Council helps families with disabilities take a break

Sheffield City Council offers a range of short-break services to families that include a severely disabled child aged 0-19.

Short Break services provide:

  • opportunities for parents and carers to have a regular break from caring responsibilities
  • children and young people with chances to participate in activities they enjoy or to be cared for at home

Although short breaks have been on offer since April 2009, Sheffield Council says the Government’s Aiming High for Disabled Children Programme has transformed the existing service. Between April 2009 and March 2011 significant investment is being made in short breaks, increasing both the range and the number of services that are available.

Short breaks can take place in a wide variety of settings including:

  • Saturday clubs
  • holiday
  • after school or evening programmes
  • overnight stays in residential homes
  • family based placements
  • care in your home
  • or direct payments as an alternative to the short break services that are available.

Who can access a short break?

Accessing Short Breaks may require some form of assessment in order to provide an appropriate package of support.

Eligibility is based upon both the child/young person’s disability or special need and the impact upon the family as a whole. This means that, depending upon individual circumstances and need, families may be eligible for different levels of service.

Service levels

Short breaks fall into one of three groups:

  1. Self referral process for a standard package: Families can access the Special Needs Inclusion Playcare Service (SNIPS) and some activities run by parents support groups without having an assessment.
  2. Assessment process via panel: In order to access these services, families will undergo an assessment that can be carried out by any professional. Services that can be accessed this way include, home-based services, additional SNIPS (holiday, weekend, after-school or evening play care), befriending services and direct payments.
  3. Services requiring social worker assessment: To access these, families will undergo an assessment by a social worker in order to determine the most appropriate package.

Short breaks grant programme

Sheffield Council is running a Short Breaks Grant Programme until the end of March 2011.

Further Information

Anyone seeking more information about how to access short breaks or what types of services are available can phone SIGN on 0114 2669476 or email


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