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  • Advice for families during Covid 19

Advice for families during Covid 19

Grace House COVID-19 response - #StayWellStayTogether

Symptoms of Coronavirus include, a high temperature, new continuous cough and a loss or change in your sense of taste and smell.
If you develop symptoms your household contacts will also be required to self-isolate. More information on self-isolation is available on the NHS website

We have quickly developed a range of online activities to support families remotely. We are delivering Creative Cuppas (art therapy and peer support) The group used to meet at Grace House weekly, but we are now hosting the sessions online.

Other online sessions which have been introduced since lockdown include.

  • Zumba
  • Journaling for wellbeing
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness (group activity)
  • A range of children’s activities which have included Circurama and a Magician.
  • Interactive activities have been developed; age and ability appropriate resource packs (such as gardening activities, planting and growing seeds) which we have delivered to families upon request.
  • An information newsletter informing parents of not only Grace House development and opportunities but community wide support

Feedback from You Are Not Alone Sessions:

“I am really enjoying the sessions and finding them really helpful. Thank you for providing all these sessions it really does help to feel a sense of connection in these times of self-isolation.”

“All of these activities are great I'm enjoying them all. I was a bit put off being on camera, but you don't have to put your camera on until you feel comfortable.”

Finally sat down and just wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to all involved with Creative Cuppas. The group is a lifeline for me on a Monday. The combination of creativity, sharing and kindness today was overwhelming for me at times. Laura Conlon’s artistic input and wit has been amazing and thank you to Lyn for keeping us going. Look forward to “seeing” you all next week


For regular updates on these activities please follow us on Facebook or email We are also on Twitter, @GraceHouse10 and Instagram

In addition to the above support offered to families we are very proud that our Short Breaks has remained open, delivering a crisis intervention type model, ensuring delivery to those families who face crisis and breakdown if this intervention isn’t provided.

The support of additional funding we have recently received from the National Lottery Community Fund will now enable us to deliver the following activities which are a direct response to COVID 19

  • Proactive telephone support available 4 days per week, where we will actively ring families to find out how they are managing, we will also make the number available to all Grace House families so they can ring us directly with their concerns
  • An anxiety support group led by a practitioner, which will address the concerns parents/ families have about coming out of lockdown and dealing with a changed society
  • Family therapies such as counselling, our past emphasis has always been on the individual, so this is very much a shift of direction for Grace House. But COVD-19 has had an impact on the whole family
  • We are offering remote counselling via telephone or video link to help support our clients.  If you would like any more information about our counselling services please contact Chris Pretty by email on 
  • Updates and resources available on our website; so that all the information relating to COVID 19 are all in one accessible place with IT support and admin for Zoom sessions
  • One to one mindfulness, art therapies – innovative ways of addressing anxiety and providing a distraction from stress. email Lyn on for more information
  • Sleep therapy (parents tell us that children are experiencing disturbed sleep patterns) and the change in routine has had a massive impact on this
  • Additional Family Activities to our existing planned programme with age/ability resource packs upon request, these packs will be suitable for the child’s individual needs, using Makaton instructions where required, sensory equipment and interactive activities which we can share progress using social media where appropriate to create a connected community. Email Lindsey on for more information

If you would like to make a donation to support our work please click here 


Face Masks; advice from the Government: 

If you can, wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops. From 15 June, you must wear a face covering on public transport. You should be prepared to remove your face covering if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.

Useful links for parents and family carers:

Healthwatch Sunderland have lots of advice on their website around Coronavirus, for more information  Click Here

Funding for families:

Children with special educational needs and disabilities in England will benefit from £37.3 million of direct support in 2020-21, which is expected to help more than 75,000 families in England. Click here for more information      This will take you to the website. 

Council for disabled children:

The Council for Disabled Children have released a new support service. You can submit your question via and they will answer the questions on a weekly basis. click on the link below for the most recent questons and answers. 

FAQ - SEND support during the Coronavirus pandemic

Sensory Apps 

Sensory App House creates apps for stimulation, relaxation, fun, digital art and speech therapy. Our apps can be used by therapists and educators to help younger people with visual and speech development and sensory issues.

Click Here for more information


New Report from Sibs - Coming second all the time:

Children and young people growing up with a disabled brother or sister often get less attention from parents and have more worries and responsibilities than their peers. Lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic has created further isolation and challenges for this group of vulnerable children. Sibs released a survey in May 2020 asking parents just 5 questions. 874 parents responded. Read the report here


Makaton Resources:

Here are some great resources to help you learn Makaton, develop your skills, and have fun that you can download and print out! You can find more at The Makaton Charity Website

TheTigerWhoCameToTeaBoardGame.pdf FishingGame.pdf SpringMemoryGame.pdf OldMacdonald.pdf

Online safety:

Schools across the UK are now closed to most families. We know this is a difficult time for most parents. This page is intended to provide you with support and resources to help you learn about online safety at home with your child. This link takes you to the Think U Know website .
Each fortnight, they will be releasing new home activity packs with simple 15 minute activities you can do with your child to support their online safety at a time when they will spending more time online at home.

Please be aware! 

It is always important to be aware of scammers and unfortunately some people are choosing to use COVID - 19 as an opportunity to scam money from vulnerable people. 

Below is information on the latest cyber-scams, frauds and data breaches (including those which have arisen or increased as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic) as well as any relevant advice on maintaining healthy cyber security habits.

Cyber Aware
The NCSC have launched a Cyber Aware campaign to help the public tackle and protect themselves from the growing cyber threats we see reported on a daily basis. Included in this is a new suspicious email reporting service, helping the public to fight back against phishing. To find out more about this new service and for tips on the 6 most essential protective behaviours, visit their website:


Activities from WEA:

 The WEA have a fun range of exciting FREE activities to keep you entertained during these uncertain times. Join us on your computer, mobile phone or tablet via the Zoom app. 

Chat with like-minded individuals, learn a new skill and have fun! Add the dates to your diary so you don't forget. 

Subjects include:

  • Arts & Crafts - Make your own Lava lamp, hand stitching, crochet, art for wellbeing, paper mache, painting, singing for pleasure
  • Culture & History - Renaissance art lecture, Wild Britain lecture, quizzes, music theory, philosophy and AI, music history, The Reformation
  • Digital - Graphic design, digital photography
  • Health & Lifestyle - Essential oils, mindfulness, Autism awareness, psychology, chair dance, store cupboard cooking
  • Performing Arts - Self-expression through dance, Yoga
  • Work Related - CV writing

Check out their website for more information. 

Government information: 

Sunderland City Council advice regarding Coronavirus

Support from the Government for children with SEND

Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Other information and support: 

Useful information & resources for families from Learning Disability Matters 

49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child


Grace House
Bardolph Drive

Visitor information

Office opening times

Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Saturday: closed
Sunday: closed

Visiting times (by appointment)

Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Saturday: closed
Sunday: closed