SEN-den is a non-profit-making community organisation which registered as a community interest company (CIC) in August 2019. We came into existence having closely followed the experiences of friends living in Enfield. We realised that there was a gap in support for families whose young children have autism and decided to do something about it!
- There is not enough ongoing support available for parents trying to understand, and adjust to, their child’s suspected or confirmed ASD diagnosis.
- The voluntary and statutory support services that do exist can be difficult to find out about and / or access, when families are struggling to simply get through each day.
- The supply of available services is increasingly constrained by budget pressures, while the demand for these services continues to increase with every new child that is diagnosed.
- There are limited opportunities to meet, and build relationships with, other families on the same journey, and therefore a lack of vital peer support within communities.
- There are few sensory play, sensory learning and general leisure opportunities for children with autism and their families, particularly after-school, at weekends and during the holidays.
- There is a lot of information for families available online, spread across many websites, but it can be time-consuming and tiring to find the specific information that you really need for your child.
This situation is not specific to families living in Enfield, but reflects the national picture. In November 2019, the Education Select Committee released its report in which it stated that “Many parents face a titanic struggle just to try and ensure their child gets access to the right support.”
Charity sector professional, Enfield resident and mum, Lubna Reid, decided to create SEN-den as a community response to a national problem. She enlisted her neighbour in Enfield and Financial Planner, James Hurdman, to help her to set up a community business to support local families. A year later, Victoria Aseervatham, a highly experienced Local Government Manager, who also grew up in Enfield, joined the SEN-den Management Committee.
SEN-den now provides a safe, supportive and informative place (both virtual and physical) for families dealing with autism. At our regular play and support groups held at the Lancaster Centre, we listen closely to the experiences that families share with us and each other, to determine what SEN-den might be able to do to help, whether this is developing a new service offer for parents or kids, or feeding back to a local service provider on what isn’t going so well for families. Some of our particularly engaged Mums have joined our Service Development Group, to actively shape new services delivered by SEN-den, as well as offering detailed feedback and suggestions to other service providers in Enfield.
SEN-den works in partnership with local statutory and voluntary service providers and “community-spirited” private therapists to increase the volume, range and quality of specialist support services available to families in Enfield. Working in this way with other service providers across our community enables us to signpost you to local services you may not have come across yet or don’t know how to access. We are here to help!
We hope our services will help you and your family to feel less alone, access useful information and resources much more quickly and conveniently and be better supported by others in our local community that understand the many ups and downs of the lifelong journey you and your family are on.
We want to ensure that we offer services that are relevant to the needs of the community we serve and that we continue to learn and improve as we grow as an organisation. Please feel free to get in touch via our contact page, to share ideas and suggestions of what more SEN-den might be able to do to support your family on the autism journey.