Play Torbay reaches out with free weekly support for parent carers

The Afterthought night pack mala bracelet

The Afterthought night pack mala bracelet - Credit: Archant

Torbay parent carers are being supported through a new programme of free, virtual sessions run by Play Torbay.

Play Torbay - a charity championing inclusive, free play opportunities in the Bay - had to think hard about how they could continue to maintain the provision for parents and carers when the Covid-19 pandemic arrived earlier this year.

First came ‘Come into Play’, funded by the National Lottery, to support families with children with special educational needs, disabilities and challenging behaviour to come together to develop group support, where their ideas, energy and expertise can ‘come into play’ and support each other.

In July, Play Torbay launched its new Afterthought service, a programme of free, weekly evening Zoom sessions which are now planned to run through to next April.

The schedule includes specialist speakers on various subjects that are designed to help and support parents and carers, and to give them the tools and strategies to assist their children and young people during Covid-19 and beyond.

Since July there have been some inspirational speakers, including parents themselves, presenting sessions on a range of different topics including non-violent resistance, autism, managing children’s anxiety, sensory processing and sleep.

One parent said: “The sessions have been really informative and are helping so many parents. It’s brilliant! Thank you to the Play Torbay team.”

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Afterthought Zoom host Dan Rees-Jones said: “The Afterthought sessions are relaxed and informal affairs and give parents and carers a chance to have some learn something new, network or simply provide an opportunity for some ‘me’ time.

“Although I am more familiar with face-to-face training, I was initially somewhat daunted by facilitating Afterthought. However, I have really enjoyed the sessions, learnt a lot, and am still surprised at how informative these sessions can be via Zoom.”

There are sessions scheduled to run most weeks, but not in the holidays, from 8pm to 9pm and are open to all. The following sessions until Christmas include sensory processing with Mandy Astin, Portage Team Lead at Torbay Council; combatting Stress and anxiety with Viv Hill, creator of Funk Head; ‘Putting on an Act: Drama and Story Telling’ with Karen Benjamin, academic course leader for drama at the University of Gloucestershire.

If you would be interested in joining a session or would like to join the mailing list, email Dan at