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 2019 - 2020

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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’.


01/03/2019 - The Short Breaks Scheme 2019/2020 is now CLOSED

22/02/2019 - Final Reminder Short Breaks Scheme 2019/2020 CLOSES FEBRUARY 28th 2019

As per last year, applications for the Scheme need to be made via the Wiltshire Council online form by Thursday February 28th 2019:

[Wiltshire Council Online Form]

Please remember that it is your responsibility to make sure you have received an email receipt for your application.

If you experience difficulties with your application please contact the WPCC on 01225 764647. If you do not have access to the internet or you need some help to make an application, please telephone us, (WPCC) on 01225 764647 (option 1) 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 see below for full details including eligibility criteria, link to the online form and changes to this year’s scheme.


11/01/2019 - APPLICATIONS FOR THE WILTSHIRE SHORT BREAKS SCHEME 2019/20 ARE NOW OPEN

As per last year, applications for the scheme need to be made via the Wiltshire Council [online form].

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."

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: if your child becomes eligible after 28th February 2019 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 56 hours, the COMBO 28 hours and £150, the Scheme Payment £300. The Scheme closes on Friday 18th October 2019. 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.

APPLICATIONS FOR THE WILTSHIRE SHORT BREAKS SCHEME 2019 - 2020 MUST BE RECEIVED VIA THE ONLINE FORM BY THURSDAY 28TH FEBRUARY 2019!

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 2019) to 18yrs (as of 31st March 2019), 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.

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 £440 (6-18yrs)
  • Supported fund up to £440 (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 £220 (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 £105, or the Scheme Payment of £210. 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 CentralSENService@wiltshire.gov.uk 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. 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 THURSDAY 28TH FEBRUARY 2019

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.

Remember your application MUST be received by Thursday 28th February 2019.

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: 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.

Changes to the Wiltshire Short Breaks Scheme 2018/2019

Following the online consultation survey on the Short Breaks Scheme, Wiltshire Council has introduced changes to the Scheme this year informed by what parent carers said. These changes have been introduced to manage the growing demands on the Scheme and keep it affordable and sustainable for the coming year, and to ensure that as many eligible children and young people as possible can continue to access the Scheme.

In considering the growing demands of the Scheme, at the time of consultation last year, parent carers were asked to think creatively about the affordability of the Scheme and its ability to meet an ever increasing number of eligible children and young people. It was clear through the consultation survey that parent carers continue to highly value the Short Breaks Scheme. In recognising how valuable the Scheme is to children and young people with SEND, parent carers suggested a reduction in payment amount from £460 to £410 so that eligible families would continue to be able to access the Scheme; parent carers also suggested excluding families whose children attend residential provision for 38 weeks a year or more, and reducing Barnardo's Club hours.

The WPCC was concerned that the payment amount has been reduced several years running in an effort to keep the Scheme affordable and sustainable and in an effort to prevent a further reduction of £50, the WPCC presented a case to Wiltshire Council councillors and the Director of Children's Services. The WPCC requested that favourable consideration be given to increasing the Short Breaks Budget by £80,000 to counteract the predicted saving necessary, as a result of an anticipated increase of 150 successful applications. We were hopeful that if successful in our request, this would mean little or no reduction to the payment amount this year. We were delighted when the Director for Children's Services confirmed that he would authorise an increase of £80,000 to the Short Breaks Budget, especially as the Council is having to make further significant savings to the Council budget. The final figures showing the number of successful applications for the Scheme have now been analysed. Based on the analysis of successful applications this year, it is now anticipated that there is likely to be an increase of at least an additional 220 successful applications for the 2019/20 Scheme, which is significantly more than was expected during the consultation. Following negotiations with the Council, and in response to suggestions from parent carers in an effort to keep the Scheme affordable and sustainable, Wiltshire Council has made a decision to reduce the payment amount to families whose children attend residential provision for 38 weeks or more a year; these children and young people will be entitled to either:-

  • 42 hours of Barnardo’s Activity Clubs,
  • or a reduced COMBO of 21 hours of Barnardo’s Activity Clubs and £105 Scheme Payment,
  • or £210 Scheme Payment.


Barnardo's Activity Club hours will be reduced to a maximum of 84 hours a year, or a maximim of 42 hours if chosing the Combo option.

By introducing these changes, it means that the Payment amount will only be reduced by £20, rather than £50 as suggested by parent carers. The Payment amount for the Scheme this year will be up to £440 and the COMBO will be 42 hours of Barnardo’s Activity Clubs and up £220.

Eligible children aged 6 and above will continue to be able to choose the Barnardo’s option of up to 84 hours of activity clubs. Young people aged 18 who meet the eligibility criteria and turn 19 after 1st April 2019 will still be eligible. (See Short Breaks Scheme Leaflet for full details of eligibility).

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.

For more information about how the Local Authority meets the requirements of Short Breaks regulations, and how the Short Breaks Scheme has been defined and refined in consultation with parent carers, please see the Short Breaks Services Statement in the Current Projects section of our website.