Aiming High - short breaks for disabled children

Social and Leisure Activities (Short Breaks) 

Short breaks provide opportunities for children and young people with disabilities to enjoy social and leisure activities outside of school hours. This could be during evenings, weekends, school holidays or overnight (overnight short breaks are only available if assessed as a need via a social care assessment). Short breaks also offer parents and carers a break from their caring responsibilities. 

In Swindon, we recognise that all children and families are different and may require different types and levels of short breaks support. We also understand that needs may fluctuate over time. Swindon aims to offer a graduated and proportionate response, to ensure that children with disabilities and their families have the right short breaks support. For some short break services we may need to assess your child and family to ensure that we provide the right level of support. 

Levels of support  

For children and young people aged 0 to 18th birthday who are Swindon residents and have a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010: 

Mainstream and targeted activities

Many children and young people with disabilities will be able to access social and leisure activities available for all children in their local community, alongside some targeted activities designed for children with disabilities or additional needs. For example, Brownies, Cubs or a holiday club. You can find more information about available activities in the local offer. No assessment is required to access many of these services; contact providers directly. 

Aiming High Local Offer 

The Aiming High Local Offer is for children and young people with disabilities who meet the Aiming High criteria. These children are eligible for a maximum of 80 hours of Aiming High support per year (1.5 hours per week, which can be used flexibly). The types of support available through the local offer include: 

The Aiming High Local Offer (Level 2 in the table on pages 4-5) offers a low level of support without assessment for children and young people with disabilities who meet the criteria. Children who are eligible for the Local Offer are offered a maximum of 80 hours of support per year (1.5 hours per week, which can be used flexibly). The types of support available through the Local Offer include:

Inclusion Funding Funding for 1:1 support to enable a child to access a mainstream or targeted social or leisure activity (e.g. swimming lessons, dancing or martial arts). The setting would need to be able to provide the worker. Aiming High pay a maximum rate of £10 per hour and do not fund the cost of the activity itself.
Direct Payments Aiming High provide support and funding to enable parents or carers to employ a 1:1 worker to support their child. The family need to identify a worker. Aiming High pay a maximum rate of £10 per hour and do not fund the cost of any activities attended. A Direct Payment Support Advisor provides ongoing support.
UET Short Breaks Funding for a child to attend Uplands Enterprise Trust (UET) Short Breaks, based at Upper Shaw Ridge Farm. For age 5 and up. Soft play, outdoor games, sports, arts and craft, baking and more. After school, weekends and school holidays. Cost £2.50 per hour*.
Specialist Groups Aiming High provide a range of specialist groups based on need. Groups run during evenings, Saturdays and school holidays. For age 5 and up. Activities include arts and craft, outdoor play, go-karts, sports, gaming and walks, depending on the needs of the children. There are currently long waiting lists. Cost £2.50 per hour*.

* Sibling reductions apply (first child full price, subsequent children half price). If this charge is a barrier to accessing the service, please contact Aiming High to discuss concessions. 

For more information about the different types of support available, and the terms and conditions of use, view the Aiming High factsheet.  

Anyone can make a referral to Aiming High including parents and carers or anyone working with or supporting the family, using the online form: 

Make a referral to Aiming High 

To make a referral to Aiming High you can go on the SBC website.

If you are unable to refer online, contact Aiming High on 01793 464080 or 

On receipt of your enquiry, an Inclusion and Outreach Officer will contact you to discuss your referral. Due to high demand, this may take up to 12 weeks. This is not an assessment, but an opportunity to discuss your child’s needs and look at the type of short breaks support that would be most suitable.  

Short Breaks through Social Care  

If you think a child needs more support than that available through the Local Offer, and requires a statutory assessment to explore needs that result from the child’s disability, you should contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub will determine the appropriate level of assessment, as defined by the Swindon multi-agency thresholds document

This could be through receipt of Early Help services: the Early Help Hub will contact the family to discuss signposting and targeted support. Or it could be an assessment completed by a social worker. This assessment may be undertaken by the Disabled Children’s Team or it could be a social worker from another Children’s team. The assessment will identify if there is an assessed need for short break services and how the need will be met through an individual package of support. 

MASH normal office hours: 8.30am to 4.40pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.00m on Friday. Call 01793 466903 and choose option 2, or email:

Swindon Short Breaks Statement 

The Council provides a range of short breaks for children with disabilities under the Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011. The law says that a local authority must provide, as far as is reasonably practicable, a range of services which is 'sufficient to assist carers to continue to provide care or to do so more effectively'.

The regulations require local authorities to produce a Short Breaks Statement to explain the range of short breaks support available, any eligibility criteria and how the range of service is designed to meet the needs of disabled children and their families.

Swindon’s Short Breaks Statement is in the process of being updated, following work with Swindon SEND Families Voice to review and consult upon our short breaks service during 2021. Swindon’s updated Short Breaks Statement will be made available here shortly. 

For more information about the Aiming High 2021 consultation click here.

You can view the existing short breaks statement here

If you have any questions you can contact Aiming High on 01793 464080 or