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Short Breaks Flexible Offer Update – COVID 19

Until 31st March 2021

In these current exceptional circumstances we would like to offer families some flexibility to the standard Short Breaks offer, we will be allowing families the opportunity to purchase equipment that promotes play and creativity so that they are able to continue supporting the development and stimulation of their child or young person.

Based on the recent feedback and concerns of parents and carers, we have reviewed our offer Short Breaks offer during COVID.

You now should have received your full allocation for the year (1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021). If You have any funding outstanding please contact the team who will look into this.

Because of the impact of COVID it was agreed that for the first time this money could be used flexibly to buy equipment and toys to promote play and creativity and provide activities in the home where funding could not be used as normal.

This means that children who have received the full Short Breaks payment of £880, have a maximum of £880 to spend on items. (£440 if you also receive a DCS Care Package) ​This period was due to end in December 2020 – but it is now agreed that this will extend until 31st March 2021.

If you use a Provider​ but cannot access your sessions as normal, you can instead choose an Individual budget which will be a maximum of £880 (less if you have already used some hours) to spend on equipment services of your choice, this includes paying a carer and flexibility to buy play equipment. Please contact the team so we can arrange this.

We would ask that where a single item is going to cost over £250 in Short Breaks money, you do ​email the team first for approval ​of this via phone 020 8356 6796 or email ​Short.Breaks@hackney.gov.uk​. Where emails are sent, we will make a commitment to respond within two working days.

We are happy for parents to top up payments for an item with their own money if there is an item that is more expensive and you require it to meet your child’s individual needs. For instance, if you have £250 of Short Breaks funding left available for purchasing items and something costs £300, then you can top this up with £50 of your own money.

Please take care to only use the money to buy items that are allowed​. As this might delay future payments and you could be asked to pay the council back.

We will allow families flexibility to continue to buy items until the 31st March 2021. Please note any unspent money left on your card after the 31st March will be clawed back as we are unable to carry over funds. You will receive your NEW allocation from 1st April 2021 which is to be used until March the following year. (Short Breaks funding runs from 1st April – 31st March and money cannot be carried over).

Please remember that once you spend your allocation for 2020/21, no further money will be provided until 1st April 2021. We do therefore want parents to be thoughtful about buying expensive items if this may leave your child without money to fund activities, between January and March which includes February half term.

In brief:

  • Those receiving full payments can spend up to £880 on items between now and 31st March 2021;
  • If a single item is going to cost more than £250 (and will be purchased purely with Short Breaks money), this requires approval from Short Breaks;
  • Parents can top up costs for items over £250 (this does not require approval).
  • You can still use your funding to pay a carer and for entry to activities
  • You must spend your funding appropriately by 31st March 2021, no funds can be carried over.

Ideas of how to spend your IB money

(these are examples from other families using Short Breaks)

  • Trampoline – for indoor and outdoor
  • Bike / specialist adaptable Bike
  • Scooter
  • Apple Watch (to monitor fitness and exercise)
  • Arts and Crafts materials
  • Board Games
  • A carer or family friend to take my child out
  • A taxi or train ticket to the seaside
  • Nintendo Wii / Switch
  • Playstation
  • Headphones / Earbuds
  • Remote control car
  • Microphone / Karaoke system
  • Tablets to play games and communicate with friends
  • Apps for my Tablet – games, art, photography Apps
  • A weekend at Kench Hill ​(www.kenchhill.co.uk)
  • Stereo System
  • Building blocks
  • Sewing Machine
  • Weighted blanket (helps anxiety)
  • Swimming and paddling pools
  • Puzzles
  • Books including sensory books
  • Musical Instruments
  • Lego sets
  • Camera and printer – to take photos when outside and print out
  • Garden play equipment such as a slide or playhouse
  • Sandbox
  • Seeds and gardening equipment to grow a vegetable patch
  • Strawberry picking
  • Visit to the Zoo
  • Sensory toys and equipment such as soft play

What can I NOT buy?

You cannot use the funding to purchase the following

  • any subscription services such as Sky Television, Netflix, etc
  • any large electronic items (televisions, treadmills)
  • any white goods
  • items for siblings
  • educational/tuition services
  • food, drink, from Supermarkets, Deliveroo, UberEats etc
  • Fuel
  • Animals/pets
  • Clothing

If you would like to discuss your purchase with a member of the team please call 020 8356 6796 or email ​Short.Breaks@hackney.gov.uk for a call back.