Short Breaks

A short break can be invaluable, it will allow you to spend time with or without the person you look after. Whatever it means for you find time and ways to make space for yourself.

A Carer Direct Payment can be used to help pay for a service to give you a break i.e paid carers or a sitting service, days out or a short break away. Or you can use it to buy something to make your life easier. An example of this would be buying a dishwasher so you can spend 15 mins relaxing with a coffee and a magazine instead of washing the pots each day! Or buying a computer to help you save time by doing tasks such as banking and paying bills online. The best way to find out about a carers direct payment is to complete a carer’s assessment.

About carer’s assessments

Our Carer’s Journey workshops have many benefits not least that when you take part you are doing something for yourself. Many carers have found new friendships, a new hobby, or as one carer described it a magic carpet that swishes you away from your caring thoughts. Why not take a break with our carer’s journey.

About a Carers Journey

We organise free events, days out and activities for carers and their families. We send out regular updates and offers via MailChimp. To be added to our e-mailing list please use our contact us form and let us know.

Volunteers can help

As part of our offer, we can look for a volunteer to be a companion for the person you support, for a couple of hours on a regular basis. This means you can do things that you might normally find difficult, such as gardening, going for a coffee with a friend or maybe you’d like to join one of our carer’s courses or a carer’s group. (Our volunteer befriending service is operating in select areas of the county).

We can link you to organisations that offer breaks for carers we are keen to link you into local groups that will be able to help throughout the year so we work closely with Good Neighbour Schemes and other local organisations across Oxfordshire that can help provide short periods (1 – 3 hours) for you so you can do things such as shopping, prescription collection, gardening and light DIY jobs.

If you are looking for a longer break there are services that can provide longer duration support (3+ hours), these include Crossroads Care Oxfordshire and Home Support Options. These links have been able to provide several carers longer duration breaks in the first half of 2021. 

We have extensive links to community organisations such as health clubs, cinemas and churches –because we know how important links to the local community play in your lives. We are working hard to forge links with churches, health clubs and other organisations so you can access the services in your area whilst receiving a break. 

As we transition out of a difficult year for carers in the county we hope to be able to assist as many carers as possible in their search for a break.  

To talk to our short breaks for carers co-ordinator:  please email mattcarter@carersoxfordshire.org.uk or contact 01235 424715 

You can find out about other short break offers for carers of adults by using the Live Well site and choosing ‘looking after someone’ here

Short breaks for families

Family Information Service (FIS)

The Family Information Service is part of Oxfordshire County Council and offers free information & advice for all families.  This includes help with finding Ofsted registered childcare, activities, parenting support, funding childcare costs, free early education, help with children with additional needs and more.  You can search for this information on their Directory – www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/familyinformation by using a specific subject and put in your town/postcode or email the team with your query – fis.enquiries@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Short Breaks for families of children with impairments

Short Breaks provide invaluable support and opportunities for children with a disability or additional need.  Children/young people can attend an activity and whilst they are there, you can get a break from caring and a chance to recharge, spend time with your other children or do things that are difficult when you’re caring.  For general information on activities, Ofsted registered childcare etc, please go to the Family Information Service Directory. You might also find it helpful to take a look at the section on disability, SEN & additional needs – www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/disabilityinformation  

You can find out more about Short Breaks for disabled children in Oxfordshire on the Short Breaks webpage – www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/shortbreaks  This is Oxfordshire County Council’s Short Breaks service to help parents find general advice about Short Breaks and support for their child with additional needs.  There you will find the Short Breaks Statement (what’s available in Oxfordshire for families with children with additional needs), the e-newsletter & Facebook group page, specialist commissioned providers – who they are and what they offer as well as information on any potential funding for those who are eligible.  The Disability Information Officer, Pauline MacKinnon, is based in the Oxfordshire Family Information Service and can help you find “out of school” and Short Break activities for your child.  She can also:-

  • respond to general queries from parents and carers of disabled children and young people; 
  • help families with disabled children to find options for childcare, play and leisure activities and information on support groups; 
  • support applications for help with funding for disabled children attending mainstream schools and some special schools where there is no Out of School Liaison Officer (OSLO). 

You can contact Pauline by email pauline.mackinnon@oxfordshire.gov.uk or telephone 07554 330244.

If your child is disabled, they may qualify for services from the local authority’s children’s social care department that would benefit the whole family:

If your child is going through an Education, Health and Care process, your child is entitled to an assessment for social care services as part of the process ask about this at your meetings.  

Access to respite, Short Break services or getting help from a paid carer, can literally be a lifeline when you’re at breaking point. If you want to request a social care assessment for your disabled child you can do so via the MASH – 0345 050 7666.

Get advice Know your child’s rights to social care support – Special Needs Jungle  

There are many different support groups out there offering support that can help in a variety of ways.  Some of these include: 

KEEN, an Oxford based group who offer fun activities and a buddying service. 

Home Start operating in various parts of the county and have a team of volunteers who can help families with at least one child under 5 who are struggling to cope. 

SENDIASS can help with education issues as well as provide advice on EHCPs.  

Further information on all of these and more are on the Family Information Service’s Directory – www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/familyinformation 

The Local Offer (LO) for SEN and Disability (SEND) brings together information about education, health and care services for children and young people from 0 to 25 with SEND.  Please visit Oxfordshire County Council’s Local Offer page for more information www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/localoffer.  

Want to get involved?

You can get involved with Carers Oxfordshire, if you have some time to spare then volunteering as a befriender might be of interest.

Volunteer Today