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Cumbria's Short Breaks

In April 2011 the Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 came into force. Under this Duty, local authorities are legally bound to provide a range of short breaks services including:

  • day-time care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere
  • overnight care in the homes of disabled children or elsewhere
  • 'D educational or leisure activities for disabled children outside their homes
  • services available to assist carers in the evenings, at weekends and during
  • the school holidays.

Local Authorities must also produce a Short Break Statement which details of the range of local services available any criteria against which eligibility for services will be assessed how the range of services has been designed to meet the needs
of local carers.  Please download a copy of Cumbria's Short Break Statement. 

Short breaks are now delivered by Cumbria County Council by:

Carlisle Mencap in Carlisle & Eden / Barrow & South Lakeland, and

West House in Allerdale & Copeland


The basic eligibility criteria for access to fully funded short breaks will be that the child has been assessed as requiring an Education Health Care plan (EHCP). However, the authority will always be mindful of its duty to apply criteria flexibly and to take into account all the circumstances surrounding a family to ensure that parents/carers are supported to meet the needs of their children.

Until 2018 all authorities are in a transitional phase where some children will have an EHCP while others continue to have a Statement of Special Educational Need. During this period families who present as requiring access to short breaks will follow one of three possible pathways.

  • Children with a current EHCP
  • Children with a current Statement of SEN
  • Children with neither a EHCP nor a Statement of SEN

For further information please download our leaflet:  Short Breaks -  A Guide for Parents/Carers

Can I use my Personal Budget?

Personal Budgets for short breaks are paid directly to parent/carers so that they can purchase care to provide them with a short break and support their disabled child's development. Here are some examples:

Example 1:
"Julie is a disabled teenager who has an active family. Her family used her personal budget to enable a carer to join them on activity holidays so they could pursue their hobby without Julie being unable to participate."

Example 2:
"John's family enjoy eating out as a family but John needs 1-1 support to be able to cope in this sort of environment. They used his personal budget to enable a carer to come with them for a meal out, so that they could enjoy this as a family and John could be supported to learn to cope with the environment."

Example 3:
"Peter had reached an age where his peers were able to go out and engage in activities without an adult but he was not yet able to do this safely. He felt frustrated at having his parents with him when he went out. He used his personal budget to find a carer who could support him to engage in community activities and develop greater independence."

How can I access a short break for my child or young person?

Please download the flow chart below:

Short Breaks Eligibility Flowchart 

Advisory groups

.......have also been created in each area with significant parent/carer representation to ensure parent/carers guide the development of Short Breaks Provision.  In addition, each Advisory Group has the ability to issue small grants which organisations can apply for to develop services to meet the needs of children whose needs for a Short Break are not well met elsewhere (Advisory Group documentation is available to download on the right-hand side).

To join an Advisory Group, please download the documentation below:

Advisory Group - Terms of Reference

Advisory Group - Membership

Advisory Group - Support and Training

Appointment of Short Breaks Parent/Carer Representatives

Role of Parent Carer Representatives

Advisory Group Panels Dates

Contact details

You can request a Child and Family Assessment or a Carer's Assessment which may confirm eligibility for Short Breaks. You can do this yourself by contacting the Hub on 0333 240 1727.

If you have been unable to access a short break through these processes but feel you are in need or if you need help with the process please contact our area  SEND manager:

Carlisle & Eden
Ann Hayward
Tel: 01228 221701

Barrow & South Lakes
Kirsty Parry
Tel: 01539 713306

Allerdale & Copeland
Tel: 01946 505557

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