Activities and respite for children with disabilities that provide a short break - consultation 2023

Closed 19 Nov 2023

Opened 6 Oct 2023

Feedback updated 1 Feb 2024

We asked

In Autumn 2023, we conducted a survey seeking views on a proposed new way of delivering activities and respite (short breaks) for disabled children in Northamptonshire. It was important that we gave as many people the opportunity to feedback via an electronic survey and through face to face sessions. 

Conducted throughout October and November, the survey received an overwhelming response, with 150 individuals contributing their valuable insights and a further 134 attending the various workshops. 

You said

The following sets out the key findings:

  • The idea of a single referral pathway is beneficial to help avoid families having to tell their stories repeatedly.
  • Any assessment that is already in place should be used for access to the short break’s services. Some respondents did want to keep self-referrals.
  • Respondents agreed with the principle of reallocating funding, however, they did not agree with closing the residential short breaks unit 1 day a week.
  • That daytime activities preferred included swimming, activities involving animals, cooking or musical activities.
  • The need for better links with activities already taking place in communities and support for children and young people to access them.
  • The need for 1:1 or 2:1 staffing, followed by secure environments and small groups to access services.
  • The sleep service should not be added to the short breaks group of services.
  • Sensory impairment services should not be added to the short breaks group of services.
  • Adding personal care and support services to the short breaks group of services would be positive.
  • That in general, respondents agreed with some parts of the proposals but not all of it.

We did

The survey covered a broad spectrum of topics allowing us to review the entire provision and receive appropriate feedback. Thanks to this, a new model of short breaks and respite will be implemented; this will consist of:

  • A single referral route into the short break’s services.
  • Existing assessments being used to access the short breaks services and allowing parents to self-refer.
  • Residential short breaks unit reducing the bed capacity rather than closing 1 night a week; analysis shows this will still enable the need to be met.
  • The Sleep Service (and budget) will not be included in the Short Breaks group of services.
  • The Sensory Impairment services will not be included in the short breaks group of service.
  • Consideration of adding PCaS services during the 2nd year of the contract after modelling the viability of this.

Next steps 

  • Commissioning the new services to be in place by November 2024.
  • Complete a whole service review of the sleep service and agree a joint plan to reduce the waiting list.
  • Ensure the transition from the current services to the new services are as smooth as possible to avoid any negative impact on children, young people, and their families.

To read more and see the report you can visit the Northamptonshire Childrens Trust News page


Throughout October and November the Northamptonshire Children's Trust are seeking views on a proposed new way of delivering activities and respite (short breaks) for disabled children in Northamptonshire. 

Please watch the below short video that explains what the services are and the suggested changes. 

How do we define disabled?

You’re considered disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

  • 'substantial’ is more than minor or trivial, e.g. it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task like getting dressed
  • ‘long-term’ means 12 months or more

How to have your say

Please fill out this questionnaire using the link below to tell us your views about the service. 

You do not have to answer all of the questions. If you don’t want to answer a question, or don’t know the answer, then move on to the next question.

You can also give us your views by emailing or writing to us or attending one of the engagement sessions. Places at the engagement sessions are limited so if you would like to attend please select an event and reserve your place.

West Northamptonshire

North Northamptonshire

Virtual event

If you have any questions, comments or would like a copy of this questionnaire in another format (including easy read or large print), you can contact us by email, post or telephone. Our contact details are:

Email address:

Postal address:

  • Northamptonshire Children's Trust
  • Commissioning Team
  • One Angel Square 
  • Angel Street
  • Northampton
  • NN1 1ED

Telephone: 01604 362289

The Northants Parent Forum Group (NPFG) is an independent, parent-led group formed and run by volunteers. It represents the views of families of children and young people (up to aged 25) with special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in West and North Northamptonshire. If you would like to get in touch with the NPFG you can email them at

The deadline for returning this questionnaire is midnight Sunday 19 November 2023.

Please see the Northamptonshire Children's Trust web page for further information, including Frequently Asked Questions.

Thank you for helping us by filling in this questionnaire.

Please note: This is a partnership activity between Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT), the NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB), West Northamptonshire Council and North Northamptonshire Council. The online survey for this activity is hosted on North Northamptonshire Council's Consultation & Engagement Hub.

For information about how consultation and engagement responses are managed, please see our privacy notices:


  • Engagement activities
  • Public Health