Types of short breaks available and how to access them

Short breaks are a way of giving parents and carers a break from their caring responsibilities. Short breaks can also benefit your child with disabilities.  

The type of short break you may receive will depend on the needs of your child. 

We fund a number of organisations to provide short breaks for children with disabilities. These include:  

  • Sense Woodside Family Centre (Short Breaks for Disabled Children) a variety of activities including play schemes, family outings  

  • Summer Outside Sessions (SOS): Outdoor Forest Play Schools in the summer holidays for pre-school children with severe language and communication difficulties or a diagnosis of ASD. For further information contact Karen Norton knorton@live.co.uk or Jane Gulliver gullysnest4@btinternet.com

  • FACE Social Club

Whilst the council fund and commission a number of short breaks that can be accessed without a social care assessment there are organisations that can support you, your child and family.   

There are also groups and organisations that provide things to do for children with a disability. Search our directory for things to do locally.  

How to apply for the council’s short breaks 

For some short breaks, you can self refer by applying directly to the organisation, whilst for others your child will need to have a social care assessment and will be referred to that organisation or provided with a direct payment.  

Self referral: We commission organisations to run activities to help children join in with others and have positive experiences.   

A number of groups can be accessed by self-referral and booking through the providers website, or by becoming a member of their organisation. These include:      

  • Childrens Playlink Brandons Trust, a holiday club and buddy scheme run by Brandon Trust  

  • The National Autistic Society’s South Gloucestershire branch   

  • Special Friends Club 

  • National Autistic Society Out of School Club social groups 

Social care assessment: short breaks through an assessment will only be provided if a social worker identifies that there is an eligible need.  

Activities and support that are more targeted, including overnight respite, will require a child and young persons social care assessment for those under 18. For young adults over 18 they will need a Care Act assessment  

The types of support that may be available after the assessment include:  

  • Personal support - providing care in their homes or out in the community   

  • Residential - regular short stays in a residential setting during the day or overnight,  for example Russell House 

  • Family-based - trained carers that look after children and young people for a few hours or overnight in their home, an example of this is Share the care fostering 

  • Breakthrough mentoring

Direct Payments can also be provided after a social care assessment if a social worker identifies an eligible need. This allows you to organise your child’s personal support yourself. Alternatively, we will commission services for your child with a provider directly. This will be actioned through their social worker.     

Further Information  

Find out more about our short breaks by reading our short breaks summary