Community Access Grant (for parent carers)

Section 4.1 - Community Access Grant

Grants of up to £500 for parents/carers are available for parent/carers to arrange activities for your child's short break.

Community Access Grants can only be applied for at set times during the year. Round 1 applications opened on 3 April 2023 and closed at midnight on Friday 26 May 2023.

Due to a high volume of applications, round 2 and subsequent rounds will not open as the budget for 2023/24 has been spent.

Southend City Councils Childrens Short Breaks are delighted to be supporting SEND children and young people in Southend to access activities and are committed to improving our Short Breaks offer.

What is funded?

The grant can be spent on activities such as:

  • activities for your child such as trampolining, horse riding, swimming
  • pay for family days out
  • pay for leisure activities such as cinema trips
  • pay for extra support to allow your child to access an activity while you have a break
  • pay for extra support to work with your child in their own home
  • access a holiday or play scheme
  • pay for childcare to allow you to have days or nights out
  • towards a family holiday

What is not funded?

Although the use of the grant is flexible, it cannot be used for the following:

  • transport/travel
  • having a car serviced or repaired
  • furniture
  • clothes
  • annual ground rent for a caravan or holiday home
  • purchase of vehicles
  • building and refurbishments - including decorating
  • personal equipment
  • activities during normal school days/hours (for school age children)

Who can apply?

Please note - applications for 2023/2024 have now closed.

Parents and carers* of children and young people who:

  • live in the city of Southend-on-Sea
  • are aged between 0-18 years
  • have a disability and may require support to join in leisure or recreation activities

* As defined by The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011 (2), "carer means a person who provides care for the disabled children and who is - the child's parent or a person who is not the child's parent but who has parental responsibility for that child"

If you are receiving support from children's social care following an assessment of needs by childrens social care relating to your child's disability, you will not be able to apply for a Short Break Community Acces Grant.

To show us that your child meets the eligibility criteria detailed above, parents/carers are required to confirm they are not already receiving support from children's social care following an assessment of need, and provide evidence of at least one of the following:

  • a formal diagnosis of special education needs and/or disability, or evidence that a diagnosis is in process (awaiting formal assessment)
  • an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • written confirmation from a medical professional of a "substantial" or "long term" negative effect on their ability to do normal daily activities

Grant criteria

  • benefit only children and young people who live in Southend
  • child/young person can only receive one grant per year
  • families with more than one eligible child can apply for a grant for each eligible child, but the maximum a family can receive is £1,000 for the financial year
  • funding must be spent by 31st March 2024 and cannot be rolled over to the following year
  • a breakdown of costs will be required when submitting your application
  • parents/carers will be required to submit receipts to Southend on Sea City Council to evidence that the grant has been used for the purposes applied for. If you do not provide receipts, it may affect future funding applications
  • if the grant is used to pay for a carer to look after your child, the carer must not live at the same address or be a parent or guardian of the child. The carer must be 18 years and over, have the correct skills and training required to support children. The carer will need to have had the appropriate checks, such as Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Community Access Grants issued in 2023/24

119 parent carers were awarded Community Access Grants in 2023/24. These were used by families to fund a variety of activities for their children and young people. Examples include swimming lessons, holidays, family days out and attendance at clubs.

Parent Carer feedback

Read about how a local family used funding from the Short Breaks Community Access Grant.

“Thanks to the short breaks grant we were able to take our children to London to see a stage show of one of their most favourite animated films - 'My Neighbour Totoro'.

They were mind-blown by the venue (Barbican), the scale of the show, seeing Totoro full scale (he was huge!) and by the way their favourite film has been translated to the stage. To make it even more special, we booked a hotel room and stayed in London for a night, turning our evening out into a 2-day adventure.

The children had a great time and our family made a lot of unforgettable memories, which we will treasure forever. This would never be possible without the grant from short breaks for which we are endlessly grateful!”