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Previous Achievements

To understand the starting point for our Shorts Breaks work – go to the bottom of the page to discover what parent carers wanted to know; and then review our progress each year and any further parent carer questions.

Progress - 2014-2015

To improve the short breaks services provided for SEND children, young people and their families, we are currently working with the local authorities on:-

  1. Let's Go! Bristol Transport Scheme: An extension of the pilot funding was agreed to keep this scheme operating until June 2015. BPC continues to manage the bookings for this scheme.

    Let's Go! Bristol
  2. Short Breaks Commissioning Plan: The Council has produced a draft new SB Commissioning Plan containing a range of proposal for trying to increase/improve the range of short breaks under offer to a wider group of parents. To comment on it there is an online survey until the end of June, and petition. Also there is a wide range of opportunities for attended meetings and having your say about the proposals. BPC's reps have been attending these meetings to hear what parent have to say.

  3. Personal Budgets: We have 2 reps on the BCC working group which is developing how personal budgets will operate in Bristol when they are launched in Sept 2014. They are looking at what services can be provided through personal budgets and what form that could take. They are also working on the pilots (due in Sept) that should allow some parent carers to have personal budgets for travel to school, continence products, short breaks, and continuing health care. For more information on what a Personal Budget is, see SEND Reforms page.

Progress – 2013-2014

  • Our reps became members of several BCC working groups looking at the SEN reforms due to start in Sept 2014, including ones covering: personal budgets.

  • In order to develop the personal budgets system for Bristol and a pilot for short breaks vouchers, we provided a presentation and ran a workshop on it at our Annual Participation Event in March 2014.

  • The views expressed by parent carers about what they want choice and control over were fed back to the local authorities who used them in their planning.

  • The local authorities needed to discover the type of short breaks SEND children and their families really want, and review the balance between residential short breaks and community ones. We helped the Council develop a survey for parent carers and advertised it, so they could use the results to set up parent carer consultation meetings.

Question 3: Parents carers said: "We can't access short breaks because we don't drive/don't own a car – could some transport be provided to help us?"

What Bristol Parent Carers did:

  • Worked with the Short Breaks Working Group on the design of a Short Breaks Transport Scheme.

  • Worked with the Bristol Children's Hospital and Barbara Russell Children's Unit, Frenchay to provide tours for the SEND inpatients to the Gromit Trail.

What the local authorities did:

  • Launched a 12 month Let's Go! Bristol pilot scheme to enable parent carers and short breaks providers to hire free transport for holidays and activities for those that find it hard to get about.

  • Gave contracts to Bristol Community Transport to provide the vehicles, and to Bristol Parent Carers to manage the bookings.

Progress – 2012-2013

  • Through our reps on the Short Breaks Working Group, we looked at the commissioning of short breaks providers.

  • To reduce administration, BCC wanted to contract fewer providers and encourage many Bristol agencies to form consortia and cover a range of activities. Our reps helped develop the service specifications for new Short Breaks' Providers, and sat on the procurement panel reviewing the bids from contractors.

  • Parent carers contributed ideas for capital equipment purchases to aid short breaks activities around Bristol.

  • The Council outsourced Youth Links services to Creative Youth Network (for Central Bristol) and Learning Partnerships West (for rest of the city). Running venues like Adventure Playgrounds and Community Centres became the responsibility of their local communities. Our reps worked with Council colleagues to try to ensure the continuing access of disability youth groups/play teams to these sites, and to the existing disabled resources housed there. This work is ongoing.

Question 2: Parents carers said: "With the closure of Hop, Skip and Jump as a family stay and play venue, there is a need for similar opportunities around the city."

What Bristol Parent Carers did:

  • Held discussions with the Complex Needs Board and the Early Years Department about the possibilities.

  • Parent carers helped detail the requirements of a Stay & Play venue and design the sessions with BCC officials.

What the local authorities did:

  • Offered the 3 Specialist Children's Centres (one per locality) as venues. In the South, it's Ilminster Road, Knowle; in East & Central, it's Barton Hill; in the North, it's Four Villages, Long Cross.

  • The staff now run Stay & Play sessions in each holiday for children 10 years and younger.

Starting Point – 2011-2012

Question 1: Parent carers said: "It's difficult to know what short breaks are available, and who they're for."

What Bristol Parent Carers did:

  • Placed a representative on the council's Short Breaks Working Group.

  • Worked with this group to update the information available about services and eligibility criteria, by helping to co-produce a 'parent-friendly' Short Breaks Service Statement.

What the Local Authorities did:

  • Published the Short Breaks Service Statement on their website and distributed it to schools.

  • We help BCC update this statement annually.

To get involved in any of these activities, and share your skills with us, click on our Contact Us page.

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