A break from caring
Being a carer can be physically and emotionally challenging, and it's important you have the opportunity to take a break from your caring role.
There are lots of ways you can take what we call a 'short break' from caring. This could be for a few hours, overnight, a weekend or longer. The person you care for will be looked after in a supportive, safe environment and perhaps enjoy new activities while you take some time for yourself.
There are different kinds of short breaks available, depending on the sort of needs the person you're caring for has.
Short breaks for disabled children (aged under 18)
To find out about the range of services available to give you a break from caring for your disabled child:
- contact Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK)
- speak to your child's social worker.
- search for local short breaks and respite care.
Our short breaks statement explains how we supporting parents and carers to get a break from caring.
Imago Short Breaks Service
IMAGO offers day and overnight short breaks for disabled young people aged 10-18 throughout the year on behalf of Kent County Council. You can refer yourself directly to them or you could be referred as part of your child's education, health and care plan.
Specialist Saturday and school holiday clubs and activities
Fun activities for children and young people whose complex needs mean they can't access mainstream activities. Referrals for this service will be discussed with you as part of your assessment or annual review and could form part of your child's education, health and care plan.
Contact your child's social worker to be referred to your local group.
Overnight and residential breaks
We have 5 centres in Kent which offer overnight stays for children and young people aged 5 to 17 with learning disabilities, social communication disorders, complex health needs and challenging behaviour. Referrals for this service will be discussed with you as part of your assessment or annual review and could form part of your child's education, health and care plan.
The centres are:
- Bluebells Short Break Unit, Detling Kent
- Fairlawn Short Break Unit, Ashford, Kent
- The Sunrise Children's Centre, Sunrise, Southborough, Kent
- Treetops Short Break Unit, Dartford, Kent
- Windchimes Children's Resource Centre, Herne Bay, Kent.
The centres are run in partnership with the Kent Community NHS Health Trust
Parent consultation on short breaks - family events and support groups
In February 2016 Kent County Council ran an online survey to ask parents of disabled children their opinions on the current provision of family events and short breaks, to inform the decisions around provision from April 2016 to March 2018.
The online survey was promoted via the parent driven charities and Kent Parents Carer Forum (KPCF).
These grants are one of the ways the council provides short breaks for parents and carers of disabled children. You can read more about this in the KCC Short Breaks Statement.
Crossroads Care can provide you with a break from caring if you are providing care or support to a family member or friend who is ill, elderly or has a physical or learning disability.
Volcare provide a respite service between 1 day and 2 weeks for carers who provide full time care to relatives in their own home.
This service is available in Canterbury, Thanet and Dover districts.
Adults with learning disabilities
We have a range of residential short break services across Kent.
To find out if you are eligible speak to your care manager if you have one or request an assessment.
- Southfields, Ashford
- Meadowside, Deal
- Osborne Court, Faversham (due to close March 2017)
- Canterbury Adult Support Unit, Canterbury
- Hedgerows, Staplehurst
- The Birches, Tonbridge
- Rushall, Tunbridge Wells
You can also arrange short breaks via:
Our short breaks service for adults with learning disabilities is under review. We want to plan a wide range of options for the future to meet the needs of all people, including those with the most complex needs. More information will be available soon.