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Short breaks for children and young people with disabilities

Short breaks is the name given to activities and services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and disabilities  that are funded by the council.

Some of these enable time away from their parents or carers.

Depending on their level of need and eligibility, support can be offered for young people with:

  • learning disabilities

  • physical disabilities

  • autism spectrum disorder 

  • Sensory impairments

  • challenging behaviour

Services are available are in three categories

• Universal

• Non-assessed

• Assessed

Universal Services

These are for example leisure centres, youth clubs, sporting activities etc and are available to all children and young people in Hounslow, details of these

services can be found on the Family Service Directory (FSD) Most activity providers will be able to make reasonable adjustments for Children and Young People. 

Where providers have said they can support Children and young people with needs they will be listed with a green triangle/SEND in the corner

An assessment of need is not required to access universal services.

Non-Assessed Short breaks

The non-assessed Short Breaks programme is open to all children and young people up to 18 years old who have a disability or Special Educational Need in the London Borough of Hounslow.

Access to the Short Breaks programme is via a short registration with the Short Breaks team where the needs of the child will be discussed and basic family and contact details will be taken.

Telephone: 020 8583 3636


The registration will normally be between the parent/carer and the Short Breaks team; however, a child or young person can also be referred by professionals. It will be at that point that the child or

young person’s current Pathway will be established. The child or young person will be issued with a Unique Identifying Number (UIN) which will be required each time a short break is booked with a Short Breaks provider.

A newsletter is published before each school holiday period with a detailed programme of activities and mailed to families who are registered with the service. It is also available on line at the Local Offer at the same time.

Bookings for activities are done in pathway order - so pathway 3 first, then pathway 2, then pathway 1.

Decisions 'R' us

Young people, aged 5- up to 18, living in Hounslow who are looking for help with a short break or activity. This can include equipment that will help them access a short break

Young people can bid for up to £250 to fund their own short breaks.

The application form is available from the Short Breaks team r from the download section

Ideally the young person will then need to complete the application (where possible) or with help from an adult. Young people can attach a picture, film, photo or other media to the application form if required to express or support their idea.

Applications will be then presented to a panel made up of young people, councillors and senior management from the Council who will make a decision about individual applications.

Please remember that bids for IT equipment including gaming consoles will not be considered. Please also note that if you bid for funding towards swimming lessons, it will be up to the parent/carer to find an instructor for the young person.

Merlin passes are no longer available via this scheme.

Assessed Short breaks

Short Breaks - Assessed

Specialist services provide short breaks to support children and young people who require a high level of support who are known to the 0-25 Disability Team.

These services can include specialist day/homecare support and direct payments.  Access to Westbrook Short Break and Resource Centre and other care packages are decided by the Managers Funding Panel. 

Referrals to the Panel are made by the young person’s social worker or Child in Need (CiN) Worker.”

An assessment of need will be required to access the services, the assessment will be carried out by the child’s Social Worker/Child in Need (CiN) worker.

Eligibility for social care support for children with complex needs

Specialist Day care

Specialist day/homecare support : this can be help at home or with accessing the community and activities. 

Westbrook Short break and resource centre. Access to Westbrook is decided by the resource allocation panel - Referrals via Childs Social/CIN worker in the 0-25 Disability team. This provision is for 10- 18 years only.

Direct Payments - Allocation of money for the carer to manage and buy services needed for the disabled child.  This is usually via the child/Young person Social/Child in Need worker but not always - see the Direct payments section for full information.