Short Breaks Children and Young People's Survey

Closed 3 Feb 2020

Opened 2 Dec 2019

Feedback updated 22 Dec 2020

We asked

What children and young people think of the short breaks on offer, what is important to them, what activities they enjoy, and what might stop them from taking part in a short breaks activity . 

You said

The activities you like the most are sports and swimming, fun activities like soft play and bowling, and holiday clubs/ playschemes. 

A few people couldn't find any activities they could take part in . 

Family fun days are your favourite type of activity. 

Fun and enjoyment are the most important things about the activities you do.

Spending time with friends and people your age is important to you. 

We need to provide you with better information, especially online about the activities on offer in your area and what short breaks are all about. 

Staff training and experience is important, to make sure you can access short breaks. 

We did

  • We will contact families who said they are unable to find the activities they need, to ask if they would like support to find activities that are right for them, and to find out more about the barriers to them taking part.
  • We have improved our online information on short breaks , by creating an accessible Wiki website, which is linked to the Local Offer website and is updated weekly. We also have a Facebook group that parent carers can join, and  have created a YouTube playlist for short breaks on the West Sussex YourSpace Youtube channel.
  • The short breaks statement is a legal document that every local authority has to produce. Our statement is due to be reviewed in January 2021. Following your feedback, and feedback from other families, we are redesigning our statement, working with parent carers and young people, to create two user-friendly guides; one for parent carers and one for young people.
  • We work with our providers to make sure they are supported in developing the skills of their staff.  Feedback on training and knowledge of staff will be discussed with our provider forum, and any gaps in skills addressed.
  • The outcomes of this survey and other engagement work we do with families, such as parent carer focus groups, drop in sessions, visits to talk to young people and staff and work with youth panels, all feed into our ongoing monitoring and evaluation of short breaks in West Sussex.


Results updated 22 Dec 2020

  • The most popular activities were ;
  • Sports/ physical activities e.g. swimming, cycling, football, boccia 52.5%
  • Fun activities e.g. bowling, cinema, soft play 42.5%
  • Holiday clubs or playschemes     35%
  • A few young people reported that they couldn’t find any suitable activities near them, or couldn’t get the right support to help them access activities.
  • Just over a third of respondents said that some or all of the activities they access are short breaks 37.5.%, another third weren’t sure if what they accessed were short breaks 30 % , and a third said they don’t access any short breaks at all 30%.
  • The most mentioned places to access activities were ; leisure centres, cinemas, football clubs, bowling alleys, holiday clubs, and after school clubs.
  • The things young people said were good about the activities they do were ; having fun, keeping busy and active, keeping fit, feeling safe, being with friends and other children and young people, being supported by staff who understand their needs, having choices, being independent, time away from parents, and following hobbies and interests.
  • Types of short break; family fun days were the most popular 75%, followed by one to support to access activities 65%, and activities away from family to spend time with friends 62%
  • Young people said that the most important benefits of a short break were;  Fun and enjoyment 92.5%, Socialising/meeting people/making friends 65%, Being more independent/confident 60%,Learning new skills 55%,Doing things other people my age do 55%
  • The most common things that stop young people from taking part in an activity were; Worries, fears, phobias or anxiety e.g. about noise, traffic, new people 77.5%, Not enough awareness of disabilities/additional needs 52.5%, Not enough staff to support me 50%, Feeling like I will stand out/not fit in 40%
  • 60% of respondents said they don’t find it easy to find out about what’s on in their local area, 22% said they found it easy to find out about activities in their area.
  • We received comments on the following themes; improving online information on short breaks and how to access them ( we addressed this in March 2020, by creating an accessible Wiki website which the Local Offer website links to, and also have a Facebook group that parent carers can join to keep up to date with news on short breaks), training for staff so they can support specific needs including attachment and behaviours that challenge, having access to fun activities into adulthood, not being able to find activities in their local area, difficulty finding the right holiday provision, not being able to get children to activities other than afterschool clubs, due to parent carer’s working hours , and a positive comment about family fun days and Compass Card.



This survey is for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)  aged  4 to 25 years old . This survey has been with young people, for young people.  

At the end of the survey, you can enter a Prize Draw for a chance to win a £40 gift voucher. IMPORTANT- If you are under 16, you will need to have a parent or guardian's permission to enter the Young People's Prize Draw .

The survey is anonymous. This means that we will not identify anyone who has completed the survey or ask for personal details, like your name.

There is a separate survey for parent carers.

This survey is about 'short breaks' services for children and young people with SEND.

What are'short breaks'?

Short breaks are fun, leisure and social activities for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. Short breaks  happen outside the school/college day ( after school, holidays, evenings and weekends) . A short break activity is all about new experiences, learning new skills, developing confidence and having fun!

Examples of some of short breaks are ; youth clubs, buddy schemes, after school clubs, holiday playschemes and one-to-one support to go to the leisure centre.

If you need this survey in another format, such as Easy Read, or need any help to fill in this survey, please contact


Why we are consulting

The SEND ( Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Commissioning Team in West Sussex County Council  are responsible for making sure children and young people with SEND and your families, get a good short breaks service .

We want to know what you think is good already, and would like to keep the same; and anything you think we could make better.

We want to make sure you get the activities and support you need, when you need it.



What happens next

When we have heard from you and your parents and carers , we will publish the results here on this website, and use this information to help us make sure young people get a good short breaks service.


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