Short break services


Short breaks provide a chance for disabled children and young people to spend time away from their carers, try out new things, have fun and make new friends. They can also provide families with a chance to have a break from their caring responsibilities and to do ordinary things together.

There is a whole range of short break services on offer for disabled children and young people in Waltham Forest aged from 0 to 18 years. The main types of short breaks are detailed below.

Adventure play Click to get info

A range of activities at a specialist playground with activities designed to meet the needs of children and young people with additional needs. They offer an inclusive and individualised service to each child.

To access these services, a child needs to have an assessment of their needs. This can be via one of two routes:

Befriending services Click to get info

A befriending service is designed in to meet the needs of disabled children/young people and their families. Through planned 1:1 sessions the service facilitates leisure and play activities to help the child/young person expand their interests and explore, new social opportunities and build up positive experiences and skills. 

Families are allocated a trained designated short breaks worker who organises regular sessions in partnership with the family. The sessions can be home and community based depending on the needs of the child/young person and their family. Workers can also come along to family outings to provide support.

These are usually group activities that can be run from a base or using community resources. The child/young person needs will be assessed and allocated either a 1:1 or a 1:4 support worker depending on their needs. Each short break provider has different criteria for the allocation of support and should you have any questions please contact the organisation.

Overnight short breaks Click to get info

Overnight short breaks are provided at the council's Short Break unit at

To access this service you child will require an assessment by a social worker.

Please contact the short breaks coordinator for more details (see details below).

To access the short breaks service a child or young person will need to have an assessment of their needs. This can be can be arranged by completing a self-referral form.

Short break self-referral form (835KB PDF)

For information about completing the self referral form, please see our guide to completing the self-referral form (295KB PDF).

Alternatively, to request a self-referral form please contact:

Telephone:  020 8496 3515

To request a formal assessment with the Disability Enablement Service please call 020 8496 3000 (WF Direct).

What happens next
The assessment or self-referral from will be passed to the Short Break Panel for a decision (the panel meets monthly).

Should an allocation of short break hours be agreed you will be informed in writing and the allocation will run for a financial year until 31 March.

This allocation of short break hours can be used with any of the day services that Waltham Forest have commissioned. The hours can used at weekends, weekday or during the school holidays, as long as there is availability. The allocation of hours is for all short break services.

For example, in one year the allocation of short break hours can be with a variety of short break providers or the hours with the one organisation.

If child should exhaust their allocation before the end of the financial they cannot access the services until April of the following year. Parents are responsible for keeping track of the hours that are used each month. The allocation will not be increased or hours of service extended once the allocation has been exhausted.

Please plan the short break allocation in advance as there are a number of school holidays and the service that the short break providers run during these holidays get booked up very quickly.

This is a system that is designed to be fair and allow children and young people with a disability the opportunity to access short breaks.

Contact Click to get info

For more information about short break services please contact:

Short Breaks Officer

London Borough of Waltham Forest
Wood Street Health Centre
6 Linford Road
E17 3LA

Telephone: 020 8496 3515


If you wish to submit a new referral, please send a paper copy to the above address or email: