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Short Breaks Flexible Offer Update – COVID 19

Until 31st December 2020

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.

So far there have been two Short Breaks payments, the first of £250 to cover April – June and the second of £630 (or £190 if you receive a DCS Care Package) in August. 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 ​(ideas of how to spend your funding further down the page).

This means that children who have received the full Short Breaks payment of £880 have a maximum of £500 to spend on items. ​This period was due to end in September 2020 – but it is now agreed that this will extend until 31st December 2020.

If you did not spend the whole £250 from the first payment, you can add any money left over to the second payment. For example, if you spent £200 and had £50 left over from the first payment, you can still spend £300 on items for your child between now and December 31st 2020.

If you use a Provider​ but cannot access your sessions as normal, you can also access this offer until 31st December. £250 = 20 hours at your provider. 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 December 2020. The reason to try and put a time limit on this is because services may open as usual from January and we can go back to using short breaks as normal. However, we will review this in December and if it is likely that normal short breaks activities will still be limited, we will have the option of extending the flexible offer until 31st March 2021.

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 £500 on items between now and December 31st 2020
  • 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).

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.