Short breaks provide opportunities for disabled children and young people to spend time away from their families and have fun. They also provide families with a break from their caring responsibilities.
Keeping you informed
Short Breaks update
We keep families and professionals informed through the monthly Short Breaks Update bulletin. If you would like to receive your own copy of the Short Breaks Update, please email your request to be added to the mailing list.
- Short Breaks update - November 2023 (pdf format, 6 MB)
- Parent/carer support groups - November 2023 (pdf format, 1 MB)
If you would like a previous issue, then email us.
We also have a Facebook group page - Oxfordshire SEND Families Together. This is a group for parents of children and young people with impairments living in or near Oxfordshire. The group page is designed for sharing information, activities, events that will be useful and relevant to families. It is also open to professionals working with these families.
Our Short Breaks statement
Read our Short Breaks statement (pdf format, 806Kb) to find out what short break support we are providing and what short breaks are available that could work for your child.
The Local Offer
The Local Offer for SEN and Disability (SEND) brings together information about education, health and care services for children and young people from 0 to 25 with SEND.
Who provides Short Breaks?
We have commissioned a variety of organisations to provide short breaks for disabled children and their families. Some activities may incur a charge.
After school clubs
- Bardwell School provides after school activity clubs, three days a week for disabled children and young people (5-18) from Bardwell School, Bicester.
- Barnardos run after school clubs at Springfield Special School, Witney and Kingfisher Special School, Abingdon.
- Bishopswood School provide an after school club, three days a week for disabled children and young people (5-18) from Bishopswood School, Sonning Common and the local area.
- The Let’s Play Project provides after school activities for disabled children and young people (5-18 years) in Banbury.
- Autism Family Support Oxfordshire (AFSO) provides youth groups for children and young people (8–18 years) Asperger's Syndrome / high functioning autism. The youth groups are based in Oxford and Abingdon.
- Bardwell School provides a youth group for disabled children and young people (11-18) in the Bicester and Kidlington area.
- Let’s Play provide a youth group in Banbury for disabled children and young people (11-18 years).
- Yellow Submarine runs activities across Oxfordshire for young people aged 11-18 years supporting young people with mild to moderate learning disabilities and or/Autism. Regrettably they cannot support those with PMLD, complex needs or physical disabilities. Yellow Submarine operate term time youth clubs in Abingdon/Didcot, Oxford and Witney.
- Autism Family Support Oxfordshire (AFSO) provides holiday activities for children and young people (8–18 years) with Asperger's Syndrome/high functioning autism. This is available across the county.
- Bardwell School provides holiday activities for disabled children and young people (5-18) in the Bicester and Kidlington area.
- Barnardos provide holiday playschemes at Springfield Special School, Witney and Kingfisher Special School, Abingdon for disabled children and young people (5-18 years).
- Bishopswood School provides holiday playscheme activities, three days a week for disabled children and young people (5-18) from Bishopswood School, Sonning Common.
- Fitzwaryn School provides holiday activities for disabled children and young people (5-18) in the Wantage area.
- Kids offer holiday playscheme activities at Thomley for disabled children and young people attending John Watson and those in the Wheatley area (5-18 years).
- The Let’s Play Project provides a variety of holiday activities.
- The Parasol Project provides an inclusive holiday playscheme for children aged five to 12 years. The playscheme runs during the school holidays at Tower Playscheme on the Northway estate in Oxford four days a week. Activities include arts and crafts, sports and games, play base cinema, gardening, discos, soft play and visits from special guests such as magicians and animal handlers.
Teenage holiday activities
- The Parasol Project run age-appropriate teenage activities in all school holidays and during term time for young people aged 12 to 18 years. All our activities are for disabled and non-disabled young people to take part in together. Activities are selected by our teenage users and range from creative ‘in days’ to adventurous canoeing days and everything in between.
- Yellow Submarine runs activities across Oxfordshire for young people aged 11-18 years supporting young people with mild to moderate learning disabilities and or/autism. Regrettably, they cannot support those with PMLD, complex needs or physical disabilities. There are exciting activity days during the school holidays; including explore days, multi-sports and forest days based in Abingdon, Oxford and Witney.
- Yellow Submarine also delivers holiday activities for students from Abingdon and Witney College aged 16-18 years.
- Autism Family Support Oxfordshire (AFSO) also provides family support for families who have a child (aged 0 -18 years) diagnosed with autism, or on the autism spectrum. This is available across the county. For more information http://www.afso.org.uk/contact-us/
Children attending a special school
Out-of-school liaison officers (OSLOs) can help you to find out-of-school and short-break activities for your child. Contact your child's special school for further details. If there is not an OSLO in the school please contact the Disability Information Officer on 07554 330244 or email email@example.com
Children attending a mainstream school
The Disability Information Officer is based in the Oxfordshire Family Information Service and can help you find out of school and short break activities for your child. Contact the Family Information Service for further details. You can also contact the Family Information Service through the FIS Facebook page and Twitter account.
To find more information on activities and organisations supporting disabled children and young people, please see the Family Information Directory.
To find information on things to do and places to go near you for young people living in Oxfordshire, go to Activities Oxfordshire.
Inclusion Support Scheme (Short Breaks) and Short Breaks Transport Scheme
If you need help paying for transport, fees or extra support to access activities, funding is available through the Inclusion Support Scheme (Short Breaks) and the Short Breaks Transport Scheme.
- Criteria for the Inclusion Support Scheme (Short Breaks) (pdf format, 133Kb)
- Criteria for the Short Breaks transport scheme (pdf format, 137Kb)
Who can apply
Funding can only be accessed by families on low income/benefits with disabled children aged 5-17 years. The priority for this scheme is to support access to out-of-school activities and/or holiday activities.
How to apply
Applications for this funding can only be made by Out of School Liaison Officers (OSLOs), Children's Disability Social Workers or the Disability Information Officer based at the Oxfordshire Family Information Service.
Early Years Inclusion Support Scheme
The Early Years Inclusion Support Scheme aims to promote inclusion and remove the barriers to play, childcare and leisure for disabled children and young people with funding to help with the costs of childcare for disabled children and young people. It is available for children and young people under five years of age with impairments or emotional, behavioural or learning difficulties who would otherwise be prevented from taking part.
Applications must support children aged under five years with the highest need from families on a low income.
For children aged under five years, a maximum of £250 can be paid in any one year. However, there is no entitlement to this maximum amount.
The funding is for short-term support, e.g. for a term, or during a holiday playscheme
Enabler Support Scheme
The Enabler Support Scheme is to promote inclusion and remove the barriers to play, childcare and leisure for disabled children and young people.
Funding can pay for:
- additional staff/enabler hours
- support from specialist organisations to enable children to access a setting by training existing staff to gain skills/ knowledge and child-specific training necessary to meet individual needs.
- equipment; if there are no other funding mechanisms to do this and this will enable a child or young person to attend an inclusive setting.
Funding will be prioritised for:
- support for children and young people to attend more local mainstream settings
- support teenagers in preparing to move into adulthood
- support for Early Years children
- support for working families to access childcare for children and young people
- any other enabler situation that meets the criteria
How to apply
Applications for this funding can be made by
- Out of School Liaison Officers (OSLOs)
- Children's Disability Social Workers
- Disability Information Officer (Oxon FIS)
- Individual groups as agreed by Danny Hearn
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Max Card - discount scheme
The Max Card is a discount card for families of disabled children and children with additional needs.
Families show their Max Card, upon entry to a venue, to obtain free or discounted admission. It is designed to help families save money on great days out at castles, zoos, bowling alleys and lots more.
The card is free to families in Oxfordshire. It has been funded by Oxfordshire County Council working in partnership with Action for Carers (Oxfordshire).
More information is available at https://mymaxcard.co.uk/
We are currently recommissioning Short Break Activities and overnights to start April 2024.