Types of short breaks, eligibility and costs
There are 3 types of short breaks available for children and young people with disabilities:
Community groups and activities
Community groups and activities are also known as universal short breaks as they are open to everyone, not just children with disabilities.
These groups and activities for 0 to 19 year olds run outside school hours and at weekends.
- clubs such as Brownies or Cubs
- after school or leisure clubs
- day nurseries
You do not need an assessment from a social worker to use community groups and activities.
You can contact the services directly. Search for community groups and activities near you in our directory:
You must pay for community groups and activities.
Targeted short breaks
Targeted short breaks are for children and young people with disabilities from 0 to 19 years old, who cannot use community groups and activities without support.
Targeted short breaks run on weekends, evenings and school holidays, and include:
- specialist holiday play schemes
- specialist sports or activity clubs
You do not need an assessment from a social worker to use targeted short breaks.
For targeted short breaks run by voluntary or community services, you can contact providers directly.
You can also be referred by a professional working with your family.
Search for targeted short breaks in our directory:
Targeted short breaks funded by the council
When applying for a targeted short break funded by the council, you will need to:
- show your child is eligible
- complete a support questionnaire to make sure we can provide the right support, and confirm which of our 2 levels of targeted short breaks to offer you
You can download a support questionnaire if your child is:
- 0 to 5 years
- 5 to 19 years
Read about eligibility for targeted short breaks funded by the council in our short breaks service statement.
If a targeted short break is provided by a voluntary or community service, you will pay all costs involved.
If a targeted service is funded by the council, you will pay activity fees.
Specialist short breaks
Specialist short breaks are for children and young people with disabilities from 0 to 18 years old and their families.
These breaks cater for children with multiple, complex needs, and include both daytime and overnight services.
Not all children and families are eligible for specialist short breaks.
Your child's social worker must first complete a child and family assessment.
This assessment allows us to work out if your child is eligible for a specialist short break, and which one would suit them best.
You will normally be directed to targeted short breaks before a specialist short break is considered.
Specialist short breaks are funded by the council.
If your child gets a residential short break, you'll be asked to pay an activity fee. This is to support your child’s activities there.
You can use this to pay for a short break, rather than the council arranging one for you.
If you receive a personal budget or direct payment for a short break, you can also use it to pay activity fees for targeted or specialist residential short breaks.