Parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities are being asked to help plan short break activities in Dorset.

Dorset Council commissions a variety of short break services, which allow children and young people to have fun outside the home and give parents and carers some much-needed time to themselves.

In 2018/19, nearly 700 children and young people benefitted from short breaks. From day trips and activities at leisure centres to overnight stays with approved carers – there’s a variety of things on offer. However, the council wants to make sure it funds the activities and breaks that families want, so is asking them to complete a short survey to find out what is good, what could be better and what people would like to see in the future.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Cabinet member for Children, Education and Early Help at Dorset Council, said:

“Short breaks give children and young people the chance to try new things, make new friends and have fun while gaining confidence and independence. At the same time, parents and carers get a well-deserved break and a chance to relax, or maybe spend some time with their other children.

“It’s really important that we help provide the types of breaks that families want, rather than what we think they need, so I’d encourage families them to complete the survey.”

A short breaks survey is carried out every four years in partnership with the Dorset Parent-Carer Council. The results of this survey will be used to plan and commission short break activities when the council reviews its contracts in April 2020.

The survey is live until 26th July. It can be completed online at or, if you need a paper copy, call 01305 224794.

Anyone eligible for short breaks could also be in with a chance to win one of 10 Love2Shop vouchers for £25. Simply fill in your details at the end of the survey to be entered into the prize draw.