June 21, 2022

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Sparkle Sheffield have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – this is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE!

The award recognises that our work has made extensive contributions to improving the lives of the families that we help, as well as raising awareness about autism and similar conditions and campaigning to make services, policy and the law more autism friendly and inclusive.

We are one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year, highlighting the huge contribution that our volunteers make to their communities.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The winners are announced every year on June 2nd.

Liesje Dusauzay, Sparkle Sheffield founder and CEO, says: “We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been afforded this wonderful award. It’s an absolute privilege and delight for Sparkle Sheffield to be recognised in this way and for our commitment, efforts and voluntary work to be given such wonderful due regard. Having this award presented to us on the Queen’s Jubilee makes it all the more special too.”

Chrissy Meleady, CEO of Equalities and Human Rights UK, supports our charity. She says: “It’s a truly well-deserved nomination and award that has been given to Sparkle Sheffield. Liesje and all others contributing to making Sparkle Sheffield such a success are to be highly commended.I know how thankful they are to the South Yorkshire Lord Lieutenant’s office and to all others whom over the years have supported so valiantly Sparkle Sheffield and their voluntary staff’s endeavours.“Each and every one of their workers provide wonderful voluntary effort and input and are passionate and very caring, bringing a wide range of skills, knowledge, expertise, including lived experience expertise to Sparkle Sheffield and its marvellous that each and all have received this prestigious collective award from the Queen.”

Without our volunteers both past and present, this award would simply not be possible. We thank each and every one of them – both past and present – for shaping the charity and making it the success that it is today.

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April 23, 2022

Disabled People in Ukraine

The UN has warned that the lives of 2.7 million disabled people in Ukraine are at risk.

Many disabled people including autistic children and young people who could not make it to borders are trapped in their homes and have no access to medication or food and other life sustaining resources .

Very few recorded Asylum Seekers are disabled, indicating most were forced to survive inside the war-torn country. 

The United Nations has warned that the lives of 2.7 million disabled people in Ukraine are at risk due to Russia’s invasion. 

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities statement said disabled people “have limited or no access to emergency information, shelters and safe havens, and many have been separated from their support networks.”

It added that “there are ongoing reports that many disabled people, including children, are trapped or abandoned in their homes, residential care institutions and orphanages, with no access to life-sustaining medications, oxygen supplies, food, water, sanitation, support for daily living and other basic facilities.”

The committee also notes that disabled women are at a heightened risk of rape and sexual violence by Russian forces.

In recent days a Russian air strike hit the Oskil psychoneurological boarding school with a direct hit. Sixty-three of the provisions 330 residents were evacuated, while the fate of the other 267 is currently unknown. A sizeable number of whom are autistic. 

While more than 4.8 million people have fled Ukraine due to the war, the UN committee notes that very few of these people — or even those who are internally displaced — are disabled, indicating few have been able to leave their homes. 

One of our Sparkle Sheffield partners – Equalities and Human Rights U.K. (based in Sheffield) whom we are supporting in their Humanitarian endeavours – have been supporting the International Disability Alliance and the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, helping  to prioritise and to evacuate people has highlighted that many of the organisations making provision for Asylum Seekers are not equipped to deal with disabled people and older people also whom too are greatly suffering. 

They have been calling on all International as well as Ukrainian state actors to adhere to their obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which was ratified in 2010. The Convention continues to apply, despite national emergency, armed conflict, or foreign occupation, as Article 11 of the UNCRPD covers.

Fight for Right Ukraine who are a group of disabled people and their families in Ukraine have made it very clear that “There are disabled people trapped, there are disabled people, including children, dying; we have been left behind. We have been trying to help ourselves, but we need help. We need accessible evacuation efforts prioritised for Disabled people” Yuliia Sachuk, the Chairperson for Fight for Right Ukraine, shares.

We, with our partners Equalities and Human Rights U.K. and Autism Union will continue to advocate for disabled children and their families left behind and those crossing borders, as well as endeavouring to help them in other ways too.

As Chrissy Meleady CEO of Equalities and Human Rights U.K. points out, “Ukrainian autistic children, young people and adults and their families, as well as other disabled people and their families are at increased risk and need every help they can get. 

With Sparkle Sheffield and Autism Union we are also supporting the efforts of Autism Europe who are working closely with Autism organisations in Ukraine and elsewhere through us collectively contributing to…

– Preparing for and providing support to autistic children, young people and their families coming into the U.K.

– Supporting the provision of culturally appropriate and Autism friendly interface and online services to help autistic people deal with trauma and the high level of stress they are experiencing in Ukraine and as Asylum Seekers – these services being made available in spoken and written Ukrainian, Russian, Belorussian and Polish.

– Helping with preparing organisations to help autistic Asylum Seeker people , including children and young people and their families across the nation with organising translation and interpretation, transportation, avenues of raising awareness of and access to autism therapies, trauma therapy, school and other educational provisions that can meet the needs and requirements of autistic people, leisure activities, peer support for children/adults/parents, childcare/respite, offering jobs, help with jobseeking, help with applying for benefits and other paperwork.

– Preparing information materials to raise awareness in public authorities and other services about autism  and the the autistic community of Ukraine and their experiences (past and present) –  including organisations in our region welcoming  Ukrainian Asylum Seekers. It should be noted that many young adults and older adults who are autistic may never have had an official diagnosis of autism in Ukraine itself due to past policy there, despite them being evidently Autistic and authorities and support organisations the breadth of the U.K. should not ignore these people and their needs not be demanding of an official autism diagnosis because they may not be able to produce one even though they are autistic. 

– Working with partner universities and industry with regard to designing  information in alternative/augmentative formats to help autistic people, deal with the change and transitions being foisted upon them and with their orientation into the U.K. too.

– Joining with others in raising awareness efforts and advocating in the U.K. and across Europe to address the urgent needs of the autistic community and their families in Ukraine and abroad.”

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February 1, 2022

Lending Library Terms and Conditions

Sparkle Sheffield Lending Library – Terms and Conditions

 

Sensory input is an integral part of an autistic person’s life, but this often comes at a financial cost (Trentacosta et al., 2018). Resources are often costlier than toys that neurotypical children would play with and there is no guarantee that children will enjoy a specific item.

Additionally, there is also such a wide range of resources available to purchase, parents are unable to purchase all items to try. The Sparkle Sheffield lending library will enable children and families to experience resources prior to undertaking an often-hefty financial output. This is especially useful regarding the uncertainty of the current world, whereby Autistic children and young people are experiencing increased levels of anxiety which specialist resources can help to alleviate. By using a lending library scheme, this enables families costs to be minimised while allowing children and families to experience a range of resources before purchasing items for themselves.

 

How will it work?

The Sparkle Sheffield lending library will be run by volunteers. Resources (including toys and books) will be available for families to loan for a fixed period of time, to enable individuals to benefit from a wide range of materials without having to pay often high associated costs. The use of the lending library is free for all families who are gold or platinum subscribers of the Sparkle Sheffield Membership Scheme. Bronze, silver and non-members are also able to loan our equipment for a small fee.

 

Loan periods will be for 2-weeks (14 days) per resource/book. Extensions on the length of loan times will be considered on an individual basis – considering any waiting lists and/or individual circumstances however, this will not exceed 4 weeks (28 days) per item*. This is to ensure that as many children and families can benefit from the lending library as possible.

 

Families are permitted to request repeat loaning of the same item; however, resources must be returned to Sparkle Sheffield for a period of at least 1 week (7 days) between any re-loan to ensure that the item/s remain safe to use and fully in-tact.

 

A waiting list will be in operation for popular items that numerous families wish to loan. Where items have a wait list, the loan period for current families with the items will not be extended over 2-weeks (14 days)*.

 

Available Resources

A list of current resources and books is available via the Sparkle Sheffield website. All resources are owned by the charity and always remain the property of Sparkle Sheffield. New resources will be added to the library as they become available. Due to wear, tear and accidental damage, some resources may become unavailable until they are repaired/replaced.

Delivery

Resources will be delivered to family’s homes by one of our volunteers. Upon delivery, a parent/carer will be required to sign to say they have received the loan items. Resources will then by re-collected by a Sparkle Sheffield volunteer at the end of the designated loan period.

 

*Covid-19 precautions

Resources will be cleaned with an antibacterial solution between each loan period. Any soft furnishings will be washed with a non-bio washing powder between each loan period. This will take place as a standard protocol in order to maintain hygiene and cleanliness.

 

In addition, if a family has a confirmed case of Covid-19 during the loan period of any of the resources, Sparkle Sheffield must be informed as soon as possible (but no later than the pre-arranged collection date) via email at [email protected]. Collection of the resources will then be delayed until the isolation period for the family/individual has ended. Upon collection, resources will then be cleaned as previously identified, and stored for at least 72 hours until being sent out on loan to another family.

 

Loss and/or Damage

When receiving resources, families are responsible to ensure the equipment is well cared for and looked after while in their possession.

 

If an item is lost, members must email [email protected] as soon as possible, and no longer than 48-hours after noticing that the item is missing. If the item is suspected to have been stolen, members must inform the police of this theft via 101 or online at https://southyorks.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/ (for non-South Yorkshire addresses please visit https://www.police.uk/pu/contact-the-police/report-a-crime-incident/ to find your local authority) as soon as possible. Members must then inform Sparkle Sheffield of the crime reference number.

 

We understand that accidental damage may occur due to the nature of the children and families that we support. In these cases, we will be understanding and empathetic. However, we do ask that members inform us of any damage as soon as possible via email at [email protected] so that we are aware upon collection of the resources.

 

Use of Equipment / Resources

All equipment must be stored and used as per any manufacturer’s recommendations and/or instructions. Any instructions that came with the original purchase of equipment will be laminated and included within the loan to ensure that members have suitable information regarding usage. Parents/carers remain responsible for supervising their child/ren at all times while using the loan equipment.

 

Sparkle Sheffield do not accept responsibility for any of the following;

 

  • Damage to any of your own property whilst equipment is on loan
  • Any injuries that may occur during the use of any equipment if used incorrectly and against manufacturer recommendations.

 

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January 23, 2022

Zero Tolerance

Sparkle Sheffield takes it very seriously if a member of staff or one of its volunteers is treated in an abusive, threatening, disrespectful or violent way.


The Charity enforces a Zero Tolerance strategy for any form of abuse or disrespect against staff members and/or volunteers (going forward will be referred to as ‘staff’).
This states that all staff have a right to carry out their duties without fear of being attacked, discriminated, ill-treated or abused. No member of staff should be required or feel obliged to deal with any service user nor any other, either face to face, over the phone or in correspondence, who is exhibiting demanding, threatening, disrespectful abusive, discriminatory or violent behaviour. In any of these circumstances a member of staff has the right to refuse to continue communications with the service user; and should refer the user to their immediate supervisor.


To successfully provide our services, a mutual respect between all the staff and service users, parents/carers and other stakeholders has to be in place. All of our staff aim to be polite, helpful, and sensitive to individual needs and circumstances. They would respectfully remind service users, parents/carers and other stakeholders that very often staff could be confronted with a multitude of varying and sometimes difficult tasks and situations, all at the same time and that some of these things given the nature of them will necessitate higher priority.
In addition, staff are entitled to rest periods and breaks, as well as a good balance between work and family responsibilities.


The staff understand that service users, parents/carers and other stakeholders do not always act in a reasonable manner due to the personal nature of the support being received and heightened stress being experienced due to their personal experiences. Whilst taking this into consideration when trying to deal with a misunderstanding or complaint., it must be noted that demanding, aggressive, discriminatory or threatening behaviour, be it violent or verbally or physically abusive, will not be tolerated and may result in the instigator and perpetrator of these unacceptable behaviours being removed from the service and, in extreme cases, the Police being contacted.


Threatening behaviour is defined as, but not limited to, threats of violence to members of staff or any other person which is, for example; sexist, racist or homophobic or other discriminatory in nature, including intimidating tone and language, swearing and/or aggressive body language, hectoring and intimidation.


In order for the Charity to maintain good relations with service users, and other stakeholders, the Charity would like to ask all parents/carers and other stakeholders to read and take note of the occasional types of behaviour that would be found unacceptable:

  • Demanding behaviour of a specific service, or for a service to be received and  within a specific, unrealistic timescale
  • Persistent or unrealistic demands that cause stress to staff
  • Using bad language or swearing at staff
  • Any physical violence towards any member of staff or others within the organisation, such
    as pushing or shoving
  • Verbal abuse towards the staff in any form including verbally insulting the staff,
    shouting/screaming at staff, belittling and demeaning them and purposefully revising the realities of their help and support to present an alternative negative image
  • Racial abuse , sexual harassment and other forms of protected equalities characteristic abuses and harassment will not be tolerated within any of our settings or services
  • Causing damage/stealing from the premises, staff or another service user, parent/carer or other stakeholder

We ask you to treat our staff courteously, respectfully and with dignity at all times. The vast majority of our staff are volunteers and give up their time, whist caring for their own children with additional needs, to support others in similar situations.


This policy will be reiterated on a regular basis, through face to face, written, text messaging, and email communication, as well as through the charity’s newsletters, brochures and website.

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December 11, 2021

Sparkle Sheffield Lending Library

The Sparkle Sheffield lending library is run by our volunteers. Resources (including toys and books) are available for families to loan for a fixed period of time, to enable individuals to benefit from a wide range of materials without having to pay often high associated costs. The use of the lending library is free for all families who are gold or platinum subscribers of the Sparkle Sheffield Membership Scheme. 

 

Bronze, silver and non-members are also able to loan our equipment for a small fee.

Resource Library

Sensory Peanut Ball (with tactile nodules)

Good for:

  • Therapeutic use, especially for those who have problems with balance and coordination.  
  • The shape of the ball encourages both children and adults to engage core muscles to build strength and improve posture.
  • This version has sensory nodules on the surface for additional sensory feedback.

Item reference – SS001

Sensory Cozy Canoe

“The cozy canoe is the best source of deep pressure for autistic students in particular. It allowed my students to be included in general education assemblies, and attend at circle time. It is made of tough material, but the student still needs to remove their shoes.”

Item reference – SS002

Body Sock

4-way stretch lycra sensory body sock is an all round movement, proprioceptive, tactile and deep pressure experience.

Once inside, the stretchy material gently resists your movements encouraging experimentation. The resistant walls of the body sock provide a tactile means of self-referencing that improves body awareness and assists in developing spatial awareness through balance and resistance.

Size: 150cm long x 75cm wide (opening 70cm) – suitable for children 1.5m to 1.75m tall

Item reference – SS003

10lb Weighted Blanket (2 available)

Snoozzzy weighted blankets are filled with just enough non-toxic glass pellets providing deep pressure touch stimulation without uncomfortable restriction. The pressure from the weight causes the body to produce serotonin and endorphins which are chemicals our bodies naturally use to feel relaxed or calm.

Size: 40 x 60 inches

 

Item reference – SS004

5lb Weighted Lap Pad

The Snoozzzy sensory lap pad can help your child focus and remain grounded in the classroom and during exams allowing them to remain calm and comforted. The soft minky cover of this weighted lap pad makes it the perfect tool for any child with sensory needs. The raised dotted material is great for any child who likes to fidget or has to address sensory needs whilst focusing in class or when relaxing at home.

Item reference – SS005

Sensory Bed Sheet (single size)

The snoozzzy sensory bed sheet is perfect for and child who finds it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep! The sensory compression feeling allows the child to feel like they are being hugged, stimulating the production of serotonin and melatonin- similar to our original weighted blanket but without the extra weight of the micro beads.

Item reference – SS006

Weighted Hoody & Pressure Vest set

Sensory Direct’s Weighted Hoody and Deep Pressure Vest Set provides deep pressure relief via a combination of the weight of the hoody and the compresson applied by the vest. The wearer will experience proprioceptive feedback to the body and shoulders;  providing a “calming and organising” effect for sensory seeker.

Item reference – SS007

Fibre Optic Strands (2m)

A spray of safe-to-handle acrylic fibres which change colour constantly along their length.

Provides visual stimulation and encourages attention focusing.

Comes with a lightsource.

Item reference – SS008

Sensory Happy Feet Play Mats

As well as using the mats to prevent flat feet, they provide fantastic sensory feedback when walked over or explored by hand. The mats are also great for use in schools and nurseries and can be used to create interactive, or sensory stories as well as to promote imaginative play, colour exploration and collaborative play.

Item reference – SS009

Spinning Top

Children will enjoy spinning and rocking in this large Gonge top, it will provide lots of fun and can be used as a den, boat or anything the children want to be.

  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use

Item reference – SS010

Scooter Board

Sturdy plastic tummy Scooter Board with handles ideal for Occupational Therapy and Children/Teens with additional needs.

Ideal for upper extremity strengthening, movement, motor planning and vestibular activities. 

The integral contoured handles help children grip the scooter to aid stability and balance, helping inspire confident movement. Children can sit, kneel or lie prone position!

Item reference – SS011

Gorilla Gym


Gorilla Gym brings the fun of the outdoors inside. Designed for busy parents and active kids who can’t always make it outdoors and don’t have a lot of room for expensive equipment. Gorilla Gym is lightweight, portable, and installs in your doorway in seconds without tools or drilling. The core doorway unit is made of strong, lightweight steel that won’t bend or break.

Item reference – SS012

Sensory Bags

 

A range of sensory items to explore, including fidget toys and other sensory equipment to stimulate, interest and excite.

Item reference – SS013

Item reference – SS014

Item reference – SS015

Item reference – SS016

Sensory Bag 5

Contains;

Stretchy Lycra Band
The stretchy band is made from 4 way stretch lycra to provide a stimulating and fun sensory experience.

Weighted Turtle
When laid across the lap, the turtle applies calming deep pressure to the lap and upper legs whilst the user is sitting down.

Cuddle Ball
Soft, squigy and tactile cuddle ball to allow the user to especerince a deep and calming pressue to the sensory system.

Item reference – SS017

Emotions Bag


Contains;

  • Worry Monster
  • Emotions game
  • Lego I-spy game
  • Talking Tin
  • ‘I would like’ handheld fan
  • ‘When My Worries Get Too Big’ book
  • ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ book
  • ‘You’re a Star’ book
  • Mood band
  • Wavey timer
  • Smiley ball

Item reference – SS018

Sensory Massage Bags


Massage items are great for therapeutic sensory sessions. Suitable for all ages, the set is great for stimulating tactile and proprioceptive senses, building concentration and helping users relax.

Untitled (Card (Landscape))

Item reference – SS019

Item reference – SS020

Light Up Bag 1


This is light up bundle is an excellent addition to any sensory den or dark room. Items are light weight, easy to grip light up toys that can be used as part of a sensory play time.

Some of the products are cause and effect where they can be bounced or bumped to make flash and some can be turned on and off.

Item reference – SS021

Light Up Bag and Dark Den

Darkened portable play area for children at home. Includes a range of light up toys and sensory equipment.

Item reference – SS022

Therapy Sisters Grief Support Pack

Emotional support in a box. There are things to make, read, carry around and touch, a chance to explore and meet not only the emotional, but physiological needs of the body and mind.

 

Contains;

10 page journal, keyring, card, wooden disc, reminder cards, forget -me not- seeds, stages of grief, bracelet, comfort buddy, lavender, instructions and personalised message.

Item reference – SS023

Books

Sparkle Sheffield accept no responsibility for the content of the books available to loan. Each child and their family is in a different situation, and what may work for one family may not work for another. If you are in any doubt, feel free to contact us on [email protected] and we will be happy to offer further advice.

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November 27, 2021

Membership Scheme

Sparkle Sheffield offer Four Membership Packages.

Bronze: FREE

Silver £20

Gold £30

Platinum £40

To see what each level has to offer, please see below. (Price per year)

Bronze: FREE

Bronze Membership Includes:

Bi-monthly Newsletter:

Keep up to date with everything Sparkle with a bi-monthly newsletter, letting you know what we have been doing, as well as what we are up to in the coming months. Our newsletter also contains exclusive information about upcoming events and experiences.

Access to our very own Sparkle Sheffield App:

Our new App is bursting with information, links and tips for all our Sparkle families. these include: 
Out and About – useful information when out, including shop recommendations based on the experiences of autistic people and their families! 
Events – details of all our upcoming Sparkle Sheffield events 
Useful Contacts – how to contact the Sparkle Sheffield team, and our recommended services. 
News – the latest news and updates, including any important information you need to know. 
Helpful Strategies – helpful information to support and empower autistic people and their families.
Business Directory – a list of businesses run by Autistic people and/or their parents/carers – support small and local Businesses.

SIGN UP HERE

SILVER: £20 per family, per year

Our Silver Package Includes the above PLUS:

Additional Content via the App:

MEMBERS EXCLUSIVE AREAS! – Exclusive information specially for our Sparkle Sheffield membership holders and their families!

Bookable 1:1 Support / Advice Sessions:

Support sessions are 30 minutes in length and held with a Sparkle Sheffield representative. These will be either a parent/carer of children with additional needs, and/or a professional who is experienced in working with children/young people with additional needs. We will advise, signpost and support on an individual basis.

Parent Training Sessions / Workshops:

Members have access to free parent training sessions throughout the year. Training sessions cover a range of topics including challenging behaviour, sensory issues, communication and puberty. Training sessions are hosted by a Sparkle Sheffield representative. This will be either a parent/carer of children with additional needs, and/or a professional who is experienced in working with children/young people with additional needs.

Access to Sparkle Tots/ Sparkle/ Sparkle On/ Twinkle Events:

Membership of Silver, Gold and Platinum packages will entitle discounted admission for all individuals listed on the membership to Sparkle Tots, Sparkle On and Twinkle sessions. Non-members are welcome to attend Sparkle Sheffield events, which will be at the full admission price for each event.

GOLD: £30 per family, per year

Our GOLD Package Includes all the above PLUS:

Priority Booking for Sparkle Sheffield Events:

Members are able to book places upon Sparkle Sheffield children’s events, and Sparkle Sheffield parent/carer events, 48 hours before tickets go on general release. For events that are strictly limited, members will receive priority booking and if sold out, tickets will not go on general release.

Sensory Equipment and Books Loan Scheme:

Members are able to loan sensory equipment and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities related reading materials from Sparkle Sheffield. Resources include a range of items to stimulate all the senses, and others that may have a calming effect. Books available to loan to members cover a range of topics including supporting emotions, talking to siblings about autism, and the teen years. These resources aim to enable families to try products before having to pay out for costly items.

PLATINUM: £40 per family, per year

Our Platinum Package Includes all the above PLUS:

Sparkle Sheffield Utilita Arena Hospitality Suite:

We are delighted to have been gifted a hospitality suite at Sheffield Utilita Arena. The Sparkle Sheffield Hospitality Suite is one of the boxes that are at the located right at the very top of the Sheffield Arena auditorium (also known by the name of ‘VIP suites’). The suite has its own entrance via the box office, so no queuing in the main queues outside to get in. There is then a lift to the top floor, with private access to our room. In the suite, we have it all kitted out with sensory items, including an interactive floor, sensory toys, ear defenders, PECS symbols and more! It also has its own toilet, and room service for any food/drinks. The aim is for children and families to enjoy experiences as much as possible, without the sensory overload from being in the main arena with its hustle and bustle! 

Platinum Exclusive Events:

Members of Sparkle Sheffield can access exclusive events for their family, which are only available to Platinum Members. These events do not go on general release. Events include days out, virtual experiences, physical activities and Access to the Sheffield Arena Sparkle Hospitality Suite for heavily discounted shows.

Discounted Entry to the South Yorkshire Autism Fayre:

Members of Sparkle Sheffield are entitled to a discount on tickets when attending the annual South Yorkshire Autism Fayre.

To Join, please follow the below link and complete our application form.

Before joining, please note:

*We do ask for evidence to be included to ensure that our members are vetted prior to joining the membership. No diagnosis is required to join the Sparkle Sheffield membership, but we do require your child to be on the pathway for investigations. We accept the following evidence.

  • A pathway letter (such as one from your investigating clinic (e.g., Ryegate), CAMHS or the local hospital)
  • A letter detailing your/your child’s diagnosis or:
  • A letter confirming your/ your child’s entitlement to Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

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November 24, 2021

Sparkle Sheffield Events Schedule

Virtual Events

Mondays, 5.30pm – Among Us club
Wednesdays, 6.30pm – Bedtime Stories
Fridays, 5.30pm – Minecraft club

All virtual events are hosted via Zoom – members will have the access codes in their welcome emails and/or on the Sparkle Sheffield app.

* Please note – if there is an in-person event at the same time as a virtual event (i.e. Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays), the virtual event will be re-scheduled – we’ll still host 3 online events per week! *

Coffee Mornings

Coffee mornings are back!

Wednesdays in the Community Room at Morrisons Hillsborough, 699 Penistone Road, Sheffield, S6 2GY – everyone welcome!

See dates below for Morrisons Hillsborough…
Wednesday 4th and 18th May 2022
Wednesday 15th and 29th June 2022
Wednesday 13th July 2022

Fridays at Hope Community Foundation, The Megacentre, Bernard Road, S2 5BQ – everyone welcome!

See dates below for Hope Community Foundation…
Friday 29th April 2022
Friday 27th May 2022
Friday 17th June 2022
Friday 22nd July 2022

2021 Events

November

Thursday 4th November – WWE at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Sunday 14th November – Sheffield Steelers vs. Cardiff Devils at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Tuesday 16th November – The National Videogame Museum
Monday 22nd November – Ninja Warrior

December

Thursday 2nd December – Gary Barlow at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Saturday 4th December – Madness at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Saturday 4th December – Santa Barge trips
Sunday 5th December – Santa Barge trips
Sunday 5th December – Mayfield Alpaca Animal Farm
Sunday 5th December – Sheffield Steelers vs. Dundee Stars at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Thursday 9th December – Sh**ged. Married. Annoyed at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Friday 10th December – Air Haus 
Saturday 11th December – Santa Barge trips
Saturday 11th December – Sheffield Steelers vs. Coventry Blaze at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Sunday 12th December – Santa Barge trips
Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th December – Disney on Ice at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Saturday 18th December – Christmas Elf deliveries! 
Monday 20th December – Breakfast with Santa
Wednesday 22nd December – Sheffield Steelers vs. Glasgow Clan at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Thursday 23rd December – Cinema showing of The Grinch
Monday 27th December – Christmas at Chatsworth 

2022 Events

January
Friday 7th January 2022 – Snow White at Sheffield City Hall
Saturday 15th January – Sheffield Steelers vs. Guildford Flames at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Sunday 16th January – In-person Lego club event
Friday 21st January – Family swimming at Hillsborough Leisure Centre
Saturday 22nd January – Sheffield Steelers vs. Nottingham Panthers at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Saturday 29th January – Sheffield Steelers vs. Fife Flyers at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Monday 31st January – Jump Inc

February
Tuesday 1st February – Strictly Come Dancing at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Wednesday 2nd February – Strictly Come Dancing at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Saturday 5th February – Sheffield Steelers vs. Dundee Stars
Friday 11th February – Laser Quest
Saturday 12th February – Sheffield Steelers vs. Manchester Storm at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Sunday 13th February – Sheffield Steelers vs. Glasgow Clan at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Wednesday 16th February – Rock Steady Music Group
Sunday 20th February – Sheffield Steelers vs. Cardiff Devils at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Saturday 26th February – Britains Strongest Man at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Sunday 27th February – Sheffield Steelers vs. Coventry Blaze at Sheffield Utilita Arena

March
Thursday 3rd March – Budding Picassos
Saturday 5th March – Sheffield Steelers vs. Dundee Stars at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Monday 14th March – Air Haus
Friday 18th March – Stormzy at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Sunday 20th March – Gullivers Valley Theme Park
Thursday 24th March – Shuffle Shack
Sunday 27th March – Sheffield Steelers vs. Manchester Storm at Sheffield Utilita Arena

April
Saturday 2nd April – Sheffield Steelers vs. Nottingham Panthers at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Monday 4th April – Private cinema screening of Peter Rabbit 2 – Showroom Cinema
Tuesday 5th April – Ethel Barge Trips
Wednesday 6th April – Easter egg Decorating
Thursday 7th April – Easter Breakfast at the Moorlands
Saturday 9th April – Sheffield Steelers vs. Belfast Giants at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Sunday 10th April – Sheffield Steelers vs. Belfast Giants at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Friday 15th April – Masked Singer LIVE at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Monday 18th April – Camelot Play Centre, Rotherham
Tuesday 19th April – Little Mix at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Saturday 30th April – Alan Partridge Live at Sheffield Utilita Arena

May
Thursday 5th May – Circus Starr 
Saturday 7th May – Private swimming at Ponds Forge
Tuesday 10th May – Pizza Party (Twinkle session)
Thursday 12th May – Premier League Darts at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Saturday 14th May – Bill Bailey at Sheffield Utilita Arena
Tuesday 17th May – Pizza Party (Sparkle children)
Saturday 21st May – Family Ethel Barge trips
Monday 30th May – Camelot Play Centre, Rotherham

June
Wednesday 1st June – Twinkle Rock Steady 
Sunday 5th June – Queens Jubilee party
Friday 10th June – Laser Quest
Friday 10th June – Sparkle Tots at Sam’s Space Soft Play
Friday 24th June – Sparkle Tots at Sam’s Space Soft Play
Monday 27th June – Family swimming at Hillsborough Leisure Centre

July

More events coming soon! To take advantage of our Events, please visit our Membership Scheme Page.

 

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November 11, 2021

Driving and Notifiable Medical Conditions

Full list of medical conditions drivers must declare or face £1,000 fine

The DVLA has warned drivers they must declare if they have certain medical conditions or they could face a £1,000 fine.

A full list of health conditions has been published on the organisation’s website, with motorists being urged to check whether their ability to drive might be affected.

They range from anxiety and brain tumours to having tunnel vision and schizophrenia. Drivers can declare conditions online or using a paper form and the agency will then make an assessment and can stop someone from driving if necessary. If someone has a condition they haven’t declared and they then have an accident, they could be prosecuted.

It is thought that around one million drivers are using the roads without properly declaring a medical condition to the DVLA. Some rules are different for drivers of cars compared to those behind the wheel of a bus or lorry. For example those who are deaf don’t need to tell the DVLA if they only have a car licence but do if they have a licence to drive HGVs. Some conditions only need to be declared if it is felt they affect a person’s ability to drive – with motorists being urged to check with their doctors first. Drivers should also notify the DVLA if there condition has got worse since the licence was awarded.

Full list of conditions car drivers may need to report to the DVLA:
Agoraphobia – if it affects your driving
Alcohol problems
Alzheimer’s disease
Amputations
Angiomas or cavernomas
Ankylosing spondylitis – if it affects your driving
Anorexia nervosa – if it affects your driving
Anxiety – if it affects your driving
Aortic aneurysm- if it is 6 centimetres or more in diameter despite treatment
Arachnoid cyst
Arrhythmia – if you you have distracting or disabling symptoms
Arteriovenous malformation
Arthritis – if you use special controls for driving
Ataxia
ADHD – if it affects your driving
AIDS
Bipolar disorder (manic depression)
Blood clots in the brain – but not in the lungs
Blood pressure – if you are experiencing side effects from treatment
Brachial plexus injury
Brain abscess, cyst or encephalitis
Brain aneurysm
Brainhaemorrhage
Traumatic brain injury
Brain tumour
Broken limbs – if you’ll be unable to drive for more than 3 months
Brugada syndrome
Burr hole surgery
Cancer – if it will lead to problems with your brain or nervous system
Cataracts
Cataplexy
Central venous thrombosis – if you’re still having problems a month later
Cerebral palsy
Cognitive problems
Congenital heart disease – if symptoms affect driving
Fits, seizures or convulsions and driving
Déjà vu – if you have seizures or epilepsy
If you have an implanted defibrillator
Dementia
Depression – if it affects your ability to drive safely.
Diabetes – if your insulin treatment last over 3 months
Diplopia (double vision)
Dizziness or vertigo – if it is sudden, disabling or recurrent.
Drug use
Empyema (brain)
Essential tremor – if it affects your ability to drive safely.
Eye conditions
Guillain Barré syndrome
Serious head injury
Heart attacks – check with your doctor
Heart failure – if your symptoms affect your ability to drive
Heart palpitations
Hemianopia
High blood pressure (hypertension) – if a doctor tells you to stop driving
Hodgkin’s lymphoma – if you develop problems with the brain or nervous system
Huntington’s disease – if it causes any symptoms.
Hydrocephalus with symptoms
Hypoglycaemia
Hypoxic brain damage
Intracerebral haemorrhage – if you’re still having problems a month later
Korsakoff’s syndrome
Labyrinthitis – if you have symptoms for 3 months or more.
Learning disabilities but not learning difficulties e.g dyslexia
Lewy body dementia
Limb disability
Long QT syndrome
Lung cancer – if your doctor says you can’t drive
Lymphoma – if your doctor says you can’t drive
Marfan’s syndrome
Medulloblastoma
Meningioma – if it affects your driving
Motor neurone disease
Muscular dystrophy
Myasthenia gravis
Myoclonus
Narcolepsy
Night blindness
Obsessive compulsive disorder – if it affects your driving.
Excessive sleepiness – if moderate or severe
Optic atrophy
Pacemakers – if you’ve had one fitted
Paranoid schizophrenia
Paraplegia
Parkinson’s disease
Peripheral neuropathy
Personality disorder – if it affects your driving
Pituitary tumour
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – if it affects your driving.
Psychosis
Psychotic depression
Pulmonary arterial hypertension
Severe memory problems
Stroke – if you’re still having problems a month afterwards
Surgery – and you’re still unable to drive 3 months later.
Syncope
Seizures/epilepsy
Sleep apnoea – if its caused excessive sleepiness for at least three months
Schizo-affective disorder
Schizophrenia
Scotoma
Severe communication disorders
Spinal conditions, injuries or spinal surgery
Subarachnoid haemorrhage
Tachycardia
Tourette’s syndrome – if it affects your ability to drive
Tunnel vision
Usher syndrome
Reduced visual acuity
Vertigo
Visual field defect
VP shunts
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

For more information on each of these conditions, check the DVLA website.
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/driver-and-vehicle-licensing-agency

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September 26, 2021

Maturing Child Trust Funds – What You Need to Know – UPDATE

People turning 18 from September 2020 can access the Child Trust Fund set up in their name – but nearly a third of all these funds are still unclaimed.

Nearly two million UK children are owed a collective £2 billion of free money, with the most valuable of these ‘lost’ funds being worth nearly £2,000 each.

Child Trust Funds were created in 2002 by Tony Blair’s Labour government, to give a financial leg-up to all children when they reach adulthood, but especially to the most disadvantaged.

Those born after August 2002 and before August 2010 were given at least £250 at birth in the form of a voucher that could be invested in a variety of funds. If the voucher wasn’t activated with 12 months, it was automatically invested in one of 14 different providers.

Parents could make deposits into their child’s Trust Fund, of between £10 and £364 a month, and on their seventh birthday children received an additional gift of £250.

However, children in households with income of £16,190 or less received £500 on each occasion, at birth and when they turned seven years old.

Now the first children to be enrolled in the Child Trust Fund scheme are reaching adulthood, and can access their money. But 1.8 million of these accounts remain unclaimed, either because the parents never knew about them, forgot about them, or moved home and lost their documents. As a result, around a hundred thousand children this year alone could miss out on a hugely valuable payment as they enter adulthood and independence.

How much could my Child Trust Fund be worth?

Even an unclaimed Child’s Trust Fund, containing no deposits other than the two minimum government contributions, will now have significant value thanks to 18 years of compound interest. Those receiving the lower level of contribution are worth nearly £1,000 by now, while the higher-contribution Trust Funds (given to children of poorer families) will hold nearly £2,000. If parents made additional deposits at any point, then the funds will be worth even more.

The most bitter twist of the Child Trust Fund saga is that around 80 per cent of these more valuable funds – i.e. those set up to help the least well off – have never been activated. The money is there and waiting to be accessed by those children when they reach adulthood, but the families may remain completely unaware that it exists.

Gavin Oldham, chairman and founder of The Share Foundation, called on today’s government to do more to inform those who are missing out. He said, ‘[This] is a life-changing amount of money to an 18-year-old. Tracing these funds could alter the prospects of a whole generation. But insufficient effort is being made to link families with their accounts.’

Onefamily CTF who manage Child Trust Funds decided to be more pragmatic and supportive in circumstances where a young person is Disabled and cannot access the Child Trust Fund themselves as problems were accruing around this . On being notified of the reason why a young person could not personally close their own account, where parents/carers were making it clear why the young person could not Onefamily Child Trust Fund account began ahead of any Government change enabled parents/carers to do it instead by seeking specified forms of identification and issuing to parents/carers in these circumstances declaration documents for them to complete, sign and send back to them accordingly.

Onefamily head of investments, Paul Bridgwater, said: ‘Every case is different, but in some circumstances it is possible to release the funds if sufficient proof of identification can be provided by the person responsible for managing the young person’s finances.

‘We aim to review each application sensitively and with compassion, and would encourage all customers who may be in this position to get in touch, so that we can give them all the support that they need.’

The parents /carers of as many as four in five Disabled young people unable to access their Child Trust Fund savings maybe now seeing a further shift and no longer having to go to court to get access to their child’s Child Trust Fund money after a way of avoiding the costly and time-consuming process was greenlit by savings providers too in February 2021. .

A majority of Child Trust Fund providers have now agreed to proposals first published in December 2020 which would allow the parents and guardians of Disabled young people who have up to £5,000 in their accounts and no other savings to access the money by filling out a five page application form and getting a medical practitioner to fill out another one page document.
Whilst this agreement and the shift forward for some children is welcome, for those falling outside of the agreement specifications it is still proving challenging and the pragmatism of Onefamily is needed in these circumstances too .

Do I really have a Child Trust Fund?

Yes! If you was born a UK citizen between the dates of 1 September 2002 and 1 January 2011, then a Child Trust Fund for you definitely exists somewhere. Note that children born between 1 August 2010 and 1 January 2011 will have received smaller government contributions, due to the cutbacks of the time. However, such ‘austerity Child Trust Funds’ should still be worth at least £70 after 10 years even if no parental deposits were made.

How do I trace a Child’s Trust Fund?

A Child Trust Fund the Government initially said can only be accessed by the child it is assigned to, once they turn 18 – parents/carers cannot access it on their behalf. However, as the above shows as a parent /carer you can still help your child to claim their fund. The first essential step is to trace the provider.

You can do this by going to the Government’s website of Child Trust Fund providers. https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds Browse the list and see if you recognise your provider, whom you can then contact.

If you still can’t remember the name of your provider, or never knew you had one, then you can trace the fund directly at the Child Trust Fund website. Click the link under Find your provider and log in to the Government Gateway (if you don’t yet have an ID and password, click ‘Create sign in details’).

You will normally receive an initial response within 15 days, which may then ask you for further information such as a birth certificate or adoption certificate.

How long does it take to track down a Child Trust Fund?

Currently the system for tracing a lost or unclaimed Child Trust Fund can be quite cumbersome. Some parents have reported having to wait several months to track down the details so that the money can be released. It’s therefore worth starting the process now, even if your child won’t turn 18 for a while. The lockdown is a great opportunity to get the admin sorted out, and you know it will pay off in the end.

Once you know your money is on your way, you can choose a new savings account that can be accessed more easily.

If you don’t know or can’t remember who holds your / your child’s CTF, for more advice go to :

https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds

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August 23, 2021

Post-16 Transport

We are receiving numerous questions about post-16 transport as the new school years approaches its start. The information below should be helpful in relation to post-16 transport.

As Contact point out “Transport for young people over 16 in England has particular criterion that should be considered when making application for support or when reviewing your Local Authorities response to such requests”.

Local authorities do not have to provide free transport to educational settings for young people over compulsory school age. This includes 16-17 year olds, even though 16-17 year olds must stay in education or training. It applies whether your son or daughter stays on at school after year 11, goes to college or does some kind of work based learning. Your son or daughters travel arrangements may be reassessed even if they are staying on at the same school. Some local authorities may continue to provide the same transport arrangements, but they may charge for this.

Although your local authority does not have to provide free transport, it must publish a transport policy statement setting out what travel arrangements are available to enable 16-19 year olds to participate in education or training. For Sheffield residents, this policy can be found here. The policy also applies to young people over 19 who are continuing a course started before their 19th birthday.

Local authorities should not have a blanket policy to restrict transport to certain groups of young people, for example those who have received transport to school in the past, or those who have been to special schools. They should consider individual needs and the distance and nature of the route when deciding who is eligible.

What kind of transport might be available?

Arrangements should be flexible enough to allow for reasonable choice of education and training places. Details should be set out in your local authority’s Local Offer section on their website.

Options might include:

  • A subsidised bus pass or railcard
  • Transport provided directly by the local authority. For example a minibus or taxi for an individual or group of young people.
  • Travel training. This can help your son or daughter learn to travel independently on public transport. It may be available through the college or a voluntary organisation. Travel training supports a young person to be independent, but is not right for everyone. Your son or daughter’s suitability for travel training should be assessed before a decision is made.

The local policy must include arrangements to help young people with SEND to get to education. As explained above, these may not be provided for free.

Young people with SEND may need help with transport because they may not be able to travel in the same way as other young people in the area, for example if:

  • They have a disability which prevents them from walking or using public transport to their place of education.
  • They have to travel further to attend a course suitable for their SEND.

The local authority can make specific travel arrangements if needed and should look at each case individually before making a decision about suitable transport. Guidance says that transport should enable a young person to reach their place of education or training without such stress strain or difficulty that would prevent them from benefiting from the education provided.

If applying for transport, provide supporting information about your son or daughter’s physical disability, awareness of risk or sensory difficulties that would make it difficult for them to walk or use existing transport arrangements.

Contributing to travel costs

Local authorities can ask families for a contribution to travel costs even if they were getting free transport previously. Details should be set out in the local authority policy. The amount should be reasonable and in line with travel costs for young people in the area without SEND. The contribution should also be affordable for low income families. Arrangements should give details about any help available with travel costs, who is eligible, and how to apply.

Other financial help

There may be alternative sources of funding to help with education costs, including transport. The 16-19 bursary may be available to help with education-related costs, including transport, if your son or daughter meets the eligibility criteria. For Sheffield residents, this document can be found here. Young people over 19 may qualify for discretionary funding from their college.

Your son or daughter’s school, college or training provider can give you more information about financial support available.

You or your son or daughter may also qualify for benefits.

Transport over 18

There is a separate duty to provide transport for adults aged 18 – 25.

The law says that local authorities must make transport arrangements if they consider it necessary to enable adults to attend education. Such arrangements must be free of charge. The local authority policy must also specify travel arrangements for adults in the area with Education, Health and Care plans. The adult transport policy is often published together with the policy for 16-18 year olds.

Adults who are eligible for social care may also receive help with transport to education as part of their Care and Support plan.

Challenging decisions

You may be unhappy with a local authority decision on school transport, either because they have decided your son or daughter is not eligible or you think that the transport offered is not suitable. Your local authority should have a complaints and appeals procedure for transport decisions. This should be published alongside the transport policy.

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