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The Heathway Centre

The Heathway Centre is an inclusive resource centre for families with children and young people aged 0 to 17 years (up to their 18th birthday) with additional needs or disabilities. We provide information and advice on a wide range of issues affecting families with children and young people with additional needs or disabilities. We also support families access to specialist training aimed at increasing confidence and awareness for those caring for a child with an additional need.

We’re in a purpose built building with a track and hoist system fitted throughout, wet room, fully equipped kitchen with adjustable height cooker and washing facilities. We have a secure outside play area with a wheelchair accessible swing and mobility adapted bikes.

We provide a variety of adapted resources including a multi sensory room, adjustable cooker, iPads, interactive floor, interactive screen and adapted IT equipment. We also have available a public use computer suite with free internet access.

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

Useful contact numbers for parents (PDF, 113.40 KB)

Targeted support is part of our early help offer. It is aimed at families who need additional help from a professional for a time limited period. 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.

We receive referrals through a variety of sources including multi agency panels (MAPs), Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), schools, external agencies and through cases stepped down from social care.

Free courses

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

Activities and programmes

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.

October half term 2019

Heathway Centre October half term programme 2019 (PDF, 246 KB)

Autumn programme 2019

Our programme for families with children and young people with additional needs living in Barking and Dagenham.

September - October 2019 programme (PDF, 335 KB)

Our activities include:

  • swimming
  • cooking
  • family fun
  • arts and crafts
  • messy play
  • free internet access
  • youth and children club
  • down syndrome groups

Our parent/carer activities include parent forum meetings, a friendly parent coffee morning and our just for parents cook a meal activity.

Inclusive football taster sessions

For players with a disability.

Inclusive football taster sessions flyer (PDF, 503.30 KB)

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, 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

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)

The PSBG application form and process has been replaced with the Short Breaks 4 Me virtual e-wallet marketplace. The grant is now offered as a virtual £200 allowance which is paid into your Short Breaks 4 Me online account. All applications must be completed online. You will need an email address to complete your application.

Apply online

Previous applicants

If you previously applied for a PSBG between April 2017 and Mar 2018, you should receive a letter confirming your unique reference number. This number will allow your online application to be pre-approved. You will apply online as a previous applicant.

If you do not receive your letter by the end of April 2018 call us on 020 8227 5500.

New applicants

If you are new applicant and you have never applied for a PSBG, you will need to apply online as a new applicant and complete a professional declaration form with details of your child’s disability. Applications that are received with no evidence will not be processed.

Help completing the form

Some parent/carers may need additional support to complete their application online. If you need help, contact us and we’ll arrange for somebody to assist you.

Contact us

020 8227 5500

Travel support

Parents do not need to apply annually for travel support. 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.

Carers’ cards and Max cards

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 in person to The Heathway Centre. 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.

Our volunteers complete the carers' card applications, so you will need to contact the centre to check when it is ready for collection.

Carers card application form (PDF, 451.97 KB)

Max cards, for ages up to 25

The Max card is a discount card for families of children with additional needs. It is available for children and young people up to 25 years.

The scheme is designed to help these families save money on great days out at castles, zoos, bowling alleys and more. Just show your Max card on entry to a venue for free or discounted admission to a variety of attractions and or events. 

The Heathway Centre offers the Max card for families who wish to register on the children with additional needs list. The card is offered at the cost price of £2.50. To apply for a Max card, complete the application form and return to The Heathway Centre.

MAX card application form (PDF, 696.66 KB)

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 Thursday, 9am to 5pm.

Fridays 9am to 5pm for telephone enquiries. Unless you have a booked appointment or meeting, you will not be seen.

We offer services Monday to Sunday.

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 requesting to be placed on our Parent/Carer email contact list.

Contact us

The Heathway Centre, 512a The Heathway, Dagenham RM10 7SJ

020 8227 5500

Local transport: