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Short Breaks for children with severe and complex needs

The Council funds a range of clubs, activities and services that provide short breaks for severe and complex disabilities.  These are sometimes called Targeted Short Breaks.

They are only open to people who have been assessed as needing them. This is explained in the Islington Short Breaks Statement. (new statement from April 2020). Attendance at these activities is coordinated by the Short Breaks Service.

Families that are eligible for these targeted clubs, activities and 1:1 services are sent information at least once per year and asked to get in touch with Short Breaks Service to plan their use of these activities and services across the year.

Information sent to eligible families can be found in the Short Breaks Booklet - Targeted Short Breaks for disabled children and young people aged 2 - 18.

Targeted Short Breaks are provided to Islington Children by Action for ChildrenCentre 404, Hayward Adventure PlaygroundPalace for all, Richard Cloudesley School, Special People, Springcare Support Services and the Westminster Society.

Short Breaks Offer Update – COVID 19 - June 2020

This is an update about:

  • the use of the Short Breaks Cash Alternative (direct payments) from 1 July 2020
  • summer schemes and 1:1 services over the summer

It supersedes the May 2020 update about the Short Breaks Cash Alternative.

The Short Breaks Cash Alternative

Families eligible for targeted Short Breaks services can request a Short Breaks Cash Alternative. All requests will be considered individually subject to the Council’s staffing capacity and ability to process the payments.

Due to Covid 19 we are allowing the Short Breaks Cash Alternative to be used more flexibly than usual. There are 2 different offers to take into account the needs of families that are shielded/ clinically extremely vulnerable.

Offer 1. Families can use the Short Breaks Cash Alternative to buy activities that keep the disabled child active, engaged and occupied such as:

  • sports/ drama/ dance coaching / lessons (face to face or online). This must be from a company or a person registered with HMRC.
  • days out (e.g. a family ticket to the zoo)
  • transport costs associated with days out or activities (e.g. train fares to the seaside)
  • a contribution towards the costs of the disabled child going on a holiday in the UK

The amount is based on the maximum number of Short Break hours they are entitled to x £13.40 per hour. Any monies spent will be deducted from the child’s 2020/21 Short Breaks allocation. Families cannot use the funding to buy equipment, activities only for siblings, clothing, food, drink, educational text books or online educational tutoring/ sites/ subscriptions, health therapies.

Eligible families can make a request by sending a list of activities they would like to access and their cost by email to short.breaks@islington.gov.uk

We advise that families get a quote from activity providers to check that they are open and able to provide the service wanted.

Council staff will then contact the family to discuss the request.

Once activities are agreed, families will need to complete some paperwork to open a pre-paid card account, where funds will be paid into.

Offer 2. Where the disabled child is shielded/ clinically extremely vulnerable (at 1 July 2020)  

Families can use it to buy things that keep the disabled child active, engaged and occupied such as:

  • arts and craft materials
  • sensory toys/equipment
  • outdoor play equipment such as a trampoline, scooter, bike, sand box
  • books (including e-books)
  • musical instruments
  • board games/puzzles
  • electronic aids, such as an age appropriate tablet
  • subscription services such as Sky Television, Netflix, Spotify

Families may purchase items to the maximum value of:

  • £261.30 for children aged under 5
  • £522.60 for children aged 5 to 18 year olds

The amount is based on the maximum number of Short Break hours in a 13-week period x £13.40 per hour. Any monies spent will be deducted from the child’s 2020/21 Short Breaks allocation. Families do not need to spend the whole amount.

Families cannot use the funding to buy items for siblings, clothing, food, drink, fuel, educational text books or electric scooters / bikes.

Eligible families can make a request by sending a list of items they would like to purchase and their cost by email to short.breaks@islington.gov.uk

We advise that families get a quote from places that have the items currently in stock and can also deliver.

Council staff will then contact the family to discuss the request.

Once items are agreed, families will need to complete some paperwork to open a pre-paid card account, where funds will be paid into.

Holiday Play Schemes

We are planning the Short Breaks offer for the summer holiday period.

This planning includes:

  1. Working out how many children we can safely run targeted Short Breaks play schemes for.
  2. Discussing how universal services such as adventure Playgrounds and childcare provision can re-open and run safely.
  3. Discussing with families if it is safe for their children to attend and if they want to be considered for a place at one play scheme.
  4. The Council will then co-ordinate the allocation of the places at play schemes. This includes how to do this in a fair and safe way.

We will talk to families and give some information that will help to make an informed decision on whether it would be safe for their child to attend short breaks services.

This will depend on individual circumstances and whether anyone at home is shielding or clinically vulnerable.

Short Breaks over the summer will be different to previous years. Families are unlikely to get the short break services that were requested or planned.

Play schemes will run where the service provider is able to take all reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of children, their families and staff.

Short Breaks 1:1 agency staff

Some commissioned agencies including Springcare, Special People and Centre 404 are reporting that staff may be available to work 1:1 with a child in the community.

Watch a short film on Action For Kids Short Breaks

Take a look at Action for Kids short film to see some of the things they do.

Watch a short film on Haywards Adventure Playground

Take a look at the play centre at Haywards Adventure Playground.