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Changes for Short Break Activities

Hampshire County Council has agreed a number of changes to the Authority’s Short Break Activities Programme for children and young people with disabilities — a progamme that enables parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities to take a break from their caring responsibilities while their children attend an educational or leisure activity.

Councillor Patricia Stallard, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services and Young People, commented: “I know how much families appreciate this time and, indeed, how much those that they care for enjoy the fun and educational activities they have access to, through the Programme.

“When considering the recommendations, I was particularly interested in the feedback to the proposals, that was gathered during the public consultation held over the spring and summer of this year. During my deliberations, I have been mindful of the need for us to find efficiencies across all areas of the County Council’s services and to deliver more with less money. In agreeing the recommendations, it is my belief that the changes to the Programme will not have an undue negative impact on the families who benefit from having access to Short Break activities.”

From April 2021, the Short Break Activities Programme will comprise:

n An overall grant fund of £539,500 to match demand. In the current financial year (2020/2021) the County Council has been able to purchase more activity places than the amount anticipated and only 21% of Gateway Card holders accessed short break activities. In some cases, there has been a surplus of places that have not been taken up;

n Acceptance of funding applications that meet the core Short Break Activity priorities, which are co-produced with parents and carers, and retaining an ‘exceptions’ fund of £20,000 to enable ad-hoc grant applications to be made;

n An annual grant of £17,500 for Hampshire Parent Carer Network (HPCN) to align with the anticipated level of Children’s Services related work (covering education and social care);

n Redesigning the Community Buddy Scheme – commissioning a new service that would include no longer giving access to non-Hampshire County Council area residents, or young people aged 18 years of age or over. Additionally, parental hourly contributions will increase from £5 to £6.50, and mileage from 25p to 30p, within the scheme.

Specialist services provided for children with assessed social care needs remain unaffected by any of the changes to the Short Break Activities Programme.

It is anticipated that £696,000 (a 4% reduction in the Children with Disabilities budget) will be saved through making the agreed changes to the Short Break Activities Programme.

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