Councillor Patricia Stallard, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services and Young People, commented: “Early on during the Coronavirus response we took the decision to move the deadline for responses beyond May, to ensure that anyone who may have been affected by the virus would still have an opportunity to provide us with their feedback on the proposals. I cannot stress how important the views of all Hampshire residents are to us. We most especially want to make sure that those who could be directly affected by the proposed changes - children and young people with disabilities, those who care for them and Short Break Activity providers – are aware of the consultation and how they can have their say.”
Through the Short Break Activities Programme, parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities can take a break from their caring responsibilities while their children attend an educational or leisure activity.
Residents’ feedback is being invited on a range of proposals for how the Short Break Activities Programme could operate after 31 March 2021. Some of the proposals could help The County Council’s Children’s Services Department to make annual savings of up to £696,000. Others are aimed at improving the Programme, while making the best use of available funding.
The proposals include:
• Reducing the overall grant for providing Short Break Activities;
• Only accepting funding applications that meet the core Short Break Activity priorities;
• Introducing a two-tier Gateway Card scheme
• Commissioning Short Break Activities through an external grant-giving body;
• And, redesigning the Community Buddy Scheme.
Specialist services provided for children with assessed social care needs are not included in this consultation. Anyone who would like to take part in the consultation will have until 11:59 pm on Sunday 12 July 2020 to make their views known.
Before completing the response form, people are strongly encouraged to read the information pack which provides the background to, and details of, the proposals. Both the information pack and response form can be found online at www.hants.gov.uk/shortbreakconsultation
A number of virtual information events have been arranged to enable people to ask questions about the consultation and proposals. The online events are being held in collaboration with Hampshire Parent Carer Network (HPCN), and will take place via Zoom. Event dates and how to participate are provided on the consultation webpage: www.hants.gov.uk/shortbreakconsultation
Additional information: Specialist Services
In addition to the Short Break Activities Programme, Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services department provides a variety of specialist support services, such as care support and overnight respite to children and young people who have been assessed by a social worker as having unmet social care needs. At any one time, around 600 children and young people in Hampshire access these services. While these specialist services form part of the overall range of Short Breaks services, they are not included within the scope of this consultation.