Play and Leisure (including Short Breaks)

PDF iconShort Breaks Leaflet

Please see our Short Breaks Duty Statement for more information on eligibility and how to access our short breaks services.

Knowsley council works in partnership with children, young people, families and other agencies to meet the needs of children and young people with disabilities by organising and providing a wide range of support and services.

Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board has published a list of the ‘right questions’ for parents to ask providers before allowing their child to participate in any activity/club.- Leaving your child with someone.

Mainstream/Universal Support

We offer a graduated response to families, always according to need.  We aim to support our mainstream services to ensure they are accessible to as many families in Knowsley as possible.  Where this is not possible because of the child’s needs or severity of condition, we offer the opportunity to take part in a targeted Short Break. 

To find out about the mainstream activities available to all children in Knowsley see our Places to go, things to do website.  You can also see available services with SEN&D Activities including Autism Friendly Cinema Screenings, the CEA Card and the MaxCard.

Targeted Support

Our Short Breaks services are part of a range of services designed to support families with disabled children. Short breaks are intended to give primary carers of children and young people with disabilities a break from their caring responsibilities. Short breaks should equally provide children and young people with disabilities the opportunity to have fun, make friends and develop independence skills. Short breaks should be used routinely to help parents and carers to maintain and improve the quality of care they naturally wish to provide and should not be used as a crisis intervention.

Our services are designed to promote independence, improve social skills, increase life skills, provide opportunities to integrate with the local community, and to develop new and existing talents.

As of the 1st August 2019, our short-breaks provider has achieved registration at The Star Centre, Kirkby and is progressing registration with Ofsted for its other venues initially prioritising the holiday venues.  Until registration has been completed, children under the age of eight years of age can access up to two hours of provision except at the Star Centre where under 8s can now access the full offer.  This two hour limit on the other venues will be lifted once the registration process has been completed for each site and this is expected to be completed in the near future.  Provision for children aged eight years and above is not affected.  

You can also find the details of where and when the Short Breaks and SEND specific activities are taking place - SEND Activities.  Please note that access to any of our activities listed as a Short Break, need to be accessed through our Early Help Children with Disabilities Team -

We also support local groups and parent forums as partners in developing appropriate services that support families to have more choice and control and to develop supportive peer relationships. The details of our grant-funded stay and play groups and our parent forums can be found below.

Who can I contact for further information?

For all information on our targeted short breaks, please contact our Early Help Children with Disabilities team on 0151 443 2677/5085 or email them at This team is also the first point of contact for anything you wish to discuss about a child or young person with a disability.

For anything related to the information contained on this website, please contact 0151 443 3247.

Who can I talk to if I am worried?

  • If your query is in relation to short breaks provision you have accessed, please contact the provider in the first instance.
  • If your query is in relation to the commissioning of our Short Breaks provision/service then you can contact the team on 0151 443 2736/4736
  • For any Corporate Complaints please contact 0151 443 3231
  • If you have a safeguarding concern please contact the MASH Team on 0151 443 2600

If parents feel uncomfortable about contacting the local authority they can contact any of the parent support groups who can pass on their concerns through our Short Breaks Forum.


Parent Support Groups

Specialist Support

Support at the specialist level is provided by Children’s Social Care.  If your child or young person is assessed as meeting the criteria for specialist services, a supporting package of care may be created to meet your child and family’s individual needs. You may also be given the option to receive a direct payment in order to purchase the support for your child yourself, in line with your child’s assessed need and care plan.

Examples of other SEND groups (N.B. these are not part of the Short Breaks commissioned services) but may offer respite/short breaks .

  • Al's Club is a local group for young adults from 16 years old up (no age limit) with a learning disability/complex medical need in the Knowsley & surrounding areas. They can be contacted via their facebook page -  Email:
  • Moving Senses are a respite group for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, our sessions provide stimulation in a nurturing and fun environment.  They can be contacted via their facebook page - or via email: Tel: 07846784378
  • Bit of Everything is a bespoke performing arts group for teenagers and young adults with learning disabilities that like to do ‘a bit of everything’ when it comes to the arts, such as singing, dancing and acting. They can be contacted via their facebook page - or call Dan Pendleton 07929867019 Elaine Kenna 07411350360 Chris Birchall 07517235431
  • Young Adult Respite Service (YARS) is a residential respite service, based on taking Young Adults with disabilities (aged 16 – 35) on weekend residentials across the U.K
  • Hop Skip and Jump provides a few hours respite opportunities for families and carers with children who have a disability.
  • Plan B is an inclusive and accessible social activity programme for young autistic adults who live in Knowsley.  All Plan B Activities and social experiences are suitable for adults with autism aged between 18 and 30 years. FACEBOOK PAGE -
  • Greenbank Sports Academy is run by The Greenbank Project (Greenbank), a Liverpool based registered charity (Charity Number 513814), which has operated since 1983.  The mission statement states it is a centre of excellence in physical education, sport and recreation that is totally user friendly, owned and run by disabled people
  • Atkinson Grove Chance for a Break Service provides short term respite care for a maximum of 4 people (18+) with a diagnosed learning disability.
  • Relax Kids with Princess Debs - these classes incorporate 7 steps to take children from high energy through to low energy.
  • Open access, autism/disabled-friendly swimming sessions for the whole family take place weekly at particular Volair venues – Sunday mornings (9:30am-11:30am) at Bluebell Park School, and Friday evenings (6pm-7pm) at Stockbridge Leisure Centre.



Small grants are available to help develop peer support and bespoke activities for children with disabilities and their families.

Our latest round (2019/20) of Short Breaks grant applications is now open.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 14th June 2019.   If you are interesting in applying for a small grant, please read the Eligibility Criteria first, then download the Application Form and refer to the Guidance Notes for help with completing applications.

Application form

Guidance Notes

Eligibility Criteria