What are Short Breaks?

Local Authorities have a duty to provide short breaks for carers of disabled children to enable them to continue to care for their disabled child and to participate in everyday activities.

These services are available in the evenings, at weekends and during school holidays:

  • Day time care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere;
  • Overnight care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere;
  • Educational or recreational activities for disabled children outside their homes.
Who is eligible for Short Breaks?

Children and young people aged 0–18 years whose daily lives are substantially affected by one or more of the following diagnosed conditions:

  • A hearing impairment;
  • A visual impairment;
  • A learning disability;
  • A physical disability;
  • A chronic/life threatening physical illness;
  • A communication disorder (including autism);
  • A consciousness disorder (e.g. epilepsy);
  • A mental health condition.

Their condition should usually be expected to last for more than 12 months and have a substantial effect upon the child in more than one of the following areas:

  • Physical ability;
  • Communication and understanding;
  • Awareness of risk and danger;
  • Behaviour;
  • Independence.

We understand that children and young people may also be disadvantaged because of other factors, such as their environment; other people’s attitudes; poverty and social exclusion. However, these factors alone do not entitle them to be considered for Short Breaks services.

Each child and family will have different needs and the impact of the child’s disability needs to be considered against what would usually be expected for any child of the same age. Their family’s circumstances will also be different and so it is important to assess how their situation impacts upon their ability to lead an ordinary life within the community.

For more information please see these below: 

Short Breaks Available

Short Breaks Service Guide provides details of activities – this is currently being updated and will be replaced shortly.

All the latest activity flyers can be found at the top of the Leisure section 

The Disabled Children’s Service Short Breaks Newsletters which can be found in the boxes below, provide the latest activity details and useful information

Disabled Children Service Newsletters


Sept-Dec 2022