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  • Short Breaks
  • Short Breaks
  • Short Breaks
  • Short Breaks
  • Short Breaks
  • Short Breaks
  • Short Breaks

Short Breaks

Grace House Short Break Service offers specialist short break care to children and young people aged 5 to 17 years and 11 months, living in the North East, who have a complex disability, Autism, health needs or life limiting condition. It is registered with Ofsted.

Our specially designed centre provides bespoke breaks tailored to the specific requirements of the children and young people, with support from professional carers who are highly experienced at working alongside people with the most complex needs. This dedicated service gives parents and carers peace of mind during a rest from their caring role.

Children and young people will come and stay with us for planned, regular short breaks, where they can make new friends or spend time with friends already known to them, in a home from home environment that can meet all of their needs.

We aim to create an enabling environment which both recognises and respects children and young people as individuals who have rights, needs and responsibilities. Our staff can support children and young people who may require more specialist care, such as: gastric feeding, tracheostomy care, and administration of medication in relation to diabetes and epilepsy management. We work with families, carers and other professionals to ensure the short breaks with us are planned, safe and fulfilling.

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Services for children, young people and families

Grace House offers a wide range of activities which children and young people can participate in. There are opportunities for the children and young people to go on outings to the shops, parks, coast, restaurants and participate in leisure activities, which can be accessed by public transport.

The staff team at Grace House plan regular events and activities, some of which are on a rolling programme, so if an event or activity occurs outside a planned stay, there is always an opportunity to participate at another time. In addition, the staff team always seize the opportunity to plan things spontaneously in conjunction with children and young people and will always tailor these to suit their wishes.

We have the use of a fully adapted minibus which will enable us to offer a range of transport options for the children.

There is a choice of indoor activities such as television, DVDs, board games, games consoles (X Box and Wii), books, toys, iPads, arts & craft equipment, as well as a fully equipped and interactive multi-sensory room, soft-play area and music room.

Children and young people staying at Grace House will also have access to a computer suite equipped with specialist, educational and assistive technologies and software providing them the opportunity to learn, play and to be creative, communicate and control something for themselves.

Grace House also has a ‘Beamz’ system, an ‘innovative tool to use music-making for extraordinary engagement and to accelerate therapeutic outcomes. Just listening to music provides most people great benefits for brain fitness, memory recall and improving communication. Interacting with music, adding movement and engaging in the activity of making music enables even greater benefits for cognition, socialisation and motivation.’

Widget Communicate in Print2 software is used by staff at Grace House, alongside objects of reference and augmentative technology, such as buttons and switches, to create a total communication environment that children of all levels and styles of communication can participate.

There is a fully accessible soft-play area creating a perfect place for children with additional needs to push their physical boundaries and to explore and learn in a safe environment. There are brightly coloured steps, dens and slides. Interactive soft-play provides an exciting and ever changing world of challenging obstacles to be explored which reward with auditory feedback to encourage mobility and expression.

Care and support

Sunderland Care and Support is a local authority trading company established by Sunderland City Council.

It is responsible for delivering a wide range of social care, health and support services to residents across the city of Sunderland. Grace House and Sunderland Care and Support will work in partnership to deliver a high-quality short break care service. Sunderland Care and Support are the experts in providing care to a high standard, so we work in partnership to make Grace House a happy, safe, welcoming place for children with complex disabilities, health needs and life limiting conditions to come and stay.

How to Arrange your stay

We offer short break care to children and young people aged 5 to 17 years and 11 months who have a complex disability, Autism, health need and life limiting condition, living in the North East.

Within our short care packages, we offer day care as an alternative to overnight stays, the day can also act as a facilitator to children/young people building up to overnight stays.

Usually you will be referred to Grace House by a professional who is already involved in your child's care. This usually follows a social work or health assessment, but the process can vary depending which Local Authority area you live in. Please talk to us about your individual circumstances and needs and we will do our best to help you through the referral process.

Getting to know you

Once a referral has been received, we undertake care planning with you so that we fully understand the needs of your child.

We may then receive training from a member of the community nursing team or other professional that currently works with your child. We then start short introductory visits, to enable you and your child to get used to us and feel comfortable and confident with us. We will then make  plans with you for the first overnight stay. Each planned short break will be designed and tailored to the specific needs of your child.

Outcomes for children and younger people

All children who come to Grace House can expect to have a great time, being cared for by well trained staff, who want to make sure that the children have a fantastic time while their families can relax and have a break from caring. When children stay with us, our main priority is that they enjoy themselves, and feel a sense of achievement from trying new things and having their own goals to work on.

Children and young people will be well cared for. They will be safe at Grace House and will get to know the staff team, having their own key worker who knows them particularly well. They will feel part of the group, making a contribution to decisions about activities every day, as well as bigger decisions like what toys to buy.


We are regulated and inspected by Ofsted - Ofsted number 1183826.

To find out if Grace House overnight short break service might be suitable for your child, contact us 0191 597 9191 or email

More in this section:

Our vision
How Grace House supports families
Meet the team
Case Studies
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