Short Breaks Bureau

The Short Breaks Bureau supports carers and the people they care for to access personalised short breaks (also known as innovative respite). 

Our Short Breaks Bureau service offers practical support and advice to people planning a short break. They work with Health and Social Care staff to make sure you, and the person you care for, get the best break possible. If you want to go somewhere which doesn’t have the equipment or adaptations you need, the Short Breaks Bureau staff can help organise this. They can also help you arrange care if needed. We encourage you to be involved in planning your break.

You can access support from the Short Breaks Bureau if you care for someone who has:

  • a learning disability
  • a physical disability
  • a long term condition such as Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • mental health problems

Types of short breaks

Short breaks can be provided in different ways, through organisations which specialise in providing breaks for people with additional support needs, in adapted accommodation or in ordinary hotels, guest houses or self-catering cottages.

Short breaks vary in length, ranging from a single overnight stay to a few weeks.

Short breaks can be taken by the carer and the person they care for together, separately or as part of a larger group. The Short Breaks Bureau staff don't organise 24-hour care or travelling companions. But if you arrange this yourself we may be able to contribute to the cost of paying for this.

Funding of short breaks

Accessing the Short Breaks Bureau is free. The short breaks themselves are a chargeable service and vary in cost.

Breaks may be funded in various ways, such as:

The Short Breaks Bureau service works closely with the Self-directed support team.

You may be asked to pay the full cost of the break after a financial assessment. If you are assessed as not needing to contribute to the cost of your care you won't be charged for your break. It will be paid for by your social work budget.

We will let you know the cost at every stage of planning the break. If you are expected to contribute to the cost of the break we will tell you how much it is and ask you to agree to this before the break is finalised.

If you can't go on a break for any reason we will try to get the cost of the break back. But if this isn't possible you may still be charged.

You may want to book your own break, but would like financial support to pay for it such as using your SDS budget to pay for accommodation. The Short Breaks Bureau can help you to make sure this is arranged before the break is paid for. They can't arrange funding after the break. If you book your own break you are responsible for costs, such as cancellation charges.

Arranging a short break

Referrals to the Short Breaks Bureau usually come from Health and Social Care staff. But you can ask for a short break directly or ask someone, such as a carer's organisation, health professional or a GP, to make a referral on your behalf.

The more information you can provide when making the referral, the easier it will be for our Short Breaks Bureau staff to start planning your break.

Contact us for more information.

Planning your own break

If you want to plan your own break, without support from the Short Breaks Bureau, or would like to know about some of the options available to you there are several websites you can use.

The Shared Care Scotland website is a searchable database which has some information on short breaks.

The Euan’s Guide website has information on accessible accommodation and other venues around the UK, including photographs and reviews from members of the public.

If you are an unpaid carer you may be able to apply for some money towards your break using Creative Breaks funding. 

Creative Breaks funding

Creative Breaks funding is available for unpaid carers and young carers to apply for. It can help you to have a holiday, take up a new leisure interest, or do something that is enjoyable and will help you to be able to continue as a carer.

The funding is managed through VSA, the organisation providing the carers support service in Aberdeenshire. VSA can give you information on the eligibility criteria and support you to make an application.

Creative Breaks funding can help you to do something different to support you in your caring role.

A funding application form and guidance are available from VSA

Contact us

If you'd like more information about short breaks or want to make a referral please contact the Short Breaks Bureau by email or call 01467 530888. Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Short Breaks Bureau
Health and Social Care Partnership
Gordon House
Blackhall Road
AB51 3WA