Short Breaks Services 2018/2019

The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011* placed a requirement for all local authorities, including Warrington Borough Council, to produce a statement explaining what ‘short break services’ are available to disabled children and their families, and how they could access them. The council has to publish the statement online, and review it periodically to ensure that information is updated whenever services change or new ones are developed. It is important that the council listens and responds to the views of children, parents, carers and professionals. This ‘short breaks services’ statement is for families and professionals living or working alongside children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) living in Warrington. It is a guide to the short break services and support offered by Warrington Borough Council.

Our statement sets out the range of Short Breaks Services and support available in Warrington to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND and their families. It also explains what a short break is, who can access them and how. The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 requires local authorities to:

• provide a Short Breaks Service to carers of disabled children to help people who provide care for their children at home;prepare and keep under review the ‘Local Offer’ of services; and

• have regard to the views of carers in their area.

What are Short Breaks?

A short break is a fun and/or educational activity for disabled children, allowing parents/carers to take a short break from caring. Short Breaks are offered during evenings, weekends and school holidays. Taking a short break can give parents/ carers the time to undertake, training, enjoy leisure activities, and carry out day to day tasks, or spend time with other children.

Short Breaks are sometimes referred to as ‘respite services’ and can include:

• direct payments/personal budgets;

• agency support;

• daytime or overnight care; and

• education or leisure activities including holiday clubs, group or individual based activities and visits.

These can be awarded in a variety of combinations.

Warrington’s Short Breaks local offer has two principal aims.

1. To provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to spend positive time away from their main carer/s

2. To provide parents/carers and their families with a break from their caring responsibilities.

Fundamentally, for families to benefit from a short break, they need to be assured that the needs of their child are being met. Our Short Breaks will, as far as possible, be tailored to meet the individual needs of children, young people and their families.

We are committed to:

  • supporting disabled children and families to take part in local community life;
  • providing clear information for families about support, services and how to access them;
  • providing choices for disabled children and their families to help them make decisions that can best improve their daily lives; 
  • listening to the views of disabled children and families so we can continue to improve the quality of their lives;
  • working in partnership with disabled children and families to ensure their involvement in decision making, regarding the development of support services;
  • supporting disabled young people to become more independent through a smooth transition into adulthood; and
  • providing services that enable families of disabled children to have an improved quality of life within their communities.

Carers’ breaks are used as a preventative approach and form a key element of our Early Help offer to children and families; they should not be just made available to a few families in crisis. Local authorities are legally bound to take into account the needs of those families who children have profound and multiple disabilities, and families who are faced with continuing demands for parental care and constant supervision, for example children with behavioural difficulties or complex health needs.

Short Breaks must be age appropriate and fit for purpose, so that all children are able to access them. Children with multiple disabilities are likely to require specialist provision, which must be available within the range of Short Breaks services on offer to families.

In Warrington we are committed to consulting with families and disabled children to review Warrington’s Short Break Statement, and to use the information collated to develop services and communicate suggestions through to services we commission and furthermore to inform the statement going forward.

Who is eligible for a Short Break?

This section tells you who may be eligible for Short Breaks and how we work with disabled children, young people and their families, to make sure they receive the services that best meet their needs. In Warrington, we see disabled children as being those children and young people aged 0–18 years whose daily lives are substantially affected by one or more of the following diagnosed conditions.

  • A hearing impairment
  • A visual impairment
  • A learning disability
  • A chronic/life threatening physical illness
  • A communication disorder (including autism)
  • A conciousness disorder (e.g. epilepsy)
  • A mental health condition

Their condition should usually be expected to last for more than 12 months and have a substantial effect upon the child in one or more of the following areas.

  • Physical ability
  • Communication and understanding
  • Awareness of risk and danger
  • Independence

We understand that children and young people may also be disadvantaged because of other factors, such as their environment; other people’s attitudes; poverty and social exclusion. However, these factors alone do not entitle them to be considered for Short Breaks services.

Each individual child and family will have different needs and the impact of the child’s disability needs to be considered against what would usually be expected for any child of the same age. Their family’s circumstances will also be different and so it is important to assess how their situation impacts upon their ability to lead a fulfilling life within the community.

Information about up and coming events and new activities can be found here on Ask Ollie.

Warrington's Short Break Offer Universal Services

Short Breaks can be provided through access to ‘universal’ short break services, for example attending a youth group or club/ activity.

A ‘What’s On Guide’ can be found on the Ask Ollie website and provides parents and carers with information on the regular, inclusive play and leisure activities and events for children and young people with SEND, including sessions at the Warrington Play and Sensory Centre in Woolston.

Click for more details

How to access Targeted Short Breaks

It will not always be appropriate for all children and young people with disabilities to access the universal opportunities without additional support and, in some cases they will need to access ‘targeted’ short break services which cater for their needs. These services require an assessment by the local authority; options and services available will be discussed through the assessment process.

This section should be read in conjunction with the Fact Sheet – An Introduction to Short Breaks.

Families’ needs in relation to Short Breaks are always individual and personal and whilst the needs of some children and their carers may appear similar, the circumstances of the family and therefore short break needs can be very different. The capacity of parents to care effectively for their disabled child can vary significantly, influenced by the carer’s own health and well-being, other caring responsibilities and the support that is available through family and friends. Also taken into consideration is whether they have joint or sole caring responsibilities and other matters like work patterns, family finances and housing.

Families can ask to be assessed at any time for a targeted short break service. Currently in Warrington, families can either self-refer for an assessment, or they may be referred by someone working to support them or their child.

The disabled children’s team is a service that is part of Integrated Services for Children with Additional Needs, which look at placing a team of professionals around the family, and also includes professionals from health and education. In addition the teams work closely with WarrPAC, (Warrington Parents and Carers) and Warrington SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service), previously known as Parent Partnership, to provide a more holistic support package for children and families.

Following the assessment, the needs are considered by a multi-agency panel. The panel meets on a fortnightly basis with the purpose of reviewing the needs of the family for a short break, and to make a decision regarding an appropriate package of support. Short break provisions are reviewed regularly through child in need meetings or early help meetings and children in care reviews. Families First panel

Targeted Short Breaks - What's on offer?

Warrington Borough Council aims to provide a wide variety of targeted Short Breaks services and a selection of the types of Short Break currently offered is shown below. This list is not exhaustive and a comprehensive assessment of need will take place in order to match services to the needs of the family.

Day-time Short Breaks

Holiday Clubs like Sportworx

Based at the Orford Jubilee Hub we provide 2 hour weekly sessions over 50 weeks for disabled young people aged 4-16 years. Each session will be split into 2 x 1 hour periods;

Period 1 will be multi skills and inclusive activities in the sports hall. These will be relevant for the participants and aim to develop skills in leadership, group working, communication and organisation.
Examples of activities are;Traditional - basketball, dodgeball, wheelchair rugby, tag rugby, hockey, cricket, gymnastics Innovative - tri golf, cheerleading, non-contact martial arts, target hoops, volleyball

Period 2 will be a swimming session where the focus will be centred around play and water confidence. Here at Sport Works staff enter the pool with the young people to ensure safety and water familiarisation.
Parents/carers are welcome to join in activities, observe from the side or not take part at all, from our experience some gain as much enjoyment taking part themselves, whilst others enjoy a quiet moment of personal time.

Personal assistant through direct payments/personal budget.

Direct payments is the money that the council gives to carers to enable you to set up and control the services to meet your child’s needs.Support and guidance around how to find and employ a personal assistant can be gained from Warrington Disability partnership. Warrington Council currently part funds an advice and support team, to help you to recruit a PA and to discuss the process of direct payments. For further information contact Independent living team 01925 240064.

Group based activity sessions through Mpower

Provides support to children and adults with disabilities from the age of 8-80, they are specialist in provided outdoor group activities to build socialization, learning opportunities and life skills.

A carer provided through an agency.

An example of one of the agencies that we use are Warrington Community Living (WCL). WCL are a long established local charity that seeks to support children and adults with learning and physical disabilities, mental health issues to lead their lives in a purposeful, healthy and 

enjoyable way as full and equal members of their local community.
WCL will

• Employ specialist staff including learning disability and mental health nurses and have expertise in the support of many forms of learning and physical disability, dementia and autism.

• Provide support within the family home as well as offering outreach services in the community.

• Currently support nearly 600 people in the Warrington area with the help of 270 full and part-time staff.

For more information contact Warrington Community Living 01925 246870.

Over-night Short Breaks

Residential overnight support, Westland Drive:

Westland Drive Short Break Home provides short-term residential breaks to children and young people with Physical disabilities, learning disabilities and Autism. Children can access the service from aged 3 to 17. The home can provide residential breaks for up to three children or young people, of both genders, at any one time. There must be a clear diagnosis and referral from the Children with Disabilities Team to access the service.

The objective of the home is to provide an environment that is enjoyable, stimulating and assists children and young people to achieve their potential. Great emphasis is placed on providing social and leisure experiences for children and young people that enables them to enjoy activities with their peers. Where a child or young person has developed a friendship with another child staying at the home we try to ensure that their stays coincide. We support and encourage children with Autism to develop friendships, as we understand that this can be a challenge for them. We assess their individual needs focusing on them as an individual, their sensory requests and routines.

The Interim Registered Manager is:

Julia Edwards

The Bungalow

Westland Drive




Telephone: 01925 817713


Statement of Purpose - Westland Drive - August 2020 

Family based overnight care

Families can be offered a short break through fosters carers approved by the local authority. There are currently two approved foster carers in Warrington who can provide overnight respite for children with additional needs. These specialist foster carers have all received core training and also specialist training in relation to specific needs. This form of respite specialists in family based support, rather than in a residential setting.

Access to Hospices across the North West, for example Claire house 

Claire House Children’s Hospice (CHCH) helps seriously and terminally ill children live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and bringing back a sense of normality to family life. By providing specialist nursing care and emotional support CHCH help families smile again when life couldn’t get any tougher CHCH helps seriously and terminally ill children live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and bringing back a sense of normality to family life.

Claire House has a team of trained professionals who are as passionate about what they do as they are talented at doing it. Staff includes nurses, physiotherapists, play specialists, counsellors and we also have four dedicated doctors who visit the hospice.

For more information contact Claire House Children's Hospice 0151 334 4626

Personal Budgets for Short Breaks

This section contains additional information specifically relating to Short Breaks services provided through a Personal Budget.

Some families might prefer to arrange their own service as this may offer greater flexibility and choice of activities that may be better suited to their child and family’s needs. The process for accessing a Personal Budget is through the targeted short break referral process.

Once it has been established that your family is eligible for Short Breaks, the relevant assessment will identify your child’s needs and the worker will discuss all the options available to you including a Personal Budget.

Warrington currently has three types of personal budget available for Short Breaks. These are: 

  • an individual agency contract   organised and paid for directly by   Warrington’s Disabled Children Service  or Social Care;
  • a direct payment which can be used to  employ a personal assistant to support   your child either in the home or   outside in the community; and  
  •  A mix of both contracted and direct  payment. 

If the ‘lead professional’ for your family is a social worker, they will complete a Child and Family Assessment. If the lead professional is a children and families practitioner they will complete an Early Help Assessment

The assessment will establish the level of support that is appropriate for your child and family and they will agree the appropriate services which may include a personal budget. Guidance notes and relevant documents - Leisure section under ‘Short Breaks’. Each child that receives a Short Break via a personal budget will have an individual plan. This will state:

  • the Short Break service to be provided; 
  • Outcomes that should be delivered;and 
  • the person responsible for coordinating the service, ensuring that  it is safe and delivers the outcomes in the plan. 

Personal budgets for Short Breaks: Where can I find more information?

Click here for further information about Personal Budgets

What if I have a problem with the short break activity?

If you have a problem with a short break activity or service, you should raise your concerns with the provider in the first instance, and ask for a copy of their complaints policy if needed. If you remain unhappy or you need some support to address the problem contact the Short Breaks manager 01925 442917 or email

Transition into adulthood

The transition from school to adulthood is a time of celebration, change and challenge. Young people and their families will be considering and making decisions about their career, their continuing education, their social life and where they will live. 

For disabled young people and those with special educational needs this is often a time of big decisions and access to timely and comprehensive information, advice and guidance will help them reach their full potential.

By Year 11 (age 16) young people should have a transition planning meeting to plan the services and support that will be required into adulthood. For young people with complex needs, this planning will start earlier in Year 9 at age 14.

Each child/young person will have a named transition coordinator. From the start of the process, professionals must work with the young person and their family to ensure that, with their permission, information is shared so that assessments are detailed and plans are based on a real understanding of the young person’s needs.  Assessments will be undertaken under the Care Act criteria.

More information is available via the following link care-act-statutory-guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance#general-responsibilities-and-universal-services

Where the young person does not have the mental capacity to contribute fully to these decisions, the provisions of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 can be taken into account.

Listening to your views and experiences

Warrington Borough Council and its partners are committed to listening to the views of children and young people with SEND and their families, so that they are fully involved in decisions about their support and have more choice and control in the decisions made about their lives. 

Parents continue to have a voice within key decision making and strategy groups, working in partnership with the local authority and health consortiums to influence service provision and decisions. Warrington Parents and Carers Forum contribute to key work programmes, such as the SEND Impact Group; procurement processes to select service providers; the ongoing management of projects like the Sensory Centre and advise a workforce group looking at training and development of staff.

How do we gather your feedback? 

We have worked alongside Warrington Parents and Carers Forum to review the Short Breaks Service and have consulted with parent/carers across the borough. Drop in sessions were held with parents and surveys were posted to all parents/ carers with EHC Plans (as well as being made available on Ask Ollie). A total of 65 people responded to the survey, 80% of whom currently use the service in 2016. The responses told us about families’ experiences of the Short Breaks service and provided an opportunity to suggest ideas and improvements around any gaps in services to help us to commission and develop new services. A further survey was conducted to parents, carers and professionals in February 2018, in relation to the short breaks statement and short breaks service.

Families can talk to any of the staff delivering the Short Breaks services to share their views or concerns about the services they use. Workers routinely gain families’ views when discussing the assessments, Short Breaks plans and reviews. They also talk with carers at coffee mornings, Carers Forums, Support Groups and information events at a range of locations across the borough. In addition when provider’s contracts are reviewed on a 6 monthly basis, the commissioning team look at areas of good practice and new ideas of development, this has come from ideas from parents and where providers have identified a gap in service. 

How this statement has been prepared?

The Short Breaks statement will be reviewed each year with consultation from members of Warrington parents and carers, providers, professionals and young people.

Participation in future reviews

This statement will be reviewed annually to ensure it remains a good reflection of current services.  We are likely to make changes to the statement as our services develop, and we will notify parents and carers of the changes and the new developments via, the local offer website and via Warrington parents and carers forum.

We will be reviewing how we can involve children and young people and making a plan of how to improve this. The Short Breaks Manager Clare Pickering would love to hear from children and young people about their Short Breaks experiences, to include in future statements. If you have anything you would like to include please email Short Breaks service at shortbreaks@

Our vision for short-break services in Warrington

Warrington’s SEND strategy 2020 Vision highlights the aims and aspirations we have for all children in Warrington with additional needs.

You said... We did...

Increase the holiday offer, more empower sessions, sports works etc, we have developed a new sports works session running from November 2018-March 2019 this has reduced the waiting list and ensured there are activities in the winter months, in addition during the summer holidays the contract for playability has been changed so that there are still 12 session throughout the year, but families can use 10 session in the summer holidays instead of 8.

Try to restart the dolphin group, this has been re-established  through joint working between Warrington Borough council and Warrington Wolves foundation, these sessions run every Monday during school holidays at the play and sensory centre and are inclusive to siblings also, we have currently supported 12 families and the feedback has been excellent, this will continue into 2019. 

Plan outcome focused services which are high quality and value for money - Warrington Borough Council have started to develop an outreach service based at Westland drive respite home, this is currently running each week and during school holidays and supports 6 children currently with complex health needs and Autism, again this has provided support for children who were unable to access other support due to their needs.

Our aims for the future

To develop a SEND mums and Tots group based around support and advice for parents and carers whilst also encouraging a stimulating environment based upon inclusiveness for all.

To work more closely with the play and leisure forum to establish smarter ways of working to support cultural, sporting and independence opportunities for our children and young adults, this will be based around outreach, creative leisure opportunities and work placements.

To develop the Warrington Borough Council outreach service to support more children and their families, based upon a holistic way of working and practical support.

Make a difference

Warrington Parents & Carers is a voluntary group of parent, carers and grandparents of children and young people under the age of 25. We want to be a part of your journey and be able to support you along the way.  We need you to share with us your positive experiences and challenges that families with disabilities and additional needs face every day. Together we have the ability to influence decision makers and shape the services that affect YOUR life in YOUR town.

For further infomation or to get involved: 

Twitter @warrpac 
Tel: 07581302172 

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