Short Breaks for Disabled Children

From time to time, Essex Outdoors offer activity, canoe and sailing days as part of the Short Breaks for Disabled Children programme at our Bradwell, Mersea and Danbury centres.  We are currently waiting to hear if we have funding to offer opportunities from July to September.

To access our funded places on activities offered via Short Breaks, you now need to register on their new system and obtain a passport number. You will need to pass this number on to any short breaks provider you are looking to access, including Essex Outdoors.

Sign up can be found by visiting the Short Breaks website 
If you have any problems please contact

If you don't already receive our bulletins about opportunities, please contact us:

Who are they for?
These opportunities are for children and young people aged 8 to 18 with a diagnosed disability attending with a supporter, as well as members of groups from clubs and organisations in Essex. Supporters can participate in these exciting opportunities whilst continuing to provide the usual high levels of care and support.

Those eligible should live within the administrative boundaries of Essex County Council and all our opportunities can be accessed direct without the need for referral by social care.

Places can often be booked for a non-disabled sibling or friends aged 8 to 18.

What will we be doing?
The activities included on each day will be advertised with the dates available. They can include archery, adventure course, cycling, climbing, zipwire, bushcraft and pedal karts, depending on availability and the centre.

The centres will try to accommodate all disabilities based on the information provided at time of booking.

For the Canoe Days, participants will meet at Paper Mill Lock on the Chelmer and Blackwater canal and enjoy a day paddling along this tranquil canal. Canoes will be rafted to ensure stability.

Sailing and Crabbing Days will use our Bradwell 22s, a ketch rigged day boat ideally suited to all types of groups and sea conditions. Crews can assist with hoisting and trimming sails, helming the boat and learning the basics of sailing. Groups will sail across the estuary and lunch at a suitable destination. This may be Mersea where groups can buy themselves an ice cream and go crabbing off the pontoon, before sailing back to Bradwell.

Is lunch provided?
Participants will need to provide a packed lunch to eat in our dining room or elsewhere during the day.

What should we bring?
Full details will be provided at the time of booking but no special clothing is required.

How much does it cost?
This depends on the funding available. Typically it is £15 for the participant with a disability (subsidised by Action for Children funding). Supporters are free. Non-disabled siblings and friends can attend at a cost of £30 (standard school holiday activity day price).

How do I book?
Please contact the appropriate centre. There are currently no dates available. To make sure you're informed of future opportunities, or if you have any questions, please email us at

with details of the the name of the child, their age and where you live.

For details of the accessible facilities available at the centres please click here.

For details of Short Break opportunities across the County visit the Essex Short Breaks web pages.
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