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SEND Short Breaks (COVID-19)

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Updated 22 June 2021

The SEND Short Breaks offer provides parents and carers of a child with a disability and/or additional needs with a break from their caring responsibilities

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is affecting all aspects of life for families and children and Plymouth City Council's SEND Short Breaks service is committed to supporting children, families and schools & settings during this challenging time.

A short break gives children or young people with a disability the opportunity to have fun doing things they enjoy and spending quality time with other young people in new environments.

It also means that parents and carers can have a regular planned break from the responsibilities of caring for their children.

A short break can be two or more hours, a day activity, overnight or longer depending on the circumstances and needs of the disabled child and their family. It can be time spent away from the home, in the community, or in the home with or without the main carer. Plymouth City Council's short break offer provides choice and flexibility for families and the disabled child should enjoy their time spent in a break.

Most of the city's children and young people with disabilities do not require an assessment from a social worker to determine the level of short break they need. In Plymouth these assessments are carried out by the Short Breaks Team.

The team have been working throughout the COVID 19 epidemic to support the families already receiving a short break and carrying out new assessments for the children that have been referred in to the service. The team have worked closely with short break providers across the city to ensure that the correct support has been in place for our most vulnerable children.

During this challenging period, the team is largely working in a remote way to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. They are providing new assessments of need, reviewing existing packages of care, telephone support and attending virtual meetings using the latest technology.

However, they are still visiting homes and settings where it is felt essential to see a child in a face-to-face way. These visits are always carried out after extensive discussions with the family or setting and with the utmost safety precautions.

Find out more about Short Breaks (PDF) [286KB]

How to request short break support

Please email or call 01752 668000

If you have any questions or feedback about these pages please email

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