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The Heathway Centre

Service update

The Heathway Centre moved in to our new base at Becontree Children’s Centre, Stevens Road, Dagenham RM8 2QR in September 2020.  We share the premises with both the children’s centre staff and the nursery who operate from the same building.  The building is currently being adapted to meet the needs of children with disabilities and their families and we hope to reopen soon for our usual groups and activities.

This is an exciting time for Heathway as we look to reopen at our new base. We have consulted with families about a new name for our centre and we will let you know what the new name will be soon. Unfortunately the reopening of the centre has been delayed, however as Becontree Community Hub fully relaunches we will update families via our mailing list (please complete a registration form below if you would like to be added to the mailing list).

We are feeling optimistic and excited about the move and have already been welcomed by all children centre staff.  We hope to forge effective partnership working with all services who use the building and will support existing children centre services to look at ways their services can be more inclusive to meet the needs of all of our parent carers, children and young people.

We continue to work remotely and cannot guarantee that Heathway staff will always be available at the centre, if you wish to pop in for some support please call in advance to make an appointment.

Our Targeted Early Help offer continues to be delivered by Early Intervention Workers as it has done over the Covid 19 period.  We accept referrals via the Early Help Portal (link below), please be aware we do operate a short waiting list for this service. We have also been able to offer a summer programme of activities from other children’s centres and hope to continue this in future school holidays.  Updates about our programme are sent via our mailing list and schools.

Our phone line remains the same (0208 227 5500), however, please ensure you leave your phone number on any voicemail messages as we do not have caller ID to return any missed calls. You can also email any enquiries to TheHeathwayCentre@lbbd.gov.uk or directly to all Heathway staff.

Please see below for an update on our groups, some of which are not yet able to operate until our building works are complete:

  • Monday: Sycamore Trust Youth Group - Cancelled until further notice.  They can be contacted on 0208 517 9317 for further details
  • Saturday: Funky Willows – Cancelled until further notice.  They can be contacted on 07415 070 436 for further details
  • Sunday: Purple Penguin club - Purple Penguins is currently running from the Vibe with reduced capacity.  They can be contacted on 07881 949 799 for further details

What we do

The Heathway Centre provides services for families with children and young people aged 0 to 17 years (up to their 18th birthday) with a disability or additional needs.

We provide information and advice on a wide range of issues affecting families through delivery of both our universal and targeted early help offer. For more information on our early help offer, please refer to the links below.

We also support families to access specialist training aimed at increasing confidence and awareness in caring for a child with an additional need.

We’re based in a children centre building which is currently undergoing some building adaptations to make the centre more inclusive. This will include a wet room and multi-sensory room.

We have access to a secure outside play area with a range of adapted outdoor play facilities including mobility adapted bikes and scooters.

We can signpost and refer you to specialist local organisations including:

Useful local contact numbers for parent/carers of children and young people with additional needs Toggle accordion

Service / ProviderServices offeredTelephoneEmail
Sycamore TrustSupport parent and carers with children/young people with Autism0208 517 9317 /0208 262 5330 enquiries@sycamoretrust.org 
Carers of Barking & DagenhamProvide a wide range of services and support for families with children with additional needs0208 593 4422carers@carerscentre.org.uk
DABDProvide a wide range of services and support for families with children with additional needs0330 054 2500info@lbbd.org.uk
Citizens Advice BureauAdvice on welfare issues including financial/debt advice0208 594 6715 
Barnardos Independent Support Service (BLISS)

Services for parent of children with a statement (SEN) or those being assessed

020 8593 4422ISBarkingDagenham@barnardos.org.uk
LBBD Transport Services Provide transport for children with additional needs-Transport.Request@lbbd.gov.uk
LBBD Education, Health Care Team (EHC)Provide and review statements of special educational needs (EHC plans) 020 8227 2400 EHC@lbbd.gov.uk
‘Just Say’ Parents ForumAdvice, information and awareness for parents/carers with children with additional needs07936 851199 justsaybdforum@gmail.com
Independent Living Agency Information on carers available for parent/carers who receive direct payments0208 593 6677 -
LBBD Family Information Service Advice and information on childcare, parent & Toddler groups, paying for childcare, local support groups 020 8227 5395fis@lbbd.gov.uk
Community Speech & Language Team (SALT)Provide assessment, diagnoses, management and therapy for children who experience communication and or eating/drinking difficulties0300 300 1754 bdsalt.admin@nhs.net
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)Help with personal care and mobility – operate a benefit enquiry line0800 88 22 00-
IAPTPsychological therapy for adults experiencing depression, anxiety, worry, phobias etc0300 555 1018bdiapt@nhs.net 
Funky Willows Respite Provider07415 064489thewillowsltd@yahoo.co.uk
LBBD Support GroupsSupport for parents and carers of young children with Speech, Language, and communication needs--
LBBD Portage Support families of children under 3 years, who have additional needs0208 724 8550portage.office@lbbd.gov.uk
Mind Mental Health CharitySupport and advice for any mental health needs0300 123 3393info@mind.org.uk
PALS Patient Liaison Service The Patient Advice and Liaison Service offers confidential advice, support and information on health related matters-PALS@bhrhospitals.nhs.uk
Add + UpSupport and action group for children with ADHD01708 454 040addup@addup.co.uk
Child Development TeamCommunity Paediatric team for speech and language therapy, clinical psychologists, physiotherapist, specialist health visitors0300 300 1751-
Ab Phab Services and activities for disabled and non disabled people aged 11 – 17 years and 18+0208 227 2110 / 07476 110 731-
Contact a FamilyA national charity for families with disabled children. Providing information, advice and support0808 808 3555-
Action on Hearing Loss Action on Hearing Loss is the new name for RNID. The organisation aims to achieve a better quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing people. It does this by campaigning, lobbying and raising awareness of deafness, and by providing services0808 808 0123information@rnid.org.uk
Family Fund An independent organisation mainly funded by the government administrations of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Family Fund can give grants and information to families caring for a severely disabled child aged 17 or under 01904 550055-
National Autistic Society (NAS)UK-based charity for people with autism (including Asperger’s Syndrome), their parents and carers. It champions the rights and interests of all people with autism and ensures that they and their families receive quality services appropriate to their needs020 7833 2299 / 0808 8004104-
Hopewell School A non-maintained independent Special School serving Barking & Dagenham and its neighbouring boroughs. The school provides an education coupled with therapeutic services for young people with complex needs020 8593 6610admin@hopewellschool.co.uk
Trinity School A specialist LBBD SEN school for cognition and learning020 3435 5955-
Valence Primary School Mainstream LBBD school with an Additional Resourced Nursery020 3006 9888office@valenceprimaryschool.com
Godwin Primary SchoolMainstream LBBD school with an Additional Resourced Nursery020 8270 4150-
Monteagle Primary SchoolMainstream LBBD school with an Additional Resourced Provision020 8270 4613-
Hatton School & special needs centreBased in Redbridge. A primary aged special needs provision. For children from the ages of 3 to 11 years020 8551 4131-
Little Heath Foundation SchoolBased in Redbridge. For pupils aged 11-19 with a wide range of needs including moderate and severe learning difficulties and communication needs (including those with ASD)020 8599 4864-
New Rush Hall SchoolSpecial school based in Redbridge for children and young people aged five -16 years, experiencing significant social, emotional, behavioural and/or mental health difficulties (SEMH) and in Applied Learning020 8501 3951-
Newbridge schoolBased in Redbridge, catering for children & young people with special educational needs, those with severe and complex learning

Lower School: 020 8590 7272

Upper School: 020 8599 1768

Voice AbilityVoice Ability work across England with people who are vulnerable or marginalised to raise their voices and have their rights respected0208 590 2666-
Down’s Syndrome AssociationDown’s Syndrome Association offers information and support to parents and carers0333 1212 300-
AFASICProvides support and information for children and young people up to age of 25 who are unable to communicate effectively because of a speech or language impairment0800 666 9410-
National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)The National Deaf Children's Society is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world020 7490 8656-
Dyspraxia FoundationOffering help and advice to adults, parents, carers and families on and about Dyspraxia01462 454986info@dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk
Independent Parent Special Education Advice (IPSEA)Provide a wide range of advice, information, and training on issues around children with SEN01799 582030-
Joseph Clarke Educational ServiceProvide help and support to parents and carers with a child with Visual Impairment020 8531 8361jcservice@josephclarke.waltham.sch.uk
Young CarersProvide support for young people who care for others in their family. It could be your mum, dad, brother, sister, or a grandparent020 8593 4422-
LBBD Blue badgeDisabled and blue badge enquiries0208 227 2334Mobility@lbbd.gov.uk
Housing advice
Housing advice service for LBBD residents020 8215 3002housingadviceservice@lbbd.gov.uk
Action for KidsA charity that helps young people with physical and learning disabilities across the country020 8347 8111info@my-afk.org
Disability Rights The leading charity of its kind in the UK, run by and for people with experience of disability or health conditions020 7250 8181enquiries@disabilityrightsuk.org 
Kids OutProvides small financial grants for disadvantaged and special needs children up to the age of 18 for activities or equipment that will give them fun and happiness01525 385 252info@kidsout.org.uk
The Percy Bilton CharityA UK Charity that can give grants of up to £200 for day to day living and special equipment for those with disabilities and on a low income0208 579 2829-
Trussell TrustA foodbank which provides a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK0172 258 0180enquiries@trusselltrust.org
ShelterA housing advice line offering independent and confidential information, advice, advocacy, and referral for anyone with housing problems.0808 800 4444-
Royal National Institute of the BlindOffers practical support for anyone who suffers with visual impairment or sight loss0303 123 9999-
Young MindsProvides information, advice and training for young people, parents, carers and professionals--


Targeted support

Our targeted early help offer is aimed at families who need additional help from a professional for a time limited period only. You will be provided with an allocated Early Intervention Worker.

This includes help around behaviour management, implementing routines, completing and reviewing care packages, transition into adult services and access to specific services that require professional referral and intervention.

Targeted early help includes completion of an Early Help Assessment to identify the needs of the family. If you do not wish to have an EH Assessment completed, we cannot provide this service.

We receive targeted early help referrals through a variety of sources including Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), schools, police, health services, voluntary sector agencies, and through cases stepped down from social care.

If you are a professional or parent/carer or young person wanting to make a referral for targeted early help please complete the Request for Early Help Support form.

More details on LBBD early help services can also be found on our Early help and support for families page.


Universal support

Our universal offer includes; referral and signposting to specialist services, information on how to apply for grants and subsidies and delivery of a programme of activities* aimed at both parent/carer,  children, young people and their siblings. *Currently all activities are suspended due to COVID-19.

You do not need to have an allocated worker to receive universal support as this service does not require ongoing support. Universal support can include referrals and contact with OT services, specific health services such as continuing health care team, pediatrician, healthy lifestyles team, health visiting teams, Homes and Money Hub, Carers of Barking and Dagenham, IASS, Vibrance or referral to adult intake team.

Please note, that we do not provide a form filling service. We are always happy to advise you on information you may need to include in a form, but we do not fill out the form for you. If you have any difficulties in filling out forms please talk to us and we can signpost you to agencies that maybe able to help.


Free courses

Free courses are available for parents/carers looking after children with additional needs, run by Carers of Barking and Dagenham.

The Triple-P Parenting Programme (positive parenting programme)

An interactive, virtual programme aimed at supporting and enhancing a parent/carers knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence in managing a child and or young person’s social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties.

Triple P Online and Teen Triple P Online are available free to all parents and carers of children up to 16 years in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

This will enable families to access free resources to help with:

  • dealing with anxiety
  • keeping things harmonious at home
  • support you as the parent to focus on the positive’s


Activities and programmes

Due to the current Coronavirus outbreak, we regret that all our scheduled groups and activities have been cancelled until further notice. Please check here for further updates and information.

We offer a wide range of activities aimed at supporting parent/carers to:

  • increase their confidence
  • make new friends
  • share experiences
  • increase awareness of resources available

We provide fun activities for children and young people to support them develop their learning and communication skills and help them become more independent.

Our programmes are offered in consultation with parents/carers, children and young people. We encourage siblings to attend.

Holiday programmes

Our holiday programmes are very popular, offering families an opportunity to spend quality time together. We plan trips with the needs of all our children in mind and continue to offer activities during half terms and the summer holidays.

Our activities include:

  • family swimming
  • fencing
  • martial arts fitness
  • dance and drama
  • family fun
  • Down Syndrome support groups
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • free public internet access

Inclusive football taster sessions

For players with a disability.

Inclusive football taster sessions flyer (PDF, 503.30 KB)

SWAP - Speak With A Picture

SWAP is an exciting new project, starting in September 2018, aimed at pre-school children aged 2 to 4 who have social and communication difficulties. The aim of the programme is for children and their families to develop communication skills that can be widely used every day. SWAP is funded by BBC Children In Need but additional costs for materials must be funded by parents or carers. 

The programme is aimed at predominantly non-verbal children or children with limited communication skills, using an alternative communication system designed to provide individuals with the ability to share their own wants and needs, called PECS - picture exchange communication system. It uses pictures and symbols in a 6 stage approach to teaching. Children are encouraged to choose an image and exchange the symbol for a desired outcome, enabling them to have their needs met in any social situation.

The programme will be based at the Sycamore Trust in Dagenham. to join, families must commit to attend 12 weekly sessions with a view to improving communication skills and building parental confidence. The sessions will last approximately an hour each week and each child will be supported by two Sycamore Trust staff along with their parents.

How to apply

Families can be referred, using our referral form, by:

  • your child's GP
  • health visitor
  • CAMHs
  • nursery or preschool
  • paediatrician
  • social worker
  • children and adults disability team
  • portage worker
  • support worker
  • any other health professional involved with your child
  • self-referral

If you are interested in this exciting new programme for your child, or if you’re a professional with a family that you feel would benefit from the programme, contact the SWAP Team at SWAP@sycamoretrust.org.uk, telephone 020 8517 9317 for further information, or complete and return our referral form.

SWAP referral form

After you apply

We aim to place as many children who need our support as possible. If successful, we'll contact you to confirm your child's place on our waiting list.

Short breaks and respite

Short breaks

Short breaks offer a chance for children and young people who are disabled to access activities enabling them to have fun, spend time away from their carers, develop skills and independence and make new friends.

Short breaks can be offered to children and young people who can’t usually access mainstream services without support, to access leisure activities with their families and or friends. Short breaks can also be used to give parents and carers a break from their caring responsibilities.

Read our short breaks guidance for more details.

Short breaks guidance (PDF, 765.76 KB)


If you feel your child needs to attend a provision to support their development and also need a break from your caring responsibilities, you can apply for a short break, often referred to as respite.

Respite can be offered through a request being made for your child to attend a provision of your choice or a request for a carer to provide care for your child whilst you attend to day to day activities which you are unable to complete because of your caring responsibilities.

If you have an allocated social worker, early intervention worker or portage worker, they’ll need to complete an assessment to determine the impact this will have on your child and your family.

If you don’t have an allocated worker as above and don’t have an open CAF (Common Access Framework) in place, you can complete the short breaks self referral form. You can ask any early intervention professional at our children centres to check whether you have completed the form correctly.

Short breaks self-referral form 2018 (DOC, 89.50 KB)

Short Breaks 4 Me Grant

The Short Breaks4Me grant is now closed and has been closed since 25 November 2021.  We will update this page once the grant is available again. 

Please note we are currently not accepting any special spend requests.

Contact us

020 8227 5500


Travel assistance

Parents do not need to apply annually for travel assistance. 

You will only need to complete an application form if:

  • your child does not receive travel support at the moment and they would like to make a new application
  • your child is at a transition phase of their education
  • your address changes
  • your child’s school placement changes
  • your child’s needs significantly change whereby the current support is no longer suitable
  • your circumstances change whereby they can no longer support their child to get to school

Parent/carers must complete our essential information forms to ensure up-to-date contact details are in place. These will be distributed via the buses.

More information on travel assistance

Please note that The Heathway Centre do not make decisions on travel assistance and cannot support with any appeals process.

Any queries on applications or appeals should be emailed to transport.request@lbbd.gov.uk

Carers’ cards

Our carers' cards are aimed at helping parents and carers get recognition for caring for a child with a disability or additional need, valid until their 25th birthday. The card is transferable so can be used by any person caring for the child or young person to show that they are the carer. The card can be used as evidence when accessing some leisure activities, as many local and national attractions do offer discounts for a carer. You should always ask before booking an activity.

To apply for a new or replacement carers' card, complete our application form and return it electronically to TheHeathwayCentre@lbbd.gov.uk. You’ll need to attach a recent passport sized photo of your child with their full name and date of birth written on the back of the photograph. We are happy to receive a photograph of the completed form if you are unable to fill this out electronically. Please do not drop it off at the centre as the centre is currently closed to the public due to COVID.

A member of staff will contact you when it is ready for collection.

Carers card application form (PDF, 122KB)

Carers card application form (DOCX, 68KB)

Radar keys

Do you have a child or young person with a learning difficulty or disability? Do they find it hard to wait to use a public toilet?

If yes, you can purchase a radar key from the Heathway Centre for £1.50. The radar key will allow you to gain access to toilets for disabled people.

Opening hours

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.



GDPR - Email mailing list

We sent an email to all our parent/carers that were on our email contact list on the 22 June 2018, requesting an opt in or opt out option for receiving email updates from The Heathway Centre. We gave everyone a one month timescale to respond and confirmed that if we didn’t hear from you, we would remove your details from our list.

If you did not respond, we have removed you from our email list and you will no longer receive any updates.

If you would like to continue to receive updates, please email TheHeathwayCentre@lbbd.gov.uk requesting to be placed on our Parent/Carer email contact list.

Face covering exemption cards

Face covering exemption cards are for children, young people and adults who cannot wear a mask due to their disability or medical needs. If you feel that you or child may need an exemption card, you can print these off here:

Face covering exemption cards (PDF, 607KB)


Butterflies Project

Butterflies Project aim to promote the health and wellbeing for families with a child or young person with a learning disability and/or on the autistic spectrum and are aged 0-19 years. For those living in the London Borough of Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham and Havering.

Operated during school holidays mostly.

Promoting health and wellbeing for the whole family.

Offering information on benefits, grants and other services available.

Outdoor physical activities such as gardening, nature walks and wildlife spotting, visits to farms and animal encounters, drama and storytelling workshops, sailing, boating, kite flying and outings.

Encouraging building of friendships through group activities.


Sonia Anderson-Cunningham.
Children and Families Project Manager- Butterflies Project. 
Email: sonia@redbridgeforum.co.uk 
Tel: 07442 038730 on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am to 4.30pm

Redbridge Forum
98-100 Ilford Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 2LD 
Tel: 020 8478 7571 
Email: Redbridgeforum@hotmail.co.uk

Useful Information for families with children that have a Sight and/or Hearing Loss Toggle accordion

Early Years Deaf Service 0-5

Special Educational Needs and Disability SEND Deafness

Portage and Inclusion 0-5 

Adult Sensory Service

Queens Hospital Newborn Screening
Telephone: 01708 435000 ext 4921

Baby’s Next Steps group
Telephone: 020 8270 6900   

Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) 
RSBC Orpington Campus, The Walnuts, Orpington, Kent BR6 0TE
Telephone: 020 3198 0225
Email: connections@rsbc.org.uk

LOOK UK 11- 29
LOOK National Federation of Families with Children with a Visual Impairment, Fred Bulmer Centre, Wall Street, Hereford, HR4 9HP
Telephone: 07464 351958
Email: info@look-uk.org

Telephone: 0300 330 9256
Email: info@sense.org.uk
Sense information and advice, 101 Pentonville Road, London N1 9LG.

Joseph Clarke Educational Service (0-19 years) 
Joseph Clarke Educational Service for the Vision Impaired, Macdonald Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4AZ
Telephone: 020 8531 8361
Email: jcservice@josephclarke.waltham.sch.uk

Child and Family Centre Audiology Service 0-19
Audiology Department, Child and Family Centre, Axe Street, Barking IG11 7LZ
Telephone: 0300 300 1753
Email: Nem-tr.audiologyapptscfc@nhs.net

National Deaf Children's Society,
Ground Floor South, Castle House, 37-45 Paul Street, London EC2A 4LS
Telephone: 020 7490 8656  / 0808 800 8880
SMS: 07860022888
Email: ndcs@ndcs.org.uk

Helpline in BSL

Empowering Deaf Society
2A Central Parade, Ley Street, Ilford IG2 7DE
Telephone: 0208 215 4710
Mobile: 0758 468 7127 (sms/text or video call only)
Email: contact@empoweringdeafsociety.org.uk

Contact us

The Heathway Centre, Becontree Childrens Centre, Stevens Road, RM8 2QR

020 8227 5500