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After formal consultation between November 2017 and February 2018, a new Short Breaks Eligibility Criteria and Offer was approved.  From April 2019 the new criteria and offer is effective.

Short Breaks provide children and young people with disabilities or additional needs an opportunity to spend time away from their parents, engage in fun activities and enjoy time with their friends. They offer parents/carers a break from their caring responsibilities and time to spend with other family members and to catch-up on other daily tasks.

The short breaks programme is open to all children and young people who:

  • Have a disability or additional needs and may require support to participate fully in leisure or recreation activities;
  • Are between 0 and their 19th birthday;
  • Live within Southampton City Council boundaries.

There are 4 tiers of support offered through the Short Breaks Programme, available dependent on the level of need arising from the impact of a child’s disability.  These are: Low, Medium, Substantial and Complex.

The Southampton Short Break Statement provides more detailed information on the current range of short break services, the eligibility criteria and how to access them. Southampton City Council, working in partnership with Southampton Parent Carer Forum, have reviewed the Short Breaks Offer and have updated this document.  This can be found under ‘related links’ on this page, or by scrolling further down this page.

Low tier of support

These are services that are provided to, or are routinely available to, all children, young people and their families in their local community.

All children and young people should be able to access opportunities which are happening within their local communities.  These opportunities can be found at children’s centres, libraries, swimming pools and sports centres, youth groups, parks, playgrounds, community centres and many more.  Wherever possible these are the opportunities which should be used as a first point of call.  These services have a duty under the Equalities Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments and not to treat a disabled person less favourably.

The suite of mainstream clubs and activities in and around Southampton is available on the Southampton Information Directory 

How can I access this?

They are accessed by families directly.  There is a growing list of activities that are part of The Max Card scheme and these are promoted on The Max Card website

Medium tier of support

These are services that are aimed at children and young people with needs that require more support than available through universal services.  They may need groups or services that are specifically designed to meet their needs.

Families who are in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but not receiving an individual package of support via services at the substantial or complex level will have access to a MAX Card Plus which offers easy access to a range of concessions or discounts negotiated across the City. This recognises that these children are able to access the majority of services available to all children.

Additionally, the MAX Card Plus will offer booking rights into subsidised activities, in and around Southampton. The short breaks programme will fund two main types of activities:

  • Specialist Activities – run specifically for children and young people with moderate to complex needs.
  • Support to attend mainstream activities, play schemes, clubs and groups

How can I access this?

Any parent or carer of children with disabilities or additional needs aged between 0 and their 19th birthday, living within the Southampton City Council boundary and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can apply to The Buzz Network.

Substantial tier of support

Substantial support services are for disabled children, young people and their parent/carers who require more support than is available through Low or Medium support services.

Family’s needs who are assessed to be substantial will be supported through the relevant social care team. These teams will be able to complete a short breaks assessment and if eligible the family will receive an individual package of support through a Personal Budget. This might include: 

  • Individual support in the home or community (e.g. outreach)
  • Direct Payments - to purchase individual support in line with the personal budget and direct payment policy.
  • They may also be able to access the non-assessed short break activities at a subsidised rate, purchased through direct payments.
  • A mixture of more than one of these options

How can I access this?

A referral can be made by a Parent/Carer or professionals working with the child via the Child’s Social Worker.  If a child is not already open to a Social Care team, then a referral can be made via the Southampton MASH Team, with the consent of the child’s parent.  If eligible, an assessment of needs will be carried out by a social worker.  This assessment will consider the impact of the child’s disability on them and their parent/carer and siblings.  This could result in an assessed need for additional support or respite.

It is recommended that for new referrals an online MASH referral form is completed.

Telephone (office hours): 023 8083 3336

Out of hours: 023 8023 3344

Complex tier of support

Families open to the JIGSAW Children with Disabilities Team will have an assessment of needs and if eligible will receive an individualised Short Breaks package of support through a Personal Budget. This might be through;

  • Individual support in the home or community (e.g. outreach)
  • Family based overnight and day care
  • Residential overnight short breaks
  • Direct Payments – to purchase individual support in line with the personal budget and direct payment policy.
  • A mixture of more than one of these options.

They may also be able to access the non-assessed short break activities at a subsidised rate, purchased through direct payments.

How can I access this?

A referral can be made by a Parent/Carer or professionals working with the child via the Southampton JIGSAW Team, with the consent of the child’s parent.  If eligible, an assessment of needs will be carried out by a social worker.  This assessment will consider the impact of the child’s disability on them and their parent/carer and siblings.  This could result in an assessed need for additional support or respite.

Telephone: 023 8091 5702

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