What are Short Breaks Services
Short Breaks Services have been defined as services that
- Children and young people with disabilities enjoyable
experiences away from their primary carers, thereby contributing to
their personal and social development and reducing social
- Parents and families a necessary and valuable break from caring
Short Breaks Services can include day-time or overnight care in
the homes of children with disabilities or elsewhere,
educational or leisure activities outside their homes, or services
available to assist carers in the evenings, at weekends and during
the school holidays.
Bedford Borough Council recognises that short breaks can benefit
children and young people with disabilities, their parents or
carers and other family members specifically siblings.
Who are Short Breaks Services for?
Families living in Bedford Borough who have a child or children
with a disability aged between 0 – 18 are eligible for Bedford
Borough Council's Short Breaks Services.
The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as either a physical or
mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse
effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day
This may include a physical or learning disability, a hearing or
It includes children and young people with Autism and Asperger’s
Syndrome and children who may have challenging behaviour as a
result of a learning disability.
It also includes children who have complex needs, who require
palliative care, or who have a life limiting or a life-threatening
Benefits for Children and Young People
Short Breaks Services can present opportunities for children and
young people with disabilities to be able to experience new
activities, establish and build friendships and pursue their
Further Short Breaks Services can assist children and young
people with disabilities to develop life skills, grow in
independence and confidence and experience access to leisure and
recreational activities as part of a local community.
Benefits for Parents and Carers
Studies have shown that for some parents of a child with
disabilities the provision of short breaks simply means the
difference between being able to cope, or not.
Short Break Services allow parents and carers opportunities to
carry out everyday activities, attend to personal health and
wellbeing, pursue employment or training, maintain relationships
and develop support networks.
This often results in families being better able to cope, and to
be able to continue to provide care for both their children with
disabilities and other children they may have.
Benefits for Siblings
Siblings of a child with disabilities may share
concerns their parents have including feelings of isolation, a need
for information, guilt, and concerns about the future. Their
issues may also include resentment, peer issues, embarrassment and
pressure to achieve.
Spending undivided time with their parents or carers as part of
a Short Breaks Service can allows siblings the opportunity to enjoy
being themselves, assist in alleviating anxiety and enable them to
be better able to cope with any difficulties they may face.