Sheffield Autistic Society – March News 2023

From Liz Friend:

Hi Everyone,
Spring is around the corner and the nights are finally getting lighter!
Here is a round-up of information and news which we hope you will find useful and of interest

Get involved – adults

Adult Autism Peer Support Group (Zoom)

For autistic adults 18+ only – will meet online over Zoom on the following date from 7pm until 8.30pm: Wednesday 8th March everyone welcome – new members too!

Please contact Helen for more information at and she will send you the joining details if you wish to come along. See attached for group guidelines which set out what to expect at the meetings.

Free one-to-one support sessions for autistic adults

These online only sessions are facilitated by Helen Purdie for the Sheffield Autistic Society. They will be an opportunity for individuals to check-in with themselves and to talk about their lived autistic experience with another autistic adult who is experienced in offering individual and group support in this way. Through dialogue in a confidential space, individuals will be able to share concerns, gain a better understanding of their autistic selves and feel heard.

Sessions are free of charge and are for one hour – please see Peer Group Online Group guidelines 2023 for further information.

Inclusive LGBTQ+ Café

A social meet up for neurodiverse/disabled members of the LGBTQ+ community, alternate Thursdays on Zoom, 3-4pm or at Spirit of Sheffield, 3-5pm. Email for more information. Poster attached.

New Mental Health Drop Hub in Sheffield city centre

A new drop-in Mental Health Support Hub has opened for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis and want support. You can just turn up as there is no need to book. The staff team is available to provide emotional, social and practical support if you are in crisis or feel you are heading toward a crisis situation. They also offer help in creating staying well and crisis plans.

They offer support in person, over the phone, or via video call. You can come just for a chat or to access one-to-one support and group sessions with our staff team. Help is available in person, over the phone and via video call. The Hub is on Bank Street S1 2DS and open in the evenings 6pm –12 pm and 2pm -12 pm at weekends. See the attached  Sheffield Support Hub -Leaflet.

Take part in research about autism

“I’m Sharon and I am researching into autism and special interests and passions for my MA in Autism at Sheffield Hallam University. If you would like to take part in this study then I would be very grateful.

Part of my project is to interview autistic people who are over 18 years of age. It is a semi-structured interview so not set questions, it will be more of a discussion about the pros and cons of having special interests/passions. It is voluntary but I will cover travel costs and happily buy coffee and cakes.

If you’d like any further information, please contact me by email Please see attached Special Interest Research Group Poster for more info.”

Autism Alert ID Card – South Yorkshire Police

South Yorkshire Police and the National Autistic Society have worked together to create a new Autism Alert Photo ID Card. The free, credit-card sized, Autism Alert cards are now in circulation to help police and other emergency services workers communicate with autistic residents more effectively, helping those on the autism spectrum feel more comfortable in what perhaps could potentially be an extremely stressful or frightening situation. In addition, we offer Learning Disability Alert photo ID cards to help our officers and other emergency service workers communicate effectively with individuals with learning disabilities.

Get involved – children and young people

Breaking News (3 March 2023) about SEND provision from the National Autistic Society:

“In 2022, over 42,000 of you asked the Government to invest in autistic children’s futures and fix the broken SEND system. After a long wait, and lots of pressure from our campaigners, this week the Government finally published the SEND and Alternative Provision Improvement Plan.

The plan announced new funding for SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities), which will be used to recruit more school staff and simplify the process of getting EHCPs (Education, Health and Care Plans). This could be great news for some autistic children and young people.”

For more information and a link to download the plan see:

Start for Life Sheffield – Parent Focus Group

Sheffield City Council are keen to hear from parent/carers with children in their early years (0-5yrs) with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), to understand their recent experience of accessing services able to provide help and support to both children and families in their early years. Your feedback will help inform the new Early Years Strategy, “Start for Life Sheffield. The current version, “A Great Start in Life”, is due to end in March 2023. We would like your support in ensuring that the new strategy is reflective of our city and its families.

The focus group will run for approx. 2hrs. for up to 8 participants. You must have a child 0-5 years with SEND to attend this group and we are particularly keen to hear from those who have children 0-2 years. We are offering a £20 Love to Shop voucher to all attendees. Details are at:

The Peer Support Service for parents/carers

The Peer Support Service was created in response to feedback from parents of children and young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Sheffield. Feedback clearly showed that there is a lack of support both before and after a child receives a diagnosis. Although the funding for the project has a focus on autism and other neurodevelopmental needs, our service is available for ALL families, with or without a diagnosis. We will continue to work closely with families in Sheffield, listening to their ideas and concerns, using these to shape the service going forward.

If you would like a 1-1 appointment, please call our main number 0300 321 4721 and select option 1 for our Peer Support Service. Alternatively, please email

Coffee Morning at the Parent Carer Forum

Coffee mornings are run by our friendly volunteers. They are open to all parent carers, whatever their children’s needs, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, mild or severe. Pre-schoolers and home-educated children are welcome too.

Pop in for a few minutes or stay for the whole session – no need to book. You can be sure of a warm welcome and plenty of tea, coffee and cake! 10:30am – 12:00pm Tuesday 9 March 2023 at St Mary’s Church and Community Centre, Bramall Lane, Sheffield, S2 4QZ


SSENDIAS information sessions
Sheffield SENDIAS (Sheffield SEND Information and Advice Service) offer free online information sessions. These are for parents and carers of young people aged 0-25 with SEND. The sessions answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

There are various sessions available, which run in both the daytime and evenings covering topics such as:

– What is an EHC Needs Assessment
– SEN Support in Schools
– Checking a Draft EHC Plan

Details are at

SEND Youth Clubs

Sheffield City Council Community Youth Services run the following youth clubs for young people aged 13 to 25 years with special educational needs and/or disabilities:

Leo’s SEND club: Monday 6-8pm, Centre in the Park, Guildford Avenue, Norfolk Park, Sheffield S2 2PL
S Club 5 SEND club: Tuesday 6-8pm, Milan Youth Centre, Longley Lane, Sheffield S5 7JS

Just turn up to your chosen club and a Youth Worker will help you to complete the registration form. For further information contact Community Youth Services on 0114 2057450 or e-mail

Support for Carers

Sheffield Carers Centre is a local independent charity founded in 1993, that is also affiliated to the national Carers Trust charity. They provide a range of high quality services to unpaid adult carers in Sheffield. They can offer a range of support including:

Carer Advice Line: Call us for personalised expert advice on anything related to your caring role. One of the team is an Urdu and Punjabi speaker, and we use an interpretation service for other languages.

Carer Card: This offers discounts on a wide range of services, products and activities from local and national businesses; plus there is space to record two emergency contact numbers.

Carer Activities & Carers Workshops: Regular activities for carers to have a break from their caring role and look after their own wellbeing and a programme of workshops to help carers share experiences and learn new skills.

Legal Advice Clinic: Free 30-minute individual legal advice sessions with a legal expert, offering advice around topics such as wills, estate planning and power of attorney. Clinics are held on a monthly basis.

Carer Café & Support Groups: The Café is held every Friday and is a great chance to meet other carers. The Support Groups take place at various locations around Sheffield on a regular basis.

Community Connect: A telephone support service providing regular phone calls from volunteers to reduce social isolation and connect carers with their local community.

Emergency Planning: We provide information to help carers make an emergency plan if something unexpectedly stopped them from looking after the person they care for.

Carer’s Assessment: A carer’s assessment provides an opportunity to discuss the impact of your caring role with our Carer Advisors, who will discuss the support you might need and help put this in place.

Time for a Break Grant: Small grants for short breaks or activities that support wellbeing and help you take a break from your caring role. We’ll assess your eligibility as part of a Carers Assessment.

Information and resources: Easy access to a range of information and resources on our website from expert sources covering more than 20 topics to help with your caring role.

Digital Resources for Carers: Carers can access the free online ‘Digital Resources for Carers’ provided by Carers UK and Sheffield City Council, includes information, eLearning, resources, and the Jointly app.

Carers News: This free monthly E-newsletter provides up-to-date information about our services and activities, along with key news items that affect carers.

Details of all of the above are at:

Council webpage with links to lots of practical and helpful information on cost of living

Everyone is affected by the cost-of-living crisis in some shape or form. Sheffield City Council has a special page on their website highlighting some of the local and national support available to help you manage the cost-of-living in Sheffield.

The webpage has sections for areas such as Money Support, Food Support, Help with Energy Costs plus information on community help.

Working in partnership for better services

What is the Sheffield Autism Partnership Board?

Sheffield’s Autism Partnership Board (APB) currently meets each month to improve the provision of services and support for autistic children, adults, their families and carers in Sheffield, including young autistic persons in transition to adulthood. Members include representatives from Sheffield City Council and local NHS bodies, community and voluntary sector organisations and services; autistic adults, their parents, carers and family members, professionals and other relevant organisations and individuals.

You can read more about the work of the APB on our website here

Sheffield Autism Partnership Network (SAPN)

The Sheffield Autism Partnership Network is a Sheffield based consortium focusing on improving the lives of Autistic people and their families in our city.

It is a network of organisations (voluntary, community, public, private and statutory), Autistic individuals and their support systems (parents, carers, friends, partners, etc) who work with Autistic people, their families and carers. For information about the network, its member organisations and how they can help you and your support system see the website:

All Age Autism Strategy for Sheffield

The Autism Partnership Board has developed a draft All Age Autism Strategy for Sheffield for the next three years, up to March 2026. We want to know what people think of the draft strategy before we launch it next month.The consultation runs until Tuesday 7 March 2023.

Here’s the link to the survey:

Potential funding for Autism Support Hub

Limited funding has been made available for an Autism support hub in Sheffield. The Supplier (successful bidder) will develop and deliver a service specification of drop-in provision accessible to and offering support to autistic people in Sheffield. This will be available to people aged 16 and above with or without a formal diagnosis of autism. Services will be provided in easy to access community venue/s through the support of recognised, established, and specialised organisations.

The specification and bid information are attached to this email.

If you would like to be part of the working group around developing this concept then please email

Best wishes

Sheffield Autistic Society








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Sheffield Support Hub – A5 Leaflet.pdf 183 KB
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