Surrey County Council Short Breaks update
We are aware that more families are looking to access Short Breaks services now that COVID-19 restrictions have been eased.
Surrey County Council provides funding towards a wide range of Short Breaks services across Surrey, and funding from the council for these services has remained largely constant since the current services commenced in December 2017 up to March this year. Currently over 40 Short Breaks schemes are funded by Surrey County Council.
However, in 2020, the council identified a small number of Short Breaks schemes for which funding would stop from 1 April 2021, these are:
▪ Challengers Esher Play scheme
▪ Challengers Caterham Youth scheme
▪ InterAKtive club at Linden Bridge School
▪ LinkAble Surrey Heath Play scheme and Scouts
▪ Woodlands School club
▪ YMCA East Surrey Mole Valley Youth scheme.
The following providers also confirmed they would not be delivering services in Surrey from April 2021:
▪ Freemantles School club
▪ Crossroads Care Surrey also made an independent decision to close its Saturday scheme.
The decision to cease funding for a small number of schemes was not taken lightly. Decisions were made following careful assessment of take-up and performance of services delivered over recent years. We considered the impact that these changes would have on families, discussed the changes with the providers affected and agreed joint letters to go to families, together with further information. Providers have also, with our support, been signposting affected families to other local provision. This change had allowed us to use funds more effectively, remaining committed to ensuring the needs of all carers are considered and to support as many children, young people and families as possible who continue to access the Short Breaks services across Surrey.
We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and will address any identified gaps in provision.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on Short Breaks services over the last 18 months or so. During this time, Surrey County Council has been working with providers to deliver as much provision as possible for families, including through online activities, Zoom sessions and telephone support. Providers have, with the support of the council, needed to comply with legislation and guidance related to COVID-19 in order to safeguard children and staff. This has resulted in significantly reduced capacity on most schemes and therefore families have had access to fewer sessions than usual as providers have sought to provide places for every family.
Although restrictions have now been eased, providers are rightly continuing to exercise caution in increasing the capacity of schemes, but our clear expectation is that services will expand and more places will become available over the coming weeks and months, and we are working alongside providers to support them in this.
Information about Short Breaks and other services available in your area is available on the Local Offer page: https://www.surreylocaloffer.org.uk/kb5/surrey/localoffer/home.page