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 2022 - 2023

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Wiltshire’s Short Breaks Scheme enables eligible children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), additional support to access activities and leisure opportunities.





To be eligible for the scheme, your child or young person must: -

• Be resident in the areas of the county covered by Wiltshire Council (i.e. Swindon is excluded)

• Aged 6 years old (as of 31st August 2022) to 18 years old (as of 31st March 2022). N.B. young people who turn 19 between 1st April and 31st August are still eligible to apply but will receive a reduced entitlement

• And meet the eligibility criteria described in the [Short Breaks Scheme Leaflet]


You can use this simple [online Eligibility Tool] to check if your child or young person is eligible for the 2022-23 Short Breaks Scheme.

The Short Breaks Scheme leaflet gives detailed information about the scheme, including: -
• Who can access the scheme – details about eligibility
• How to apply – including a link to the [online application form]
• Scheme options – these are a range of options that enable children and young people, together with their parent carers, to think creatively about how they want to spend their leisure time and choose what works best for them


Wiltshire’s 2022/23 Short Breaks Scheme is now CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS

Applications after 6th March 2022 will only be considered if there are exceptional 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.

APPLICATIONS FOR THE WILTSHIRE SHORT BREAKS SCHEME 2022 - 2023 MUST BE RECEIVED VIA THE ONLINE FORM BY SUNDAY 6TH MARCH 2022!

Who can access the scheme

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Children and young people who can access the scheme are:-


  1. aged 6yrs (as of 31st August 2022) to 18yrs (as of 31st March 2022), and
  2. resident in areas of the county covered by Wiltshire Council (i.e. this excludes Swindon), and
  3. meet the eligibility criteria on pages 2 and 3 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 child’s eligibility for the Short Breaks Scheme [HERE]

Applications must be received via the online form by Sunday 6th MARCH 2022 to qualify for the Short Breaks Scheme.

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 £340 (6-18yrs)
  • Up to 84 hours of organised Barnardo's activity clubs on Saturdays and during school holidays (6-18yrs). *N.B. Virtual support and small group activities will be available if large group activities are not permitted due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • The ‘combo’ – up to 42hrs of organised Barnardo's activity clubs, plus a short breaks scheme payment of up to £170 (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 £85, or the Scheme Payment of £170. 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 2, followed by Option 3), email the team at CentralSENService@wiltshire.gov.uk or visit their [website].


For general short breaks enquiries, contact the WPCC 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 submit your application with Wiltshire Council. Please have your bank details to hand as you will need them when submitting your online application. If you have an email address and access to the internet, please click [here] to apply directly online.

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.

APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED BY SUNDAY 6TH MARCH 2022

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 WPCC's online eligibility checking tool to check your child’s eligibility for the Short Breaks Scheme [HERE]

Remember your application MUST be received by Sunday 6th March 2022.

Wiltshire Short Breaks Activity Clubs for Children and Young People with SEND

Barnardo’s is responsible for running and delivering Short Breaks Activity Clubs for Children and Young People aged 0 to 18 who choose either the Club option or COMBO option within Wiltshire’s Short Breaks Scheme.

To find out more about the clubs, the sorts of things children and young people might do, where they take place and more, please see the following information (WSB info sheet).

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 WPCC's signposting section or go to the online calendar.


Small Grants Scheme

Wiltshire Council wishes to support the expansion of the provision of clubs and activities across the county for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities, to support them to participate in activities that they are interested in alongside their friends and peers. This grant has been made available this year as a result of a small underspend on the Short Breaks Scheme last year (2021-22). Parent carers voted on how the budget underspend should be used and the majority said that they wanted it to fund a Small Grants Scheme. The Small Grants Scheme is for new provision or expansion of an existing scheme and not to support the continuation of existing clubs and activities. Individuals and organisations have been invited to apply for small grants of up to £10,000 to increase the number of opportunities available for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities in the Wiltshire area, in the hope that it will support an increase in opportunities for children and young people, and promote greater inclusion in activities and groups, allowing them to participate alongside their friends and peers.

The WPCC published details of the Small Grants Scheme in previous newsletters and on its website.

If my Child or Young Person doesn't Meet the Eligibility Criteria what Should I do?

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: admin@wiltspcc.co.uk 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


An update from Wiltshire Council 2022-2023

Wiltshire Council continues to be fully committed to providing the short breaks service in the county, and to helping to support children and young people with SEND, and their families/carers.

There has been another significant increase in the number of children and young people in Wiltshire with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) this year, and it is good to see all partners working together to do all they can to support children, young people and families, and have access to the appropriate advice and information.

Wiltshire Council, like all councils is facing unprecedented financial pressures due to the impact of the COVID pandemic. Financial challenges and another year that sees a large increase in the number of eligible children and young people who qualify for support under the Short Breaks Scheme, means that with regret, payment amounts this year see a slight reduction from last year. This reduction has been necessary to ensure that as a council, we are able to support all of the eligible children, young people and families in Wiltshire, and that the funding is shared out equally for everyone.

To support this slight reduction, it has been agreed that the first payments will be up to £280 for the Scheme payment option and up to £140 for the COMBO. The second payment will be up to £60 for the scheme payment or up to £30 for the COMBO option. This will mean a total of up to £340 for Scheme Payment option and up to £170 for the COMBO option.

We are also investing in a Small Grant Scheme to provide additional inclusive opportunities in the community for the children and young people with SEND of Wiltshire, and we will continue to look for ways to make sure that we support all those with SEND across the county.