The Resources Team provides services for children with disabilities and their families in Somerset. We aim to meet the needs of families through signposting, information sharing, training and non-residential short breaks care.
Short Breaks Team provide an opportunity for children and young people with a disability or a learning need to spend time away from their primary carers and provide opportunities for parent/carers to have a break from caring responsibilities. A short break can be anything from a few hours to a whole day, after school or during school holidays (NB: our team do not provide overnight or residential breaks). Short breaks mean helping children and young people with learning needs or disabilities to do new things, have fun, go to new places, make new friends, do things without parents/carers or help families to do ordinary things together. Activity schemes may be generic or themed (e.g. music, drama, physical activity). These are all listed in the calendar and newsletter, click here for the latest information.
Your child/young person could gain acess to the Short Breaks Team if they have a disability and is in receipt of one or a combination of the following:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- School Action Plus Level 2 funding now know as 'Additional Needs' and 'High Needs' Funding
- Has a Statement of Special Educational Needs or Education, Health and Care Plan
The team offers the following provision and support to families who have a child/children with disabilities or additional needs:
- A Short Break Coordinator will visit you in your home and work with you to find out the Short Break needs for your family and/or offer a signposting service to other organisations.
- Inclusive activities every school holiday for any child with a disability or impairment aged between 8-18.
- We also provide family days during the school holidays – accessible to 0-18 years – when staff members travel with families to the venue on transport provided by the team. You do not need to be referred to the Short Break Team to access these days.
- The Short Break Team also produces a newsletter and calendar every four months which provides information on Short Break developments across Somerset.
To request a referral pack to the Short Break Team, please contact Somerset Direct on 0845 345 9122.
A short break can last from a few hours to a full day: weekend and school holiday daytime activities. They provide an opportunity for disabled children to spend time away from their primary carers, but can also provide families a chance to do ordinary things together. They enable disabled children to try out new things, have fun and make new friends.
Activity schemes may be generic or themed (e.g. music, drama, physical activity) and will primarily provide opportunities for children and young people to enjoy themselves whilst their families experience a short break from caring for their child. Settings may consider opportunities for whole family events and activities involving siblings within their scheme.
Access to the activity places will be open to any child or young person with a disability, resident in Somerset.
It is the responsibility of the provider to manage activity enquiries, identify the individual support needs for each child / young person, manage bookings, gaining parental consent, taking payment and delivering activities.
Personal Passports are being promoted and developed by the Short Break Team. These are simple documents which contain key information about a child, to help other people to understand their needs. The provider will support the development of these documents and accept them at the point of booking for activities, should the parent / carer offer this information to them.
Funding allocation will be agreed on an individual basis with each successful bidder must be spent on activities taking place within the school holiday period being applied for and cannot be carried over. The provider will be expected to directly pay all costs associated with the scheme (including for staffing). The provider will be expected to charge at least a nominal cost to the family for the activity planned.
In order to grow the provider market and broaden the range of activities on offer to families, we are promoting a ‘roll-on-roll-off’ approach to short break funding for activity providers:
Our aim is for providers to become confident, well equipped and established to offer short break activities as part of their core offer to communities.
This funding will help to ‘kick start’ activities and we will be looking to reduce allocated funding levels to providers who bid for each round of funding over the next year.
We are looking for commitment from providers to seek other sources of funding and to form partnerships to help them ‘roll off’ the short breaks programme of funded activity. We will however, have an ongoing commitment to publicise your opportunities via our Activity Calendar and signpost families to your provision as appropriate.
Somerset Supporters is a scheme run by Somerset County Council, Children and Young People’s Directorate and Children’s Social Care. It’s purpose is to provide help and support to children and young people (0-18 years of age) with severe learning and physical difficulties to access and use local facilities. This could mean helping children access youth clubs, go swimming, go to the cinema or to follow an interest or hobby. It also provides supporters to engage children and young people with severe learning difficulties in purposeful activities within their own home, whether their families/carers are in residence or not. The scheme benefits the children by providing new opportunities for leisure through a personal 1:1 supporter who gets to know the young person well. The scheme also benefits the parents/carers and siblings by giving them regular time when their disabled family member is actively engaged to recharge their batteries or to do other activities that they usually find difficult to do.
A social worker from the Disabled Children's Team (DCT) completes an assessment which identifies the need for sessional support from a Somerset Supporter. There is an Area Link Worker in each four parts of the county who line manage the supporters in their area. The scheme employs people to work on a sessional basis with individual children. A Supporter’s work is arranged through individual contracts agreed by the family, Area Link Worker, Social Worker and Supporter.
The Children’s Autism Outreach Team’s aim is always to work with parents to equip them with the understanding and skills to enable their child to reach their full potential, empowering parents to make positive choices. The ethos is always to respect and treat each child as an individual. We believe that all children have a right to be given opportunities to learn and develop. It is considered paramount that every child is given a voice which is listened to and heard. With parental agreement we work closely with other professionals from health, education and social care seeking to achieve an integrated support service for the families. Some families may need direct input from the team focusing on specific difficulties, these may include; improving communication, helping with sleep patterns, mealtimes and social functioning and all aspects of safety. Agreements are made with the parents stating realistic timescales to achieve desired goals, a team member will assess and record as part of the monitoring system. The team comprises of a senior Autism outreach worker and four part time Autism outreach workers. All members of the team have vast experience working with children and families with Autism.
- CAOT also facilitates the NAS EarlyBird Plus programme and the Barnardo’s Cygnet programme delivered over a six or eight week period. That help parents learn and understand their child/young person's needs
- Team members attend Autism specific meetings within the areas they work. They regularly liaise with other professionals to provide a joined up service.
- CAOT provides activities for young people with Autism that would otherwise be inaccessible for many families without the expert support and advice.
In order to access support from the CAOT team your paediatrician may refer your child at the point of diagnosis, if your child has a diagnosis of Autism you can self refer via Somerset Direct.
More information from Somerset County Council
The last year has been a very busy year – with lots parent carer feedback presented to Somerset County Council; Parent Carers listening events; invitations from Somerset County Council to SPCF to Co-participate in a variety of meetings
Short breaks team
Short Breaks calendar and newsletter, press here
Extra activities approved by Short Breaks press here
My Passport template, is a useful tool for children, young people and their parent carers. It aims to provide an aide that shares their children’s essential information, press here.
Following the parent carer feedback on the 12th July 2013, please see the “You said, We did” document from the short breaks team.