Survey feedback on activities and respite for children with disabilities

30 January 2024

Child playing

In Autumn 2023, the Children's Trust conducted a survey seeking residents views on a proposed new way of delivering activities and respite (short breaks) for disabled children in Northamptonshire. People had the opportunity to feedback via an electronic survey and through face to face sessions.

Conducted throughout October and November, the survey received an overwhelming response, with 150 individuals contributing their valuable insights and a further 134 attending the various workshops. They want to thank all those who took part and are immensely grateful for the enthusiastic participation of our community. These responses have proven instrumental in addressing key issues that currently exist.

Key findings include:

  • The idea of a single referral pathway is beneficial to help avoid families having to tell their stories repeatedly.
  • Any assessment that is already in place should be used for access to the short break’s services. Some respondents did want to keep self-referrals.
  • Respondents agreed with the principle of reallocating funding, however, they did not agree with closing the residential short breaks unit 1 day a week.
  • That daytime activities preferred included swimming, activities involving animals, cooking or musical activities.
  • The need for better links with activities already taking place in communities and support for children and young people to access them.
  • The need for 1:1 or 2:1 staffing, followed by secure environments and small groups to access services.
  • The sleep service should not be added to the short breaks group of services.
  • Sensory impairment services should not be added to the short breaks group of services.
  • Adding personal care and support services to the short breaks group of services would be positive.
  • That in general, respondents agreed with some parts of the proposals but not all of it.
  • The survey covered a broad spectrum of topics allowing us to review the entire provision and receive appropriate feedback. Thanks to this, a new model of short breaks and respite will be implemented - this will consist of:
  • A single referral route into the short break’s services
  • Existing assessments being used to access the short breaks services and allowing parents to self-refer
  • Residential short breaks unit reducing the bed capacity rather than closing 1 night a week - analysis shows this will still enable the need to be met
  • The Sleep Service (and budget) will not be included in the Short Breaks group of services
  • The Sensory Impairment services will not be included in the short breaks group of servic
  • Consideration of adding PCaS services during the 2nd year of the contract after modelling the viability of this

The next steps of the process are:

  • commissioning the new services to be in place by November 2024
  • completing a whole service review of the sleep service and agree a joint plan to reduce the waiting list
  • ensuring the transition from the current services to the new services are as smooth as possible to avoid any negative impact on children, young people and their families

The Children's Trust recognise that the voice of those who contributed has made a difference in how the new model is going to look.

They want to continue listening and supporting as they go through the next stages. Keep in touch with them at [email protected] if you have any questions. The complete survey report is available on the Children's Trust Website. Whether you are a stakeholder, industry professional, or simply curious about the trends shaping our world, they encourage you to explore the report and gain valuable insights into the current landscape.