“The Festive Season is going to be very, very different this year”  

Family Saturdays is a unique group run by Islington parents for Islington parents and their Children with special educational needs (SEN). This festive season is going to be especially hard for them and, after Maria, H. and K. have shared their stories with us.  

 H.’s story 

 “I have an autistic seven year-old and I’m now a trustee of SEN Saturday Families to try to help other families with similar issues. 

 Coping with the restrictions has been very difficult for all of us, especially for my autistic son, it was a major routine change for him and I was pregnant at the time. My family engagement worker helped me with food parcels. 

 My life changed in the last few months by my autistic son having more meltdowns and tantrums. My older son has learnt to help me around the house, he helps me with the newborn, changes the nappies, peels onions, he’s very good like that…he’s like my hero, he helps me out a lot! 

 This season will be different for all of us, during Christmas holidays we usually have family get togethers, this year we’re just going to be in our own houses, no family, no one, so it will be a very different experience. 

 I keep in contact by phone, making phone calls and facetiming. There have been times where I’ve done drivethroughs, waving to family…haven’t been to anyone’s houses yet because I was pregnant and now the newborn hasn’t had her injections yet, so we don’t allow any visits  either.“ 


Covid-19 essentials and entertainment for children used on SEN Family Saturdays’ outdoor animal themed picnic event in September 2020.

K.’s story 

“We have been involved with Family Saturdays since the beginning and my kids love this group. There is no judgment and we are really like a family.  

It was hard on our everyday life with our kids [with special needs], but  since the restrictions were put in place things got even harder for us…We can’t meet people that my kids love, we can’t attend any soft plays, any groups, any family events or other things. 

The festive season is going to be very, very different this year. We can’t travel to meet our families and we can’t take our kids shopping to be involved in decoration, preparing gifts etc. 

We are doing lots of facetime calls and lots of writing but it is not the same, and my kids find it very hard to talk to anyone on the phone. It’s hard for them to understand everything that’s going on this year.” 


Read part one of our #ChristmasConnections: Big support to tackle huge pressures 


More than ever, #ChristmasConnections  


Connecting with friends, family and your community has never been more important. Our partner organisations, like SEN Family Saturdays, are working tirelessly to bring people together (even if not in person!) this festive season.  

We are running an Art Challenge Giveaway on social media, feel like getting creative?  You could win a Cass Art Oil Painting Set!  

What to do? Simply:  

  1. Draw, paint or make any form of art under the topic of ‘Christmas Connections’  
  1. Post a photo of your art on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, tag @isgiv and use the hashtag #ChristmasConnections  (or send it to mail@islingtongiving.org.uk)  
  1. And you’re in to win! Anyone can enter! We’ll draw 3 winners on the 16th of December!