Neurodiversity and Covid-19

According to the Department of Education, 15% of students in the UK have a learning difference. Sienna Castellon is the founder of Neurodiversity Celebration Week and one of the 15% of students in the UK learning with a difference. Neurodiversity Celebration Week was celebrated earlier this year (March 16th – 20th) just as the UK was facing unprecedented times as we entered a nationwide lockdown.

Neurodiversity is a relatively new term that many people may not yet know much about it; it refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information. Most people are neurotypical, meaning that the brain functions and processes information in the way society expects, however, it is estimated that around 1 in 7 (more than 15% of people in the UK) are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently.

As those who are more neurodiverse aware were celebrating such differences, unimaginable regulations were being put into place, including the closure of our schools. While for some SEN (Special Education Needs) students schools were not entirely closed, many children who fall within the Neurodivergent spectrum were faced with adjusting to learning at home and their regular routines diminished. While we can all recognise this has been a testing time, for people living with autism, dyslexia or ADHD for example, it is increasingly more difficult. Parents of neurodiverse children have had to find new ways of creating structure and schedules to ensure self-isolation and staying at home can work for their families.

If you are wondering how you can support a loved one caring for neurodiverse children or want to increase your awareness have a look at the helpful websites and articles below or enrol on one of our distance learning courses. Not only will you be improving your awareness, you will be contributing to a more accepting and positive neurodiverse society.

Helpful website and articles:

autism.org.uk

ADHD Foundation – The Neurodiverstiy Charity

Supporting Neurodiverse Children in Challenging Times

Parenting Neurodiverse Kids During Covid-19: A 5 Step Guide

Distance Learning Courses

The below courses are all fully funded and will provide a stepping stone into becoming more Neurodiverse aware.

Understanding Specific Learning Difficulties

Understanding Autism

Principles of Working with Adults with Learning Difficulties

To enrol on one of the above courses click the link here. If you would like  more information regarding the above courses, click the course for more details or call  0161 877 9439.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness week has been occurring for the last 20 years and this year is no different. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the focus of the week has been changed to kindness.  

Mark Rowland, the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) reminds us, “now more than ever, we need to re-discover kindness in our daily lives.”  

This week is an opportunity to celebrate the numerous acts of kindness happening across the country, all of which are vitally important to our mental health and wellbeing. The MHF are hoping that it will be a time for us to consider how we want and hope to shape our society as we emerge from this pandemic.  

Kindness is something we ask of everyone; whether we try to instill it in our children as they are growing up or we expect it from our colleagues when we are struggling and need some support. An act of kindness whether big or small can have a major impact on our mental health, whether we are the person giving it or receiving it.

This week the Reachout team are going to look at how we can be a part of supporting our colleagues and communities’ Mental Health and how small acts of kindness can play a vital role.  As part of our training offer, we have a wide range of courses which look at both raising awareness of Mental Health and understanding Mental Health.  

Our learning partners Wranx currently have two courses on their app relevant to Mental Health Awareness Week: 

  • Working From Home: Mental Health  
  • Raising Awareness: Mental Health 

Wranx is an online training tool that can be accessed on any device and uses the simple scientific idea of Spaced Repetition to provide learning that improves knowledge retention, even with as little as 2-3 minutes of training a day.  

To enrol click here and in the notes section explain which of the courses you want to enrol on. For more information you can contact the team via email info@gmbreachout.org.uk.

In addition to Wranx, we have an array of distance learning courses, fully funded, relating to Mental Health:  

To enrol click here and in the notes section explain which of the courses you want to enrol on. For more information click on any of the courses above or contact one of the team via email info@gmbreachout.org.uk or call 0161 877 9439.

Learning at Work Week. On Air, Online

Learning at Work Week is an annual event where workplaces across the UK join, in celebrating lifelong learning at work, building learning cultures in their offices and wider organisations. This year due to Covid-19 normal activity has had to be adjusted, as such new dates for Learning at Work Week have been arranged for 5th October – 11th October, however, this hasn’t stopped the team from organising something for this week, the originally planned week of celebration.

‘On Air, Online’ is the Covid-19 response for Learning at Work Week, beginning 18th May through to 22nd May there are activities On Air and Online encouraging us all to embrace lifelong learning at work. The aim of Learning at Work Week is to highlight the importance and benefits of continuous learning and development. It is co-ordinated by The Campaign for Learning and provides employees and employers alike with resources and ideas to run creative, innovative and inclusive activities as part of a nationwide approach to encourage learning at work.

While plans have been altered, there are plenty of activities for you to engage in throughout the week with your colleagues, either from your at home desks or socially distant work places. Why not take part in the Daily Doodle Challenge; each day you’re invited to doodle along with a daily theme and share your creations online via Twitter – you will also be in with a chance of winning a creative prize. While we are all struggling with current circumstances this is an opportunity to engage with colleagues each day in a creative and funny way.

You can ‘Tune in at Two’, in a special strand for parents. The Campaign for Learning will be hosting two free webinars with resident family learning expert Juliette Collier. Learn practical ways to teach your children about money and strategies to help them learn. As many of us are now getting to grips with home schooling what better time to gain some insight into how best to talk to your children about learning and money.

To register you can visit the link here: https://www.campaign-for-learning.org.uk/news/tune-in-at-two

If you are looking for some more tips and tricks to help you and your colleagues learn from home get in touch with Reachout team, info@gmbreachout.org.uk or call 0161 877 9439.

National Numeracy Day

Today, Wednesday 13th May is National Numeracy Day and people around the UK are being encouraged to join in with the National Numeracy Day Challenge. National Numeracy Day occurs every year and is about helping everyone in the UK to build the confidence and skills they need to use numbers well.

This year the focus is on raising awareness of the importance of numbers in our daily lives and shining a light on the crippling anxiety felt by millions of people around the subject of Maths. It is especially appropriate for the focus this year to be on people’s anxieties towards Maths as many are currently faced with helping their children at home whilst schools are closed.

There are many different reasons people are cautious or anxious of Maths but the National Numeracy Day campaign is about overcoming those nerves to see how Maths is a vital and important part of all of our lives. Whether we are young adults looking to budget or parents helping children with schoolwork and managing bills everyone interacts with numbers throughout their lives on a daily basis.

To take part in the National Numeracy Day Challenge, you can sign up here:

https://link.numeracyday.com/rm8h

If you would like to take your learning further you can sign up to our partner app: Wranx, with access to a wide range of courses including short Maths courses, all free of charge it is an easy and fun way to carry on your learning. You can sign up here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QDQ559S

If you would like more information on any of the courses, please contact one of the team at info@gmbreachout.org.uk.

Protecting your Mental Health during the Coronavirus pandemic

One week ago, on Monday 23rd March 2020, as part of a televised address Boris Johnson announced that, in effect, the country was going into lockdown. All non-essential businesses must close, everyone should stay at home, we can go to the shops for groceries but only when an absolute necessity and we can go out for one form of exercise a day. This is all whilst trying to maintain a 2 metre distance from others. It was a historic and extraordinary demand which has led to concern amongst many and a societal shift.  

During this three-week isolation, we will be spending a lot of time in our homes and we won’t be able to socialise in the same way we usually do. So, now more than ever it is important we’re looking after our mental health as much as possible. We are going to go through periods of anxiety, low mood and for some depression. So, it is important to acknowledge this and make a conscious effort to protect our mental health and wellbeing.  

Know that when it comes to looking after our mental health different things work for different people and we shouldn’t be discouraged or put off if what works for someone else doesn’t work for us.  

So, what can we do to look after our mental health? 

Take Time Out, taking time out is just as important as keeping ourselves busy. It is easy to become consumed with what others are doing and thinking we should be doing the same. Taking some time out for yourself will help you to feel calmer and focus on the present. Just sitting in another room or stepping outside your front door for a few minutes will allow you to escape the constant updates from social media and TV.  

Be Creative, even if you are working from home, in your free time express your creative side. When you do something creative like drawing or a jigsaw it can help to focus your mind, allowing your brain to switch off from what is going on in the world or causing you anxiety. Being creative doesn’t have to be something you do on your own either or creative in the traditional sense. You could be creative with your whole family whilst making your tea. Get everyone involved and make some homemade pizzas with all the random ingredients you’ve got in. Not only will this allow you switch off for a while but it will bring everyone together and encourage you to listen and spend quality time with one another.  

Stay Positive, whilst the idea of staying positive might be challenging at the minute it is important to actively try to. Allowing negative and worrying thoughts to overwhelm you will be detrimental to your own mental health but could also have a negative effect on those you are isolating with. Try to take some practical steps to staying positive, this might be writing down each day what has inspired you as a result of this global pandemic, or just simply listening to music which lifts you up. You could get everyone in your house involved, impromptu dancing can be both funny and uplifting, contributing to your positive mental health.  

Keep in Contact, while in isolation is it vital to keep in contact with the family and friends you aren’t getting to see. By making a call or sending them a message it lets them know you are thinking about them and you can talk to them about how you are feeling and share how you are coping. In this time where we are restricted to our homes keeping in touch with people is so important in looking after our mental health and wellbeing.  

Hopefully this has given you some ideas as to how to look after your mental health during this time and if you have any more please share them in the comments section below so we can all work towards looking after out mental health during this challenging time.  

If you are looking for more information or resources to look after your mental health and wellbeing visit the websites below: 

Mind – for better mental health 

Mental Health At Work – Coronavirus and isolation Toolkit 

Samaritans 

If you need any support during this time, call the Reachout team on 0161 877 9439 and we will do our best to help or signpost you in the right direction.

Digital Parenting during Coronavirus

Nowadays, young people live in a non-stop, social, digital and connected world. To them, technology is the norm as it is all they have ever known.


Whilst the internet is great in that it allows young people to learn, explore and socialise, there are many pitfalls, which we, as adults must make the young people aware of. Every week we read about a new hazard that child may face online, whether this is cyberbullying, sexting or selfies harming young people’s opinions of themselves. It is easy to identify inappropriate content for children but we also need to be aware of the content which we may think is safe but can in fact, be very damaging.


These conversations must start at an early age to present a clear understanding of when and how they are safe to explore the online world freely. We must remind our children that not everything on the internet is true and they must be encouraged to question and not to take everything at face value.


Due to the current situation with Covid 19, our schools are closed and more and more parents are having to work from home. Balancing the two can be extremely difficult and challenging and there will undoubtedly be an increase in the amount of screen time and internet use that young people are being allowed. Some of their school work will be online, they may be accessing different resources or they simply be allowed on sites like YouTube while their parents complete some work.


In light of this, it can be a worrying time for parents as they may be concerned about their children staying safe online. We’ve put together a handy, downloadable guide with hints and tips to help ensure your children are safe online.

Digital Parenting guide


If you require any assistance or further information around this, please do not hesitate to call us on 0161 877 9439 or email info@gmbreachout.org.uk

Develop your skills with Wranx

The Coronavirus pandemic has led to our Government and front-line NHS staff asking us to Stay at home! This is both for the health and safety of our communities and the wider population, but to also be agents in helping to reduce the spread of Covid 19.

We have seen from other countries implementing these strict measures the effect it has and the importance following such measures carries. Thus, whilst some are still travelling into work, many people are now working from home and we are all having to cut our social interaction. Ultimately, many of us are finding ourselves with more time on our hands due to reduced workloads and no social activities to go to.

The ReachOut team have a free learning app, which is perfectly suited to aid those looking for something to occupy part of their days at home or for something to take their mind off anxieties they be having. Whether you are looking to improve your Maths and English skills to help your children with learning from home, or if you are looking to further your own personal skills; the ReachOut team’s affiliate app is a good place to start.

Courses include:

GCSE Maths

GCSE English

Functional Skills Maths (Level 1-2)

Functional Skills English (Level 1-2)

Everyday English: Punctuation

Intermediate Everyday English: Punctuation

Raising Awareness: Menopause in the Workplace

Raising Awareness: Mental Health

Raising Awareness: Mental Health (for Healthcare Professionals)

Rights for Younger Workers

An Introduction to COSHH Awareness in the Workplace

Raising Awareness: Manual Handling at Work: Two modules

An Introduction to Online Security

An Introduction to Substance Misuse

An Introduction to Substance Misuse (for Healthcare Professional)

Unlike other e-learning based apps, this method of learning is different. Users spend 2-3 minutes a day learning through Spaced Repetition and expanding their knowledge with online bite sized training at their fingertips. Whether you want to learn on your tablet, phone or PC, this e-learning app allows you to improve your skills without a relaxed and accessible approach.

If you would like to begin one of these free courses fill in your details at the link below and make sure you note which course you are looking to begin.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QDQ559S

If you have any questions you can also speak to one of the team on 0161 877 9439 or email info@gmbreachout.org.uk