Community short breaks

What is a Short Break?Short Breaks Logo

Short Breaks give children and young people experiences that are fun, stimulating and enjoyable independent from their main carers and which reduces their social isolation and helps their personal and social development.

They also give parents and carers a necessary and valuable rest from caring responsibilities allowing them to re-charge their batteries, spend time with other family members and provide space to do other things.

A short break can range from an hour long activity to a full day trip and take place during the day, evening, weekend and school holidays.

Who is the service for?

Our Short Breaks service is available to children and young people with a diagnosed disability living in Derby, aged from birth up to 18 years.

One of our main aims is to offer a service to families who are not receiving any similar support. We therefore cannot consider a referral if a child or young person already receives any of the following services:

  • residential stays at school
  • hospice care, play schemes
  • youth services
  • Link Care (Fostering Service) scheme
  • after school clubs
  • any other service delivered by The Light House. This also includes Direct Payments that have been awarded for social activities.

How are Short Breaks run?

Our Short Breaks are run by 'Fun-abil8y Services' and 'Umbrella Services' who offer specialist groups and 1:1 support in the community. 

All support staff have appropriate and suitable communication skills, experience and training to meet the needs of your child or young person and keep them safe. Every child or young person has their own comprehensive ‘Person Centred Plan’, meaning that activities will be appropriate and suit their abilities, preferences and wishes. Sometimes a child or young person may enjoy and benefit from a combination of the Short Breaks on offer.

There are three types of Short Break available:

  • Specialist Group - specially designed to promote friendships and peer support, offering activities that are stimulating, enjoyable and fun! They offer an exciting choice of varied activities at several local venues across the city. Club activities include sports, art and music, games, cooking, youth club and swimming. Special events are arranged throughout the year too celebrating religious and cultural holidays, local carnivals and national events. Previous day trips have been enjoyed at safari parks, themed picnics and barbeques, chef’s school, Warwick Castle, Alton Towers, Chester Zoo, horse riding, sensory swimming sessions to name but a few.... Many trips are available for the whole family to enjoy too!
  • Community - open to all children and young people in the city, for example swimming pools, leisure centres, libraries, playgrounds, Brownies, Scouts, holiday play schemes, cinemas, bowling, dance lessons and so on. However, some individuals will need additional support to access these mainstream services. We can select a suitable support worker to enable a child or young person to attend a community activity of their choice. They will be supported and encouraged to reach their full potential in the pursuit of their chosen activity. Examples of other 1:1 Community Support opportunities are learning to use public transport, shopping and money management, booking and attending appointments such as the hairdressers and mentoring support.
  • Short Breaks Direct Payment - In some circumstances parents and carers prefer to arrange their own support. A Short Breaks Direct Payment allows families the flexibility, choice and control of choosing their own short break activity and employing their preferred carer. We can also signpost families to organisations that are able to advise how to choose a suitable carer. Up to twice a year families need to provide us with evidence of appropriate spending. An example of some of the current activities now being enjoyed through this scheme are climbing, fishing, gym, volunteering, use of public transport, life skills, specialist activity weekend break, Girls Brigade, Scouts and snowboarding.

What do families say about the service?

(Please note that names have been changed to protect identities)

They encourage and nurture him. They allow him to gain independence away from me in a safe environment where he is learning and socialising. Without it my son would not have progressed and I as a parent would not have had the support to feel comfortable to allow him into the care of others, enabling me to have moments of much needed respite.
Mother of Oliver (aged 17) who attends a Specialist Group. 

I think all of the outcomes are important. The support of the service means that Helen can attend a dance class with other children in the community who do not have special needs and is accepted and included and is able to take part in dance shows. I am happy and confident that she is being looked after and is safe and Helen loves going and has made lots of friends.
Mother of Helen (aged 5). Helen receives a Short Breaks Direct Payment. 

I don’t like it when I can’t go out with my support worker for whatever reason”
Michael (aged 5). He receives a Short Breaks Direct Payment. 

I have noticed a little more independence and he is now choosing what he would like to wear. There has been a little improvement with socialism and inclusion and he has started to get party invitations. Gary has now started to talk about what he has done and he is enjoying himself.
Mother of Gary (aged 8) who receives 1:1 Community Support. 

My child has become more confident and sociable, enjoys new activities and interests and made a very good friend. He looks forward to going on his activity and is able to choose what he would like to do, his confidence has developed extremely, plus his support understands him which helps him relax easier when out.
Father of Tyrone (aged 9) who attends a Specialist Group. 

Can we take this opportunity to say what a life saver, for all in this family, the Short Breaks allocation has been. To have a regular, high energy exercise clubs that addresses the ADHD, sleep disorder as well as the social issues in his Autism has made a massive impact.
Mother of Harry (aged 9) who receives 1:1 Community Support. 

How much support is available?

Individuals are offered an initial 50 hours of free support per year which may be increased up to a maximum of 100 hours per year if needs or circumstances change.

How much does it cost?

The cost of some services will be the responsibility of the parents and carers. For example Scouts or Brownie subscription, Specialist Group admission, entrance fees, individual lessons.

Transport arrangements and any associated transport costs for the activity will be agreed between the service provider and the family in advance of the activity.

A support worker will be provided without charge.

How can Short Breaks help?

All families are asked to choose their desired outcome of support. For example, a child or young person may benefit from being more confident or independent. The service provider will work with families towards this. It is necessary that families cooperate with occasional reviews. This will help the service provider make any relevant improvements or changes to support.

It is very important that all families agree to co-operate with the Short Breaks team annual review. This helps us to improve the service for everyone.

Contact details

Post address:
The Short Breaks team
Integrated Disabled Children's Service
The Light House
St Mark's Road
DE21 6AL
Phone: 01332 256965
Fax: 01332 256989

The Light House
St Mark's Road
DE21 6AL

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