Short breaks


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Short breaks

In this section

Short Breaks Bulletin
Related sections
What's on, What we do
Related subsections
Short breaks projects, Leisure & breaks
Related articles
Brandon Trust community team services, Short Break Services Statement for Wiltshire Council, Results

Short Breaks Scheme 2018 - 2019

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One of the ways that Wiltshire Council provides short breaks to children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disability is through the Short Breaks Scheme.

Designed in consultation with parents and carers, the scheme aims to meet the individual needs and interests of children and young people who require additional support to either access or engage in leisure activities or ‘short breaks’.

09/03/2018 - Barnardo's Clubs for Children aged 6 and 7 - IMPORTANT CHANGE (2018-2019)
Due to clarification of OfSTED regulations, Barnardo’s is now able to offer a limited number of all-day places in their Short Breaks activity clubs for qualifying children aged 6 and 7. These days can replace the shorter 1.75 hour sessions which were previously offered. If you have chosen the Payment element of the Scheme, it may be possible for you to change your choice to activity clubs. The cost for these clubs will be £16 per day (6 hours).

If you would like to know more please contact the Barnardo’s team directly on 01249 463907 ext.4. Or email:

Please note: if your child becomes eligible after 28th February 2018 you may submit a late application, however a reduced entitlement will be awarded from the option of your choosing as follows: Barnardo’s Activity Clubs 60 hours, the COMBO 30 hours and £155, the Scheme Payment £310. The Scheme closes on Friday 12th October 2018. No applications will be accepted after this date under any circumstances.


As per last year, applications for the scheme need to be made via the Wiltshire Council [online form].

On submitting your application you should get a submission page on screen confirming your application. Text on the submission screen will include the following message: "Late applications will not be accepted so you are advised to keep a copy of this page (print or save a copy) as a record of your application should you need to evidence that you applied before the deadline."

If you experience difficulties, do not have access to the internet or you need some help to make an application, please contact WPCC on 01225 764647 and we will be happy to help you. Please leave a message with your name and telephone number on the answering machine, if you cannot get through.

About the scheme

The Short Breaks Scheme offers families choice through a menu of options, which means that children and young people, together with their parents or carers, can think creatively about how they want to spend their leisure time and choose what works best for them.

Whilst Wiltshire Council subsidises all options available through the Short Breaks Scheme, families are expected to contribute towards the overall costs of providing short breaks for their children.

Families who choose the payment option through the Short Breaks Scheme are responsible for making sure the money is used to best meet the short breaks and leisure activity needs of their child for the year.

As in previous years, the Short Breaks Scheme will be reviewed to make sure it continues to meet the needs of children and families in Wiltshire. For the latest Short Breaks Consultation Summary Report, please click here and for the latest Short Breaks Survey Report, please click here.


Who can access the scheme

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The scheme is open to children and young people who fulfil the following 3 criteria:

  1. aged 6yrs (as of 31st August 2018) to 18yrs (as of 31st March 2018), and
  2. resident in areas of the county covered by Wiltshire Council (i.e. this excludes Swindon), and
  3. meet the eligibility criteria on page 2 of the Short Breaks Scheme Leaflet

Please refer to the Short Breaks scheme leaflet for further information, terms and conditions.

If you are resident in Swindon, please [click here] for information about short breaks in your area.

What the options are

Depending on the age of your child and if they meet the eligibility criteria, the following options are available:

  • Short breaks scheme payment up to £460 (6-18yrs)
  • Supported fund up to £460 (6-18yrs)
  • Up to 90 hours of organised Barnardo's activity clubs on Saturdays and during school holidays (6-18yrs)
  • The ‘combo’ – up to 45hrs of organised Barnardo's activity clubs, plus a short breaks scheme payment of up to £230 (6-18yrs)

Please refer to the Short Breaks scheme leaflet for further information, terms and conditions.

Please note, this year there is a change for families whose children attend residential provision for 38 weeks or more a year. Take a look at the Changes to the Wiltshire Short Breaks Scheme 2018/2019 section below for further information.

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For children aged 0-5yrs there are a range of services available across Wiltshire. Contact Wiltshire Council’s SEND Service for more information on 01225 757953, email the team at or visit their [website].

For general short breaks enquiries, contact us on 01225 764647.

How to apply

Once you have read through the Short Break Scheme leaflet, are satisfied that your child meets the criteria for the Short Breaks Scheme and you know which option you want to choose, you will need to register your application with Wiltshire Council. You can do this [online] or, if you do not have access to the internet, by calling the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council on 01225 764647.


Please note that eligible families need to re-apply each year for the Short Breaks Scheme. Wiltshire Council reserves the right to close the scheme if the available budget is exhausted. Eligible families are, therefore, encouraged to apply promptly.

Remember your application MUST be received by Wednesday 28th February 2018.

Information about other short break opportunities

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If your child is not eligible for the short breaks scheme, there is plenty more on offer. As well as being able to access opportunities available to ALL children and young people in Wiltshire (referred to as ‘universal’ services), such as play areas, swimming pools, leisure centres and youth clubs, Wiltshire Council also funds initiatives specifically designed to meet the needs of children and young people (with special educational needs/ disabilities) who require some support to enable them to access leisure activities.

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These are referred to as ‘targeted’ services and include a variety of sports activities, youth clubs, music and drumming sessions. With no assessment or criteria to meet to access these clubs (other than having a disability or special educational need), all you need to do is book a place.

Further information can be found in our signposting section or go to the calendar.

If my child does not meet the eligibility criteria should I appeal?

Appeals for the short breaks scheme should only be made if a child / young person would not otherwise successfully access the other leisure activities available, i.e. universal and targeted services.

About the appeals process

To appeal, please complete a Wiltshire Short Breaks Appeal Form (Word document) and email or post it as instructed on the form. If you would like a pdf version of the form, please click here. An appeal can be made by a parent, carer or professional who works with the child.

All appeals are carefully considered by the Short Breaks Appeals Panel, which is made up of members of Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Parent Carer Council. The panel meets monthly.

Upon receipt of an appeal, if further information or clarification is required before a decision can be reached, you will be contacted. As soon as the panel has reached a decision, you will be informed about the outcome.

Changes to the Wiltshire Short Breaks Scheme 2018/2019

Following the series of WPCC consultation events on the Short Break Scheme with parent carers of children and young people with SEND during June 2017 and the subsequent on-line survey, Wiltshire Council has introduced changes to the Scheme this year informed by what parent carers said. These changes have been introduced to manage the growing demands on the Scheme and keep it affordable and sustainable for the coming year, and to ensure that as many eligible children and young people as possible can continue to access the Scheme.

In considering the growing demands of the Scheme, at the time of consultation last year, parent carers were asked to think creatively about the affordability of the Scheme, the fairness of the Scheme, and responsible use of money. It was clear through the consultation sessions and subsequent survey that parent carers continue to highly value the Short Breaks Scheme. In recognising how valuable the Scheme is to children and young people with SEND, parent carers suggested a reduction in payment amount from £500 to £450 so that eligible families would continue to be able to access the Scheme; parent carers also suggested reducing the payment amount to families whose children attend residential provision for 38 weeks a year.

In response to suggestions from parent carers in an effort to keep the Scheme affordable and sustainable, Wiltshire Council has made a decision to reduce the payment amount to families whose children attend residential provision for 38 weeks or more a year; these children and young people will be entitled to either:-

  • 60 hours of Barnardo’s Activity Clubs,
  • or a reduced COMBO of 30 hours of Barnardo’s Activity Clubs and £155 Scheme Payment,
  • or £310 Scheme Payment.

By introducing this change, it means that the Payment amount will only be reduced by £40, rather than £50 as suggested by parent carers. The Payment amount for the Scheme this year will be up to £460 and the COMBO will be 45 hours of Barnardo’s Activity Clubs and up £230.

Eligible children aged 6 and above will continue to be able to choose the Barnardo’s option of up to 90 hours of activity clubs.

As in previous years, Wiltshire Council and the WPCC are committed to reviewing the scheme regularly to ensure it remains relevant and affordable, and as such, the scheme may be subject to further changes in future years.

For more information about how the Local Authority meets the requirements of Short Breaks regulations, and how the Short Breaks Scheme has been defined and refined in consultation with parent carers, please see the Short Breaks Services Statement in the Current Projects section of our website.