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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.

The SBLO online system has re-opened to register your interest in the face to face activities and playschemes (Saturday, after-school and holiday clubs).

You can still continue to contact your provider directly, so whether you are new to the SBLO service or an existing user, you may directly express your interest in playschemes and booking your face to face sessions.

The SBLO Virtual offer (online & livestream sessions) are free of charge, so you do not need to book them via the system.

You can read about the changes in place to ensure SBLO runs safely for providers and families.

For more information, please contact your SBLO provider directly or if you need help choosing the right SBLO Provider, please Contact Kids Hubs, or email us at:

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 Autumn 2020 - Coronavirus Update

Due to COVID-19 the months ahead will not be easy and we recognise that families will really benefit from the short break local offer. We are working hard with our Short Break providers, to ensure that these services - now adapted for COVID-19 safe play schemes - continue for the rest of 2020.

We have also ensured that the Autumn Short Breaks Local Offer continues to provide a blend of physical and virtual activities following feedback from families.

  • If your child is unwell: please do not send your child to an onsite SBLO activity if they have possible Covid-19 symptoms or are otherwise unwell.
  • Safety measures & capacity: SBLO clubs will have to run with fewer children to ensure that social distancing and other safety measures can be in place. This will mean that children and young people may not be able to access as many SBLO hours as they normally do.
  • Onsite and virtual activities: most providers will continue to update their online remote activities and there are also a range of onsite activities on offer.
  • New to SBLO: If you are new to SBLO, please contact the SBLO Provider directly or if you require assistance in choosing the right SBLO Provider, please contact the Kids Hub 01923 676549.
  • Prioritising children & young people: We want to ensure that the most vulnerable children and young people can access summer SBLO. We also want to ensure that children and young people registered for SBLO can receive SBLO support where possible.
  • Because of this our social work teams will check how providers have allocated SBLO activities to help make sure that the most vulnerable children and young people can access summer SBLO.
  • The number of hours: Hours will not be based on formal allocations. Instead we will achieve a fair distribution of hours so that every child and family have an opportunity for additional care support over the summer.
  • This means that logging into the SBLO online system and/or renewal will not be required.

Autumn 2020 Offer


Districts: Countywide

Specialism: ASD, ADHD and Related Conditions

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.

07776 181 749


Districts: East Herts and Broxbourne

Specialism: Special education needs/ASD/LD

CHIPS Holiday Club

  • Sessions will run in school holidays.
  • Complete care provided for children aged 5 – 19.

Taking place at:

  • Bishop’s Stortford and Hockerill Scout Group (Bishop Stortford)
  • St Andrews School (Hertford - also the venue for Ware scheme up to October half term)
  • Pounds Close Youth and Community Centre (Hoddesdon)
  • Millbrook Junior Middle School and Infant School (Cheshunt)

CHIPS Saturday Club

CHIPS Saturday Club at Bishop's Stortford is closed on 7 and 14 November due to the venue closing during the current lockdown.

  • Complete care provided for children aged 5 – 19
  • Saturdays 10 am – 12.30 pm (Ware 2.00pm – 4.30pm)
  • 10 sessions will run during term time from September to December

Taking place at:

  • Richard Whittington Primary School (Bishop’s Stortford)
  • Millbrook Junior Middle & Infant School (Cheshunt)
  • Hertford Children's Centre, Sele School (Hertford)
  • Forres Primary School (Hoddesdon)

CHIPS Teen Club

CHIPS have young but experienced members of staff who support and mentor the teenagers. The key objectives of the Teen Club are for the young people to learn life, social and independence skills. For example: budgeting, handling money. Where possible outings in groups. The teenagers are fully involved and make suggestions for outings and activities.  

  • For young people aged 13 - 19 years
  • Aimed at teens with moderate learning difficulties and/or limited medical needs
  • Runs once a month during term-time throughout the year and sessions at Christmas
  • 2 hours per session
  • Multiple locations

CHIPS Climbing Club

This club will be delivered from a centre with 4 main climbing walls offering 1000sqm of climbing. The centre has specialist facilities and equipment for people with disabilities, including wheel chair users. The centre will provide 2 instructors, with CHIPS supplying additional staff as required. Completing a climb will enhance a young person’s sense of achievement and bolster their self-esteem which will support other challenges they will face in their life. Weather permitting some outdoor activities may be offered.

  • Maximum 6 per session
  • For ages 10 - 19 years
  • Sundays, fortnightly 12.30pm - 2pm during term-time


  • Harlow Outdoors Activity Centre

CHIPS Computer/ Gaming club

A range of IT/ computer gaming equipment will be available – computers, Wii, Xbox and PlayStation, for the young people to use. CHIPS staff and volunteers will support attendees to gain skills and experience using computers and gaming equipment in a supportive and sharing environment. Sharing of knowledge and experience amongst attendees will be encouraged through mini fun competitions and tournaments

  • Maximum 6 per session
  • For ages 12 - 19 years
  • Tuesdays, fortnightly 7pm - 9pm during term-time

Venue to be confirmed

Places must be reserved in advance

Contact CHIPS Play

01992 534 664

Noah's Ark

District: Hertsmere

Specialism: Special education needs

Holiday playscheme

Due to current circumstances, Noah’s Ark will be this Christmas be offering virtual activities and fun activity packs.

020 8449 8877

Jubilee House Trust

Districts: East Herts, North Herts, St Albans, Stevenage and Welwyn and Hatfield

Specialism: ASD, PD and LD

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

SBLO hours linked to residential stays increasing time available to young people who also have an overnight package at Peartree.

Boundless Care

Districts: Hertford and St Albans

Specialism: Children and young people with high functioning Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD and similar needs

October half-term Holiday club  

October half term holiday clubs will be held at 2 venues:

  • Tuesday 27 October and Friday 30 October 2020, 9am - 1pm at St. Albans at Fleetville Community Centre, Royal Road, St Albans AL1 4LQ
  • Monday 26 October and Wednesday 28 October 2020, 9am - 1pm at Abel Smith Primary School, 3 Churchfields, Hertford SG13 8AE

Saturday clubs

Saturday clubs will be held at 2 venues:

  • Saturday 24 October, Saturday 28 November and Saturday 5 December 2020, 2pm - 5pm at Abel Smith Primary School, 3 Churchfields, Hertford SG13 8AE
  • Saturday 17 October, Saturday 21 November and Saturday, 19 December 2020, 1.30pm - 4.30pm - 5pm at Fleetville Community Centre, Royal Road, St Albans AL1 4LQ

Online activities offer

In addition, in the week of October half-term (26 – 30 October) Boundless Care will also be: 

  • Posting 5 videos on Facebook page

- The Facebook video content will be on the same lines of summer i.e. art and craft, cooking, baking, doing projects such as making a bug hotel, etc.

- One video per day during the October half term

- It will be open to wider SEND community and for children and families known to us.

- Open link

- Cost will mainly be payment to staff making and editing video and the cost of ingredients involved in doing the video

  • Sending out an Activity Pack for children and their siblings so that they can engage in it in their own time.

- The content of the activity pack - puzzles, riddles, mazes and quizzes on popular topics, baking recipes, exciting projects relating to varied themes such as music, building, creating, etc.   

- One activity pack for the October half term week.

- It is primarily for the children and families known to us but open to other SEND families on registration.  

- Registration required as explained above

- Cost will be payment to staff member making the pack.

Action for Children

Districts: North Herts and Stevenage, Broxbourne and East Herts

Specialism: LD of varying severity, physical or sensory disabilities and/or behaviours that challenge

Action for children are offering day-care at the Pines.

 01992 504 019 or 01923 718939

Phoenix Group

Districts: Across Hertfordshire

Specialism: Deaf/ hard of hearing children and young people

Holiday play schemes - virtual offer based on online sessions and activity packs

  • October half term 3 sessions up to 3 hours each
  • welcome to all age groups
  • starting at 1.30pm

Wednesday 28 October: Halloween Art (Art sets provided by Phoenix), photography  and the creation of a Phoenix Halloween collage

Thursday 29 October: Sign Singing, learn to sign a song in BSL and take part in an online group performance.

Friday 30 October: Halloween party, pumpkin painting/carving, play online games and join in with our Halloween Quiz


  • 2 sessions up to 3 hours each focussing on Christmas activities and the theme of Christmas celebration
  • welcome to all age groups
  • Dates to be confirmed

For outdoor activities please email:

07748690989 - Call or text

Phoenix Group Facebook Page

North Herts CSV

District: Stevenage

Specialism: Special education needs/ASD/LD

North Herts and Stevenage Breakaway holiday clubs

The clubs will provide an informal setting to support children and young people to undertake enjoyable activities and interact with their peers, whilst providing an opportunity for parents/carers to have a break.

  • For children and young people aged 5 - 19 with behaviours that challenge.
  • 3 days at October half term
  • 2 days at Christmas
  • AM session (for younger children) 9.30am - 12pm
  • PM session (for older children) 1pm - 3.30pm

Taking place at:

  • Greenside School (Stevenage)
  • Woolgrove School (Letchworth Garden City)

Daily Activities to include:

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Bouncy castle
  • Music and karaoke sessions

Older ages will undertake more age-appropriate activities, focusing on developing life skills.

North Herts CVS will also continue updating the online virtual offer with things like:

  • Videos for fun and easy activities
  • Singalong sessions
  • Sign language sessions

North Herts CVS are also providing a guide outlining all the appropriate online resources that are available for SEND children and their families.

NHCVS Breakaway Saturday Club

The club will provide activities and opportunities for children to socialise with their peers either individually or as a group

  • for children aged 5-13 years with behaviours that challenge
  • AM Session – 9.30am to 12pm (for younger children)
  • PM Session – 1pm to 3.30pm (for older children)

Taking place at:

  • St.Nicholas C of E Primary School (Stevenage) 

01462 689406


Districts: St Albans, Dacorum, Welwyn Hatfield and some activities in Hertsmere

Specialism: LD of varying severity, physical or sensory disabilities and/or behaviours that challenge

Children and young people will enjoy a wide choice of risk assessed and fun activities. Friendship with other users will be encouraged and supported and chill out time encouraged. Wherever possible engagement with the mainstream community will be encouraged and supported where required.

SNAP Holiday Club

  • Holiday Clubs split into 2 age groups - 5 - 10 years and 11 - 19 years
  • School holidays (October half term and Christmas) 10am - 3pm

Due to current circumstances, Holiday clubs will only be running at Watling View School for October half term and Christmas.

SNAP Weekend Fun (Saturday Club)

  • The clubs are split into 2 age groups: 5 - 7 years and 8 - 19 years
  • Running from 26 September to 6 December
  • Sessions are Saturdays, 10am - 3pm

Taking place at:

  • Watling View School, St Albans
  • Hobbs Hill Wood School, Hemel Hempstead

Weekend Youth Club (Ventures)

SNAP is planning to organise 2 days for Ventures over October half term, ensuring the group can enjoy safe activities, such as a takeaway pots of art bag and a buy, cook and eat session to allow young people to complete the activities at the base in their bubbles.

  • an activity-based group for young adults with Mild Learning Difficulties, aged 14-19.
  • Community based
  • 2 days during October half term

Independent Living Services

This session will start as a Buy-Cook-&-Eat session and will develop to focus on other Independent Living Skills, reflecting the interests of the individuals attending.

  • Once a week evening activity, time to be confirmed
  • For ages 14 - 19 years

Taking place at:

  • Unit 5 181a Verulam Road, St Albans, AL3 4DR

SNAP Virtual Offer

Contact us to find out about our online activities.

01727 863813

Karen Setterfield -

Contact SNAP

Watford Mencap

Districts: Watford, Hertsmere, Three Rivers

Specialism: LD of varying severity and can support additional needs such as epilepsy, gastrostomy

Advice service - 01923 713 632

Help and support for:

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

Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am - 4pm.

Autumn 2020 – Watford Mencap will provide a mix of 1:1 buddying and group-based activities that will take place at Lemarie Centre and/or Garston Manor School in Watford. Planned start date – 18th September

Watford Mencap Holiday Activity Schemes

This service is spread across each holiday, offering a variety of activities for a wide range of ages and abilities.

  • For ages 5 -19 years
  • Sessions are 10am - 3pm
  • Venue to be confirmed

Watford Mencap Weekend Activities and Watford Youth Club

  • For children and young people with a learning disability aged 5 – 19 years
  • runs on various Saturdays throughout the year
  • Children will be split unto 2 bubbles and a total of 6 sessions will be offered to each group/bubble

Watford Mencap Buddying Service

The buddying service will provide fully trained staff to support children and young people with a learning disability aged 5-19. The service will match staff to the interest of the young person they are supporting. The support could be offered for a short time or on a longer-term regular basis and will be offered to families as per interest.

For advice please email:

Call us on Monday - Friday between 8am and 8pm, or Saturday - Sunday 10am until 4pm on 01923 713 632

Watford Mencap Facebook

Watford Mencap Twitter

SEN Venture

Districts: St Albans and Dacorum

Specialism: LD and ASD, behaviours that challenge, PMLD and other additional medical needs

SEN Venture provides activities such as arts and crafts, indoor sports activities, sensory play and has access to a playground with apparatus and a soft play room. SEN Venture is located in Breakspeare School - a purpose built school for children and young people with SEND. 

The team provides support for children and young people aged 5-18.

Holiday Playscheme

  • October half term, 26 - 29 October

Saturday Club

  • For ages 5 - 18 years
  • 2 Saturdays per month, from October to December (dates to be confirmed)
  • Sessions are 9.30am - 3.30pm

Both taking place at:

  • Breakspeare School (Abbots Langley) – Monday to Thursday

SEN Venture is offering Playscheme with on-site activities.


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.

Our Overnight Short Breaks (OSB) providers are currently working hard to welcome families back. Our providers have introduced a number of changes to keep the children, young people and staff safe. The OSB settings are following Government and Public Health guidelines, including:

  • social distancing
  • strict hygiene and cleaning practices
  • use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • staff training.

Our OSB providers are working with families to provide the rest of the year's OSB allocations, but will have difficulties accommodating all returning families if they request their OSB allocations that they have not used during lock down. What we can provide this year is also obviously subject to a second wave of the virus.

In addition, we are ensuring the safe return of children and young people to overnight short breaks, by restricting extended stays to 4 nights. Parents/carers must remain in the UK during this time, so that should things change parents/carers can return home without delay.

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: 20/11/2020 11:24:32


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