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Hackney Short Breaks for children and young people with additional needs

What is a Short Break?

A Short Break is thought of as any daytime social or leisure activity or service that:

  • allows a disabled child or young person to have an enjoyable breakaway from their main carer, and
  • gives their carer a break from their caring responsibilities

They enable disabled children and young people to have the chance to:

  • develop new friendships
  • take part in new experiences
  • have fun doing positive activities like sports, music, youth clubs and much more.

What kind of activities are considered to be a Short Break? 

  • Holiday schemes
  • After school clubs
  • Adventure play
  • Buddying and befriending
  • Disability specific services
  • Support to access inclusive mainstream service

Hackney council works in partnership with Homerton to deliver "Short Breaks" services. Providing Short Breaks forms one part of Hackney's support offer to disabled children, young people and their families. You can read Hackney's Short Breaks Statement here. 

Hackney's Short Breaks team have their own website which explains and lists the services and activities that are available and has details of how to apply


Page last updated 18/01/22

Who can access Short Breaks?

Short Breaks are not available for all children. Short Breaks are not an entitlement. 

To access Short Break a child or young person needs to meet an eligibility criteria and be:

  • between 5-17 years old
  • permanently living in Hackney
  • Receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at Middle or High Rate or Personal Independent Payment (PIP) at Intermediate or Advanced

If you cannot access DLA or PIP please send a copy of your child or young person's diagnosis from a consultant paediatrician. 

Short Breaks provision for children under 5 years old

Depending on their age, your child you may be eligible for free 15 hours nursery or childminding. This can be used for respite at a children’s centre if your child is aged between 0-2 years.

If your child is aged between 3-4 years you will be able to access a range of services that provide a break from caring. These might be nursery, children centres or childminding.

In a few cases where a disabled child is aged 3-4 years you may be able to access a one-off payment. This will total £200 per year to pay for a carer or age appropriate service.

If more support is required for your child, you can request a Social Care Assessment from Hackney's Disabled Children's Services via Hackney MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub). Phone 020 8356 5500

Individual Budgets on Pre-Paid Cards

Parents and carers can decide to get an Individual Budget (IB) which is receive on a pre-paid card. This will be topped up once receipts for their child or young persons last payment have been returned.

Individual Budget (IB) on pre-paid cards help parents and carers: pay for their child’s social and leisure activities and
record expenditure in a much easier way.

The IB card is very similar to using a debit card. Short Breaks have produced information to explains how their pre-paid cards work.

Short Break Individual Budgets Framework Guide for Parents and Carers (2019/20) 

HIT (Health Integrated Team) Squad

The HIT in HIT Squad stands for Health Integration Team. The Short Breaks Hit Squad  is part of the Short Breaks service.

The purpose of HIT Squad is to improve access to leisure activities in Hackney. HIT Squad are a team of health professionals who can work with activity providers to help disabled children and young people to access and enjoy their chosen Short Break.

Hit Squad is made up of:

  • 1 Physiotherapist
  • 1 Occupational Therapist
  • 1 Clinical Psychologist (with support from Speech and Language Therapy)

How do HIT Squad help disabled children and young people to access and enjoy their chosen Short Break?

We offer:

  • Training to any leisure providers in Hackney to improve access for all child with additional needs.
  • Support to any child known to the Short Break's team.
  • We aim to work together to meet the child or young person’s specific physical, behavioural, sensory or communication needs in the leisure activity of their choice.

HIT Squad accept referrals from parents, professionals and activity providers.

Phone 020 7014 7025

e-mail huh-tr.hitsquad@nhs.net

For individual referrals, children must be known to Short Breaks.
Further information and referral forms can be found in the download section of this page.

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