Toggle menu

Short breaks for your disabled child

Short Breaks Panel

Short Breaks are activities that give children and young people with disabilities or additional needs a chance to:

  • have fun and try new things
  • make friends and join activities
  • gain confidence and independence
  • children and young people can enjoy a change of scenery and a break from their home environment.

They also give their families and carers a break from the demands of caring for their child. This means parents and carers can have time to:

  • spend with each other
  • spend individual time with their other children
  • relax

A Short Break can range from two hours to a day of activity, overnight, or longer, depending on the circumstances and needs of the child or young person 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.

We have a great range of short break opportunities for children and young people, including direct-access holiday activities. The targeted short break activities might include:

  • weekend and holiday clubs
  • enabling support for community activities, for example, Brownies, Cubs  sports, leisure, and youth clubs
  • specialist group activities, for example, at The Beckly Centre, Devonport Park Activity Centre, and Plymouth Argyle.

Specialist services to support short breaks are for disabled children when their social care assessment shows that they:

  • have severe and complex needs
  • need extra support to access a special special range of activities based on the child or young person's needs
  • are a priority for safeguarding reasons and may include
  • weekend and holiday activities in a specialist setting
  • family-based or residential overnight short breaks    
  • a personal budget or direct payments to employ a personal assistant for your disabled child  to support their independence skills.

Our Short Breaks/AHELP Team works in partnership with families to undertake an assessment of need. This can include a parent or carer assessment if requested. The assessment will identify the support needs and consider the level of service required. Requests for funding are considered at the Short Breaks Panel, where they will discuss your child's assessment and then let you know what type of short break or support has been agreed upon.

How local authorities should provide short breaks

On the GOV.UK website, the government has published a guide that covers:

  • who should be considered for access to care breaks
  • what services the local authority must provide
  • what to consider when planning care breaks, for example, the culture and needs of the family

How to request short break support

For information about Short Breaks for your child or young person, please email or call 01752 668000.

Plymouth Information Advice and Support Service

The Plymouth Information Advice and Support Service sends out a regular newsletter of all the activities available for disabled children. We would encourage you to explore and try these varied activities, as they are small groups with high levels of skilled staffing.

Frequently asked questions

What is a short break?

A short break is a time when a disabled child or young person can have fun and enjoy activities outside of their usual home environment, while their parents or carers have a break from their caring responsibilities. Short breaks can be for a few hours, overnight, or for longer periods of time.

What are the benefits of short breaks?

Short breaks can benefit both disabled children and their parents or carers. For children, short breaks can provide opportunities to:

  • Try new things and have fun
  • Make new friends
  • Develop new skills and confidence
  • Gain independence

For parents or carers, short breaks can provide:

  • A much-needed break from their caring responsibilities
  • Time to relax and recharge
  • Time to spend with other family members or friends
  • Time to pursue their own interests

Who is eligible for short breaks?

All disabled children and young people in Plymouth are eligible for short breaks, regardless of their level of disability.

How do I access short breaks?

To access short breaks, you will need to contact Plymouth City Council's Short Breaks Team. The team will assess your child's needs and help you find the right type of short break for your child and family. The phone number is 01752 668000.

What types of short breaks are available in Plymouth?

There is a wide range of short breaks available in Plymouth, including:

  • Daytime activities, such as clubs, groups, and trips
  • Overnight stays in specialist short-break homes or residential settings
  • Family-based short breaks, where a short break worker comes to your home to support you and your child
  • Personal budgets and direct payments, which can be used to purchase short breaks from a variety of providers

How much do short breaks cost?

The cost of short breaks will vary depending on the type of short break and the level of support that your child needs. Some short breaks are free, while others may have a charge. Plymouth City Council can help you to find out how much a particular short break will cost.

What are some tips for choosing a short break for my child?

When choosing a short break for your child, it is important to consider their individual needs and interests. You should also think about the following:

  • The type of activities that your child enjoys
  • The level of support that your child needs
  • The cost of the short break
  • The distance of the short break from your home
  • Whether the short break is accredited or regulated

What should I do if I have any concerns about my child's short break?

If you have any concerns about your child's short break, you should speak to the short break provider. If you are not satisfied with their response, you can contact Plymouth City Council's Short Breaks Team by calling 01752 668000.


Plymouth City Council Short Breaks Statement

The Short Breaks Statement gives you information about what is available, who can use the service, how to access services, and how short breaks can meet the needs of disabled children and young people and their families.



Plymouth's Local Offer is organised into four main categories covering the following age ranges:

 Plymouth Local Offer homepage



Is the information correct?

Let us know if the information on this page is wrong and needs to be updated.


What Is The Local Offer Promotional Quote

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email