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Short breaks offer disabled children and young people the chance to spend time out with others socialising and doing fun activities, giving their families a break and providing them with the confidence their child is well supported by a trained worker.

They include holiday and Saturday clubs, and activities range from canoeing and computers skills to lego.

Coronavirus update-  SBLO providers are unable to safely run SBLO Holiday clubs and activities and therefore use of the online portal for SBLO applications is currently suspended.

For more information you can email

Account guidance for parents

You can register for Short Breaks via the link above.

  1. You will be asked to enter your details. Once you've done so, the username for your Short Breaks account will display on the screen. Please make a note of this, as it will not be emailed to you.
  2. You will then need to provide your child/young persons details.
  3. When complete, you can view a summary of children you have applied for and have the ability to amend your application.
  4. You will then need to click 'choose short breaks' and you will be provided with a list of all the Short Break activities available to your child or young person. Once you have selected the ones you would like the chosen provider will contact you.
  5. Once you have received a confirmation, you will need to provide proof of eligibility to your chosen Short Breaks provider.
  6. You can log back into the portal to access your application once submitted using the account you created.
  7. You can view your child/young persons current allocation of the number of hours confirmed/claimed/remaining in your Short Breaks account. This will only appear once your child/young person has attended a Short Break session and the provider has logged the hours used.
  8. The SBLO year runs from April-March. You will need to renew your application annually and will receive an email in advance. You'll be able to renew your application in your Short Breaks account.

Login for Short Breaks providers

Access the SBLO providers portal

If you would like to apply on behalf of a parent/carer you can use the same steps listed in the parent guidance above.

Short Breaks – Spring 2020 Update

We understand that during this difficult time some traditional SBLO cannot be delivered, however our SBLO providers are working hard to make sure that they can still provide support to their SBLO families. Outlined below are some of the resources that our providers currently have on offer for their current SBLO families from April until further notice.


SPACE are virtually supporting families across Hertfordshire with a variety of digital short breaks, including:

  • Bedtime stories
  • Online karate classes
  • Online mini mindfulness sessions
  • Online cooking classes
  • Online dance classes
Find out more information on their Facebook page.


CHIPS are working to support families by providing lots of indoor activities ideas and resources to help keep young people entertained this Spring. This includes things like online games, activities and challenges for the whole family to enjoy, such as:

  • A ‘Recipe of the week’ to get the whole family cooking.
  • A ‘Competition of the week’ with different tasks involving creating and building.
  • Building a Time Capsule with the family to help record memories and emotions.
  • Links to professional documents that can help parents understand and support their child’s anxieties around the current situation

01992 534664

Noah's Ark

Noah’s Ark will be providing children and families with fun, online educational videos. These videos include subjects such as:

  • Storytelling
  • Stories using Makaton
  • Signed song videos

Noah’s Ark will also be creating and delivering books/colouring activities for children to enjoy.

020 8449 8877

Jubilee House Trust

Jubilee House Trust will be supporting families with day-care short breaks at Peartree short break centre.

Boundless Care

Boundless care are hosting a variety of online activities for families and young people with SEND to follow and enjoy during lockdown. You can join in with things like:

  • weekly video tutorials that encourage families to get baking, making and moving around. These tutorials can be followed on Boundless Care's Facebook page.
  • live Zoom fitness sessions.

Families and children that are members of Boundless Care will also have the opportunity to receive an online activity pack full of fun ideas and challenges for the whole family to enjoy.

Phoenix Group

The Phoenix Group for Deaf Children and Young Adults are hosting a series of activities that the whole family can enjoy over the coming weeks.

Children and families can access the activities through The Phoenix Group Facebook page, Instagram or as a member of the WhatsApp group. Families can enjoy:

  • Week 1 (4 May) Photography in your community: Whilst out exercising,take pictures of your amazing environment.
  • Week 2 (11 May) Lockdown Experience: Send us a short video of your lockdown experience.
  • Week 3 (18 May) Be Kind: Painting/ drawing on paper, rocks, piece of wood found in the woods.
  • Week 4 (25 May) Learn a skill: Send us a video or pictures of you learning your new skill.
  • Week 5 (1 June) Get Moving: Teach other Phoenix Members your moves.
  • Week 6 (8 June) 5 day A-Z letter challenge: 1. person’s name, 2. colour, 3. food,4. animal, 5. random item.
  • Week 7 (15 June) Sharing is caring: Tell us why your favourite book, film, game, food or pet is so good.
  • Week 8 (22 June) Get Crafty: Send us a step by step craft idea, for others to enjoy too.
  • Week 9 (29 June) Baking Sensation: Create your own food sensation!

07748690989 - Call or text

Phoenix Group Facebook Page

North Herts CSV

North Herts CSV have lots of plans in place to help keep in touch with parents, and provide educational and emotional support for families during this time. They have put together a whole host of resources that will include things like:

  • Providing a digital platform for parents to access Breakaway content online. This content will range from games and activities to sign language sessions.
  • Creating and delivering activity packs delivered to Breakaway families containing craft materials and instructions for fun activities to do at home. These packs will be will tailor made for families and will also include ideas for families to support their child using sensory play.
  • Checking in with families over the phone to see how they are and if they need more activity packs and ideas. 
  • Providing guides that will help outline all the appropriate online resources that are available for SEND children and their families. 
  • Potential for online gaming with a Playworker. 

01462 689406


SNAP will be providing families with Easter holiday clubs at Southfield School and the opportunity for 1-1 support.

Plus interactive sessions – music, crafts, drama, sensory, Makaton, Story Time.

St Albans Mencap goes Live!

Monday 22 June 2020 - Join the Facebook event for more details, or email

  • 11am - Cooking session (sausage or veggie rolls)

Tuesday 23 June 2020 - Join the Facebook event for more details, or email

  • 11am - Dance class
  • 2pm - Drama workshop

Wednesday 24 June 2020 - Join the Facebook event for more details, or email

  • 11am - Sing along session
  • 2pm - Fitness dance

Thursday 25 June 2020 - Join the Facebook event for more details, or email

  • 11am - Crafts session (frogs and lily pads)
  • 2pm - Makaton story

Friday 26 June 2020 -Join the Facebook event for more details, or email

  • 5pm - Venturers/ Teenager Hangout

Watford Mencap

Watford Mencap will be open every day to support people with learning disabilities and their families across Hertfordshire at this time of need. They will be offering services and information on: 

  • Getting support
  • Where to find information
  • Basic essentials
  • Applying for benefits
  • Housing issues
  • Online activities

Watford Mencap will also be extending their advice service during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Call us on Monday - Friday between 8am and 8pm, or Saturday - Sunday 10am until 4pm on 01923713632

Who qualifies?

You can get up to 40 hours of activities if you:

  • live in Hertfordshire
  • are aged between 5 - 19 with SEND
  • receive a middle or higher rate disability living allowance (DLA) or any personal independence payment (PIP), or
  • have a letter from your GP, your school’s special educational needs co-coordinator (SENCO) or another professional, confirming that your need means you require access to targeted services for disabled children and young people. Evidence of a formal diagnosis won't be needed, just evidence that their needs are of the level to be in receipt of the above benefits, or that a professional feels Short Breaks is appropriate.

Sometimes, disabled children and their families need access to more than 40 hours. To find out if your child is eligible for more hours, you can request an assessment from the 0-25 Together Team.

Who offers short breaks and what's available?

You can find all short breaks providers and the activities they run on our Families First Directory. Most providers are SEND specific, however some are mainstream providers offering inclusive activities.

There's also a printable list of activities (PDF 749kb) Opening a new window.

Activities are usually £2 per hour to attend, but you might need to pay a little more some, for example entrance fees to swimming clubs, theatre trips and wildlife parks.

Community Short Break activities provide respite for a few hours in the day - some children with the most complex needs may qualify for a residential short break.

Short Breaks and Direct Payments

If you receive Direct Payments, you can not use these to pay for Short Breaks.

Direct Payments are available following an assessment of need and can be used to provide a short break through paying for services or employing a PA, but they cannot be used to pay for the community short break activities. Direct Payments are used to pay for provision for your child to meet an outcome in an Education, Health and Care Plan, or in a Social Care or Health plan.

Short Breaks is a different and separate scheme.

Applying for short breaks

If you're not registered for Short Breaks you can register for an account online. Just create an account following the guidance provided above and upload proof of eligibility. 

The SBLO year runs from 1 April - 31 March. You'll need to be flexible if you want to take up the full hours. If you apply later in the year it's unlikely you'll be able to use all of these.

If you need help you can contact:

If you need your password reset or have any questions about Short Breaks, please email:

What happens next?

Once you have completed your application online your chosen short breaks provider(s) will contact you and ask you to show proof of your eligibility.

Your application can not be approved until this has been confirmed.

Related services

Shared care

This is family-based care that provides short breaks to Disabled Children and Young People from 4-18 years of age. Carers are from a wide variety of backgrounds and can be individuals or couples, male or female, with or without children and may have pets, some carers work others may be retired.

All carers will have completed training before they are approved, will have a DBS and will continue to have regular supervision and training updates from members of the shared care team. When a service is offered, each carer is closely matched to fit the needs of the child.

The breaks can be provided:

  • in the child’s home as a sitting service to enable parents to go out / have some free time
  • as day care in the carers home
  • out in the community to access activities.

The support (40 hours a year) can be used flexibly depending upon the availability of the carer and negotiated between the family and carer to include weekdays, weekends or during the school holidays.

This service provides peace of mind for parents, knowing their child is being properly looked after whilst away from them. It also provides the child / young person with some independence and gives them the opportunity to have fun, develop new relationships and access the community.

Read more about shared care

Residential short breaks

Some young people with disabilities and complex health needs, may be eligible for a residential short break especially if they require support throughout the night.

Children and young people can stay overnight during the week and/or at weekends depending on their assessed needs, spending time away from their main carers. A residential short break may be provided in a community residential setting or the home of an approved carer.

How do I get a residential short break?

A residential short break is a specialist service, available only once a social work assessment of need has been completed. This assessment would be arranged via a referral through the 0-25 Together Service.

Where they are:


Page was last published on: 22/06/2020 09:11:34


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