Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Hospital Passports and Emergency Plans

Visiting now suspended (27th March)

Visiting is suspended with immediate effect and until further notice.

The only exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit are listed below.

  • The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care.
  • You are the birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour.
  • You are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child.

Please contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements.

Your health, safety and wellbeing, that of our patients, communities and individuals and teams across the organisation remain our absolute priority.

Please find other ways of keeping in touch with your loved ones in hospital, like phone and video calls.

Everyone should follow the expert national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation, staying at home wherever possible, to help limit the spread of coronavirus, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS.

If your child/young person needed critical care: you would not be able to travel in the ambulance with them if they needed to be transferred to another unit, but visiting would be assessed on an individual case by case basis.

The NICE guidelines explains that people with a learning disability or autistic people would receive an individual assessment (which would not be based on a clinical frailty score). Some people were very worried about this so it’s a helpful clarification.


Emergency plan template and tips

covid hospital passport

LDE hpspital passport session


This information has been collated in partnership with the Lead Directorate Nurse /Matron Childrens Services and the Matron Lead for learning disabilities (adults)

An update from Unique Ways and our partners – 03/04/2020

Dear Member,

In these uncertain times, when it seems that so much has been forced to change so quickly we think it’s important for us all to remember that one thing is unchanged – the importance of our charity’s mission.
The amazing face to face work that the team at Unique Ways undertakes is obviously on hold due to government guidance but, we still want to do what we can to support our members, (albeit, this is very restricted at this time).  The team here are still hard at work providing support for our members and trying to keep you informed by providing clear, concise content  about the things we feel will be useful for you.  We hope the information below is useful for you, but if you feel something is missing we have provided a link to a COVID-19 survey below.

Understandably, this ‘new normal’ has knocked us all out-of kilter and sometimes we just don’t know what day it is.  Well, a reminder that the Easter holidays are due to start and for Unique Ways, that means that our Annual Survey is out now.  When you do sit down with a tea/coffee to complete our survey, please keep in the forefront of your mind, that our survey relates to last year –  2019.

Take the survey now:

In the meantime, can we help you now?
Specifically related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are keen to know if there is a specific piece of information of this ‘holding jigsaw’ situation that you are still missing – is there a specific question you really need an answer to and you just don’t know where to start ?  If so, we are going to do our utmost to find the answer for you from our partners.

If you have a specific service related question that you need help with for your family, please fill in this quick survey below.  No more than 2 questions please per respondent.  Thank you.

Over the 2-week Easter school holiday, we will collate these and direct them to the appropriate source.  We aim to respond to any questions by Friday 24th April.

We will be putting together a weekly virtual chat after easter for our members and will share this across all our platforms shortly.

Remember, this too shall pass, so on behalf of everybody here at Unique Ways, I hope you can try to have a very Happy Easter.If you, as a parent carer member of Unique Ways, urgently need to speak to someone over the Easter holiday period, we have a skeleton staff team structure in place who will try to answer calls regarding urgent matters.

Yours sincerely
Shona Walsh, Chief Executive Officer – Unique Ways

Message from the Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift

“It’s now a week since my last News Thread update and, unsurprisingly in this fast-changing environment, so much has happened in the last seven days.

“Calderdale Council continues to respond to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 and following the Government announcement on Monday that everyone must stay at home, we have limited access to, or fully closed, a further number of services. This follows the closure of all Council run leisure and culture venues last week.

“In a statement this week I emphasised that everyone needs to stay at home. The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Every single resident of Calderdale, before they leave their door, must consider if this is absolutely essential.  The only reasons you may leave home are:

  • to go to work (but work from home if possible);
  • to shop for groceries, medicine and other essentials (infrequently);
  • to exercise outside (once a day);
  • to provide care or help a vulnerable person or
  • for any medical need.

“If you are not doing any of these things please stop and think again. This virus will continue to spread if people do not follow the Government’s advice.

“As always, our highest priority is protecting the health and wellbeing of our communities, particularly our most vulnerable residents. This week we put preparations in place to support the extremely vulnerable – those at risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes support from our virtual volunteer hub and I’d like to thank the many who’ve offered their help – it’s truly heartening to see Calderdale’s continued kindness in these difficult times.

“I was also overwhelmed by the response to last night’s #ClapForOurCarers. I’ve seen so many examples on social media of residents all over Calderdale joining in the round of applause at 8pm last night, to support for the wonderful work of the NHS – there were even fireworks in some parts of the borough!

“I’d also like to offer my own thanks to both the NHS staff and the many council carers who are supporting our most vulnerable at this time. To further support health and care staff and other key workers, we’ve suspended parking charges across the borough until further notice.

“Below are some of the key updates from this week. I also recommend that you visit for up-to-date news and advice regarding COVID-19. Please also keep an eye on our social media: @Calderdale on Twitter, and Calderdale Council on Facebook.”

Stepping up the fight against coronavirus
Following the introduction of tougher new measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the country, the Council has announced a number of new closures and changes to its services. For more information about the changes introduced this week, visit Stepping up the fight against coronavirus.

For the latest on building closures and service disruptions, visit Council services and COVID-19.

Parking charges suspended until further notice
Council-run car parks and on-street parking bays in Calderdale are now free to use, as part of Calderdale Council’s ongoing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Council has suspended its parking charges across the borough until further notice, with priority given to key workers such as people working in health and social care. This is to enable them to continue their work to support the COVID-19 response, without having to worry about paying for parking. For more information, read our press release – Parking charges suspended until further notice.

Support for the extremely vulnerableAround 1.5 million people in the UK have been identified as being at risk of severe illness if they catch coronavirus (COVID-19).  This includes people with serious underlying health conditions such as specific cancers or respiratory illnesses.
To ensure that help is available for those most in need, the Council is coordinating a support network which will identify vulnerable residents in need of extra assistance and put in place the appropriate solutions. For more information or to find out how you can support us, visit Support for the extremely vulnerable

Joint statement from Calderdale Health and Care Leaders
This week, the leaders of health and care organisations issued a joint statement setting out what they’re doing together to tackle COVID-19 and also what you can do to help them.
All the organisations providing health and care services for Calderdale residents have separate responsibilities for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a number of areas where they’re are working together to complement individual organisations’ responses.
To read the statement and find out more about what’s being done to mitigate the impact of the virus, and to support all Calderdale residents, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) – joint statement from Calderdale Health and Care Leaders

Supporting child care providers throughout COVID-19
Calderdale Council has issued a request to all early years child care providers, including childminders, to help support key workers during this national emergency.
Although the safest place for all children is at home, for some key workers this isn’t possible. Schools, and all child care providers, are therefore being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable, and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response, like doctors and nurses,  and cannot be cared for at home. Find out more about the important role of these providers, at Supporting child care providers throughout COVID-19


You may need to consider if you or a member of your family needs to go into to hospital during the Coronavirus outbreak and you will need to plan for this.  Find attached the Covid 19 Hospital Passport and also emergency plans that you can complete that will help to ensure you are prepared.  We have also added information around visiting / accompanying your child / young person we have received today.

We have added them to our website at:


Disability Partnership have put together a comprehensive list of food delivery services in Calderdale:

HALIFAX OPPORTUNITIES TRUST – FOOD PARCEL DELIVERYIn response to the ongoing and developing impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, we are making this joint statement alongside Himmat and St Augustine’s to inform our communities and stakeholders what your local charities and community groups are doing, and how you can help.

As a community, the situation we are facing with regard to Coronavirus is unparalleled. The local VCS anchor organisations in Park Ward (Halifax Opportunities Trust, Himmat and St. Augustine’s) have come together to coordinate their response to ensure the most vulnerable in our communities are supported during this incredibly difficult period.

The variety of our collective support, advice & guidance for local people is often a lifeline to them and we are therefore naturally very concerned about the impact closure of services will have.

We are all facing challenges and changes to how we operate and are looking at ways in which we can still provide our services using more creative & innovative methods, most of these are to be offered remotely by each individual organisation.

There are some services, however, that traditionally require ‘face to face’ contact and it is these services that we are collectively looking at ways in which we can still deliver in some way.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Provision of food for the most vulnerable & for children entitled to free school meals
  • Support for those in crisis who need advice, guidance & advocacy
  • Support for those where English is not their first language

We will be communicating and planning regularly, responding to the need as best we can. Our first point of call, other than telephone support, will be food provision. We, as a partnership, are currently in talks to develop a new food parcel service to run from Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre.

Where possible we will be working closely with the local schools, businesses, NHS and Council to coordinate efforts, and to ensure the most vulnerable people in our community are supported and protected. We want our friends across the voluntary and community sector, our colleagues in the NHS and Social Care, and our partners in the wider community to know that we are still working hard to support those in need and as a partnership we will keep doing everything we can across our local communities, while also ensuring the safety of our staff & keeping within government guidance.

Lastly, if you feel that you can help support these efforts in any way, please do get in touch.


Council for Disabled Children Questions and Answers

Nature’s Web – Homepage

Winter 2019 Issue. Now Online! Nature’s Web is an exciting newsletter for children, featuring interesting and informative news on nature and the environment.

AAC Language Lab

The popular AAC Language Lab is now available free of charge for 2 months!

Knowing many schools are closed, we wanted to help provide you with quick and easy activities to engage children at home so we have increased the free trial from 1 month to 2 months. Visit the AAC Langauge Lab at, and sign up for your free trial today! 

If you are currently subscribed to the AAC Language Lab you can activate an additional 60 days subscription free of charge in your account.

The AAC Language Lab offers real-life solutions in support of language development. Explore language stages and interactive materials designed for Speech and Language Therapists (SLT’s), Educators and Parents. The 2 month access provides all materials including guided lesson plans, a NEW activities section, a NEW language screener, implementation tips and more.

With over 50 years of experience in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) Liberator Ltd, in collaboration with PRC-Saltillo is pleased to offer this unique online resource.


NEW Home Access Licence

We have just launched a Home Access licence to help parents gain access to HelpKidzLearn during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This new license gives parents the opportunity to subscribe to HelpKidzLearn services on a monthly basis, at a reduced, manageable cost. Students will be able to continue learning with familiar resources, whilst parents are in control and have the power to cancel at any time.

More Info Here:

KIDS are working with the Institute of Health Visiting and Health Education England to help develop better support for families to improve their experience alongside a toolkit to upskill professionals to better inform health visitors and early years practitioners about early identification of Neurodiversity.

The questions below are designed to help gain families experiences to understand how health visitors can support families.

The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete and is anonymous.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey, your experiences are important to developing an effective toolkit.

Here’s the link to the form “KIDS Survey around parental experiences around autism identification.”:


To help and support families during the isolation period of Covid-19 we have coordinated a list of things to do at home to keep you and your family busy!

Self-isolating is an uncommon experience for many of us and we acknowledge the struggle some parents will have trying to balance work, child care and self-care while keeping worries, your children’s and your own, under control.

Over the past couple of weeks the Internet has become an integral part of our and our children’s lives. A world has opened up which offers many activities for children and families. It is therefore important as parents and carers you understand ways in which your children use the Internet. It is important that as parents we know enough about the Internet to keep our children safe and that we equip our children with the skills they need to keep themselves safe. Before accessing any of the links we would recommended that you familiarise yourself with online safety, such as parental controls and oversee any access with your children.

The NSPCC have some useful guides that can help you and your children stay safe Online

Hopefully you will find the following resources helpful.  CLICK HERE FOR THE RESOURCES

Emotional Health and Wellbeing for Children and Young People

5 Key Updates – March 2020

For information, advice and signposting on emotional health and wellbeing services please go to

Open Minds Website – NEW sections
Open Minds recently launched two new sections on the website aimed at providing information and support around the coronavirus outbreak and help with bullying.

The Emotional health and wellbeing support – coronavirus section includes information for children and young people, parents, carers and family members, schools and colleges and professionals. This section has been created to support children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing in this confusing period.

Help with Bullying has been created with useful information from national sources such as YoungMinds and Childline. This section provides examples of both bullying and cyberbullying with useful information on what the law says and how children and young people can report it.

If you would like information adding to the Open Minds website then please contact,uk

Active Calderdale
Many people have had to change their lifestyles and are now working from home, not engaging with large gatherings, and generally changing routines. Physical activity can easily be forgotten about but Active Calderdale is encouraging you to keep being active. It is more important than ever to keep active, keep physically well and help improve mental wellbeing. Active Calderdale has produced a list of FAQs, which can be found here as well as many other useful resources for everyone including children, young people and their families.

Open Minds Partnership (CAMHS) Offer during COVID-19 Outbreak
Open Minds Partnership (CAMHS) continues to offer support to children, young people, families and professionals. The vast majority of their work is now taking place either on-line or by phone. Support will be offered on a face to face basis only where there is a clear clinical need to do so.

Below are some key messages about emotional wellbeing support for children, young people and families in Calderdale:

  • Parents/carers, young people and professionals can call the First Point of Contact on 01422 300 001 or refer online if they have concerns about the emotional health of a child or young person.
  • Please don’t send referrals or letters by post as the First Point of Contact office is closed. The service can be contacted on 01422 300 001 or by using their email address
  • Open Minds Partnership (CAMHS) will continue to review their approach and communicate their offer as the situation develops.

For any further information regarding the Open Minds Partnership (CAMHS) please contact is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people, accessible through a mobile, tablet and desktop and free at the point of use. Kooth is still operating as usual during the COVID-19 outbreak to support children and young people through this confusing and difficult period. Kooth is open Monday – Friday from 12pm-10pm and Saturday – Sunday from 6pm-10pm.

Active Imaginations for children aged 2-4 years
Check out the Active Imaginations website. There are lots of video clips with fun ideas and inspiration to help children aged 2-4 years keep active whilst staying at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. The website is a resource of simple and fun activities to help 2-4 year olds get their 180 minutes of recommended daily physical activity to help them grow healthily.

Dragonfly have published a free booklet about how to deal with anxiety, which can be given to students and/or parents/carers.

Please find the link to the free download from their website:

From Halifax Opportunities Trust:

  • Speech and Language measures will still take place via telephone calls.
  • All short-breaks will be completed via telephone calls.
  • All family support, perinatal and family outreach cases will receive weekly telephone support (more contacts if deemed necessary).
From the DWP:

I have put a link below to a page on concerning the virus and claiming benefits.  Please keep checking this page as it will be updated regularly

Up to date from local and central government, NHS and public health, NCVO and others  advice can be found on;

Calderdale Community Safety Partnership Silver Covid19 are meeting twice weekly.
Around Volunteering and Voluntary Sector our lead is Sian Rogers, CMBC Voluntary Sector lead,  with support from Rachel Stewart (CMBC Anti-Poverty) and members of the Alliance especially Charlie Johnston

The email address we are using to coordinate activity

Activity includes those who wish to volunteer, donate goods to foodbanks, help out elderly neighbours etc.

Please find below a number of resources that have been share within the DFE and from our regional sites:


An update from Unique Ways and our partners – 20/03/2020

We understand that these are uncertain times that we’ve never seen before and things are changing on a daily basis. However just to let you know we are all set up and are working from home.We appreciate schools are closing and that our families will have children at home who will undoubtedly struggle with this huge change of routine. Unfortunately this situation in turn puts untold pressure on our parents and carers.

We understand this as parent/carers ourselves and we are here for you…we are still working our way through EHC plans and referrals and are still taking all education, CAMHS and other enquiries. However, even if things are slowing down with all of the above, we are still here for you all – our wonderful families.

So even if it’s just a friendly voice you want to hear or if you’re having a difficult day and the kids are driving you bonkers and you need to have a friendly ear to bend..we are here and please feel free to call us.

Virtual Coffee Morning

We understand how important our peer support sessions are to some of our members, so for that reason we will be holding a virtual coffee morning on Tuesday 31st March 10am til 10:40.  Amanda and Helen will be in attendance, we hope you can make it, even if its just to see a friendly face.

We will be using the application Zoom – You can download it from here to your phone / tablet or PC, or use the in browser option.

The link to the virtual coffee morning is:

From our partners

Below we have listed communications we have received from our partners that we thought were worth communicating with our members.

So for now, take care

The Unique Ways Team

From Halifax Opportunities Trust:

  • Speech and Language measures will still take place via telephone calls.
  • All short-breaks will be completed via telephone calls.
  • All family support, perinatal and family outreach cases will receive weekly telephone support (more contacts if deemed necessary).
From the DWP:

I have put a link below to a page on concerning the virus and claiming benefits.  Please keep checking this page as it will be updated regularly

  •         As you may have seen in the media a decision has been made to suspend all sickness and disability face to face assessments from today, 17 March.  I have copied below the information we have received so far.

From Tuesday 17 March Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be temporarily suspended.
We expect this measure will be in effect for the next three months but we will be regularly reviewing the position in line with Public Health advice.
It means that those on disability benefits will no longer be required to attend face-to-face assessments. This will affect customers on Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance and those on the Industrial Injuries schemes. The suspension also covers new claims to those benefits and health checks for Universal Credit.
Anyone who has a face-to-face assessment appointment scheduled from Tuesday 17 March onwards does not need to attend and will be contacted to discuss next steps and alternative arrangements, which could involve either telephone or paper-based assessments.
No further action is required by any customer as a result of this change. They will be contacted by assessment providers with advice on next steps.
We continue to accept new claims to all benefits. For existing customers, benefits will remain in payment while alternative arrangements are put in place.

  •         In addition to the suspension of face-to-face assessments for health and disability benefits, we are also suspending DWP face-to-face home visits across the benefits, with the exception of those customers who are most vulnerable – who will only be visited where it is safe to do so.
  •         The DWP are focusing their efforts to ensure people can make new claims and get paid on time. Processes are now in place to help the most vulnerable and those who are affected by Coronavirus – this will mean that appropriate customers will not have to attend the Jobcentre and any actions following their on-line claim will be completed by phone. No Verification appointment will be required, as checks will be made during the claim process. The DWP will take all this action once we are aware a customer wishes to make a claim and declares they are unable to attend the Jobcentre.

Customers who make a new claim as they do now, who don’t have any issues relating to Coronavirus, would again follow the business as normal process and attend the Jobcentre for a Verification appointment to get their claim up and running.  However, they would not be expected to then attend any Work Coach interviews in the immediate short term, as these will be done via the phone or digitally.

We are also changing our approach to existing customer interventions by completing these by phone or digitally whenever possible.

Up to date from local and central government, NHS and public health, NCVO and others  advice can be found on;

Calderdale Community Safety Partnership Silver Covid19 are meeting twice weekly.  They met yesterday and are setting up a hub and spoke governance arrangement.  There is another meeting planned for Friday.

Around Volunteering and Voluntary Sector our lead is Sian Rogers, CMBC Voluntary Sector lead,  with support from Rachel Stewart (CMBC Anti-Poverty) and members of the Alliance especially Charlie Johnston

The email address we are using to coordinate activity

Activity includes those who wish to volunteer, donate goods to foodbanks, help out elderly neighbours etc.


The Open Minds website has a range of helpful resources around social distancing and strategies to manage concerns and anxieties around COVID 19 (coronoavirus). This link is also on the front page of the Calderdale CAMHS website.

Kooth are also able to offer on-line discussions, advice and guidance on our website around COVID-19 and how young people can stay safe physically and mentally. More info at   . Video to outline how to access the service here : .
Dragonfly have published a free booklet about how to deal with anxiety, which can be given to students and/or parents/carers.

Please find the link to the free download from their website:

Below is a list of resources below (many of which are included on the Open Minds site).

  • Covibook – an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic:
Please find below a number of resources that have been share within the DFE and from our regional sites:

Update – 18 March 11:00am

At Unique Ways, the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and members is and always will be our top priority. So therefore, in response to the Government’s latest advice, we have made the decision to close the physical office of Unique Ways to play our part in stopping the spread of the virus.

As a charity, it’s hard for us to close. We want to do everything we can to support our members whilst dealing with something that’s never happened before

We are very sorry to have to close our doors, however the team are working from home (from Thursday 19th March) and can access emails and all files so please do not hesitate to email us at  The phone lines will be forwarded so again, please call us on 01422 343 090.

We’ll be working hard to find ways to survive the financial impact, and it would make a huge difference to us if you could consider making a donation at this time.

There are lots of ways you can support us, from giving a small amount, creating a Facebook fundraiser for your birthday, shopping via AmazonSmile; whatever it is, every amount will help ensure we can continue to support more families into the future. You can find all the ways you can support us at

We will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis and in line with further advice from the Government and health officials regarding coronavirus.

Our Annual Survey will be going out as planned at the end of March and will be open for completion during April & May, so please take this opportunity to complete our survey whilst you are self-isolating or social distancing.  We will need your feedback more than ever and please remember our survey relates to the previous year only (financial year April 2019 – March 2020), not historic years.

Any communications that come to us that we feel our members should be made aware of, we will of course be forwarding these to you.

Our thoughts are with everyone who is being affected by this situation and we pass on our very best wishes to you and your loved ones.  We look forward to welcoming you back soon, we hope.

Thanks for reading.  Feel free to tweet us @uniquewaysuk or email us with your comments, reviews and news.

The Unique Ways Team

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16/03/2020 – 11:30am

With immediate effect we are putting the following precautions in place to protect our staff, volunteers and members.  We understand that some of our staff, volunteers and members have vulnerable relatives or are vulnerable themselves, hence the need to take this immediate action.

All Peer Support Sessions (Coffee Mornings / Afternoon Teas / ASD Coffee Mornings), Training & Courses (Taster Sessions / Insiders Guide 6 Week / Person Centred Planning and Spotlight On…) are postponed until further notice.

If you have a pre-arranged meeting at our offices with one of our practitioners, we do ask you to be mindful and should you be feeling unwell or showing any symptom of Coronavirus, we would ask you not to visit and rearrange your appointment.

If you do not have a pre-arranged meeting, please do not visit our offices.  Our Trustees are meeting tomorrow for further planning and should anything change we will communicate this.

We know that for some of our members, this is a particularly worrying time.  The following is guidance from Carers UK for carers which you can read at This includes guidance on being prepared for emergencies, protecting those you care for, and information for working carers.  Carers UK and Carers Trust have also made a joint statement regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). This covers an overview of the current advice for people who are providing unpaid care.

The health and safety of both our users and our team is always of paramount importance to us and we thank you for your understanding at this unprecedented time.

Unique Ways Team

Our Organisation