Spectrum FAQ

Frequently asked questions

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.

Alternatively, you can reach us via our contact form, social media messaging, by email at hello@spectrum.org.uk via Spectrum Live Chat or on 01223 955404.


Spectrum Play

Frequently asked questions

Just expand each section for the question answer. We continue to add to our FAQ all the time.

Spectrum General

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 this will be checked and processed. If you meet our criteria for additional needs then we will send across a welcome email including your Spectrum membership number. As soon as you have this number you can then access our services like events, sessions, support and the Max Card for example, using your membership number.

Once you have this number you can also access our Private Spectrum Members Only group on Facebook.

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 hello@spectrum.org.uk
  • Via the Live Chat message service on our website (available on the bottom right-hand corner of every page on our website)
  • Via our official Facebook Page messaging service
  • Via telephone 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. Simply head to our Membership Update page and select the remind me of my Spectrum Membership number. This will drop through to the team and they will be in touch to confirm once they have checked your details.

Your Spectrum membership number starts with the letters SC and is followed by up to 5 numbers.

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 heading to our Membership Update page and completing the changes you need to.

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

Events and Sessions

What type of events do Spectrum provide?

Our range of events, days out, photoshoots and sessions for the children and families that we support 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 we currently provide a free session at Clip n Climb Cambridge and Climb Quest Milton Keynes each month alongside our own Spectrum Play sessions. These are great places to not only have a lot of fun but also to make new friends, meet like-minded families, catch up with the Spectrum team and keep up to date on all we have coming up. All of our sessions and events are specifically for families registered with us.

All the information regarding 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.

Our full event and session diary can always be found at https://spectrum.org.uk/events – we also send out email notifications when new events and sessions are released.

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 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 provide a subsidised coach, or even two at times, from close to our Spectrum HQ in Cambs. We rotate coach places as well as event places to ensure the best level of coverage across the board.

We do not provide any transport to our monthly sessions at Clip n Climb Cambridge, Spectrum Play, Climb Quest Milton Keynes or KD Theatre events.

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?

After requesting places at one of our events or sessions, the following steps happen.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

Spectrum Members
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.

Max Card

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 £8 and provides you coverage for approximately 2 years.

Our Max Card page covers all the commonly asked questions and information needed about it.

Each child with additional requires 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 presently costs £8 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 maxcard@spectrum.org.uk

How long does it take for my Max Card to arrive?

All of our Max Card are normally dispatched within 72 working hours of your payment being received by us. All Max Cards are dispatched via First Class postage in Spectrum-headed stationery for easy identification in your post.

You will receive a dispatch email from us when your card is with the Royal Mail. This email will also include a tracking link if you have opted to upgrade to the Recorded Delivery option.

Whose name do I put on the Max Card?

Your Max Card will arrive with you with your child’s name already written on it, as per the spelling you have provided for them on your order.

The card belongs to the child as opposed to the parent/guardian/carer and 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. The venue has the right to refuse access or not apply a discount if this is not the case.

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?

Yes we are! We love to be as visual as we can about the work that we do and actively use social media.

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube so please give us a follow! We also have a dedicated Private Spectrum Members Only Group on Facebook.

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.

At times, Spectrum also has places in such events as the London Marathon and 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.