Bidding round open for year two of the Short Breaks Innovation Fund

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Emma Mitra

On Monday 26 September 2022, the Department for Education opened the bidding round for year two of the Short Breaks Innovation Fund (formerly the Respite Innovation Fund).

The Department for Education’s (DfE) Short Breaks Innovation Fund is a fund of £30 million designed to support local authorities (applying individually or in a consortium) to establish new Short Breaks provision via innovative projects created to address gaps in current Short Breaks services, and to test novel approaches to integrated delivery of Short Breaks and support services for children and young people (CYP) with SEND.

The aim of the Short Breaks Innovation Fund is to:

  • Improve health, education and well-being outcomes for children and young people with SEND and their families;
  • Reduce pressures on High Needs and other budgets;
  • Inform future structural reform and service re-design.

The Short Breaks Innovation Fund will also establish an evidence base of effective practice around the delivery of integrated services (particularly with health) within the offer of local authority Short Breaks services, which can be replicated. 

The Short Breaks Innovation Fund has been set up to provide funding to projects over three financial years (2022-2025). Year one of the project saw £5 million awarded across seven successful bids from local authorities (and their consortium partners) from across England. The projects supported children and young people with a variety of needs and conditions, including learning difficulties and complex needs such as SEMH, ASD, ADHD, to access a positive short break, closer to home, which previously was not available. Broader impact assessments will take place later in the year to evaluate the full impact of year one.

The total fund available for year 2 will be £10 million. Local authorities are invited to bid up to £1 million to fund new short breaks initiatives. The year two bidding round will close on 4 November 2022, and the Department for Education intend to announce the winning bids by mid-December 2022.

Awarded project areas in year two of the programme are encouraged to apply for year three funding to continue or develop short break services, where the Department for Education will be making £15 million of funding available for short breaks projects.

The Department for Education look forward to receiving your bids.