Short breaks for children and young people

Short breaks are activities for children and young people with a disability. They allow a disabled child or young person to have an enjoyable break away from their main carer, and give their carer a break from their caring responsibilities.


Eligibility criteria

Short breaks are for children or young people who:

  • are 5 to 17 years old (up until the day before their 18th birthday)
  • live in Hackney permanently
  • receive disability living allowance at middle rate or high rate or personal independence payments at intermediate or advance rate

If your child is aged under 5 years see Under 5’s provision.

How to apply

Complete the short breaks application form and provide a copy of your child’s disability living allowance at the middle rate or above.

Short breaks application form

For any queries or support in filling out your application, tel 020 8356 6789 or email

Short breaks offer

The short breaks offer for 2023/24 is 110 hours to be used flexibly at one of our contracted providers (55 hours if you are in receipt of a social care package that includes social activities), or the option of an individual budget prepaid card.

The range of short breaks available

The following short breaks services are available in Hackney:

  • holiday play schemes (including school)
  • specialist after school clubs
  • specialist weekend clubs
  • after school and weekend clubs based at universal setting
  • one to one outreach support in the home and in the community
  • individual budget – read the individual budget process (google doc)

See our short breaks providers 2023 to 24 (google doc)

Under 5’s provision

Depending on the age of your child, you may be eligible for 15 free hours nursery or childminding, which can be used for respite at a children’s centre if your child is aged between 0 to 2 years. 

If your child is aged between 3 to 4 years you can access a range of service provisions such as a nursery, children centre or childminding. 

You can find more information about free childcare by visiting Hackney Education.

In exceptional cases where your child is aged 3 to 4 years you may be able to access a one-off payment totalling £200 to pay for a carer or age appropriate service. Once your child turns 5 and if eligible they will be entitled to Short Breaks. You can contact the team for more information on 020 8356 6789.

If you require more support for your child under 5, you can request a social care assessment from Disabled Children’s Service via MASH 020 8356 5500.

Activities for your child

There are activities available for your child, including children with additional needs. See:

Attend our free families event

Attend our next free family fun day. This event is for children and young people with SEND and their families, to explore and try inclusive and accessible activities in the borough.

Event details

Date: Wednesday 14 February 2024

Time: 2pm to 5pm

Location: Britannia Leisure Centre, N1 5JU

For more information and to book a slot, visit Eventbrite – SEND inclusive leisure fair.

Useful links for carers

See help with the rising cost of living.
See Grants and discounts (google doc)

Short breaks feedback survey

Short breaks is a service that is led by the people who use it, so we value your feedback. Your opinions help us improve the service and decide how to use funding. By telling us how short breaks help you and your child with disabilities, we can make improvements.

Complete short breaks feedback survey

Page updated on: 7 February 2024

Short Breaks


Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY