Parents to feed back on SEND short breaks

Durham County Council would like to gain views from parent/carers of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) on the existing short break opportunities in County Durham in order to understand if this is meeting your needs. We have provided a short survey and would be grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete this.

What do we mean by short breaks?

Do you sometimes feel like you need time out, a short break, from your caring role?

A short break is something that your child/young person can access enabling parents/carers to take a break from their caring role.

This can range from a couple of hours taking part in a local activity with friends to holiday schemes or specialist over-night hospice care. The type and length of a short break can vary to meet the needs of each family. Whilst your child is taking part in an activity, you are receiving a ‘short break’ from caring. Some families have told us that taking part as a family is also a short break, as they receive a support network from other carers.

Please see below the menu of short break opportunities currently available:

  • Mainstream Activities - there are a number of mainstream activities that you can access directly yourselves. These are open to all children and young people. You can find out about these by searching on the County Durham Families Information Service.
  • The Local Offer – Activities - The SEND Durham Local Offer sets out a range of activities for children, young people and families with SEND. The ‘what’s-on’ section of the Families Information Service allows you to filter by ‘local offer’ providers. Once you find something of interest you can then access this yourselves directly with the provider.

  • Commissioned Universal Short Break Activities - The council and health partners arrange (commission) a variety of local out of school clubs/activities for children and young people with SEND. Parents/carers gain access through self-referral to providers for their child/young person and receive a short break whilst they attend these sessions. There are also some activities available that all of the family can take part in together.

  • Targeted Commissioned Short Breaks - There are some children who may require increased support to take part in out of school activities. The council commission a range of targeted short breaks for children with Education, Health and Care Plans and also children receiving support from the Sensory Service. These are delivered within special schools and by local community providers.

  • Specialist Commissioned Short Breaks - There are some families who will require a social care assessment in order to gather information about you, your child and your family to decide what help you may need. Some of these assessments may identify the need for a ‘short break’ for the parent/carer from their caring role from the disabled child/young person. The social care assessment will identify if there is a need for a short break.

We have also provided a quick guide to short breaks and some useful contacts for you (please see related links section). If you have any further queries please email

Complete the survey  -

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