These Short Breaks are important to families who have a child with a disability. The challenges which accompany a child with disabilities can be very tiring, with day-to-day activities becoming more complex. Short Breaks give the family members, parents/carers and siblings a chance to have a break from their caring responsibilities whilst the disabled child/young person has the opportunity to try out new activities and form new relationships. The child/young person can take part in enjoyable experiences that contribute to their development and help them to develop new interests.
We started our work back in May 2013. Every child, irrespective of their individual needs, should have the right to take part fully within their community, having the same choices, experiences and opportunities as other children. We were successful in providing a service in all 4 quadrants of the county, South, Mid, West and North Essex.
The majority of referrals for the Inspire Service came predominantly from the Children and Young People with Disabilities Team, but we also accepted self-referrals from families, School Liaison Officers, Family Solutions and the Sensory Team of Social Care. Keeping in regular contact with our referrers through feedback on our assessments enabled us to build and maintain our relationships.
The 12 week programme of support was to successfully introduce, involve or integrate children and young people into local activities within their community. This involved supporting activity leaders in fully, including those with disabilities, and demonstrating the successful implementation/continuation of a behaviour management plan outside of the school and home. This also aided families in learning which clubs and facilities were accessible to their children/young people within their locality. Some of the children also attended the activity clubs that we ran during school holidays and Saturday clubs.
The Service provided had a positive, often life changing impact on the lives of the children and young people, as well as their families by combating social exclusion. We have been able to provide independence through life enhancing experiences such as new friendships and interests, increased confidence to attend clubs and activities independently and experiences that contribute to personal and social development away from parents and carers.