Short breaks

A short break can give a disabled child or young person the chance to:

  • experience independence
  • have fun with their peers
  • make new friends
  • have new experiences

Short breaks also give families a necessary and valuable break from caring responsibilities. They can spend time with other family members or have time for themselves. They’re part of the support for an ‘Ordinary Life’, as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.

A short break can take place in your own home, in a supported setting, or within the community. Support can be available in evenings, at weekends, throughout the school year and during the school holidays based on assessed needs.

Short breaks can be universal, targeted or specific and activities can include:

  • day-time care in the homes of children with disabilities or elsewhere
  • overnight care in the homes of children with disabilities or in a residential setting
  • educational or leisure activities for children with disabilities outside their homes
  • term time group activities specific to child’s age and skill level
  • play schemes that are age or theme specific

Universal activities are open to all our families with disabled children. Our families should be able to access fun activities, and parents receive a break from caring.

Activities can include:

  • leisure and sports services
  • youth and play services
  • public spaces, for example, parks and adventure playgrounds
  • Early Years services and children’s centre
  • extended services in school including after-school and holiday clubs
  • voluntary and community facilities
  • Scouts, Guides, Brownies
  • sports and games clubs

Accessing universal short breaks

You can contact our Early Help Hub to find out more about the universal short break offer.

Targeted activities are for children and young people who are disabled and who need additional support to access universal services.

To access targeted short break activities, you need to:

  • be aged from 0 to 17 years old (up to their 18th birthday)
  • live in Walsall
  • have a diagnosed disability, and
  • be in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA)

There is no further assessment needed to access targeted short breaks.

The document below has more information about the targeted short breaks service:

Download list

Apply for the short breaks holiday service

Follow the three steps below to apply for a targeted short break.

Request a short breaks passport

Request and complete a short breaks passport for each child accessing the service. We’ll review the passport with you every year to make sure the right services are in place for you. You can update it throughout the year too, if needed.

Get a short breaks booklet

The booklet covers play schemes for all school holidays except Christmas. It's available six weeks before each school holiday. You can ask for a copy of the current short breaks booklet, or opt in to our mailing list, using the button below:

The deadline for expressions of interest for short breaks summer holiday activities is 12pm on Friday 7 June 2024.

Tell us what you think

We want to hear what you think about the short breaks holiday offer. Please email the short breaks team to share your feedback on your experiences, or to ask us about Walsall’s short breaks service.

Specialist short break services are for our families with the most complex needs, who require more support than is offered through play and leisure services.

Specialist overnight residential short breaks are a break for the parent from their caring role and the opportunity for the child or young person to experience or expand their independence in a supported way. This type of short break can be purchased using direct payments or personal budget.

Specialist short breaks available


Bluebells is a residential home that provides overnight breaks to children, aged 5-18 years, who have a learning difficulty and complex needs.

Short break foster scheme

The scheme provides overnight short breaks to disabled children, whose needs can be best met by individual care within a family based setting. This can be provided for children aged 0 to 18 years.

Learn more about specialist short breaks

You can find out more about specialist short breaks, and check if you are eligible, by speaking with your social worker.

Additional support available

Further help is available if you need additional support to care for a child or young person.  You can request a social care assessment to find out more about the help available to you.