Short breaks


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Short breaks

In this section

Short Breaks Bulletin
Related sections
What's on, What we do
Related subsections
Short breaks projects, Leisure & breaks
Related articles
Brandon Trust community team services, Short Break Services Statement for Wiltshire Council, Results

Short Breaks Scheme 2020 - 2021


One of the ways that Wiltshire Council provides short breaks to children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disability is through the Short Breaks Scheme.

Designed in consultation with parents and carers, the scheme aims to meet the individual needs and interests of children and young people who require additional support to either access or engage in leisure activities or ‘short breaks’.

UPDATE - NOVEMBER 2020 - Late applications and the whole of the Wiltshire Short Breaks Scheme is now CLOSED

UPDATE - AUGUST 2020 - Short Breaks Scheme Monitoring form – Compass Disability Services

For those in receipt of this year’s Short Breaks Scheme funding it is now time to complete Compass Disability’s short monitoring form in order to receive your second payment. You will have either received an email detailing how to complete the form online, how to download and post it back to Compass Disability, or you complete the attached form and email/post it back to Compass Disability.

Those of you without email will be receiving a letter in the post shortly. If you are unable to complete the form online please call Compass Disability office where they can enter your details online for you over the phone. If you have any further questions please contact Adam on 0330 333 0089 or email

Please Note: This form must be returned by the 31st August in order to receive the next payment in September. Forms returned after the 31 August will still be considered, but any forms received after the 31st October will not.

• If you have not applied for the scheme, by 29th February 2020, you will NOT be eligible for this second part of the payment. (This does not apply to certain cases, see Short Breaks leaflet). See the [LEAFLET] for more information.
• If you have completed and sent a Monitoring form prior to reading this, you DO NOT need to send another. Please confirm with Adam at Compass Disability that they have received the form. 0330 333 0089/


As per last year, applications for the scheme need to be made via the Wiltshire Council online form (This form is now closed)

On submitting your application you should get a submission page on screen confirming your application. Text on the submission screen will include the following message: "Late applications will not be accepted so you are advised to keep a copy of this page (print or save a copy) as a record of your application should you need to evidence that you applied before the deadline."

You can also use the NEW online eligibility checking tool to check your childs eligibility for the Short Breaks Scheme [HERE]

If you experience difficulties, do not have access to the internet or you need some help to make an application, please contact WPCC on 01225 764647 and we will be happy to help you. Please leave a message with your name and telephone number on the answering machine, if you cannot get through.

Please note: Due to an administrative error, some eligible families have received more than one copy of this year’s Short Break Leaflet through the post. If you have received an additional copy of the Short Breaks Scheme leaflet, you do not need to anything other than apply as normal.

Please note: if your child becomes eligible after 29th February 2020 you may submit a late application, however a reduced entitlement will be awarded from the option of your choosing as follows: Barnardo’s Activity Clubs 42 hours, the COMBO 21 hours and £102, the Scheme Payment £205. The Scheme closes on Saturday 31st October 2020. No applications will be accepted after this date under any circumstances.

About the scheme

Designed in consultation with parents and carers, the Short Breaks Scheme aims to meet the individual needs and interests of children and young people who require additional support to either access or engage in leisure activities and social opportunities (also referred to as ‘short breaks’).

The Short Breaks Scheme offers families choice through a menu of options, which means that children and young people, together with their parents or carers, can think creatively about how they want to spend their leisure time and choose what works best for them.

Whilst Wiltshire Council subsidises all options available through the Short Breaks Scheme, families are expected to contribute towards the overall costs of providing short breaks for their children. Families choosing the Activity Club or COMBO option are required to contribute £10 per 3hr session and £18 per 6hr session towards this heavily subsidised service.

Families who choose the payment or COMBO option through the Short Breaks Scheme are responsible for making sure the money is used to best meet the leisure activity and social opportunity interests of their child for the year. By choosing the payment or COMBO option, you could be selected at random to take part in an interview to explain how the funding was used responsibly to benefit your child and meet their leisure interests.

As in previous years, the Short Breaks Scheme will be reviewed to make sure it continues to meet the needs of children and families in Wiltshire. For the latest Short Breaks Consultation Survey Report, please click here.


Who can access the scheme

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The scheme is open to children and young people who fulfil the following 3 criteria:

  1. aged 6yrs (as of 31st August 2020) to 18yrs (as of 31st March 2020), and
  2. resident in areas of the county covered by Wiltshire Council (i.e. this excludes Swindon), and
  3. meet the eligibility criteria on page 2 of the Short Breaks Scheme Leaflet

Please refer to the Short Breaks scheme leaflet for further information, terms and conditions.

You can also use the NEW online eligibility checking tool to check your childs eligibility for the Short Breaks Scheme [HERE]

If you are resident in Swindon, please [click here] for information about short breaks in your area.

What the options are

Depending on the age of your child and if they meet the eligibility criteria, the following options are available:

  • Short breaks scheme payment up to £410 (6-18yrs)
  • Up to 84 hours of organised Barnardo's activity clubs on Saturdays and during school holidays (6-18yrs)
  • The ‘combo’ – up to 42hrs of organised Barnardo's activity clubs, plus a short breaks scheme payment of up to £205 (6-18yrs)

Children/ young people with a residential placement: Children and young people in 52 week placements have leisure and social opportunities provided as part of their funded placement for the whole of the year, so they are not eligible for the Short Breaks Scheme. Children and young people in residential placements of 38 weeks or more can apply and will be entitled to either: Barnardo’s Activity Clubs 42 hours, COMBO 21 hours and £102, or the Scheme Payment of £205. Please refer to the Short Breaks scheme leaflet for further information, terms and conditions.

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For children aged 0-5yrs there are a range of services available across Wiltshire. Contact Wiltshire Council’s SEND Service for more information on 0300 4560108 (Option 5), email the team at or visit their [website].

For general short breaks enquiries, contact us on 01225 764647.

How to apply

Once you have read through the Short Break Scheme leaflet, are satisfied that your child meets the criteria for the Short Breaks Scheme and you know which option you want to choose, you will need to register your application with Wiltshire Council. If you have an email address and access to the internet, please click here to apply online. (Applications are now closed). If you do not have an email account or access to the internet, call the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council who will make an application on your behalf. Telephone: 01225 764647.


Please note that eligible families need to re-apply each year for the Short Breaks Scheme. Wiltshire Council reserves the right to close the scheme if the available budget is exhausted. Eligible families are, therefore, encouraged to apply promptly.

You can also use the NEW online eligibility checking tool to check your childs eligibility for the Short Breaks Scheme [HERE]

Remember your application MUST be received by Saturday 29th February 2020.

Information about other short break opportunities

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If your child is not eligible for the short breaks scheme, there is plenty more on offer. As well as being able to access opportunities available to ALL children and young people in Wiltshire (referred to as ‘universal’ services), such as play areas, swimming pools, leisure centres and youth clubs, Wiltshire Council also funds initiatives specifically designed to meet the needs of children and young people (with special educational needs/ disabilities) who require some support to enable them to access leisure activities.

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These are referred to as ‘targeted’ services and include a variety of sports activities, youth clubs, music and drumming sessions. With no assessment or criteria to meet to access these clubs (other than having a disability or special educational need), all you need to do is book a place.

Further information can be found in our signposting section or go to the calendar.

If my child does not meet the eligibility criteria should I appeal?

If your child is not eligible for the Short Breaks Scheme and would have difficulty accessing universal or targeted services without additional support, you may wish to consider making an appeal. For more information on appeals please contact Wiltshire Parent Carer Council on 01225 764647 or email: An appeal can be made by a parent, carer or professional who works with the child.

All appeals are carefully considered by the Short Breaks Appeals Panel, which is made up of members of Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Parent Carer Council. The panel meets monthly.

Upon receipt of an appeal, if further information or clarification is required before a decision can be reached, you will be contacted. As soon as the panel has reached a decision, you will be informed about the outcome.

Please click here to access the Appeals Form.

Changes to the Wiltshire Short Breaks Scheme

Wiltshire Council is fully committed to providing the short breaks service in Wiltshire.

There has been another significant increase in the number of children in Wiltshire with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) this year, which continues to put pressure on services.

Due to the predicted increase in the number of children who qualify for support under the Short Breaks Scheme the WPCC made a presentation to Wiltshire Council again this year requested that favourable consideration be given to increasing the Short Breaks budget again. In response to WPCC’s presentation, Wiltshire Council officers have recommended that the budget for this service is increased by £91,000 this year in order to continue to provide a meaningful level of payments and activities. This decision will be taken as part of the budget setting process for the Council, and will be agreed at the Full Council meeting in February 2020.

Wiltshire Council is hopeful that this increase in funding will be agreed in February 2020, but if the increase in budget is not agreed, there may be a reduction in payments, from the level detailed in this year’s leaflet.

We had hoped that as a result of a budget increase, there would be little or no reduction to the payment amounts this year. However, the number of children and families that are eligible under the Scheme is significantly higher than predicted. As a result, Wiltshire Council has had to make the decision to make a slight reduction to the payment amounts for this year. This reduction has been necessary to ensure that the Council is able to support all of the eligible children and families in Wiltshire, and that the funding is shared out equally for everyone.

We will confirm the levels of funding available once the decision has been made.

Pending an agreement at the Full Council meeting in February 2020, we are anticipating that:-

  • Short Breaks Scheme Payment amount will be up to £410

  • The Combo option will be 42 hours of holiday club time and a maximum payment amount of up to £205

  • Barnardo’s Activity Club hours will remain unchanged at 84 hours of club time

For a detailed explanation of the Scheme, please see the Short Breaks Scheme leaflet which includes details about eligibility criteria, Scheme options, and Frequently Asked Questions.

As in previous years, Wiltshire Council and the WPCC are committed to reviewing the Scheme regularly to ensure it remains relevant and affordable, and as such, the Scheme may be subject to further changes in future years.