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Short Breaks

West Sussex County Council has a statutory duty under the Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 to provide short breaks for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities, and their families.

Short breaks cover a range of activities from an hour’s sports activity, a summer playscheme, evening cinema trip or a fun day for the whole family. Short breaks enable children and young people with additional needs and disabilities to try new experiences. This could be both with and away from their siblings and parents or carers, giving them the opportunity to learn new skills, develop their confidence and have fun.

Short breaks are available for children and young people, from 0-25 years, who live in West Sussex and have a disability and/or additional need. Families who are in receipt of either the middle or high care component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for their disabled child or young person qualify for services automatically. For families of children and young people who have a similar level of need, but are not receiving DLA or PIP, short breaks providers offer a simple self-assessment to assess eligibility.

Short breaks also give parents and carers a break from their caring role, giving them a chance to rest, catch up on day-to-day activities and spend time with other family members. There is strong evidence that short breaks support the health and well-being of the children and young people receiving the break but also other family members. As families feel well supported and therefore more resilient this offers potential for less draw on specialist services provided by the Council both in children’s and ultimately adults’ services.

Short Break categories

There are 4 categories of short breaks activities, each category has a different focus.

  • Category 1 – Opportunities for the whole family to do things together. Events and activities focusing on inclusivity and having fun for the whole family and where families can meet other families with disabled children and young people have opportunities to build friendships and informal support networks.
  • Category 2 – Targeted fun and play, social, arts, sports and leisure activities. Recreational activities providing disabled children and young people with a range of group activities including, but not limited to, swimming, playschemes, arts, crafts and design, creative arts, community visits and outings. These groups are designed and led by the young people themselves.
  • Category 3 – Increasing access to universal services. Tailored, personalised support, enabling families to help themselves. Opportunities for enhanced community development providing disabled children and young people the opportunity to become active members of their local community.
  • Category 4 – Other – innovation/testing/pilots/enabling opportunities. Short breaks where a need has been identified and/or an opportunity to try something new out. These are innovative and creative projects.

Short breaks have also set up a WIKI as a way of collating and sharing information with families.

Further information on short breaks can be found on The Local Offer.

Last updated 8 October 2020

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