June 17, 2021

Sparkle Sheffield Membership Scheme

Sparkle Sheffield is a registered charity which looks to benefit children and young people with additional needs and their families. No diagnosis is required to access any of our services, although due to personal circumstances and experience we specialise in supporting those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This is done by providing parental support, education about the complexities of living with children with additional needs, and coping strategies to deal with the challenging behaviour that autism often presents. Helping the parent/carers to understand and help their children have a better quality of life and increase the child’s opportunities by targeting their main care givers understanding of the complex condition.

What is our membership scheme all about?

The Sparkle Sheffield membership scheme aims to incorporate a support package for families of autistic children.

Membership starts from just £20 per family, per year – however we are currently running this for FREE until August 2021.

In 2020, our members accessed a range of experiences, including…

  • Over 250 virtual events, including Taekwondo, drama lessons, circus shows, Christmas activities, science entertainers, family events, magic shows, bingo, dance classes and more!
  • #sparkleusabedtime stories read exclusively for us by a range of celebrities
  • Priority booking for in-person (where possible) and virtual events
  • Discounted access to wider events such as the World’s First Interactive Pantomime!
  • … and much much more!

As soon as it is safe to do so, we aim to have our in-person events back up and running! This includes social events and parent support sessions, as well as whole family and siblings only sessions. In the meantime, our virtual events continue every day (after school hours) with activities including Lego club, Among Us club, cooking classes and bedtime stories! Sparkle Sheffield membership means you can access these events either as individuals or as a whole family – everyone is welcome!

Our members also receive exclusive access to parts of our Sparkle Sheffield app – meaning you get more information than just what we share on our social media pages and website.

Fill in the forms using the link below – and we’ll be in touch with everything you need to know!


If you have any questions feel free to contact us on [email protected]

*** Eligibility Criteria ***

Membership is applicable per household, therefore completion of the application form in full is essential with details of all relevant individuals. Application forms will be screened by Sparkle Sheffield personnel, so please ensure that they are completed with as much detail as possible. A valid email address is required upon the commencement of membership, as communications, notifications and other information will be delivered via the given email address.

Evidence of additional needs will be required upon completion of the Sparkle Sheffield membership application form. This must be one of the following pieces of documentation;

  • A pathway letter (such as one from Ryegate, CAMHS or the local hospital) detailing an appointment with neurodisability, the paediatric assessments unit, or other investigating clinic or;
  • A letter detailing your/your child’s diagnosis or;
  • A letter confirming you/ your child’s entitlement to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

If you have any questions feel free to contact us on [email protected]

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June 13, 2021

Applying for PIP (Personal Independence Payment)

DWP’s 14 questions to claim PIP and how much money you could receive each month

If you as a Disabled person or if you as a parent with a Disabled child who has a long term physical or mental health condition or impairment , you may want to consider applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

You can claim PIP from age 16 to State Pension Age.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is made up of two parts – a daily living part and a mobility part.

Whether you get one or both of these and how much you’ll get depends on how severely your child’s/ your condition affects you.

You’ll need an assessment to work out how much you’ll get. Yours/ your child’s rate will be regularly reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right support.

The health professional who conducts the assessment will base their questions on the answers you provide in the ‘How Your Disability Affects You’ ( or your child) evidence form, also referred to as the ‘PIP2’.

This form asks about how your/ your child’s health condition or disability/impairment affects you or your child on a daily basis and is your opportunity to explain fully and honestly how it impacts on your daily life.
Along with the form, you will also need to provide any supporting information as ‘evidence’ for your claim – this might be a letter from your doctor, specialist or social worker.

The form itself is quite straightforward and contains 10 activities for the daily living part and two for the mobility part – 14 questions in total.
The DWP will use your answers to look at whether you / your child can carry out these 12 activities safely and the amount of help you/ your child need to do so.

A score is given for each answer, which is why some people refer to this document as the ‘PIP test’.

If your total score for the daily living activities is between 8 and 11, your child/ you’ll be awarded the standard rate of PIP. If your score is 12 or more, you’ll be awarded the enhanced rate.

This points system is the same for responses given to the mobility questions.

However, the most common mistake that PIP claimants make when filling in the form, either by themselves, or having a family member or support worker do it for them, is that the answers are not detailed enough to accurately reflect how their condition affects them.

The reason for this is often that claimants/carers are so used to performing an activity or task in a way that works for them, that they do not realise how complicated or difficult it really is.

These ‘workarounds’ can make a huge difference when it comes to PIP awards and could result in someone receiving no additional financial support or the incorrect amount.

Our advice is to not rush completing the form, take a step back and imagine your child/ you’re doing the task or activity for the first time and explaining it to someone with the same condition as yourself – before your child/ you developed their/ your own workarounds.

While it may seem like a long process, remember, the assessor uses your answers to build a picture of how your impairments/ disability or health condition affects your child / you ( if you are Disabled and claiming for yourself) on a day-to-day basis.

And if the claim form is completed in full with comprehensive detailed information, the assessment may go more smoothly than you expect.

There are also ‘Additional Information’ sections at the end of each question which you should use to add any information that is relevant to the way your condition affects you.

This is particularly important if you feel you have answered questions that did not offer a real chance to demonstrate how your child/ you manage on a day-to-day basis.

While you do not have to fill in every free line available, do not submit your completed form until you are satisfied that when a complete stranger reads it, they will understand exactly how challenging every day can be.

We have listed all 14 questions you will be asked to complete on the form below to help you understand the process.

Here are the 10 daily activity question topics and possible maximum scores:-

Preparing food – scored out of 8
Eating and drinking – scored out of 10
Managing your treatments – scored out of 8
Washing and bathing – scored out of 8
Managing your toilet needs – scored out of 8
Dressing and undressing – scored out of 8
Communicating – scored out of 12
Reading – scored out of 8
Mixing with other people – scored out of 8
Making budgeting decisions – scored out of 6

Here are the 2 mobility question topics and possible maximum scores:

Planning and following a journey – scored out of 12
Moving around (outside the home) – scored out of 12

What are the current PIP payment rates?

You could be awarded the following amounts per week depending on your circumstances, which are paid every four weeks in arrears.

This means a successful claim could be worth between £23.70 and £608.60 every month.

Daily living component
Standard rate: £60.00
Enhanced rate: £89.60

Mobility component
Standard rate: £23.70
Enhanced rate: £62.55

Filling in the ‘how your disability affects you’ (or your child’s) claim form.

Below are all the questions on the claim form.

Q1: List your health professionals
You need to give the DWP details of any health professional you’ve seen about your child’s/your condition.

Q2: List your child’s/your conditions, medications and treatments
List all the physical and mental health conditions and impairments/ disabilities your child or you and the date they started.

Q3: Preparing and cooking a meal
This question is about how the condition(s) makes it difficult for your chikd/you to prepare a simple meal for one and heating it on a hob or in a microwave until it’s safe to eat.

Q4: Eating and drinking
This question is about how the condition (s) makes it difficult for your child/you to eat and drink. This means being able to cut up food into pieces, put it in your mouth, chew and swallow it. You should say if there is a need prompting or reminding to eat, as well if you have physical difficulties.

Q5: Managing treatments
This question is about how the health condition(s) makes it difficult for your child/you to:
– manage treatments
– monitor own health condition, including mental health and take action to
– stop the condition getting worse

Q6: Washing and bathing
This question is about whether the condition (s) makes it difficult for your child/ you to wash or bathe in a standard bath or shower that hasn’t been adapted in any way. It’s also about whether your child/you use any aids or appliances to help with washing or bathing.

Q7: Managing toilet needs
This question is about how the condition(s) makes it difficult for your child/you to:
– get on and off an unadapted toilet seat clean themselves/ yourself
– afterwards if applicable, manage incontinence

Q8: Dressing and undressing
This question is for you to describe any difficulties with dressing or undressing. This means putting on and taking off unmodified, appropriate clothes – including shoes and socks. ‘Appropriate clothes’ means clothes that are appropriate for:
– the weather
– the occasion
– the time of day

Q9: Communicating verbally
This question is about how the condition(s) makes it difficult for your child/you to:
– speak to others so that you’re understood
– hear and understand what other people are saying to them/ you

Q10: Reading
This question is about how the condition (s) makes it difficult for them/you to:
– read information that is a standard text size (not large print)
– read signs – for example, emergency exit signs
– read indoors and outside

Q11: Mixing with other people
This question is about how their/ your condition makes it difficult for them/ you to:
– meet people and mix with them
– judge situations when they’re/you’re with other people and behave appropriately
– establish relationships with people – for example make friends

Q12: Making decisions about money
This question is about how their/your condition makes it difficult for them/you to manage everyday purchases
This means things like:
– paying in shops and restaurants
– budgeting for and paying their/ your bills
– budgeting for bigger things such as a TV

Q13: Going out
This question is about how their/ your condition makes it difficult for them/ you to:
– plan and follow a route to a place they/you know (it doesn’t matter how they/ you get there)
– plan and follow a bus or train route to a place they/ you don’t know
– cope in places that they/you don’t know or if applicable, leave the house because of stress or anxiety

Q14: Moving around (outside the home)
This question is about how their/your condition makes it difficult for them/you to:
– stand safely outside without help walk safely outside without stopping and without help

Additional information
This is a blank page that you can use if you run out of space on the claim form. You can also use it to give any additional information you think necessary. There’s no right or wrong type of information to include but it’s a good idea to use this space to tell the DWP if:
– someone had to fill in the form for your child/ you and explain why
– your child or you filled in the form slowly or with pain
– filling in the form caused them/ you anxiety or stress,
– you’re attaching medical evidence to support your claim – for example, an EHCP , or other type of health or care plan

How to apply for PIP

To start the application process, you will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on 0800 917 2222 (textphone 0800 917 7777) where you can ask for a paper copy to be sent.

Read More
May 9, 2021

Disability Benefits and Entitlements

If you, or your child, have a disability or other long-term health condition, there is a range of support services – including financial support – out there.

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance, or DLA, is to help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • is under 16
  • has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability

There are two components to DLA, care and mobility. Children will need to meet the eligibility criteria to be awarded this benefit, and the amount ranges between £23.70 and £152.15 per week.

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/disability-living-allowance-children.

Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment, or PIP, can help with some of the extra costs if you have a long term physical or mental health condition or disability. This is for people aged over 16, but under State Pension Age.

The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself. You’ll be assessed by a health professional to work out the level of help you can get.

There are two components to PIP, daily living and mobility. There are eligibility criteria in order to receive PIP, although you can work and receive PIP at the same time. The amount recieved ranges from £23.70 to £152.15 per week.

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/pip.

Employment Support Allowance

Employment Support Allowance, or ESA, is aimed at those who have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

As always, there are eligibility criteria including if you have been impacted by Covid-19.

The amount you will receive ranges between £59.20 and £114.10 per week.

More information on ESA can be found at https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance.

Carers Allowance

You can claim carers allowance if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits (this includes DLA or PIP).

You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

You do not get paid extra if you care for more than one person. If someone else also cares for the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance (for example, only 1 parent can claim per child).

The amount is £67.60 per week, although claiming Carers Allowance does affect any other claimed benefits (for example, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit).

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance.

Child Tax Credit Disability Premium

If you need extra help with the costs of bringing up children, you can now only make a new claim for Child Tax Credit if you’re getting Working Tax Credit. If you don’t, you’ll have to claim Universal Credit instead.

If you’re already getting Child Tax Credit and your child develops a disability or long-term health condition, you might
be able to claim an additional disabled premium for them.

The amount recieved ranges between £3,435 and £4,825 a year.

Usually Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit support is limited to the first two children if any were born after 6th April 2017. However, all disabled children are protected. So if you make a new claim you’ll still be able to get the disabled premium or disabled child addition for any of your children who are sick or disabled.

Find out more information about Child Tax Credit at https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit.

Universal Credit Housing Costs Element

Universal Credit Housing Costs Element can be applicable for those who already receive housing benefits. This benefit can cover more of the rent costs if a child in your household has a disability or long-term health condition.

More information can be found on Universal Credit at https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

If you’re a homeowner, and getting certain means-tested benefits including Universal Credit, you might be able to apply for support for mortgage, interest, which is paid as a loan. More information on homeowners benefits can be found at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/support-for-mortgage-interest.

Council Tax Discount

If you are responsible for paying Council Tax, a council tax discount could apply. More of your bill might be covered if a child in your household has a disability or long-term health condition.

To qualify for a reduction, your property must be the main home of at least one disabled person. This can be an adult or a child – it doesn’t have to be the person responsible for paying the Council Tax.

Your property must also have features that are essential, or of major importance, to the well-being of the disabled person, for example:

  • a room (other than a bathroom, kitchen or toilet) that is used predominantly by the disabled person
  • an additional bathroom (excluding a toilet) or kitchen required to meet the needs of the disabled person
  • adaptations to allow the use of a wheelchair inside the property

In Sheffield, the reduction will be equivalent to re-banding your property into the next lower Council Tax band. The reduction for Band A properties will be the equivalent of one 9th of Band D.

Find out more and apply for a Council Tax discount in Sheffield at https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/council-tax/council-tax-discounts-exemptions.

Cold Weather Payments

Cold weather payments are available for those who receive certain benefits. You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.

The amount received is £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

You can find more information about Cold Weather Payments at https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment.

Warm Home Discount

The Warm Home Discount is different (and a separate payment) to the cold weather payments detailed above.

You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The scheme opens on 18 October 2021. The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March.

Eligibility criteria applies – find out more at https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme.

Water Bill Discount

There’s a scheme in England and Wales called WaterSure, which is designed to help people struggling with their water bills. You may qualify if you’re on certain benefits and need to use a lot of water for medical reasons. You also need to be on a water meter (or be waiting to have one installed).

The scheme caps your water bill, so you won’t pay more than the average metered bill in your area – if you use less than the average, you’ll simply pay for what you use.

This scheme is to make sure that these customers don’t cut back on how much water they use because they are worried about how they will pay their bill.

Eligibility criteria apply, and can be found at https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/households/customer-assistance/watersure/.

Motability and Blue Badges

People getting the higher rate mobility element of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment – the scheme can provide a car, motorised wheelchair or scooter.

For more information on Motability visit https://www.motability.co.uk.

Blue Badge Scheme
The Blue Badge scheme helps you park closer to your destination if you have a disability or health condition that affects your mobility or you care for a child with a health condition. This includes using marked disabled bays when out and about.

People with hidden disabilities, including autism and severe mental health conditions, are able to apply for a Blue Badge as of 31 August 2019.

The Blue Badge scheme already means those with physical disabilities can park closer to their destination than other drivers, as they are less able to take public transport or walk longer distances.

The new criteria will extend eligibility to people who:

  • cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
  • cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
  • have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking)

In Sheffield, you can find out more, and apply for a blue badge, online at https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/bluebadge.

Disabled Facilities Grant

You could get a grant from your council if you’re disabled and need to make changes to your home, for example to:

  • widen doors and install ramps
  • improve access to rooms and facilities – eg stairlifts or a downstairs bathroom
  • provide a heating system suitable for your needs
  • adapt heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use

The amount received is based on a case-by-case basis, but in England is up to £30,000. Depending on your income, you may need to pay towards the cost of the work to the property, however, disabled children under 18 years can get a grant without their parents’ income being taken into account.

More information on DFG’s can be found at https://www.gov.uk/disabled-facilities-grants, or for local information in Sheffield visit https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/housing/adapting-your-home.

VAT Exemption

If you’re disabled or have a long-term illness, the Government says you shouldn’t be charged VAT on items which have been designed or adapted for your personal use – for example, wheelchairs or equipment to help you get around your house. This also covers installation, repairs/maintenance and spare parts or accessories.

For VAT purposes, you’re disabled (or have a long-term illness) if:

  • You have a physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities, eg, blindness.
  • You have a condition that’s treated as chronic sickness, like diabetes.
  • You’re terminally ill.

The Government says you don’t qualify if you’re elderly but able-bodied, or if you’re temporarily disabled.

See the Government’s VAT relief guidance for the full list, but examples include: 

  • Medical and surgical appliances
  • Wheelchairs and mobility scooters
  • Equipment to aid the hard of hearing, and low-vision aids
  • Specialist beds, chair and stairlifts, rise and recline chairs and other lifting equipment and sanitary devices
  • Goods that have been designed solely for disabled people
  • Computer equipment designed solely for use by disabled people
  • Emergency alarm call systems

Free Prescriptions

People with certain medical conditions can get free NHS prescriptions if they have a valid medical exemption certificate. Free prescriptions apply to those over the age of 16 (children have free prescriptions as standard).

A medical exemption certificate:

  • entitles you to free NHS prescriptions only
  • doesn’t cover dental treatment or help with other health costs
  • should be shown when you collect a prescription
  • is valid for five years (or until your 60th birthday, whichever is sooner)

It’s your responsibility to check the expiry date, and if you claim free prescriptions after your certificate expires, you could have to pay a penalty charge of up to £100.

Find out more information at https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/exemption-certificates/medical-exemption-certificates.

Priority Services Register

The Priority Services Register is a free service provided by suppliers and network operators. Help you can get by being on the register includes;

  • Advance notice of planned power cuts
  • Priority support in an emergency
  • Identification scheme to reassure you that callers, for example meter readers, are genuine
  • Nominee scheme
  • Accessible information
  • Meter reading services at appropriate intervals

Each energy supplier and network operator maintains its own register. To get on it, you need to contact your energy supplier.

For more information visit https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/consumers/household-gas-and-electricity-guide/extra-help-energy-services/priority-services-register.

Disabled Students Allowance

If you’re over 18, studying and need help with costs you have to pay in relation to your course as the result of a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, then disabled students’ allowances (DSAs) can help you. There are three different allowances:

  • Specialist equipment (up to £5,849). Such as a new computer, if you’re assessed as needing one.
  • Non-medical helpers (up to £23,258). For example, a sign-language interpreter.
  • General allowance (up to £1,954). For example, extra travel, photocopying and other disability-related costs.

Find more information on student support for those with disabilities at https://www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowance-dsa.

Free Bus Travel

You can get discounted, or free, travel on public transport with a disabled person’s travel pass.

A disabled person’s travel pass enables free public transport for those who qualify within the South Yorkshire area. This is open to people aged 5 to 66 years old.

In Sheffield, you can find out more information and apply online at https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/sheffield/home/disability-mental-health/apply-for-disabled-persons-travel-pass.html.

Disabled Person’s Railcard

If you have a disability that makes travelling by train difficult, you may qualify for a Disabled Person’s Railcard.

It costs £20 for one year, or £54 for three years and gets you one-third off most train travel.

If you travel with another adult, they’ll also get one-third off their ticket. The accompanying adult does not have to have a disability, but does need to travel with you for the duration of the journey to qualify.

If your child (aged 5-15) has one of the eligible disabilities, they can apply for a Disabled Person’s Railcard (or you can apply on their behalf). They won’t get discounted child fares, but the card will allow one adult travelling with them to get one-third off.

Find more information and apply online at https://www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk.

Toll Charge Exemption

If you have a blue badge for disabled parking or receive certain benefits, you may be exempt from paying tolls on roads such as the M6. Criteria for exemption varies, and for some roads you may need to apply in advance – with others you can simply present your blue badge at the toll booth.

Check each toll separately as differing rules apply, but locations include;

  • M6 Toll
  • Dartford Crossing
  • Mersey Gateway Bridge and Silver Jubilee Bridge
  • Mersey Tunnels
  • Humber Bridge
  • Tyne Tunnels

Car Tax Exemption

If you’re disabled and receiving certain benefits, you may be exempt from paying vehicle tax, or be able to get a 50% discount. 

You can apply for an exemption if you get the:

  • Higher-rate mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA).
  • Enhanced-rate mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP).
  • War pensioners’ mobility supplement.
  • Armed forces independence payment.

The vehicle must be registered in the disabled person’s name or their nominated driver’s name. It must only be used for the disabled person’s personal needs. It cannot be used by the nominated driver for their own personal use.

More information on tax exemption can be found at https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax.

Airport Assistance

If you have a disability, reduced mobility or difficulty with communication or social interaction, you have a legal right to special assistance when you travel. This applies on any flights out of the UK or anywhere in the EU, or if you’re flying to an airport in the EU (or UK) on an EU airline.

If you think you need special assistance, you can declare your disability to the airline. This should be done in advance in order that airports and airlines can prepare. If left until the last minute, support cannot be guaranteed.

The aviation regulator the Civil Aviation Authority says help is available from the moment you arrive at an airport and can cover:

  • Your journey through your departure airport
  • Boarding the aircraft and during the flight
  • Disembarking the aircraft
  • Transferring between flights
  • Travelling through your destination airport

Contact each airport/airline individually for more information.

Access Card

An issue many disabled people face is having to ‘prove’ they need special assistance or reasonable adjustments made, eg, at music venues or when dealing with service providers. One solution to this is to get an Access Card, which costs £15 for three years.

To apply, you’ll need to fill out a form and provide evidence of your disability, eg, a letter from your doctor. You’ll then be sent your Access Card, which will display symbols relevant to your needs – these can include wheelchair access, urgent toilet needs or difficulty with standing and queuing although there is a full list of conditions. The idea is that staff will quickly and discreetly understand what assistance you require.

While it’s not necessary to have an Access Card in order to get assistance, even in venues which specifically work with the scheme, many say it can make the process a lot easier if you can simply flash a card.

More information on the Access Card can be found at https://www.accesscard.org.uk.

Free Cinema Tickets

The CEA Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema. The card is in the child’s name, so any accompanying carer can enter for free.

The Card is also one way for cinemas to make sure they look after their disabled guests. If you require an adjustment to visit a cinema because of your disability, cinema staff should make them for you whether you have a CEA Card or not.

More information, and how to apply for a CEA card can be found at https://www.ceacard.co.uk.

Free/Discounted Access to Major Attractions

Lots of major attractions offer free, or discounted, entry for carers accompanying a disabled person. These can vary from a carer being admitted for free with a paying disabled person, or discounted entry for both the individual and an accompanying carer.

Theme parks often also issue queue jump passes, meaning that you won’t have to queue as long for a particular ride. These can sometimes be limited to certain days/times, for certain rides, or with T&C’s attached (for example, one ride per hour, or a limit on the number of people who can use the pass at once).

It’s always best to check out an attractions website before you attend, they will often list any discounts or accommodations they offer on there. If not, get in touch and ask in advance, it’s always best to know beforehand in case you are required to take photographic evidence or any other items with you.

If you know of any places or services offering discounts or benefits, please do let us know and we’ll add them to the list!

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April 22, 2021

Privacy Policy and GDPR


Sparkle Sheffield  takes your privacy very seriously and we ask that you read this privacy notice carefully as it contains important information on:

  • The personal information we collect about you;
  • What we do with your information; and
  • Who your information might be shared with.

This privacy notice explains how we use your personal data in order to improve our services to you, and what choices you have about how we use that data. This privacy notice has been written to comply with the new privacy laws, known as the ‘GDPR’ (General Data Protection Regulation).When we refer to ‘we’ or ‘us’ we mean Sparkle Shefield 

The information we gather

As a  Charity we may gather certain information about you when you register with us, purchase products or services from us, when you contact us, send us feedback, post material to our websites or social media channels, complete customer surveys or take part in promotions or competitions run by us. This information may also be shared with and/or used by certain other parties in connection with an event, such as our ticketing agents, social media agency, website hosting companies, security provider and event promoters, promoter ticket agents and affiliates or with a partner agency who is for example Advocating for your chuld with your permission as the child or as a parent/carer with parental responsibility.

We will not sell any of your personal information to third parties, nor will we transfer your personal data outside of the UK or European Union without your prior consent.


On occasion we may collect  personal data relating to children under the age of 16, for instance the names of attendees or participants in  Advocacy, support services, Learning and Participation or other educational , play and social events at certain venues. If you are a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 16 and think that we may have information relating to that child, please contact us , using the details specifc details. We will ask you to prove your relationship to the child but if you do so you may (subject to applicable law) request access to and deletion of that child’s personal data. Your child to, has data rights of their own and Sparkle Sheffield will adhere to the law in this regard alsoInformation that we gather about you or  you child if you are a parent engaging with us may include (without limitation) name, contact details, date of birth,  and accessibility details and dietary requirements etc..

Information about third parties

Information we process, as described in this notice, may also include information about third parties such as your spouse or children  whose details you supply to us. If you give us information on behalf of someone else, you confirm that the other person has agreed that you can:

  • Give consent on his/ her behalf to the processing of his/ her personal data;
  • Receive on his / her behalf data protection notices; and
  • Give consent to the processing of his/ her potentially sensitive personal data (e.g. any health issues relating to accessibility or dietary requirements or dietary requirements).

Systems used to process data

We gather information directly from you and also via our website and other systems. These may include, for example:

  • Our computer networks and connections;
  • Our email and instant messaging systems;
  • Internet facilities;
  • Interviews – Su[port Services;
  • Our telephones, voicemail, mobile phone records;
  • Third party systems including Eventim, 

 Please be aware that our website and social media platforms may contain links to third party websites and social media platforms. We are not responsible for the security or privacy policies of those third party sites, and recommend that you review those parties’ privacy notices before sharing your personal data on those platforms.

Data retention

We will retain your personal data in accordance with your instructions and as required by applicable law. We may also retain certain information in order to conduct audits, comply with our legal obligations (and to demonstrate compliance) and to resolve disputes. However, we will not retain your personal data for longer than reasonably necessary.


You may in the future see a cookie notice when you access our websites. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the site to operate and have already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site will not work.

The majority of web browsers (including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari) will allow you to block cookies from being installed on your device, or delete selected or all cookies currently installed on your device, via your browsing settings. Depending on your browser, further information can be obtained via the following websites: Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera or Safari. Mobile phone users may have to refer to their handset manual for details on how to block or delete cookies using their mobile browser. Please be aware that restricting the use of cookies may impact on the functionality of our website.

Reasons for processing

We process information about you for the following reasons:

  • providing services  and support to you;
  • carrying out customer profiling and analysis of purchasing preferences;
  • marketing our business and service and those of our partners which we believe will be of interest to you;
  • operational reasons, such as recording transactions, training and quality control;
  • improving our services
  • providing customer service;
  • analysing customer feedback;
  • investigating complaints;
  • ensuring business policies are adhered to;
  • tracking activity on our website and social media channels;
  • to contact you in the event any products or services you requested are unavailable or to notify you in the event of any changes to an event;
  • to personalise and improve your experience on our website and social media channels;
  • to personalise any communications to you;
  • compliance with legal, regulatory and corporate governance obligations and good practice; and
  • gathering information as part of investigations by regulatory bodies or in connection with legal proceedings or requests.

When you use our website and social media channels we may also collect certain information about you and your visit to help us to improve your experiences on those platforms. This may include:

  • your journey through our website and social media channels;
  • what content you like or share;
  • which pop up or push messages you saw and responded to;
  • your IP address; and
  • your browser type and operating system.

We may also collect personal information when you purchase a ticket for any of our events from our ticketing partner in order to assist us with event planning activities and to enable us to contact you with details of any changes to the scheduled event. We may keep a record of your name address, delivery details, e mail address, telephone number and bank details. In addition, we record CCTV images of you when you are at one of the Sparkle Sheffield venues or within its vicinity for your safety and security and our training and customer care processes. CCTV images may be shared with the police for the purposes of crime prevention and detection.

Disclosures and exchange of information

We may disclose and exchange information with partner organisations described above e.g. Advcacy, as well as with law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies for reasons of safeguarding, security and safety, as required under the law..
Information may be held at our offices and those of our group partners, ticketing agents, promoters and  service providers, representatives and agents as described above.

Sensitive personal data

You may also supply us with sensitive personal data relating to yours or your childs impairment conditions.  health etc. which is gathered for the purposes of ensuring easy access to our venues, events  (in the case of people with accessibility requirements) or compliance with food safety (in the case of strict dietary requirements) or in regard to Advocacy and support.

Keeping your data secure

We have appropriate security measures in place to prevent yours/your child’s personal information being accidentally lost, or used or accessed in an unauthorised way. We also limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Some of the technical and organisational measures we use to safeguard your personal data are:

  • storing your personal data, in all forms, in a secure environment;
  • training our staff on the importance of data protection measures;
  • employing SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption on every domain owned by us – this allows us to encrypt any passwords and debit/ credit card information to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure;
  • securing our network by an advanced firewall supported by industry standard anti-virus software.

We also have policies and procedures in place to deal with any suspected data breach so that we can act quickly to minimise any potential damage.

Your rights

Under the GDPR you have a number of important rights. Those include:

  • Right to fair processing of information and transparency over how we use your personal information – we are required to inform you why we want to gather your personal information, what we will do with it, who it will be shared with and how long it will be kept for. That information is set out in this privacy notice, but if you require any further information please don’t hesitate to contact us.
  • Right to request a copy of your information – you can request a copy of your information which we hold (this is known as a ‘subject access request’). If you would like a copy of some or all of this information please contact us with proof of your identity and let us know what information you would like. We must provide this information to you in a commonly used and machine readable format.
  • Right to require us to correct any mistakes in your information – you can require us to correct any information which we hold. If you would like to do this, please contact us to let us know the information that is incorrect and what is should be replaced with.
  • Right to ask us to stop contacting you with direct marketing – you can ask us to stop contacting you for direct marketing purposes at any time. If you would like to do this, please contact us and let us know what method of contact (one or all) you are not happy with.
  • Right to restrict processing – you can ask us to suspend the processing of your personal data in certain circumstances, for example, if you have notified us there is a mistake in the information we hold about you, you may ask us to suspend processing until that mistake is rectified.
  • Right to erasure – otherwise known as ‘the right to be forgotten’ – you can ask us to delete or remove your personal data from our systems where there is no compelling reason for us to continue processing it.

If you want to exercise any of these rights, please write to us at the relevant venue, using the details provided in the Appendix to this document, and provide us with enough information to enable us to confirm your identity. We may also require proof of your identity, such as a copy of your driving license, passport and a recent utility bill or bank statement, to be sure that we are not releasing any of your personal data to anyone other than you.

Changes to this privacy notice

This privacy notice was first published on 18th May 2018 and last updated on that date.Your privacy is important to us and we are constantly reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure we are meeting the high standards we set ourselves. As a result, we may amend this privacy notice from time to time, and we recommend that you check this page periodically to review any changes that may have been made.

How to contact us

If you have any questions or concerns about this privacy notice or the information we hold about you, please do not hesitate to contact us by one of the following methods:

  • By post: Privacy Enquiries, Knowle House  etc here Leesh 
  • By e mail: 
  • By phone:

If you would like this notice in another format (for example, audio, large print, braille) please contact us using any of the methods above.If you have a complaint, we hope that we can resolve any issues you have by contacting us via one of the methods above. However, you also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office who may be contacted at https://ico.org.uk/concerns/ or via the helpline: 0303 123 1113.

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March 28, 2021

Autism Acceptance Week – How Far Can We Go?!

For this years Autism Acceptance Week – lets see how far we can go!!

Join us and together let’s see how far we can go – steps, hops, bounces and jumps, everything counts! Get sponsored and see how much you can raise to support Sparkle Sheffield at the same time!

Can we make it to London, maybe we could get to France, or as far as the moon?!

Start on 2nd April, which is Autism Awareness Day, and finish on 9th April 2021, how far can you go in a week??

Use the link below to register your steps with us, and we’ll keep a track of everyones movements and see how far we can go!

Send us your results here…

We also have sponsorship forms available to download and print – why not round up your families and friends and get them to take part too!

Get your sponsorship forms here…

Feel free to share your ideas with us, we’d love to see what you’re up to!

– The Sparkle Sheffield team 😊

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January 12, 2021

Sparkle Sheffield Autism Awards 2021!

We are eagerly anticipating the Sparkle Sheffield Autism Awards, a bright start to 2021 and looking back on the positives of 2020.

The objective of the Sparkle Sheffield Autism Awards is to celebrate the unsung heroes that do so much for Autism. For those people who go far and beyond to make a difference in an autistic persons’ life. We also aim to raise awareness for autism and to show there is nothing an autistic person can’t do without the right support!

The previous Sparkle Sheffield Autism Awards were held in September 2018 at the Mecure St Paul’s Hotel and Spa in Sheffield City Centre and was a resounding success. A wonderful evening was had by all, with recognition of our unsung heroes and extra special children in an environment that was inclusive for all. Due to Covid-19, the award ceremony will take place online this year, and we’ll be making it a night to remember! The event is due to be hosted on the evening of Saturday 30th January 2021. We also have a range of celebrities reading out the awards for our heroes, who are donating their time free of charge to support our local charity.

The award categories for this year are as follows…

  • Most Inspirational Preschool Service to Autism Award 
  • Most Inspirational Primary School Service to Autism Award – Sponsored by Autism Union
  • Most Inspirational Educational Setting for Autism (Secondary and Further Education) – Sponsored by South Yorkshire Autism Fayre
  • Outstanding Achievement by a Young Person (aged 13-25) on the Autism Spectrum – Sponsored by Sparkle On
  • Outstanding Achievement by a child (under 13) on the Autism Spectrum – to be chosen and presented by Mina Anwar
  • Most Inspirational Sibling Award – to be chosen and presented by Adrian Lester CBE
  • Innovative and Inclusive Leading Independent Business for Autism Award
  • The Roger Higginbottom Outstanding Professional Champion for Autism Award
  • Outstanding Parent/Carer Award – Sponsored by Graysons Solicitors
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Overcoming Adversity Autism Award
  • The Big Impact for Autism Award
  • Outstanding Children’s Autism Champion
  • The Kenton Black Most Inspirational Volunteer Award

Join us on Saturday 30th January 2021 to celebrate our wonderful local unsung heroes with a heap of celebrity guests!

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January 12, 2021

Sparkle Sheffield Successes of 2020

In amongst the challenges of 2020, we also did some absolutely amazing things here at Sparkle Sheffield!

Here are just some (!) of the things we got up to last year 🥰

📣 When the world got turned upside down in March, we planned and prepped and held over 250 virtual events throughout the year!
🥰 We had celebrities donate their time and read us #sparkleusabedtime stories especially for our children
🌟 We co-hosted the South Yorkshire Autism Fayre virtually – with a whole host of learning, interaction and fun going on!
💜 We single handedly hosted South Yorkshire Autism Fayre Kids! event, with children from all over the country joining us for fun, laughter and raising autism awareness
🥳 We introduced our wonderful mascots, Sparky the Sparkle Croc 🐊, Crumpet & Cinnamon the Festive Elves 🎄 and Naughty Nigel Elf 😂
🎁 Crumpet Elf delivered presents to over 100 children this Christmas! (with some not so-much help from Naughty Nigel!)
🎅 We Zoom called Santa to meet our wonderful children!
🆓 We launched the Sparkle Sheffield Membership Scheme, which has been FREE since April 2020 and will continue to be free until March 2021!
🦠 We published our very own Covid-19 Lockdown Family Support Pack 1 & 2, and a Sparkle Sheffield Activity Ideas Pack
6️⃣ Sparkle Sheffield turned 6 years old!
💻 We got a BRAND NEW website!
🤡 Way back at the beginning of the year we hosted our New Year party, bowling sessions, The National Videogame Museum sessions, youth club sessions, and under 5’s stay and play sessions!
💌 We had Wills & Trusts sessions hosted by Graysons Solicitors
❤️ We sent families to watch shows in our very own, specially designed hospitality suite at Fly DSA Arena!

… and so much more behind the scenes! We don’t often should loud enough about all the things we do at Sparkle Sheffield, but we really do do so much.

All the above is in addition to supporting children and families via email, telephone and in person (where possible), homeschooling our own children with additional needs for the majority of the year, and running primarily on volunteers!

Best of all…?! We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for 2021!!! 🌟

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January 10, 2021

Sparkle Sheffield FREE Membership Continues!

We are delighted to be able to offer FREE membership for families at Sparkle Sheffield, now extended until the end of August 2021!

We are giving free trials of our membership package to all eligible families. There is no cost involved in this, you will not be required to provide any payment or banking details. ** If you are already a paying member of Sparkle Sheffield, you too will receive the extra months we are offering free membership at the end of your yearly subscription! **

In 2020, our members accessed a range of experiences, including…

  • Over 250 virtual events, including Taekwondo, drama lessons, circus shows, Christmas activities, science entertainers, family events, magic shows, bingo, dance classes and more!
  • #sparkleusabedtime stories read exclusively for us by a range of celebrities
  • Priority booking for in-person (where possible) and virtual events
  • Discounted access to wider events such as the World’s First Interactive Pantomime!
  • … and much much more!

To sign up for our free membership, simply complete your information using the link below and we will be in touch with details about our upcoming events in 2021.


Want more information? Simply email us at [email protected], requesting a free membership trial and we can give you all the information you need to sign up with us!

There is no requirement to continue with a purchased membership after the free trial, however families can sign up to our membership packages from just £20 per family, per year. 

*** Eligibility Criteria ***

Membership is applicable per household, therefore completion of the application form in full is essential with details of all relevant individuals. Application forms will be screened by Sparkle Sheffield personnel, so please ensure that they are completed with as much detail as possible. A valid email address is required upon the commencement of membership, as communications, notifications and other information will be delivered via the given email address.

Evidence of additional needs will be required upon completion of the Sparkle Sheffield membership application form. This must be one of the following pieces of documentation;

  • A pathway letter (such as one from Ryegate, CAMHS or the local hospital) detailing an appointment with neurodisability, the paediatric assessments unit, or other investigating clinic or;
  • A letter detailing your/your child’s diagnosis or;
  • A letter confirming your/ your child’s entitlement to Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

If you have any questions feel free to contact us on [email protected]

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January 9, 2021

New Patron of Sparkle Sheffield – Mina Anwar!

Sparkle Sheffield are delighted to welcome Mina Anwar as one of our Patrons, joining Adrian Lester MBE in supporting the work that we do.

We can’t wait for Mina to continue to be involved in our charity, supporting the work that we do with autistic children and their families. Find out more about Mina below…

Mina Anwar

Mina trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in Acting and Musical Theatre.

A classically trained singer, Mina has been singing since she was four – ever since she sang her first solo ‘Away in a Manger’ at infant school in Church, Accrington, where she grew up. 

As well as having a varied career as a professional actor in theatre, television, film and radio, she also sings in bands. One of her career highlights was singing live with her favourite Manchester band,The Charlatans, on Later with Jools Holland. She sings big band jazz and swing and is a regular lead vocalist with The Suburban Swing Orchestra in Greater Manchester. Lesser known facts about her are that she loves to dance and, is a licensed Zumba instructor, loves science, and graduated with a BSc (hons) in Psychology from The Open University in her forties. A PGCE tutor in Performing Arts, she is a strong advocate for using creative arts for education  and mental health in the community. 

She is delighted to be a Patron for Sparkle Sheffield. Mina has a special relationship to the Yorkshire city of Sheffield having performed many great shows at The Crucible Theatre. 

Film includes: The Infidel (Slingshot) and Maybe Baby (Inconceivable Films). 

Television includes: The Worst Witch (BBC), Doctor Who (BBC), The A Word (Tiger Aspect), In The Club 1 & 2 (BBC), Upstart Crow (BBC), Cuffs (Tiger Aspect/BBC), Marley’s Ghosts (Gold), Scott and Bailey (BBC), Moving On (BBC), Remember Me (Mammoth/BBC), Happy Valley (Red Productions), House of Anubis Series 1 – 3 (Nickelodeon), A Passionate Woman (Rollem Productions), The Sarah Jane Adventures Series 2 – 5 (BBC), The Invisibles (Company Pictures), Shameless (Company Pictures), Love Soup (BBC), Mayo (BBC), A Midsummer Nights Dream (BBC), Best Friends (Yorkshire Television), Doctors and Nurses (BBC), Birthday Girl (Yorkshire Television), A&E (Granada Television), TV To Go (BBC), A Christmas Carol (Carlton Television), The Flint St. Nativity (Yorkshire Television), Flight (Hindi Pictures/BBC), The Thin Blue Line series 1 &2 (Tiger Aspect/BBC). 

Theatre includes: Ma / Orange Juice in Life of Pi (Sheffield Crucible and Wyndham Theatre West End from June 2020), She Devil! The Musical , Workshop Production

(RGM Productions) Ray in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Original Cast Sheffield Crucible and Apollo, West End), Maria in Twelfth Night (Royal Exchange Theatre), Wild Oats – development reading (RSC), Birth International Theatre Festival (Royal Exchange Festival), Saamiyah in The Infidel – The Musical (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Rachel in Hard Times (Library Theatre), Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (Nottingham Playhouse), Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Nottingham Playhouse), The Vagina Monologues (West End /No.1 Tour), Julie in Victoria Wood’s Talent (No. 1 Tour), Cordelia in King Lear (Sheffield Crucible), Nayani in Skeleton (Soho Theatre), Debbie in Too Much Too Young (London Bubble), Pete Townsend’s The Iron Man (Young Vic Theatre), Jeannie/Chrissie in Hair (Broadway Musical Company New York, European Tour). 

Radio includes: 24 Hours of Peace (Royal Exchange / Resonance FM), Malcolm in Fags, Mags and Bags Series 5,6,7,8 and 9 (BBC Radio 4), Rage (BBC Radio 4), Sabina in Wheatish (Sparklab for Radio 4) Maya in Alone (Absolutely for Radio 4), Big Mam in Whose Baby (Sparklab for Radio 4), Sally in Quiz Nite (BBC Radio 4), Hubertine in Lovesick by Zola (BBC Radio 4), Zainab in Breaking The Silence Trilogy (Unity FM), Tasneem in Divided We Fall (Preston FM), Nisha in Artists Series 1 and 2 (Radio 4), Storyteller in Time and Tune (BBC Radio 3)

Director and Choreographer of “The Dolly Mixtures” a musical written by Tom Kelly and John Miles produced and performed at Customs House Theatre, South Shields.  

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November 10, 2020

Christmas Gift Ideas

Let’s talk the C word (no not Covid!)

Christmas! 🎅🤶🎄⭐️🎁

Here are some Christmas gift ideas, it’s not always the easiest time to purchase gifts for our super special children! From the simple ideas that your child loves, to the most obscure thing that you wonder what the fascination is?!

Hopefully you’ll be able to find some ideas on this list, you could even signpost family and friends for ideas.

** Please note, the links to any Amazon/eBay/third party website etc. items are purely for image/idea purposes and not specific item recommendations. A quick Google search and you’ll be able to find an item (and price!) that’s right for you! **


Top Tips!

Reducing Anxiety
Does Christmas increase anxiety in your child/young person? Try wrapping presents in clear cellophane – this can reduce the anxiety of not knowing what is inside, but still enables the ‘unwrapping’ of presents.

Preparing for the run up to Christmas Day can also help. Using visual timetables, schedules or routines can provide the structure needed, but without loosing the magic of Christmas. Involve your child/young person wherever (and if) possible to give them some of the control back, this will ease anxiety too. So what if they end up having fish fingers and chips for their Christmas dinner if it makes the rest of the day run smoother?! 😂

Set up toys so they are ready to go on Christmas morning!
Untie toys from the box (those fiddly little ties that require a PhD in Nuclear Science to undo!), leave items loose in the box so they’re easier to access, make sure toys already have batteries in them where needed.

Set up wish lists on shopping platforms (Amazon, eBay etc) and use these to send to family/friends in the run up to Christmas – this can reduce any unwanted/un-used presents and instead receive gifts that are really useful and liked.

Gift Ideas!

Stocking Filler Ideas

  • Kazoo’s
  • Little flying parachute men (drop from a height and they’ll gently float to the floor)
  • Hot Wheels cars
  • Snow globes
  • Bouncy balls
  • Bubbles
  • Musical instruments
  • Arts/crafts
  • Cause/effect toys
  • Tin can game
  • Mr Potato Head
  • Basketball hoops
  • Sticky velcro bat/ball set


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