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What are Essex Short Breaks?

Four young children wearing glasses looking at the camera

Essex Short breaks give parent carers and siblings of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities a break from their additional caring responsibilities, whilst enabling children and young people to meet friends, take part in activities, develop independence and have fun. It is part of Essex County Council's early help approach.

Who can access Essex Short Breaks?

Children and young people can access Essex Short Break's provision if they are:

  • aged between 0-18, or 19-25 and have a personal budget
  • have a diagnosis of special educational needs and/or a disability
  • living within the administrative borders of Essex County Council

How do I sign up? 

To access this provision, a responsible adult such as a parent carer or family member can create a Short Breaks Digital Account for the child or young person. Access to the offer is then managed through that account.  Families new to Essex SEND Short Breaks will need to register for an account. Families already registered can log in directly. 

Where a family needs a higher level or a different type of support, they are entitled to a social care assessment to help identify what those needs are. When a social care assessment identifies a specific need, direct payments, packages of care hours, or overnight short breaks may be offered. 

Short Breaks Statement

Local authorities are required to produce a Short Breaks Service Statement so that families know what services are available, the eligibility criteria for these services and how the range of services is designed to meet the needs of the families with disabled children in the area. The requirements of the Short Breaks Statement are incorporated into this Short Breaks webpage and set out within the Short Breaks Commissioning Strategy 2021-2026.

What does the Essex Short Breaks offer look like? 

The Essex Short Breaks offer consists of a range of provision that can be accessed directly, without the need for a social care assessment. It includes:

Autism and Nature

Autism and Nature

Young girl in a wheelchair smiling and looking at a tropical bird

Max Cards and tickets

Apply for Max Cards and tickets for money off some the most popular attractions in Essex

Beach Huts

Enjoy a lovely day at the seaside


Book a subsidised holiday

Short Breaks Community Clubs & Activities

Short Breaks Community Clubs & Activities

Apply for a Changing Places key

Apply for a Changing Places key