Respite care - Breaks for carers

Respite means that you have a break from caring. This page explains what respite may be available to you as a carer. In this factsheet, we call the person you care for ‘your relative’.


  • Respite is a way for you to have a break from caring. It also means your relative has a break.
  • Respite can mean that someone comes in to your home to help you care for your relative. Your relative could also get a holiday or stay in a care home.
  • You can get respite through social services. They can do an assessment for you and your relative to see if you need a break.
  • Your local authority may offer you local services or offer you ‘direct payments’ so that you can choose your own respite services.
  • If you cannot get respite through social services then charities may be able to help.

About and types

What is respite?

Respite means that you have a break from caring while your relative still gets the care they need. Having a break to look after your own wellbeing is important when you care for someone. It can be equally important for your relative. Having a short break, such as a holiday, can help with their recovery.

What types of respite are there?

There are different types of respite available. What you get depends on what your local authority thinks you and your relative need. This could include the following support.

  • Someone caring for your relative instead of you This is called ‘replacement care.’ For example, this could include regular night care to allow you to catch up on sleep.
  • Your relative staying in a residential care home temporarily
  • Your relative going on a holiday with or without you
  • You going on holiday

If your relative goes into a residential care home to have a break, be aware that ‘direct payments’ will only cover a stay of 4 consecutive weeks in any 12 months.

How can I get respite care?

Carer’s assessment

Respite is normally arranged following a carer’s assessment from social services. The assessment may show that you need a break from time to time.

To ask for a carer’s assessment, contact your local authority’s adult social care team. You can have a carer’s assessment even if your relative does not want help from the NHS or social services.

Social services must assess you if they think you need support in your caring role. If they think you need respite they will write a support plan with you and may give you a personal budget. A personal budget is a set amount of money that can help meet your needs as a carer.

Social care

Your relative may also need respite care, such as a short holiday. If you both agree, you can have a joint assessment from social services to assess both of your needs at the same time. If you would prefer not to have a joint assessment, your relative can have their own ‘needs assessment’.

If your relative has complex needs because of their mental health they could have support under the Care Programme Approach (CPA). CPA is the system that is used to organise many people’s care from 'secondary mental health services’ such as the community mental health team. Secondary mental health services are part of the NHS and should be available in your local area.

If social services think your relative is entitled to respite, they will write a support plan with your relative. Social services may offer your relative ‘direct payments’ to pay for respite services.


Charities may be able to help you if you cannot get respite through your local authority. Some charities can give you money towards the cost of a holiday or can offer you or your relative a place to stay. In some cases you may need a referral from a professional such as a social worker or GP. There is a list of charities that offer these services at the end of this page.

Finding respite services and payment

How do I find services that offer respite?

Unfortunately there isn’t a national list of all of the services that offer respite. Sometimes they can be hard to find. At the end of this page there is a list of services that offer respite. This is not a full list.

If you would like to search for your own services you can:

  • use an internet search engine – use search terms like ‘respite’, ‘respite for carers’ or ‘breaks for carers,’
  • contact a charity such as Rethink Mental Illness or Carers UK,
  • ask a support worker or key worker, if you have one, or 
  • ask your local council whether they have a list.

If you can’t find a service in your local town or city, try searching for a service that covers your county.

Who will pay for my respite?

If your local authority organises respite, you may have to pay towards the cost. Your local authority will look at any savings and property you have as well as your income. This does not include the value of your home.

If your capital and savings are more than £23,250 then you will have to pay all of the cost of your respite.  If your income is low and your capital and savings are less than £14,250 you will not have to pay anything. Money you earn from work is not taken into account,  but benefits and pensions can be.  If the local authority gives you a direct payment to pay for respite services, this will make up part of your personal budget.

If you cannot afford to pay what your local authority charges you, you can ask for a review. They must not charge you more than you can pay. You could use a ‘budgeting form’ to show what you can afford. You can get this form from debt advice charities. 

Who will pay for my relative’s care while I am having a break?

If your local authority thinks your relative needs support while you are taking a break, they can offer this support. The law says that if your relative gets this support, even if it is to meet your needs, your relative would have to pay for the service and must agree. Some or all of this cost may be covered by your relative’s personal budget.

If there is a respite service which meets both your and your relative’s needs at the same time, the local authority will need to decide who will pay for the service. This may come from your personal budget or your relative’s personal budget. Your relative’s local authority should think about how they will bring your plans and personal budgets together. For example, if they will meet your needs by giving your relative services, the local authority should explain this in your plan.

What if I am not eligible?

My relative does not get support from social services, can I get respite?

You may still be able to get respite from social services. Your local authority might give you a support plan which will say what your needs are and how they will meet them.

As part of your support plan you could ask your local authority for a direct payment so that you can arrange your own respite rather than using a local authority service. Social services need to make sure that your relative is involved in any decision that affects their care.

Your relative will be responsible for paying for ‘replacement care’ services. If your relative refuses to pay the service charge, social services will try to think of a different way to support you as long as it is reasonable to do this.

What can I do if I cannot get respite?

If your local authority thinks you do not need respite you could ask them to write to you with the reason for their decision. If you do not agree with the reason then you could complain.

Useful contacts


The NHS Choices website has some useful information about respite care. 

Rethink Mental Illness and the Meriden Family Programme have created the booklet. ‘Caring for Yourself’ to help you support your relative. Caring for Yourself can help you to develop skills and new ways to cope. You can download this booklet from our website. 

Carers UK

They provide information and advice on areas such as carers’ assessments and services available for carers. They also have a listening service for emotional support. This is open on Monday and Tuesday 9am – 7pm.

Telephone: 0808 808 7777 (open Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm)

Services offering respite for you

Respite Association

Offers short term respite care for carers to take a break. They also have 2 caravans where carers can go for a free break.

Telephone: 01406 373163
Address: The Respite Association, 102 High Road, Moulton, Nr Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE12 6PD

The Kiloran Trust

Offers breaks for carers. Four bedrooms available. The service is open Monday to Saturday.

Telephone: 0207 602 7404

Address: The Kiloran Trust, 157 Blythe Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London, W14 0HL


Services offering respite for you and your relative


Short-term live-in care which for both carer and your relative. They have services in Dorset, Kent and Wiltshire.

Telephone: 01305 769418

Address: Agincare House, Admiralty Buildings, Castletown, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1BB Email:

Respite Care

Respite care specialises in supporting people with mental health and complex needs. They offer tailor made respite care for both adult and carer. They can offer a break in Bournemouth or France.

Telephone: 01202 772211

Address: 63 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH3 7AN

Crossroads Care Braintree District & Chelmsford

A charity which gives carers a break for a few hours each week, while taking care of the person they are caring for. They cover the entire Braintree District area including all three towns, Braintree, Witham, Halstead and Chelmsford.

Telephone: 01376 529985

Crossroads Care Braintree District & Chelmsford, 8 Park Farm , Black Notley , Essex , CM77 8LQ Email:

Website: Wordsley

Housing Society

The society is a local charitable organisation located in the Dudley. They provide short term planned respite care for both the carer and/or the person needing care.

Telephone: 01384 480770

Address: Wordsley Housing Society, 30 Brook Street, Wordsley Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 5YW



Services offering respite care for your relative

Amore Care

Offers respite in care homes for people who need a short stay. They have a number of services across the UK. They offer a free "taster day" to allow your relative to try the service.

Telephone: 0845 277 4679

A website that offers a list of care homes throughout the UK.


Four Seasons

Care homes through the UK and some offer short term respite care.

Telephone: 01625 417800

Address: Four Seasons Health Care, Norcliffe House, Station Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 1BU




Offers short-break and respite services across England and Wales.

Telephone: 0333 24 07770



Stonehaven Care Group

Offers respite care and have a number of care homes across the South West region.

Telephone: 01364 644208

Address: Mardle House, Mardle Way, Buckfastleigh, Devon TQ11 0NS



Offers respite and short break services across Northern England, North Wales and Northern Ireland

Telephone: 0151 651 1716

Address: Protens Head Office, 68 Grange Road West, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 4DB



Respite House Bolton

The Respite House gives short respite breaks for up to six adults with mental health needs. The service is for people, sometimes in crisis, who don’t need to be in hospital.

Telephone: 01204 337830

Address: The Respite House , 2-4 New Lane, Breightmet, Bolton, Lancashire, BL2 5BN

High Oaks

A specialist care home for adults with mental health needs. The home is set near Diss, south Norfolk. They take referrals from throughout the UK Holiday or respite placements are available short-term and can be arranged on a planned or emergency basis.

Telephone: 01379 674456



Aspire Mental Healthcare

Offers respite care for people with mental health problems who live in their own homes when their carer is away on holiday or through illness.  Support can be received at home or at their service in Chilwell House in Derbyshire.

Telephone: 0115 854 0373

Address: Chilwell House, 24 Wilmot street, lkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 8BD


Yew Tree Lodge

Offers care for people between 18-65 with severe and enduring mental health needs on 6-24 month placements.

Telephone: 0118 931 3534

Address: Yew Tree Lodge,17-19 Redlands Road Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5HX


Little Wakering House

A 12 bed residential and respite home giving support for adults ages 18-65 with a range of needs including mental health.

Telephone: 01702 217535

Little Wakering House, 367-369 Little Wakering Road, Little Wakering, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS3 0LB


The Maytree Respite Centre

Supports people who are in suicidal crisis. The service offers somewhere to stay for a few nights and someone to talk to.

Telephone: 020 7263 7070

Address: 72 Moray Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3LG



Benfield Hall, Durham

A 20 bed home providing support for adults.

Telephone: 01207 591020

Address: Benfield Hall, 155 Durham Road , Blackhill , Consett , Co. Durham , DH8 5TH



Charities which provide holidays and breaks

The Family Holiday Association

A small UK-wide charity giving holidays to disadvantaged children and their families. The criteria for a holiday are:

  • the referral has come from a professional such as a teacher, social worker or GP,
  • you have at east one child under the age of 18 at the time of holiday,
  • you have a low-income,
  • your family has not had a holiday in the last 4 years.

Telephone: 020 3117 0650

Address: Family Holiday Association, 3 Gainsford Street, London, SE1 2NE



Charitable trusts which provide funding towards a holiday

The Family Holiday Association

Offers one-off grants towards the cost of a family holiday in rare situations. Contact details are above.


Offers a grants search in your local area. You will be able to see if there is any help available for a holiday.


The Margaret Champney Rest and Holiday Fund

Gives small grants to carers to fund holidays. All applications must be through a social worker, community nurse or similar professional agency.

Telephone: 01394 388746
Address: The Ogilvies Charities, The Gate House, 9 Burkitt Road, Woodbridge, Suffolk,IP12 4JJ

The Frederick Andrew Convalescent Trust (FACT)

Offers one-off grants for women who need to recover from an illness or injury and who have been in paid employment at some time during their lives.

Email: online form at


The Victoria Convalescent Trust Fund

Gives grants to pay for recovery and respite care for those who do not have the money to pay for this themselves.

Telephone: 020 8502 9339

Address: 11 Cavendish Avenue, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 9DA 3H

Helping Hands for Holidays

Provides grants for holidays.

Telephone: 01892 860219

Address: B2, Speldhurst Business Park, Langton Road, Speldhurst,,Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 0AQ



The League of the Helping Hand

Offers financial support for carers to have a holiday. You must have a low income and a professional person like a social worker or GP has to verify your claim.

Telephone: 01444 236099

Address: The Secretary, LHH, PO Box 342, Burgess Hill, RH15 5AQ



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