Happy biracial little boy with special needs sitting in wheelchair, riding on yellow school bus lift, going to school

Short Breaks Project Funding

Barnwood Trust has awarded one-year funding to 6 local organisations through its latest themed funding programme, Short Breaks.

A series of projects will test some best-practice delivery principles and learn about what impact this could have on Short Breaks provision in Gloucestershire. Throughout the funding, projects will share their learning with each other, the Trust, and eventually the wider sector.

The terms ‘Short Breaks’ and ‘respite care’ are often used differently by children’s and adult social care services. However, both are used to describe social care services providing specialist care and support to families of disabled children and adults so that:

  • Unpaid carers receive breaks from their caring responsibilities to maintain their resilience, and their physical and emotional wellbeing.
  • Disabled children, young people and adults have opportunities to socialise independently in an environment that is safe, secure and suitable for their needs.

Research by the Trust in 2022 showed that families in Gloucestershire needed support to access the activities they wanted. Our findings showed that it was often difficult to find information on what was available, or parents needed to stay with their children during the activity, meaning they didn’t get a proper break. The research also found that a lack of available and accessible transport was a major barrier, as was a need for more specialist staff training. There were also ‘cold spots’ in parts of the county, where there was limited or no provision.

In early 2023 the Trust co-designed the funding opportunity with a group of parent carers, young people and people with experience of accessing Short Breaks. We set a budget of £300,000 for addressing these issues. We wanted to support those organisations who could provide high quality activities that would be co-designed by the young people who would take part, and where their parents and carers were assured of a proper break from their responsibilities. The Trust also committed an additional £60,000, which will be ring-fenced by projects to pay for logistical access requirements, such as transport, additional Personal Assistant (PA) time, or any other costs that would support young people and their parent carers to access provision meaningfully. The group who co-designed the funding opportunity went on to score the applications we received, and make a funding recommendation to the Trust’s Funding Committee.

We received 16 applications, and 6 of these were awarded funding. All successful applications showed evidence of co-design and opportunities for proper breaks for parents. Projects which would provide activities in ‘cold spots’; address transport where it was a barrier to involvement; or would help existing providers to involve more young people, especially those with additional needs, also scored highly.

The successful applicants, and some words about their plans, are outlined below:


  • ADHD Hub Gloucestershire CIC was awarded £70,000 

“At the ADHD Hub Gloucestershire CIC we’re excited to join Barnwood Trust in this innovative Short Breaks learning project.  Creating activities that disabled children, young people, and their families want and need by listening to their expert lived experiences. Together, we’re tailoring desired activities in practical and innovative ways that fit each families requisite.”

Zaphira Cormack, ADHD Hub Gloucestershire CIC


  • Parent and Carer Alliance CIC was awarded £69,798

“Discovering You is about giving disabled young people a voice and a choice. It’s about recognising and celebrating their different interests, their passions, and their own uniqueness. This project is designed and planned by people who are living the challenges that disability can bring, but who are open minded and positive about rising to these and making positive, practical, and achievable solutions. Too often short breaks have been too restrictive – in the activities that are offered, in the time of day/day of the week, in their location and duration, and in environments that can be overwhelming for many. Discovering You is about having options for the same life experiences as their peers, with provision tailored to the individual’s needs.

The Parent and Carer Alliance C.I.C is excited about the opportunity to pilot a new short break provision in Gloucestershire, and would like to thank Barnwood Trust for this grant funding.”

Lucy Fullard, Parent and Carer Alliance CIC


  • Belmont School was awarded £68,330

“Barnwood’s support over the next academic year will fuel an exciting and powerful opportunity to bring a whole new dimension to respite care for our SEND students and their families. Not only will it extend capacity in terms of hours and staffing, but it will open doors to new and meaningful activities and experiences, driven by the students and delivered in partnership with our team of committed third party providers.  Our initiative to also offer creative and wellbeing sessions for parents and carers enhances our holistic respite approach, aiming to empower and support families in new and innovative ways.

‘The ability to offer free transport to and from respite will change the landscape significantly for the families we seek to support across Gloucestershire, addressing financial and practical barriers. As we monitor and evaluate the impact of transport, capacity and the full respite experience over the coming year, we hope that the practical application of the Monty’s vision will help serve to inform policy and funding for much-needed respite in the future.”

Caroline Sexton, Belmont School


  • The Music Works was awarded £65,866

“Mobile Mix and Mash aims to provide young people-led, safe, fun, and contemporary music-making activities in accessible local areas. Using our state-of-the-art music bus, we will visit three cold spot areas for 15 weeks at a time. The pilot will provide short breaks provision for local young people and their families whilst investigating the barriers and challenges they face and exploring sustainable solutions. The project will be in partnership with Inclusion Gloucestershire who will support the research process and employ experts by experience to be part of the research team.”

Lyndsay Davies, The Music Works


  • Can’t Sit Still was awarded £65,801

” The ‘Being Me Gloucestershire’ project will support autistic girls and non-binary young people aged 11 – 25 in Cheltenham to learn, grow, and connect through participation in weekly creative activity sessions in an inclusive and neuro-affirming space.  In this safe, trusting, relaxed environment autistic young people will be able to unmask and explore feelings and ideas safely and creatively, while also building confidence and resilience.”

Jay Haigh, Can’t Sit Still


  • Creative Sustainability was awarded £69,808

“We’ll be providing a mix of nature based and online activities, with overnight camps and residentials, and day trips to great places. Our team is so pleased to be able to do more fun stuff with the disabled youth community, as we all genuinely love this part of our work.”

Anna Bonallack, Creative Sustainability


Developing and sharing learning – both for Barnwood Trust and for the applicants themselves – is a key outcome of this funding programme. All the successful applicants have been asked to join a Community of Practice, which will meet regularly over the next year to share learning and good practice. The Trust will share updates as these become available.