Information, Advice and Support
In this section you will find details of services providing information, advice, support, advocacy and mediation covering a range of areas related to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). You can also find details of various support groups in the 'What's on' section with additional services in the Council's Family Information Directory.
The following services can assist with matters such as requesting Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Universal Credit, Carers assessments and a range of other services. Please click the links for further details:
Citizens Advice Bureau for free, confidential, independent and impartial advice to help people resolve their problems with money, housing, employment and more.
Click the link to access further information about telephone, email or, face-to-face appointments from the Walworth site or the Peckham Site.
Big Local Works provides essential Benefits and Welfare support and information. Offering a confidential service for support with Universal Credit, DLA, PIP, Freedom Pass, Benefit Tribunal hearings, and more.
Contact for telephone helpline and online support
Southwark Local Support team provides emergency support to vulnerable people (including severely disabled people), who are facing severe financial hardship
Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help
Details of school uniform grants for children aged 11 years old, who are moving from primary school to a secondary can be found on the Southwark Council website.
Family Fund are the largest provider of grants to families living on low incomes who are raising disabled or seriously ill children or young people aged 17 and under. Their grants bring practical and essential help that is often a lifeline to a family such as washing machines, fridges, bedding, specialist toys, computers, ipads and much needed family breaks. They can consider helping a family once every 12 months up to the young person’s 18th birthday.
React provides assistance to financially disadvantaged families who care for a child with a life-shortening illness, and takes requests that are deemed a basic, essential need. This can range from specialist equipment / mobility equipment, such as car seats, buggies, wheelchairs, trikes, hoists, postural chairs or adjustable beds, to educational equipment such as fibre optics, communication and speech aids, sensory toys, computers, laptops, touch screen tablets, etc, as well as kitchen appliances, clothing and bedding.
There is no limit to the number of families that can apply, nor is there a limit to the amount of times that they can send in an application (pdf, 147kb). Download the React leaflet (pdf, 287kb) for more information.
Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face through partner organisations. Visit their website for further information.
Visit the One Hub website for details of grants and bursaries for young people.
- Southwark Carers - aims to provide Carers with more choice and control over the support they need and enabling them to tackle the issues that cause them the greatest stress in their caring role.
- Down's South London - a South London parent-run charity offering a unique, specialist early intervention therapy service for babies and young children with Down’s Syndrome and a local support network for their families.
- Lambeth and Southwark Mind - mental health advice and support
- The Maypole Project - support for children with complex medical needs and their families
- Southwark Traveller's Action Group - guidance and support for Traveller’s in Southwark
- RSBC (Royal Society for Blind Children) - local and national support services for vision impaired children, young people, and their families.
- Sickle Cell & Young Stroke Survivors - advice support and support to parents of children and young people aged 0-25 living with sickle cell anaemia and childhood stroke
- Metro Spark, Youth LGBTQIA+ Support Group - Spark is a youth group in Southwark for LGBTQIA+ young people aged 13-19, and up to 25 with SEND
- Christians Against Poverty - provides free debt help and local community groups across the UK. Our free services, run with local churches, provide practical and emotional support and show people that there is always hope. Please click here for Southwark contact details.
- Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers (SDCAS) - seeks to help relieve poverty and distress, and to promote health and further education for asylum seekers and refugees.
- Oasis Hub Waterloo - helping to put food on the table for struggling families through the work of Waterloo Foodbank, supporting people burdened by debt through our debt advice service, and working with young people in the context of St. Thomas’ Hospital to provide support to those who are vulnerable and have been impacted by violence. An immigration service is available to people living in Southwark and Lambeth who are using a food bank or are in danger of needing to use one. Please click here to complete a referral form.
- PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) - provides confidential information, advice and support on health-related matters.
- PohWER provide NHS complaints advocacy
- Healthwatch Southwark gathers and champions the views of local users of health and social care services, in order to identify opportunities for improvement and to influence how providers deliver care.
- Social Prescribing Service - here to listen to you, to put you in touch with the people, organisations and activities that aim to help you to feel better. The service is free and confidential.
- Evelina London, Community Paediatrics - useful links to charities, information and support services (local and national)
Advocacy services helping you to understand your rights and options and to express your wishes.
- Global Mediation Service - Global Mediation provide an impartial and independent disagreement resolution service as well as mediation. Download their leaflet (pdf, 2.5mb) or visit their website for further details. You can also find information about mediation linked to the SEND appeal process via this link.
This service is free of charge and your conversation is confidential
Calm Mediation - Calm Mediation helps London's communities to resolve conflict. We provide mediation services for neighbours and neighbourhoods, families, workplaces and educational settings. Our restorative justice service helps Londoners in the aftermath of crime. Situated on Camberwell Road, opposite Burgess Park, Calm Mediation prides itself on its contribution to making Southwark a stronger, safer, and more empowered community.
- IPSEA - Independent Provider of Special Education Advice
- Rainbow Trust - support for seriously ill children and their families in the family home and local community.
- NDCS - the National Deaf Children's Society offer information, advice and support to families with a deaf child.
- The National Autistic Society - support for autistic people and their families.
- Scope is a disability equality charity providing information and advice about a range of matters related to SEND (special educational needs and disabilities).
- Shine - providing specialist advice and support for spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
- SIBS - support for people who grow up with or have grown up with a disabled brother or sister.
- Mencap - information and advice about a range of matters related to SEND (special educational needs and disabilities). This includes a Wills and Trusts service.
- Afasic - advice and Information Services for children and young people with speech, language and communication difficulties.
Family Fund - supports families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people.
- CICS is an independent, voluntary group run by parents whose children have cochlear implants to help others whose children already have implants and those who are considering cochlear implantation for their child.
- The Stroke Association offers a Childhood Stroke Support Service – providing information, advice, support and networking events to families affected by stroke in childhood.
- Equality and Human Rights Commission for expert information, advice and support on discrimination and human rights.
- The Challenging Behaviour Foundation focusses on the needs of people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges, and their families.
- EASS (Equality Advisory and Support Service) advises and assists individuals on issues relating to equality and human rights including disability discrimination.
- National Sleep Helpline is a nationwide helpline service which includes professionals who are specialists in supporting children and families with a SEND diagnosis.
- Friends, Families and Travellers work to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people.
SIAS / SENDIASS (special educational needs and disabilities information, advice and support services)
The SIAS (Southwark Information, Advice and Support) Team - Provide impartial, confidential information, advice and support about special educational needs and disabilities, (0-25 years old).
Find details of services available in neighbouring boroughs on their local offer sites.