Short Breaks

For over 40 years, Sense has been delivering short breaks for children, young people and adults with multiple complex needs.

Montage of three photos featuring holidaymakers and volunteers on their short breaks

We offer a range of short breaks, including:

  • During the day or evening
  • At weekends 
  • And longer planned holidays away from home

Many of the families we support have never had the chance to have a break from their caring responsibilities.

Families can relax, safe in the knowledge that their child is receiving the best possible care from fully qualified and committed professionals whilst having a lot of fun trying new activities that wouldn't have seemed possible before.

Read what our families have to say about our short breaks

A girl on a playground chute

Our Short Breaks service gives families an opportunity to focus on their own health and wellbeing and allow them to spend quality time with other children and family members.

We support people with multi-sensory impairments, complex communication needs, along with a range of learning disabilities and health issues. We support people with their personal care and clinical needs such as gastrostomy, use of hoists and the administering of medication and match the skills of the staff to meet individual needs.

A comprehensive personal plan is developed in partnership with families, to find out all about the person going on a short break – for example, what’s important to them, what they want to do, their daily routines, and methods of communications. Personal plans also include strategies and interventions relating to behaviours that may challenge or where people have other complex communications or medical needs.

We were pleased to run a recent short break in partnership with Birmingham City Council for seven families in the area and we were delighted to welcome the University of Chester to write an independent Evaluation Report of the break. The evidence clearly indicated that all the children enjoyed themselves and parents expressed delight with the holiday, the way in which it was professionally run and the way in which they themselves benefited from the break. You can read the full report here.

John Freeman, Commissioning Manager from Birmingham City Council said:

"We were pleased to work closely with Sense to be able to offer a short break of this kind to children and young people with multi-sensory impairments, complex communication needs, and a range of learning disabilities and complex health issues and were delighted with the results. The feedback has been excellent and everybody involved, especially the children, had a truly wonderful time. It provided a great opportunity for the children to develop choice, autonomy and independence, as well as having a fun and relaxing time.

"We look forward to working with Sense in the future and developing the opportunities short breaks can present to other families in the area."

Sense Short Breaks can be funded directly by local authorities. They can also be contracted from Sense on an hourly basis, for example funded directly by individuals using their personal budgets.

Contact us

For more information, please read our Sense Short Breaks leaflet (PDF) or you can call or email the Short Breaks team:

Tel 0300 330 9250
Fax 0300 330 9251
Textphone 0300 330 9252

First published: Wednesday 30 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 6 October 2015