Short Breaks

You may find that you need a break from your caring responsibilities to give you an opportunity to recharge your batteries. This doesn’t mean you can’t cope or don’t love your child – it is hard work and it’s quite usual for families with children with SMA to have breaks. Short breaks can also give your child a change of scene, a chance to try different experiences, have fun and make friends.

Local authorities now have duties to provide short break services and make clear how families can access these. Short breaks can be:

  • Day or overnight care at home with someone else providing the care
  • Day care such as after school or weekend clubs, school holiday schemes 
  • Residential breaks at places such as hospices or activity centres.
  • Family link schemes where your child stays with another family on a regular basis or occasionally.

Talk first to your Local Authority (LA) about getting short breaks services in your area and what funding might be possible. To find your LA contact details go here:    

Contact for Families With Disabled Children have information about short breaks:  

Together for Short Lives can tell you about hospices or other short breaks services:

Action for Children offers a range of short break service for disabled children. Phone 0300 123 2112 Website:

Sebastian’s Action Trust (Bluebells Holiday House) in North Waltham, Hampshire, offers specialist breaks to families of seriously ill children:    

Happy Days Children's Charity - offer breaks to families who have a child aged 3-17 years with special educational needs, who have been victims of abuse, or who have a life-limiting condition. Breaks can be to the seaside or the countryside, usually in the UK. Phone: 01582 755999 Website:

We may know of other charities that offer short breaks so please, if you can't find something that will work for you, get in touch with SMA UK.

Page last reviewed / updated: February 2021
Next review due: February 2022