Status message

Please read Knowsley Council's COVID-19 advice and guidance

Play and Leisure (including Short Breaks)

Image link to Short Breaks PDF

PDF icon Short Breaks Leaflet.PDF


Dear Parents and Carers,

Update September 2020

Although our Short Breaks groups were closed due to COVID-19, we wanted to let you know that we are still committed to offering support during these unprecedented times.

Merseyside Youth Association (MYA), which provides the Short Breaks service in Knowsley, has been regularly updating its Facebook page since the early days of lockdown with lots of new activities and videos, including crafts, sports and relaxation sessions to entertain the children and young people who usually attend their sessions.

The online platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are accessible to all children with additional needs even if you have never accessed the Short Breaks service.

MYA Facebook: MYA Choices Knowsley Short Breaks

MYA were able to offer a reduced service during the summer holidays and will now be reopening the weekly groups with a phased return from the middle of September.  Families will be contacted by staff from MYA to invite their child to come back to the groups over the coming weeks.

We are committed to providing the best service possible to all our children with additional needs and their families within the current guidelines and we will keep families updated about future plans.

Short Breaks Swimming

If you were previously attending any of the short breaks swimming sessions run by Volair, they will be contacting you directly once the sessions are able to restart.

Please contact the Short Breaks Support Officer by email if you have require any further information:

Kind Regards

Short Breaks Knowsley
MYA Facebook: MYA Choices Knowsley Short Breaks

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

For those families worried about returning to activities post lockdown provision, please visit MYA's page HERE for some of the recent feedback they received regarding their limited summer holiday provision. 

PLEASE NOTE: We currently have a waiting list for some of our weekly sessions and holiday groups. However, please contact the short breaks service to complete a referral as you will then be given full details of what is currently available and where appropriate, be placed on the waiting list for the groups you wish to access.

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 and the CEA Card.

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.

Information about Knowsley's Short Breaks Current Offer - November 2019

As of February 2020, MYA, our short-breaks provider has achieved Ofsted registration enabling the full 6 hour provision at The Star Centre, Kirkby; Bluebell Park, Kirkby; Southmead Children's Centre, Whiston; Hilltop Children's Centre, Huyton and our Stockbridge Village venue.  MYA are progressing registration with Ofsted for their other venues but until registration has been completed at these locations children under the age of eight years of age can only access up to two hours of provision.  This two hour limit will be lifted once the registration process has been completed and this is expected to happen in the near future.  Provision for children aged eight years and above is not affected.     

MYA November 2019 Short Breaks Newsletter - Page 1 and Page 2

MYA May 2020 Covid 19 Newsletter

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.


Short Break - Small Grants

After a pause due to the COVID situation, we are pleased to be able to now launch the Short Breaks Small Grants programme for 2020/21.  These grants are about helping local projects get up and running, and enhancing the Knowsley Short Breaks offer for children with disabilities and their families.

This year, there are 8 different themes we are looking for bids on, and grants will be for a maximum of £5,000.  Please do read the Guidance Notes and Eligibility Criteria documents first, before completing the Application Form. The deadline for applications to be submitted is 5pm on Friday 18th September.

2020 Short Breaks Grant Guidance Notes 
2020 Short Breaks Grant Eligibility Criteria 
2020 Short Breaks Grant Application Form  


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 in and around Knowsley that might offer support and respite (some of which have received Short Breaks grants from the Council, in consultation with KPCV)

  • 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:
  • Incredible Edible Knowsley provide workshops for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities using therapeutic horticulture. There are different activities per week and young people will learn about the growing of food from seedling to harvest as well as to have the opportunity to take some of the items home with them that they have made. The project will runs at Activate in Kirkby and Court Hey Park, there are 3 work shops per week each work shop consisting of an hour. For further information, please contact Karen Mower,    07925 529585
  • 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  Click HERE for a video about Moving Senses
  • 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
  • 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 -
  • 3rd Prescot Guides and Rangers are a Girlguide/Ranger unit for girls aged 10-20 with special needs, they meet every Thursday during term time.
  • 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.
  • The LFC Foundation’s Inclusion project provides free sports activities for children, young people and adults with additional learning, behaviour, physical and sensory needs across Merseyside.
  • Everton in the Community works tirelessly with disabled people by providing both curriculum and after school provision for up to 50 special schools in the city.
  • Rotunda Inclusive Hub is an extension of the Rotunda Boxing Club and started 3 years ago as a charity with the aim of helping local children on the autistic spectrum, mental health, ADHD and deafness to name a few.