by Metro Radio DJ and 'Night Owls' host, Alan Robson. Entrance is free.

This year, there are a number of exhibitors that will be of particular interest to families with disabled children and young people along with a number of topics being covered by the free seminars on offer over the 2 days. Contact a Family will be there with our information stand and will also be delivering one of the workshops.

More information can be found on Disability North's DNEX website.


Find local services at


Our SENDirect service is a website where families of children with disabilities or special educational needs can search for and compare local support, activities and services.