Short Breaks

Below you will find information about short breaks, what they are, who they are for and how you can access them.

What is a Short Break?

A short break is when children and young people with additional needs or disability participate in activities that they enjoy in their leisure time (outside school hours), for example playing sport, spending time with friends, joining a club or spending a few days away from home.

There are several benefits to short breaks such as:

  • Enabling disabled children and young people to experience new relationships, environments and positive activities;
  • Providing a necessary and valuable opportunity for primary carers (often Mum and/or Dad, but not always) to have a break from their caring responsibilities, and to recharge their batteries.

Short Breaks may include day, evening, overnight or weekend activities and could take place at home, at an approved carer’s home or in a community or residential setting. They could involve taking part in an activity with other disabled young people or being supported to take part in local activities open to everyone.

Often they can also mean supporting parents in their caring role so that the whole family can enjoy activities together.

Who is eligible for short breaks?

The following groups of people are eligible for a Short Break:

  • Disabled children and Young People 0-25 depending on type of Short Break
  • Disabled children living in the B&NES Area

Children and young people are eligible for short breaks if they have a “physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.” (Source: The Equality Act 2010). This may include:

  • Physical or mental impairment
  • Sensory impairment
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Children who may have challenging behaviour as a result of their disability
  • Children who have complex healthcare needs and who may have palliative, life limiting or life threatening conditions
  • Children/young people with an Educational Health and care plan (EHCP)  issued in recognition of their Disability

Where can short breaks be accessed?

There are a range of Short Breaks offered across B&NES and sometimes further afield, depending on the Short Break. To find out more about the range of short breaks in the area please look at the documents section at the bottom of this page.

How can I request support/access short breaks?

Targeted Short Break activities, such as the School holiday schemes and term time only activities can be accessed directly by families. Families can contact the provider directly and find out how to book onto the schemes. Specialist short breaks such as residential overnight stays requires a social care assessment which can be requested through Disabled Children’s Team (DCT) on 01225 39 6967.

Contact information

Please see our Short break provision 2020 onwards document for contact details for short break providers.

Does your service want to become a short breaks provider?

The Term Time Only Short Breaks opportunity is now open for expressions of interest. This is an annual opportunity to apply for funding in order to offer existing or new activities and clubs. In order to access these opportunities on an annual basis Providers will need to have joined the Council’s framework for Term Time Only Short Breaks. 

The Council has made every effort to ensure the application process is not onerous and to encourage smaller organisations to apply for funding. The application process will reopen for applications on a yearly basis. Providers should ensure they are registered on the commissioning portal as the process will be manged through the portal and all communication about future applications will be advertised. 

Organisations can apply online. If you would like to find out more about this opportunity, the Council are holding a market engagement event 15th of September 2023 10.00am -11.30pm via teams. In order to register for this session please contact