Short Breaks

Short breaks enable disabled children, young people and adults to have time away from their carers, explore new opportunities, have fun and broaden their social networks whilst developing skills and independence. They can also provide parents, carers and families with an opportunity to have a break from their caring responsibilities, and can last from a few hours to a few days, evenings, overnight and weekends.

Not all children and families will need the same level of short breaks, and some will need more than others because of the impact of their child’s disability or their individual family circumstances.

In some cases, the support offered by the short break service has helped prevent family stress and breakdown. Many families have also felt it has enabled them to become stronger and better able to manage.

Examples of short breaks include:

  • overnight breaks
  • after-school clubs
  • weekend activities
  • school-holiday activities
  • family fun days

The short breaks offer is currently being reviewed by taking on feedback from all key partners across Health, Social Care and Education as well as children, young people, parents and carers in order to meet the needs of those that need it the most. We are aiming for a more strengthened offer by April 2024.

If you would like to be involved in the focus group we have set up for Parents and Carers please email

For more information about short breaks, please click the links below:

Short Break Care: how Local Authorities should provide it

Short Breaks for Disabled Children


Who are Short Breaks for?

Families that live in Newham with children between the age of 0 and 18 may be entitled to targeted short breaks if they are affected in their everyday living by one or more of the following:

  • Severe physical, learning disability or sensory impairment, which has a substantial impact on their ability to do day to day activities.
  • Profound multiple disability.
  • Children with complex physical health needs and those with life-limiting conditions where these severely impact the functioning of the child.
  • Children with autism who also meet one of the above criteria

Those disabled children and young people who do not meet the above criteria, may enjoy accessing other services through the ‘Local Offer’, including local leisure centres and sports clubs, activity groups at your child’s school and local community groups and organisations. For more information please view Newham Families Advice and Support | Things to do.

Current Short Breaks Offer

Children who are eligible are able to access a Holiday Club from one of the below: 

Children are offered one-to-one and two-to-one support to take part in a range of activites such as arts and crafts, cooking and sports activities. For more information please view All Services | Listings in Short Breaks

If your child has critical or substantial needs,  the extra help she or he might get could include:

  • Overnight Short Break Services
  • Individual Care Packages including 
    • Outreach Support
    • Specialist Weekend Activity Clubs or
    • Direct Payments

Anyone who is employed by an organisation which is running a short break or activity must have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, so you can be rest assured that your child is in safe hands.

How to Apply for Short Breaks

If you would like to discuss short break options or need some support, you can contact your Social Worker from the Disabled Child and Young People’s Team or the Short Breaks Co-ordinator

All new referrals for support must be made by contacting MASH. You can contact the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) on 0203 373 4600 or email

Related Information


Last updated: 05/02/2024

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