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

Rachael Turnbull, Finance and Welfar Parent Adviser: 07458045719 rachael.turnbull@cafamily.org.uk. For advice in relation to income maximisation workshops 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

North East team - Who's who

As we have recently grown again with the appointment of Rachael Turnbull, our finance and welfare parent adviser for the North East, we thought we'd update and remind you of who we all are and what we all do in the region.

The regional team are currently funded to support families across the North East and Cumbria region. We try hard to make sure we offer an equitable service to families across the whole region. We have an office at the Dene Centre where the regional manager and information officer are based, but the majority of the team are home based.

Our current team consists of:

Jacqui Adams - regional manager (four days)

Jacqui has been regional manager since December 2012. Her role is to manage the regional team and, along with them, plan the delivery of our work across the region. She represents Contact a Family strategically and links what we do regionally into what we do nationally as a charity. She attends meetings across the region where she can make sure we are linked into local developments for families across our region.

Part of her role is to look for opportunities where we can work with partners to deliver and develop our service so we can reach and support more families in our region. You can contact Jacqui if you would like to discuss any opportunities where you think Contact a Family's services would make a difference.

Sarah Lewis - information officer (full time)

Sarah has been with the regional team since its establishment in January 2000.

Sarah's main role is to make sure families have up-to-date information about anything that may make their lives a little easier. Sarah does this by writing our regional newsletter and weekly e-bulletins, updating our regional webpage, attending community events with our information stand and taking enquiries via our office.

If the enquiry is about a specific subject, such as benefits or special educational needs, Sarah will pass these enquiries onto the relevant parent adviser. Parents and carers can self-refer by email, phone or via our website. We can also send practitioners our sign up form to fill in with parents and send to us for them to be included on our mailing list.

Shona Chambers - parent adviser North East (2.5 days)

Shona joined the team in November 2015. Shona works across the North East. Her role is to enable parents and carers of children with disabilities to access information and advice that will help them support their child, navigate the system and know their rights.

Shona works alongside other professionals, parent carer forums and parent support groups to deliver 1:1 advice through drop ins, information sessions and workshops on a variety of subjects such as sleep, managing behaviour, coping and support, siblings and communication.

Shona is also a regional Makaton tutor; we are currently looking at how we can offer this training to professionals as part of our work, so please contact Jacqui if you are interested.

Helen Bailey - SEND parent adviser North East (four days, term time only)

Helen joined the team in November 2015. Helen's role is to reach out to parents and carers of children with additional support needs who are not yet aware of the special educational needs and disability reforms (SEND). This involves working across the region liaising with any service or parent group where there may be parents of children with additional needs.

Helen provides 1:1 advice via phone, email or drop in and delivers information sessions and workshops to parents covering the current legislation, SEN Support and Education Health and Care plans, how parents can get an assessment, access support and who can help them do this locally.

Kath Ingleby - hospitals and hospices parent adviser North East (2.5 days)

Kath joined the team in January 2016. Kath's role is to support families whose children are in hospital for long periods or use hospice services.

Kath does this by holding a regular information stand at the Great North Children's Hospital and dropping onto wards to provide parents with 1:1 advice and support about anything to do with bringing up a child with a disability or long term medical condition. This involves signposting to relevant support groups and services, being a listening ear and referring onto our specialist parent advisers if necessary.

Kath's role also involves developing links with hospices to offer information and workshops for parents. 

Rachael Turnbull - finance and welfare parent adviser North East (four days)

Rachael joined the team in July 2016. Rachael's role is to empower families to feel more confident in navigating benefit forms, particularly Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Racheal does this via 1:1 sessions at drop ins and delivering workshops for parents on DLA, PIP and access to grants. Rachael will also be offering fortnightly call back phone advice sessions if you need to speak to someone before the next workshop or cannot attend a workshop. These sessions need to be booked via the North East office.

Vicky Haughan - parent adviser Cumbria (2.5 days)

Vicky joined the team in November 2015. Vicky works across Cumbria. Her role is to enable parents and carers of children with disabilities to access information and advice that will help them support their child, navigate the system and know their rights.

Vicky works alongside other professionals, parent carer forums and parent support groups to deliver 1:1 advice through drop ins, information sessions and workshops on a variety of subjects such as sleep, managing behaviour, coping and support, siblings and communication. Vicky and Sarah produce a half-termly e-bulletin for families and practitioners in Cumbria.

To find out more about workshops our parent advisers are running, please remember to sign up to receive copies of our weekly (during term times) email bulletin along with our newsletters. Complete our registration form or contact us at northeast.office@cafamily.org.uk or 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


In It Together Parent Carer Forum and Northumberland County Council SEND Information Roadshows

Thursday 3 November 2016 from 1.00-6.30pm
Hexham Mart, Tyne Green, Hexham, NE46 3SG

Thursday 10 November 2016 from 1.00 6.30pm
Alnwick Willowburn Leisure Centre, Willowburn Ave, Alnwick, NE66 2JH

Tuesday 15 November 2016 from 1.00-6.30pm
Ashington Leisure Centre, Institute Road, Ashington, NE63 8HP

These roadshows are for the families of children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) in Northumberland and the professionals who work with them. Your chance to meet the services and organisations who are here to support you and to attend seminars covering a range of different SEND topics including Meeting Special Educational Needs; Mental Health and Wellbeing; Autism Spectrum Conditions/Behaviour; Speech and Language/Literacy, including Dyslexia. Just sign up on the day on a first come, first served basis.       

Booking for attending these roadshows is not required: just come along when you can (between 1pm and 6.30pm: last entry 6pm) to the event most convenient for you.

For further information or to advise of any accessibility requirements, please contact In It Together Parent Carer Forum at             info@in-it-together.org.uk  or on 07729192909


Contact a Family's RVI Information Stand

Tuesdays 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


Making Changes Together County Durham Conference

Wednesday 16 November 2016 - evening conference 6.30-8.30pm
Thursday 17 November 2016 - full day conference 10.00am - 2.30pm
The Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club, Carville, Durham, DH1 1TD

For parents/carers of children with additional needs/disabilities in County Durham. The 17th conference organised by parents to help inform and support you with the latest changes in Education, Health and Social Care. Your opinion matters!

Conferences are free, refreshments and lunch (day conference) are included - please note places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

To book your place phone Ann Connor on 0191 5873541 or email ann.connor@durham.gov.uk. All places must be booked in advance.

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.