Half Term Special - News For SEND Families From Manchester Local Offer

Local Offer - www.manchester.gov.uk/sendlocaloffer

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Welcome to our Half Term Special with news about our free activities for Manchester families as part of the SEND Community Offer. 

The Local Offer Team

Email: localoffer@manchester.gov.uk / 0161 234 1946

www.manchester.gov.uk/sendlocaloffer - searchable directory

Welcome to Manchester Local Offer / Local Offer SEND Information Hub 

Twitter: @MCRLocalOffer

SEND Community Offer

These free activities are for SEND families living in the Manchester City Council area. Booking is essential for most activities – do this directly with the organisers. Please let them know if you can't make it, even if it's on the day - it creates space for another family. Thank you!

Sensory Rooms

Wythenshawe sensory room

Families have free use of the Sensory Room at Benchill Community Centre in Wythenshawe during October half term. Each slot is for 45 minutes and on the hour, Monday 24th to Friday 28th October, 10am–5pm. The room has a waterbed, interactive sound wall, infinity tunnel, bubble tubes, animated projections - and more. Call the community centre on 0161 946 9520 to book. Manchester families only. 

Cheetham Hill sensory room

The popular Sensory Rooms at Redbank House in Cheetham Hill are back for half term. Free slots are available at various times between 9am-4pm (on the hour for 50 minutes) during weekdays from Monday 24th to Friday 28th October. Manchester families only. Book directly with Redbank House on 0161 214 5959 or email info@redbankhouse.com.

Simply Cycling

disabled girl on adapted bike

Simply Cycling are offering fun outdoor sessions with their range of adapted bikes - plus a warming cup of hot chocolate.

  • Monday 24th & Tuesday 25th, 10am-2pm, Boggart Hole Clough - Drop in
  • Tuesday 25th 9am-3pm, Wednesday 9am-12 noon & Friday 9am-3pm, Wythenshawe Park Athletics Track - Please book

The activity is for Manchester SEND families. Please book for the Wythenshawe Park sessions through Simply Cycling's website. The Athletics Track at Wythenshawe Park has its own entrance off Wythenshawe Road. 

Community Cooking

Boy and man in aprons with grater

The Community Kitchen is back! These free sessions are daily from Monday 24th to Friday 28th October, 2.30-5.30pm. They’re for young people with SEND and/or social emotional and mental health needs (SEMH) who can come on their own or with their families and cook (and eat!) together, learning about healthy food and healthy food cooking techniques. All food and tuition provided. The half term menu includes tender curried lamb, jerk chicken ackee and mac’n’cheese, as well as freshly baked cakes and cinnamon rolls. It’s at Procter Learning Centre, Hulme Street, Off Jackson Crescent M15 5EF. Manchester SEND families only. Booking essential - call Roger on 07970 922132. Please arrive on time and enter the building opposite the parked van.

A parent said: ‘This experience turned out to be very therapeutic for my son. It suited his 'hands on' nature, occupied his mind, provided him with excellent cooking role models and expanded his tolerance to different textures. Eating together provided us all with a sense of community and introduced us into happy moods, topped up with delicious food!’

Forest School In The Park

Forest School poster

The Manchester Bees SEND Forest School is at Platt Fields Market Garden on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th October, 10-3pm. Drop in any time, lunch around 12 noon. It’s stay-and-play activity for the family, including sensory play in the mud kitchen and sand pit, den building, pumpkin messy play and autumn nature crafts. Booking essential – please use this form: https://forms.gle/x7rv7a2y7acdsb7G7. (It doesn’t generate a confirmation email so assume you have a place. The Forest School will be in touch to let you know if you are on the waiting list.) If you can no longer make it, please contact Siân on 07506342945 or hello@manchesterbeesforestschool.co.uk so your places can be offered to someone else. The main entrance is off Mabfield Road.

One parent said: ‘Beautiful sessions for SEN children. The location is lovely, but it’s the team that makes it a relaxing and caring environment for the kids…It never feels boring or forced - there’s enough of a balance of activities and open exploration. My three kids have had a wonderful time.’

Halloween Parties With SPACE

SPACE poster for Halloween parties

There are two fantastic Halloween parties coming up! They’re being run by The SPACE Group, parent carers of children with SEND - and are FREE!

  • South Manchester party, Thursday 27th October, 2-4pm, at Withington Scout Hut, 31 Heaton Road, Withington M20 4PE.
  • North Manchester party, Friday 28th October, 1-3pm, St George’s Community centre, Bothwell Rd, M40 7NY.

Expect SPACE spooky treats and lots of fun in these inclusive family events. Booking is essential as numbers are limited. Please email how many child/adult places you require to: spacegroup@manchesterparentcarerforum.org.uk or get in touch with the SPACE group on Facebook.

Skateboarding & Music-making

FLIP poster

There is free music-making and skateboarding sessions at Projekts skatepark near Piccadilly Station on Fridays, 4.30-6.30pm. It's a chance for young people to enjoy an hour of skateboard coaching, followed by an hour of music-making with Billy and Andy who offer accessible music workshops. Families are welcome to hang out in the cafe during the sessions or watch the skateboarders from the viewing balcony. To book places, contact info@billyandandy.co.uk,  07429 826053. 

Fun With Clay

Clay figures

Venture Arts have some free clay kits left over from this summer's SEND Community Offer! The box contains everything you need to make your own ceramic popstars inspired by the work of artist Ben Goring – or you can do your own thing.  They won’t be professionally fired; this is just about having fun with clay. If you’d like a box, please arrange collection from Venture Arts in Hulme by contacting Laura at laurabiddle@venturearts.org or 0161 232 1223.

Other Stuff To Do

ParaNetball Taster

ParaNetball group - collage of pictures

Young people aged between 9–25 with SEND are invited to try a free ParaNetball taster on Saturday 5th November 10am-11am in Gorton. It’s being offered by the ParaNetball Programme set up through Dominoes Netball Club last year. It’s now supported by a partnership of Manchester Thunder and Vimto (Nichols Plc), meaning the monthly sessions will continue to be free. They are on the first Saturday of each month, 10-11am, in the sports hall at Wright Robinson College. It’s for girls and boys and is fully inclusive, with everyone being supported to go at their own pace. One of the coaches is deaf and able to offer additional support to anyone who is deaf or has a hearing impairment. Sessions are based around netball skills and games, and they are looking to taking a team or two to the annual ParaNetball Championships in February 2023. Siblings welcome - although they won’t be able to compete. To find out more and book on the taster, see the ParaNetball website. You can also contact Katie at katie@manchesterthunder.co.uk for more information.

Holiday Music Club 

Andy and Billy run free Holiday Music Clubs geared to young people with SEND. They have spaces left on Tuesday 25th October, 10am-1pm, at Gorse Hill Studios in Stretford. Contact info@billyandandy.co.uk, 07429 826053. 

Swimming In The City 

Family swimming in pool

Join the Inclusive Swims at Moss Side Leisure Centre on Sundays 9-11.30am. These provide a calm environment for children and young people with special needs and disabilities. It’s the same price as the casual swimming. Book via the website, by visiting the leisure centre, or through the BetterUK App which can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple App Store. Families can also turn up on the day but may miss out if the session is full.  

There is free swimming for under 17s in the city during the school holidays - see the Manchester Active website or Wythenshawe Forum's own webpage.

Free Family Fun Day

There is a free Z-access Family Fun Day at the Zion Centre in Hulme on Sunday 23rd October, 11am. This Fairy Tales themed day offers a safe and welcoming environment for families with disabilities and additional requirements. There will be drama, dance, music and art and crafts as well as a sensory space, a time-out space and a BSL interpreter. Tickets are free but booking is required.

Loads To Do In Manchester

pumpkin with a carved face  

There’s lots on in Manchester Libraries for children and families – check out the latest newsletter. There’s also Loads To Do for events in the city and near you. 

Mark the arrival of Halloween on Saturday 29th to Sunday 30th October with a weekend of monstrously good events, including a giant rooftop monster invasion, spooky DJs, a storytelling stage, and fancy dress challenges. Find out more at Visit Manchester.

Young People - Having Their Say

Collage of Changemakers

The Changemakers are a group of SEND young people aged 14-25 who meet every Thursday evening from 5pm–7pm in the city centre. The group makes sure young disabled people’s voices are heard across Manchester. This might be through youth-led campaigns and projects, advocating for inclusive services in the community, and sharing opinions with decision makers, including Manchester City Council. It’s a great way of meeting new people, developing skills, and trying new things. Here’s what some of the Changemakers say:

‘It brings a meaning to my week.’

‘I think it’s very important that people with lived experience speak about these issues because they’ve been there, done that, and seen it all before.’

‘It’s been really nice making new friends.’

‘GMYN is really chilled and relaxed.’

The sessions are at Greater Manchester Youth Network (GMYN), Greenfish Resource Centre on Oldham Street.  Travel to and from sessions can be supported in a number of ways. Contact Luke at Greater Manchester Youth Network on 07592 845246, luke.wilson@gmyn.co.uk.

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