Project helps tackle severe anxiety

A pilot project to support neurodiverse young people, who find it hard to leave their home, to access short breaks has been given the go-ahead.

Bristol City Council has secured over £740,000 of funding from the Department for Education (DfE) for an innovative scheme called Pathway to Short Breaks, which aims to break the cycle of anxiety, for children and young people aged seven to 18. The trial project will have 80 places.

Cabinet councillor Asher Craig said: “We know that the long periods of isolation and lockdowns during the pandemic negatively affected our children and young people, who were unable to practice the social and emotional skills needed in daily life, so we are looking at innovative ways to address this.”

“This new programme is one that parents and carers of neurodiverse children and young people have told us is needed. We have worked with families whose children are withdrawing themselves from daily life due to anxiety to help us better understand what is needed to break this cycle and support these children and young people to access Short Breaks.”

The Pathway to Short Breaks project will be delivered in-house by the Bristol Autism Team, where a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of a clinical psychologist and a team of wellbeing practitioners and engagement workers will be working alongside external partners FACE, Neon Daisy and Horus Wellbeing.

The Pathway to Short Breaks project is set to commence in April and will run until March 2024.