Latest news and updates
Do you qualify for Healthy Food vouchers?
According to the latest NHS figures, there are 8,700 Hertfordshire families who should be getting Healthy Start Vouchers and less than 3,400 are. And claiming couldn’t be easier!
If someone is at least 10 weeks pregnant or has a child under four years old, they could be entitled to Healthy Start Vouchers worth £3.10 per child per week, to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and instant formula milk. They can also use them to buy pulses and canned fruit and vegetable as long as they have no fat, salt, sugar or other flavouring added. The vouchers can be redeemed at local shops.
Those who are entitled to Healthy Start Vouchers will also get free vitamins designed to help pregnant and breastfeeding women and growing children.
Pregnant women and every child over one and under four years old can get one voucher every week. Children under one year old can get £6.20 per week.
To be eligible the claimant should be in receipt of certain means-tested benefits and they can check eligibility here.
They can also use the benefit-checker on the County Council’s website, and access free information about benefits that they might be missing-out on – www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/benefits
For example, a parent with a new baby and a 3 year old could get vouchers worth almost £500 a year.
Someone who is pregnant and under 18 does not have to be in receipt of any benefits to qualify.
Take-up of the vouchers is very low, around 40 percent, so people should check if they are entitled as soon as possible to prevent missing out. Anyone can pick up an application leaflet at a GP’s or baby clinic. Alternatively they can phone for a form on 0345 607 6823 or download and print one from here.
Changes to Public Health Nursing for 0-5 year olds
Working together with our Family Support colleagues in Family Centres, we are making some changes to the way in which we deliver services for under fives in Hertfordshire.
‘Preparing for Baby’ is a local Hertfordshire, free three week online course, presented by Midwives, Family Support staff and Health Visitors. It covers everything you need to prepare for labour and parenthood. Book on to a course from week 25 of your pregnancy via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/hct-preparing-for-baby-courses-hertfordshire-parents-20041788297).
‘Understanding Pregnancy, Labour and Birth and Understanding Your Baby are three different sessions on a free programme. Each session takes about 20 minutes and you can choose to do them all or pick the ones that are most useful to you. To book on a programme go to www.inourplace.co.uk and apply the free access code FCS20.
By Appointment Health Visitor clinics
A new way of working replaces the drop in Baby and Toddler Health Clinics. Growth monitoring (weighing your baby) and health promotion is available with your Health Visiting Team at specific ages/stages. Where there are identified growth concerns these will be managed on an individual basis and according to your child’s needs. Call 0300 123 7572 to book an appointment with your Health Visitor.
Self-weighing and health promotion is offered at key touch points, provided by the Family Support Service Self-weigh stations in Family Centres. Book a self-weigh appointment via Eventbrite. You will find the Eventbrite link to your local area on our Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) website address below.
Health and Development reviews
From August 2020, the Health Visiting service resumed offering health and development reviews for all one year olds. From October 2020 the Health Visiting service, working in partnership with Family Support Services, will resume health and development reviews for all 2 – 2.5 year olds. You will be contacted in the near future by letter.
A team of Health Visitors are on duty to answer your questions and concerns between the hours of 9-5pm, Monday to Friday (except bank holidays). Experienced Health Visitors will assess the needs of your baby/toddler/child and those of your family and by phone, virtual platforms or face to face where there is a specific need to do so. All parents have access to support with any feeding issues via their Health Visitor or Family support team. More complex feeding issues will be referred to our Specialist Health Visitor clinics and breast pump loan service.
Health Visitor Duty line 0300 123 7572
More information on HCT Public health Nursing Services website
For other services for you and your family please call the Family Support Service on 0300 123 7572 and you will be directed to what is available in your local area.
Advice tele numbers 'at a glance'
Integrated Services for Learning (ISL) have published an at a glance telephone list of helplines.
Click on the image below to download the poster.
United Against Bullying
As parents and carers, we all want our children to be happy and safe and it is natural to worry about bullying.
This week, 16 – 20 November is Anti Bullying Week. As a parent/ carer, you are a vital piece of the puzzle in tackling bullying.
You have a unique role to play in guiding and supporting your child through their school years and there are lots of positive steps you can take to help keep your child safe from bullying and harm – Find advice and support online https://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/anti-bullying-week/parents-and-carers.
Organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance the theme this year is 'United Against Bullying'. Do share what you are doing on our SEND Facebook page – we’d love to hear from you using the hashtags #@SENDherts; #AntiBullyingWeek and #UnitedAgainstBullying
If your child is anxious going to school – there is lots of supportive information on the Local Offer here
antibullyingweek ; #abw20; #SENDHerts
“Just” the flu?
Each year the flu kills on average 11,000 people and hospitalises thousands more. There’s no 'just' about it.
The flu virus spreads from person to person. Even amongst those not showing symptoms.
The flu vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you. It’s available for free to those most at risk. Ask your GP or pharmacist.
You can click on the image on the right to download more Public Health information.
We've taken a few of the FAQs from NHS England for you-
How and when will people be contacted? Do they have to wait to be contacted before booking a vaccine?
People who are eligible will be contacted by their GP and/or receive a letter from the NHS Immunisation Management System. However, you do not have to wait to be contacted before booking a vaccine.
Does anyone need to bring evidence with them if they want to book a free vaccine before they receive a letter?
No, you don’t need to bring evidence with you, but if you receive an invitation or reminder letter it would help the NHS if you brought that with you when you have your appointment.
When will the vaccine be available?
Some vaccine is available from September and more will be become available in October and November.
What safety measures are taken by GPs and pharmacists?
GP and pharmacists will take all necessary measures to make sure the flu vaccine is given in a safe environment. Venues will be disinfected, staff will wear protective equipment and social distancing will be in place
Have you had your say yet?
Hertfordshire County Council's Early Years' Service would like to know how parents/carers want to receive news, information and updates and what you would like to know about.
Please take 2 minutes to have your say by completing the short survey below. Survey closes 30 November 2020.
If you are interested in hearing about the latest updates and key messages in regards to early years then you can follow the Early Years Service dedicated Facebook page for parents/carers https://www.facebook.com/beststartherts
Updating our name .... YC Hertfordshire to YCH
YC Hertfordshire has changed its name, with immediate effect, to YCH Services for Young People.
After commencing face to face delivery in September and October, youth work has had to revert back to online delivery for the period of the current national lockdown. A range of projects are being offered and can be found online at https://www.ychertfordshire.org/support-for-young-people/support-for-young-people-with-learning-disabilities/youth-projects-for-young-people-with-learning-disabilities/
This means any street-based (outdoor) projects have also been suspended until December.
Wherever you live in Hertfordshire you will find a youth project you can join. Visit the website above for details of projects in your area.
Things to do in Hertfordshire
A wellbeing extravaganza evening just for you!
You are invited to join an exclusive and FREE online Potential Kids event for SEND Parent/Carers and recharge your batteries!
Potential Kids Wellbeing extravaganza evening has been put together to support parents and carers mental health & wellbeing during these challenging times. Find some time just for yourselves and join in on
27th November from 7:30pm -9:00pm
During the evening you will hear about different wellbeing strategies and ways to support your mental health. In addition, Potential Kids will welcome these fantastic guests:
- Sara Stanner, Head of Science at the British Nutrition Foundation will give us tips and nutritional advice.
- Suzanne Davies, Founder of Babacool will teach us some Breathing Techniques to cope with stress & anxiety. We’ll also have the opportunity meditate and relax with Suzanne.
- Lotte Mikkelsen, Founder of UnitedMind Laughter Yoga will be lifting our spirits with her Yoga Laughter session
This Lockdown Wellbeing Evening will be a night to remember.. you cannot miss it!
Book here: potentialkids.org/activities
Further information is available by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free mental health workshop for young people 12+ years
Potential Kids are offering a free mental health workshop for young people 12+ years this Wednesday -
18 November 2020
Click on the image above for details or email email@example.com
Libraries are open for Ready Reads – Putting free books in the hands of children
We all know how it important it is for children to have access to books.
During the current lockdown, Hertfordshire libraries are offering a new way to borrow books, Ready Reads- We select you collect.
During this lockdown period, you can order books for your child and yourself using the online form and then collect from a selected library.
Go online here to place your order! Remember you must be a library member.
If you are unable to access online services, you can contact Libraries on 0300 123 4049 and a member of the team will be able to help fill out the form.
We understand some families have not felt able to visit the library for a while and this may be an easier way to borrow. Also, our requests service is fully operational so for specific books these can be ordered through our catalogue and picked up in the same way.
Never have books been more important, not only supporting children with their reading but also with their health and wellbeing, enabling them to leave behind the daily stresses and escape into imaginary worlds.
You can find the latest information about Hertfordshire libraries re-opening plans and our online services on our website.
Free weekly online entertainment
...is offering 4 hours of FREE, fully interactive online entertainment EVERY WEEK!
Each show is designed to bring together, unite and delight the incredible learning disabled community by providing routine, company and friendship at a time when social interaction has been further compromised.
If you haven't already - come ZOOM with us and be part of the shows. Just sign in each time via your personal account at www.electricumbrella.co.uk or watch Live on Facebook
Your 4 hours of FREE fully interactive weekly entertainment is:
Wed - ELECTRIC UMBRELLA TV - 4.30pm
Thu - CLUB NIGHT/OPEN MIC NIGHT - 8.00pm
Fri - SINGALONG - 4.30pm
Sat - THE BREAKFAST CLUB - 8.00am
For the Learning Disabled Community EVERYWHERE
Please note : Sharing this information in SEND News does not indicate product awareness or endorsement by Hertfordshire County Council.
Courses provided by Contact this week . . .
Wellbeing for parents/carers of children with additional needs
Understand clearly what stress is & how it affects you. Identify new ways of coping with stress & reducing your stress levels. Try new stress busting ideas until you find ones that fit with you!
Wednesday 18th November 7:30 pm : Booking via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wellbeing-for-parents-of-young-children-with-additional-needs-tickets-125610675913
Encouraging Positive Behaviour in children aged up to 16
Gain a better understanding of why children with additional needs behave the way they do. Learn ways to handle difficult situations in a calm, stress-free manner. Explore ways of supporting and encouraging your child and how to get support and help.
Thursday 19th November 10:00 am : Booking via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/encouraging-positive-behaviour-a-workshop-for-parent-carers-tickets-127867833131
Support and Advice
Supporting mental health through Covid
Supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic is of great importance to all families.
This health and wellbeing page on the Families First portal will help direct you to a number of agencies able to support you, such as
Every Mind Matters campaign
Most families have experienced upheaval in their daily lives during the pandemic. With children and young people now back at school or college, the new Public Health England (PHE) Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign provides NHS-endorsed tips and advice to help children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and equip parents and carers with the knowledge to support them.
The new advice available on the Every Mind Matters website has been developed in partnership with leading children and young people’s mental health charities, including Young Minds, The Mix, Place2Be and The Anna Freud Centre. It is designed to help parents and carers spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health and support them, and also provides advice that can help maintain good mental wellbeing. The site also provides tools to help young people build resilience and equips them to look after their mental wellbeing.
You'll find lots of support on the Local Offer - service updates on our Coronavirus service updates page and resources in the Local Offer pages here.
The Just Talk campaign is also happening this week and next - read more about that in this edition.
Know your EHCPs - the easy webinar way!
Reading reams and reams of papers and documents, trying to understand the legalities or processes surrounding SEND can be a nightmare in itself.
Hertfordshire Parent/Carer Involvement (HPCI) and Herts SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) understand these challenges. Together, they are putting together a series of webinars to help local families better understand Hertfordshire’s SEND systems and processes.
The first in the series: The Education, Health and Care Plan Review took place in September and is now available online:
Don’t miss the second in our series, featuring
“When and how to apply for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment”
7:30pm on Wednesday 18 November. Sign up online here : https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8275682485012849932
This same webinar will be repeated at
12:30pm on Thursday 19 November
Sign up online here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5950431996057749004
The webinar offers information and advice for parents or carers whose child currently receives SEN support but feel they may need to look at further support options such as applying for an EHC Needs Assessment. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
As with the first webinar, a recording will be made available after the event on the HPCI website, so do keep an eye on our webinar page if you aren't able to make one of the live events: www.hertsparentcarers.org.uk/webinars/
Numbers are limited, so do sign up early and please only sign up if your child is currently on SEN support. The webinar will only cover applying for an EHC Needs Assessment and is not a general EHCP information session.
If you have any queries, please email Kate Hudson, HPCI Parent Network Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s a lot more information about SENDIASS on their new website www.hertssendiass.org.uk
It's time to ‘Just Talk’
We know that this has been a tough year and you or your child may be experiencing new feelings of anxiety or frustration.
This is completely natural and it’s now more important than ever that we all think about ways to cope during challenging times – and to reach out for support if we need it.
This week 16-22 November, is Just Talk Week and young people, parents/carers and professionals can sign up to FREE webinars on topics such as:
- The Importance of Sleep for Teenagers
- Five Ways to Wellbeing
- Mindfulness for School Staff
- Managing Separation Anxiety
- Developing Resilience
- Health, Nutrition and Wellbeing
- Wellbeing for Parents/Carers
- Mental Health & Wellbeing for Young People
Schools are getting involved and Just Talk is also now on social media, making it even easier for young people (where age appropriate) to engage with the campaign.
Make sure you are following JustTalk on Instagram,Twitter and Facebook, as some of our brilliant partners will be taking over the accounts throughout the week.