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An update from the Short Breaks service in relation to COVID-19

02 November 2020
An illustration of the coronavirus microscopically

We thank everyone for their understanding during this difficult time and urge everyone to keep following government guidance to keep themselves, their families and their young people safe and healthy.

Clubs and activities

With some of the newer government changes we have at last been able to resume some of the summer holiday clubs and activities. While they will look very different to normal with smaller groups, some shorter sessions, dedicated drop off and pick up slots we are very pleased with all the hard work the providers have carried out to allow them to open safely for all the children and young people but also the staff. There has been some anxiety from parents about returning but generally feedback has been extremely positive for those sessions they have started and all clubs have been so happy to welcome children back.

We continue having regular meetings with all our short breaks providers to ensure everyone is up to date with any changes but also to share good news, resources and ideas for activities.

Where online content has worked well, we are asking all providers to continue with this where possible. This is especially the case for children and young people who are either not able or not wanting to return to face-to-face contact. This is also so the case where some providers have not yet been able to open face to face sessions yet due to restrictions still at leisure centres and some other buildings.

Please do feel free to contact your normal club for further details.

Please read our lead provider Essex Short Breaks: Clubs & Activities latest 'Hot off the press' newsletter for further details.

Please also read the latest updates from all of our providers.

Caravans

Due to the announcement on Saturday 31 October that the country will enter a national lockdown, our caravans are now closed for 2020. We will not be taking any bookings until January.

If you have made a booking for November 2020, we will refund your payment.

When bookings reopen in January 2021, you will be able to visit our Book a caravan section and use your registered email address and passport ID number.

Max Cards and activity tickets

For Max Cards there is not an online solution for this as the card is a physical card which must be used at time of booking any discount through the Max Card website. We will not be able to issue any cards for 2020 and will review this again in January 2021.

For tickets we now have virtual solutions. Everyone who has applied has been notified on what they have been allocated and how to claim their ticket from the venue. Colchester Zoo has now run out, but you can still apply for Marsh Farm or Paradise Wildlife Park. Both venues have extended the use of the ticket into next year - exact dates will be confirmed by the venue when you contact them to claim.

We are also asking that anyone who has moved or changed any contact details email shortbreaks@essex.gov.uk with your correct details in advance of applying for tickets so we have the correct information. You can apply for tickets but please remember these will not be posted out to you. You will receive email instructions on how to claim your ticket.

Please see links below in relation to the three attractions we work with, with their updates on how COVID-19 is affecting them:

Beach huts

Our beach hut bookings are now closed for 2020. We will advertise in January 2021 when bookings will open for next year.