Local support groups

Parent support groups are a great way to meet other parents for practical and emotional support. Most support groups are set up and run by parents and carers of children with additional needs. Some professionals and organisations, particularly children centres, run their own groups.

In this article

National support groups

National support groups are usually for parents of children with specific conditions. National groups offer support in a range of ways, which might include:

Search for your child’s condition on our website to see if there’s a national support group. If your child’s condition is not listed, there may be groups that our freephone helpline can put you in touch with.

Our Rare Conditions Network

If you run a rare condition support group, join our network and get access to exclusive news, advice, events and development opportunities to help you support your families.

Contact’s Rare Conditions Network

Thanks to funding from the Pears Foundation, we have established a Rare Conditions Network.

find out more

Local support groups

Local groups cater for parents who live in the same area whose children might have a variety of different disabilities or the same condition. Many parents whose child doesn’t have an official diagnosis are members of local support groups.

We started life as a self-help group for parents, and from our 30 years’ experience as an organisation we know that parents can be the best support for one another.

Why join a local support group?

Groups generally offer:

Parents talk about how meeting other parents helped them care for their own child.

Local groups vary in terms of the type of service they offer and can be open to parents and carers of children with any disability. Others are for parents whose children have the same condition.

Finding a local support group

If your local area has a Carers Centre, they might be able to put you in touch with a local support group. You can search for a local Carers Centre on the Carers Trust website.

If you live in England, your local authority’s “local offer” might list details of local support groups. Visit your local authority’s website to find their local offer.

Alternatively, you can get in contact with our helpline and we can help you find a group in your area.

You may feel you want to join a group for parents whose children have the same condition as yours. If there is no condition specific group then do not rule out joining a group for all disabilities. Parents can offer friendship and emotional support regardless of their child’s condition.

How we support local groups

Whether you’re setting up a new support group or already running one, we have a range of resources to help, and can give you guidance on how to run your group.

Our Group Action Pack is packed with tips and sources of specialist advice for parent support groups. We covers issues ranging from how to start a group and hold meetings to charity registration, publicity and fundraising. 

Order a .zip file of the Group Action Pack – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland.

Order a .zip file of the Group Action Pack – Wales.

Or you download the eight parts from our website individually.