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What is a Short Break?

What are Short Breaks?

Short breaks enable disabled children, young people and adults to have time away from their carers, explore new opportunities, have fun and broaden their social networks whilst promoting independence. They can provide families with an opportunity to have a break from their caring responsibilities, and can last from a few hours to a few days, evenings, overnight and weekends.

You will be able to apply for an assessment where the local authority will review your needs as a carer. Please visit How to Access a Short Break for more information. 


Benefits of Short Breaks 

Providing short breaks has helped many families live a better quality of life, for example having a supported holiday together, with parents having some time to rest or spend with other children in the family and disabled children, young people and adults taking part in many new activities which they have enjoyed.

In some cases, the support offered by the short break service has helped prevent family stress and breakdown. Many families have also felt it has enabled them to become stronger and better able to manage.

Children and young people have told us that they are now able to go out much more than before. They can choose what activities they want to do and who they want to go to activities with. There is more to do in their local area and they feel much happier.


Who Are Short Breaks For?

Families with children between the age of 0 and 18 may be entitled to short breaks if they are affected in their everyday living by one or more of the following:

  •  Severe physical, learning disability or sensory impairment, which is substantial and  has a negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities.

  • Profound multiple disability

  • Children with complex physical health needs and those with life-limiting where these severely impact the functioning of the child.

  • Children with autism who also meets one of the above criteria

    The majority of support provided by the Disabled Children’s Service is directed to children of school age, however pre-school referrals will be considered on a case by case, in consultation with the relevant multi-agency professionals and where there is assessed significant developmental delay as set out in the criteria above. Those disabled children and young people who do not meet the above criteria, may be entitled to access other services through the ‘Local Offer’ Early Help or Locality Teams.

Armed Forces Personnel Information

Armed forces personnel can find further information at:

Your child or young person

Alternatively, if your request is related to your child or young person’s health or social care needs please visit How to Access a Short Break 

There are a number of organisations committed to providing health and wellbeing support to armed forces personnel and their families.

Disabilities and help with everyday living

The Adult Social Care Team is the first point of contact to discuss your support needs on 0207 641 2500. Please make yourself known to a member of the team that you are ex armed forces.

Alternatively, please visit to find out more information on services in your local area

Last Updated 13/04/2021

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