SNIPS – Special needs inclusion play care service / Early Help Team

Please note the information on this page is under review

A Council-run service to help with social care.

Supports children and young people: 5-18 years

Referral reason: Parents and carers need a break from their caring responsibilities and/or there is a barrier to children being included in mainstream activities.

People involved: Inclusion officers and a Direct Payment support officer.

Inclusion officers:

  • Match children to an activity and support clubs to become inclusive.
  • Complete early help assessments – and look at what support they can put in place to help families.
  • Work with families to see how the support is working and make changes as needed.

Offer: Help is given to clubs to enable them to be inclusive.

Families are matched to an appropriate short break.  Find out more about short breaks here.

Families are helped to become an employer when they are in receipt of a direct payment to meet care needs.

The direct payments and short break services are reviewed annually to make sure they are still meeting needs.

How to refer

Parents and carers can refer themselves to the service by contacting SNIPS: 0114 273 5368 or  Download the application form here.

A parent/carer can apply for a short break activity – this could be after school, at weekends or in school holidays.

If they meet criteria, the service offers to match a child to an activity which gives the parent/carer a short break from their caring responsibilities.

Parents/carers, schools and other professionals working with the child can also request an assessment which can give a direct payment and/or befriending – as well as a short break activity.  This should be done by contacting Sheffield’s Safeguarding Hub 0114 273 4855

Schools – or other professionals who work with the child – can also refer directly to SNIPs if they are doing an assessment and want to make a request to the Early Help Panel (chaired by SNIPS) for short break services including activities, direct payments and befriending.  Contact 0114 273 5368 or

Other Short Breaks Services
Each member of the SNIPS team has extensive knowledge of the short break services that are available for children and young people with disabilities in Sheffield and how to apply for them. We often attend home visits and meetings with social workers, MAST workers and other professionals to explain to families exactly what is available to them. Please note: A short break is 5 hours a week or under.

One Page Profiles
We can help your child to create a One Page Profile and a set of getting to know me pages which can be used to help them receive the support that they like. These are especially helpful when employing new personal assistants, going to new schools or joining a new club.

Support Planning
The SNIPS team are all very passionate about planning with the family, child or young person at the centre. They can help you and the professionals working with you to put together a support plan to help work out the best way of supporting your family.

Mentoring and Advice
We provide clubs and other professionals working with children with disabilities with hands on mentoring support and guidance. We regularly visit clubs to share our knowledge and experiences of working with children with disabilities. We can also share our knowledge with MAST workers, personal assistants and other professionals.

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans
We provide advice and reports for the EHC plan so that they can be included in the plan.