Our Spectrum FAQ covers the most frequently asked questions that get put to us by people contacting Spectrum for the first time. We hope that these answers are helpful but do always feel free to contact us should you just prefer to talk, or the answer that you need isn’t below.
Frequently asked questions
Just expand each section for the question answer. We continue to add to our FAQ all the time.
What does Spectrum do?
Spectrum provides multi-award-winning events, sessions and support for children with Autism, additional needs, learning difficulties and disabilities, alongside their families and carers. We are parent-led, family-focused and passionate about inclusion and reducing isolation. Spectrum has won both the Cambridgeshire Live Community Awards & Luminus Inspiration Awards for our work with families.
We are registered with the Charity Commission in England & Wales (117916)
How do I join Spectrum?
Joining Spectrum is really simple. Just head over to our Membership form and complete the required details. Our membership is free.
Once we have received your request, please allow up to 72hrs for this to be processed. If you meet our very straight forward criteria then will send across a welcome email including your Spectrum membership number and an invite to our Private Spectrum Members Only group on Facebook. Your membership number is required for booking on to our events, requesting family worker/child psychology support and for ordering a Max Card if you wish to, so please do keep this somewhere safe.
If you have requested membership at Spectrum, we always recommend also keeping an eye on your email junk or filtering folders, just in case our response lands there in the first instance.
Does my child have to have a full diagnosis for us to join Spectrum?
No. Any child with additional needs is welcome, regardless of whether you have just started out on the journey for a diagnosis, with their GP and education setting or if a formal diagnosis is already in place. They can be referred to us by an existing member, professional or family member. We cater for any child from pre-birth, where a diagnosis is made antenatally, up to 18 years old are welcome to attend, even up to 25 years in some areas.
What geographical areas does Spectrum cover?
Spectrum HQ is based in Cambridge and Spectrum Cambridge is our full official name but most people just know us as Spectrum.
Our members come from across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Herts, Essex, Kent, Surrey, London, Hampshire, Sussex, Isle of Wight, Bucks, Bedfordshire, Northants, Berkshire, Lincs, Leicestershire, Notts, West Midlands and Warwickshire. to name but a few. We also cover the vast majority of the UK for Max Card as a leading distribution partner.
Can I refer friends to join Spectrum to?
Definitely! If you have friends, colleagues etc who also have children with additional needs, then please do feel free to recommend Spectrum to them. As with any member, they will need to complete a free Spectrum membership to access our events, sessions, support and the Max Card and to also be added to our private members only Facebook group.
How do I join the Spectrum private members group on Facebook?
If you are a registered member at Spectrum, then you can join our dedicated private Facebook group for members only.
Simply click on the option to request to join the group and you will be prompted to enter your Spectrum Membership number (starts with the letters SC). Once you have done this, one of our team admins will spot it, check it and add you to the group. That’s it!
How do I access Spectrum Family Workers for Child or Family Support?
Accessing the Spectrum Support team for family work is extremely easy to do.
Simply head to our Support page and complete the simple form, providing us with a little background on where you need assistance, and this will drop through to the Support team who will be in touch with you. This is normally within 72hrs.
Our team covers many areas of family work such as challenging behaviours, developmental differences, mental health, toiletry issues and sleep, interventions, EHCP, DLA and PIP to name but a few. We thoroughly recommend catching up with the team to sense check steps you have already taken or if you are just starting out on your journey towards a possible diagnosis. They will be happy to help. The areas of support that we provide are expanding all the time.
Our team support you from the comfort of your own home via calls, email and Zoom sessions, so you do not need to worry about where you are based or travelling to appointments.
How can I reach the Spectrum team?
For any questions or queries, the Spectrum team are easy to reach in a whole host of ways. A good overview of this is provided on our contact page. The most used ways of reaching us are as follows:
- Via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Via the Live Chat service on our website (available on the bottom right-hand corner of every page on our website)
- Via our official Facebook Page message service
- Via call to 01223 955404 (Mon-Fri 10 am to 4 pm excluding bank holidays)
- Via the contact form on our site
Lost/Forgotten Membership Number
If you have forgotten your Spectrum membership number or lost your welcome email, this is easily remedied and there is no need to complete another membership form. Simply get in touch with the Spectrum team and we will be able to confirm your membership number with us, once we have verified your identity.
Your Spectrum membership number starts with the letters SC.
Updating your contact/family information with us
Your Spectrum membership number stays with you through time, you only need to complete this once with us. It is important though to keep this information up to date with us, especially your contact information like email, phone and address as these are also used for security questions amongst others, as well as contact purposes.
Should you ever need to update the information you registered with us, this is simply done by dropping us an email to email@example.com, making sure to include your name and Spectrum membership number for identification purposes. All changes of this nature must be completed by email with us in the interests of security.
Examples of information changes to make us aware of are as follows:
- Change of name, home address, email address or contact numbers for you
- Update in your child’s diagnosis, or further additional needs that you have been made aware of
- Additional children that need adding into your family details
COVID-19 & Spectrum
Since the emergence of COVID-19 in the UK, Spectrum has monitored all aspects of this closely. We work proactively and closely with all the venues we use and partners that support us, who make our events and services possible.
There will be continued changes that we all face as we move forward, but should you be using a service we provide or attending an event with us, that is affected in any way by COVID-19, then you will always be made aware of any considerations or updated information by us.
Spectrum follows all COVID Secure guidelines as set by the Government and has a Track & Trace programme alongside all our events. Should we ever be made aware of anyone attending our events that tests positive for COVID-19 post-event, you will be contacted by our team via SMS or email to be made aware of this, so you can take the necessary steps and precautions for your family.
Additionally, where coach travel is provided by us, we will also take temperature readings prior to travel, for further reassurance.
Events and Sessions
What type of events do Spectrum provide?
Our range of events, days out, photoshoots, Arts Award and sessions for the children and families that we support that focus around social gains, sport, technology, the Arts, entertainment, creativity and interaction to name but a few. Examples of some of the events we have done and are delivering are the Harry Potter Studios, Legoland, Disneyland Paris, Warwick Castle, ZSL Whipsnade, Breakfast with Santa and local pantomimes.
Spectrum recognises the challenges faced by families of children with additional needs, so we remove as many hurdles for those families that we support, to make them as simple to attend and as enjoyable as possible. Coach travel is often also provided with many of our away days, or you can just meet us at the venue.
Do Spectrum provide family based sessions?
Yes, we do! Spectrum is very much family focused and each month currently, we provide a free session at Clip n Climb Cambridge, Partyman Cambridge and Climb Quest Milton Keynes. These are also great places to not only have a lot of fun but to also make new friends, meet likeminded families, catch up with the Spectrum team and keep up to date on all we have coming up. All of our free sessions are specifically for families registered with us.
All the information in regards to our free sessions can be seen at https://spectrum.org.uk/sessions as well as the next date for each one. Place requests for each session normally open within a day or so of the last session being completed.
How do I find out about Spectrum events?
All of our events and sessions can be seen on our events page with an indication of their remaining availability. Due to the high demand for the events that we provide, we do rotate place requests for them as much as possible to ensure families get an opportunity to take advantage of them for the first time, as well as re-attend. Additionally, our events are announced on our Private Facebook Group as well as by email notification through our subscription lists.
We provide events centred around children, for families, for adults only and for fundraising. The costs for our events range from free through to pay for.
How does my child access the Spectrum Minecraft servers?
Spectrum has implemented private and secure Minecraft servers through its Digital Reach project, specifically for the children that we support. We continue to expand the different options available to children through Minecraft.
To access our Minecraft servers you simply need to complete our Minecraft form and register with us. You will need to know your child’s Gamertag (case sensitive) that they use to play Minecraft at home, as we whitelist this on our servers to provide them with secure access. All the information that is needed to get them up and running is provided on our Minecraft welcome email once your request has been processed.
How do I request places at one of your events or sessions?
If you have seen a notification for an event of ours that you are interested in, the event can be found on our dedicated events page.
Simply locate the event of interest to you on our events page, click on it, and it will take you through to the full information about that event. This includes an overview on the day, timings, travel and any associated costs.
Once you have read all the notes on the event, simply head to place request form at the bottom of the page and submit your request to us. If you have submitted your request correctly to us, you should see the page refresh and a success message display where the form was. You should also receive a copy of all the information that you entered, in your email inbox a few seconds later for your records.
We will then follow up with you in due course to confirm whether places have been allocated to you for the event or whether you are presently on the waiting list for it. Please note that all place requests must be submitted via the website.
Why don't you just provide first come first served booking?
We do provide first-come, first-served booking for our larger fundraising events such as the Spectrum Black Tie Ball, Ghost Watch and our dining experiences but this just wouldn’t be fair to do so for our sessions and away days.
We work on a place request basis for the sessions and away days to ensure that we can provide the best level of coverage across our membership base that we can. We rotate places at these events to ensure families have the opportunity to attend for the first time as well as for repeat visits. With many of the families we support needing to work different days, hours and shifts to support their families, it just wouldn’t be fair to operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Can I meet you at the venue instead of using the coach?
Yes, you can! For all our away days we provide an option to meet us at the venue as opposed to traveling by coach with us. This is available to any of our members, regardless of their geographical basis and can be seen on the place request form for the event. Some families prefer to travel this way due to geography, routines, family and medical reasons to name but a few.
For nearly all of our away days we do provide a subsidised coach, or even two at times, from close to our Spectrum HQ in Cambs. We do rotate coach places as well as event places, to ensure the best level of coverage that we can across the board.
We do not provide any transport to our monthly sessions at Clip n Climb Cambridge, Partyman Cambridge or Climb Quest Milton Keynes.
Are siblings welcome at your events?
Spectrum is very much family and inclusion focused, siblings and family members are most welcome at our events.
Do we have to stay as a group on your Away Days?
No, you don’t! We ask that everyone checks in together, whether you have travelled with us via coach or met us at a venue after making your own way there. This is to keep things as simple as possible for both us and the venue, after that you are free to enjoy your day as you wish to 🙂
Do you return to any venues or are they all one offs?
Each year Spectrum provides a large number of events and sessions in a variety of ways. Our events take into consideration such areas as Heritage, Conservation, Entertainment, Sport, Technology and the Arts to name but a mere few.
We work with many of the most popular and leading event venues in the country on a regular basis. Each year we rotate our events to provide a good range of variance and different locations. Many of the most popular locations like Legoland, Warwick Castle and the Harry Potter Studios, for example, we do visit frequently. We will also be running more future stays with us at Disneyland Paris.
What are the QR codes that get emailed out for events?
If you have been allocated confirmed spaces for one of our events or sessions around 24-48hrs before the event, you will receive an email from us. This email is a reminder of the details, address, timings and any special notes for the event. The QR included is to sign in on our iPad system when you get there. One of the Spectrum team will simply scan your QR code, and you are all checked in with us. Your QR code holds all the information that we need to know.
You can see a simple visual overview of our Sign-In process here: https://spectrum.org.uk/sign-in/
How do I know if I have got places at an event I have requested to attend?
- We respond back to everyone by email, that requested places, once the event is finalised. This is to say whether they have a confirmed place or are on the waiting list for the event. We always rotate attendance at our events to ensure good coverage amongst those we support and a good mix of both returning and new families attending.
- If you have confirmed spaces for the event, alongside your confirmation email, you will also receive an email invoice for it, if applicable. This confirms how to complete your bank transfer payment to us.
- 24-48 hours before the event, we will send you an email reminding you of the details and also containing a QR code to sign / swipe in with at the event.
How do I know if you have received my event payment?
If you have a confirmed space at one of our paid-for events, you will have received an invoice from us by email. This invoice confirms your requested numbers at the event as well as how to make your payment for it to us, via bank transfer, and the deadline for payment. Just click through on the link provided to view this.
Once you have completed your bank transfer to us, simply allow around 24-48 hours for us to process it. You can then click through on your invoice once more and you will see that it has updated to a PAID status stamped across it. You then have a receipt for your records.
What is the difference between your email subcription lists?
We have three subscription lists in place that our members can gain email notifications from. These cover the following areas:
We recommend this subscription for all members. It covers important and general notices, Max Card information, your membership with us, your welcome email including your membership number and our annual Black Tie Ball as some examples.
Spectrum HQ Events
This is for our events and regular sessions in fairly close proximity to Spectrum HQ. This covers such areas as our monthly free family sessions at Clip n Climb Cambridge, Partyman Cambridge and Climb Quest Milton Keynes as well as the likes of Breakfast with Santa, Winter Lights, Safari Stu, UBW Wrestling, KD Theatre Productions, Cambridge Aqua Park and Cineworld Ely to name but a few.
Spectrum Away Days
This covers our visits around the UK to the likes of Legoland Windsor, the National Space Centre, Harry Potter Studio Tour, Warwick Castle, London Eye, Disneyland Paris and so forth. Coach travel is included in the majority of these events from our HQ area but there is also the option of meeting us at the venue should you wish to.
You can unsubscribe directly from our email alerts at any time.
What is a Max Card? How do I get one?
Spectrum is an authorised distributor for Max Card.
The Max Card is designed to make days out more financially accessible for foster families and families of children with additional needs. The discount available varies between venues, with thousands of venues taking part in the scheme across the UK.
To qualify for being able to have a Max Card you simply need to have an active Spectrum Membership Number, no other additional criteria is required by us. Just head to our Max Card form to register your request with us. Please note your Spectrum membership number is required as part of the sign-up process. The cost of the Max Card is £5 and provides you coverage for approximately 2 years.
Our Max Card page covers all the commonly asked questions and information needed about it.
It is recommended that each child with additional needs has their own card and you can purchase multiple cards with us at the same time. Each child that you request a card for, needs to be included on your membership registration and their details and conditions known to us, to ensure they meet the qualifying criteria.
How do I get replacement Max Card? (Lost/Stolen/Expired)
If you have lost your Max Card or it has expired, then you will need to request a new one via our Max Card page at the standard pricing. A Max Card costs £5 and has a validity period of approximately 2 years. It is not possible to provide free replacement cards, or new ones to replace expired ones as they are all uniquely coded.
In the event that your Max Card has been lost/stolen, we are able to block the card number so that it can no longer be used. For any such requests as this, you can reach the team direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
How long does it take for my Max Card to arrive?
All of our Max Card are normally dispatched within 24 working hours of your payment being received by us. All Max Cards are dispatched via First Class postage in Spectrum headed stationary for easy identification in your post.
Whose name do I put on the Max Card?
The Max Card has two sections on the reverse of the card, near the expiry date.
There is a box to enter the child’s name, who the card is for, as well as a box for the primary carer/card purchaser. Max Card recognise that other people/carers play a huge role in many children’s lives, often taking them to events and venues, this is fine to do. The Max Card can only be used primarily for the child that it was purchased.
Both the Max Card and the child that it is for must both be present at any venue where you are using the card, without exception.
Child & Family Support
Can I access a Family Worker at Spectrum?
Yes, you can.
Our support team can be reached via email, over the phone, via Facebook Messenger, via Live Chat or the form on our dedicated Support page. All of the support we provide is complementary to any external services you are accessing already. You may be just starting your journey in Autism and the additional needs of children and need some guidance or you may wish to just sense check some steps that you have already taken with the likes of CAMH, practitioners or an education setting.
We can assist in such areas as behavioural aspects, early years support, anxiety, positive parenting, sleep aspects and wellbeing. Our team is there to assist the whole family unit as we know how challenging supporting a child with additional needs can be, as well as the emotional and physical demands that it has.
There is no charge to access our Support team, you simply need to be a registered member with Spectrum.
Can you assist with such areas as DLA or EHCP?
Yes, we can.
Our team is trained in areas of Autism, Disability Benefits Advice (DLA/PIP) and Education Health Care Plans (EHCP) to name but a few. We also have access to additional resources to help check into more complex matters. We help families all the time with form completion in many areas. We know for some people they can be very challenging or some people just prefer to sense check answers and direction before they enter them. It can be hard at times to remember all the areas that impact the lives of you and the child you support.
There is no charge to access our Support team, you simply need to be a registered member with Spectrum.
Is Spectrum on Social Media?
Can I fundraise for Spectrum?
We love to work with those who wish to fundraise for us and help us provide more and more events for those we support. Fundraising for Spectrum is easy to do and we can provide you with help at every step and also promote your efforts over social media. Spectrum is registered with JustGiving,Virgin Money Giving, CAF and for Gift Aid, for easy online fundraising and we can also readily supply sponsorship forms for your event.
We have seen such things as marathons, half-marathons, 24hr cycle rides, white-collar boxing and climbing challenges all done by fantastic people to support our work.
Spectrum also has places each year in the Cambridge Half Marathon.
Can I volunteer for Spectrum?
We have a team of volunteers across Spectrum covering areas from our events to back-office activities, that all enable Spectrum to do the work that it does. All of our volunteers have Enhanced DBS checks and also complete training in Safeguarding Equality and Diversity and GDPR to name but a few. We also implement First Aid training via St John Ambulance. Any volunteering vacancies are always listed on our volunteering page.
Do you work with schools?
Yes, we do. We work with different education settings and their SENCOs to support as many families as we can. We provide information on the work that we do and have also attended numerous assembly’s, pupil mentoring groups and SEND parent mornings. Schools can register their interest in more information from us here.
How do I get a Team Spectrum t-shirt or hoodie?
Simply head to https://spectrum.org.uk/shop and this will direct you to our little store with our suppliers Sigma, this is the only place you can purchase them.
The store covers children, women and unisex ranges across T-shirts, pullover hoodies and zipped hoodies in a whole range of colours. The logos are each of these items is embroidered for both great visuals as well as longevity. 10% of all purchases is kindly provided to Spectrum by Sigma towards our projects and events.
Does Spectrum share my data with 3rd parties?
No, Spectrum has a strict policy around data sharing and all information is kept in house. We encourage all our members to also recognise confidentiality to ensure we present an environment suitable of supporting our members. All of our forms and data collection is in line with GDPR regulations and clearly marked.
We may need to disclose information if required to do so by law or in response to a court order. Additionally this can also be in exceptional circumstances, where we think someone is at serious risk of being harmed, we may contact the police or a local authority safeguarding team.