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. Breaks away for the family home

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 continuously being developed to reflect feedback from children, young people, parents and carers in order to meet the needs of those that need it the most.

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 is substantial and  has a negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities.
  • Profound multiple disability
  • Children with complex physical health needs and those with life-limiting where these severely impact the functioning of the child.
  • Children with autism who also meets 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’ Brighter Futures and Newham’s universal services, such as Universal services include local leisure centres and sports clubs, activity groups at your child’s school and local community groups and organisations.

Short breaks activity

There are a range of opportunities and activities available for children and young people in Newham, for current and up to date information about the latest activities for children and young people, please click here

For tailored activities for children and young people with more complex SEND please click here.

Services for young children with critical or substantial needs

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
  • specialist short-break services.

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. All new referrals for support must be made online by going to

For more information about how to access short breaks for children and young people with critical or substantial needs please click here.

Keeping children safe

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.

The provider must also report any safeguarding concerns to us and are required to follow all current legislation in relation to the safeguarding of children. More information about safeguarding can be found here

Related Information


Last updated: 23/12/2022

Skip back to top of page