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Short breaks

For children and young people with disabilities and/or additional needs

Our short breaks programme

Short breaks

What are short breaks?

Our short breaks programme will:

  • enable children and young people with disabilities and/or additional needs to join in with safe, fun and interesting activities
  • give parents or full-time carers an opportunity to have a short break from caring.

Short breaks come in all shapes and sizes, lasting from a few hours to a day or an evening, and provide a positive experience for all. They could:

  • be a fun short break activity just for your child
  • support families to enjoy a short break activity together
  • include additional support so that your child or young person can join a club or recreational activity in their community.

Who are short breaks for?

Short breaks are for children and young people who:

  • have a disability and/or additional needs and may require support to participate fully in leisure and recreation activities
  • are between 0 to 19 years old
  • live in Hampshire and/or attend a school in Hampshire (excluding Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight as they have similar schemes).

Will we be charged for short breaks?

Some activities and services have a cost which you would expect to pay whether a child is disabled or non-disabled - families are expected to pay these costs. The additional support you may require will be funded through the short breaks programme.

How do we access short breaks?

You can book places at an activity or play scheme directly with the provider. To help with the booking process, we have introduced the Gateway Card which is used to identify that your child or young person has a disability and/or additional needs and may require support. The card is free and will reduce the many funding forms that families have completed in the past at each activity. Find out more at

What types of short breaks can we access?

There are lots of short breaks activities that you can access.

How do we find out about short breaks

  • Register your child for a

    Gateway Card

    and tick YES to receiving updates. You will then receive FREE copies of the Hampshire Gateway guides (4 publications across a year) which list recreation and leisure activities available.
  • Hampshire Gateway website - you can search online for leisure and recreation activities. The website is regularly updated by Parent Voice with new activities.
  • Parent Voice also sends a weekly newsletter by post or email to inform parents and carers of new developments and other useful information. To join Parent Voice register online at, email or call 0300 303 8603.
  • Directly from activity providers in their newsletters, leaflets, local magazines and websites.
  • The Family Information Directory lists family services and childcare information.

Gateway Card

Register for a Gateway Card for access to activities, play schemes and buddy schemes available through our short breaks programme.

Parent participation

  • Parent Voice - a network of parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities and/or additional needs to provide you with information and advice.