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What is the Short Breaks Prepaid Card?




Short Breaks provide disabled children and young people with an opportunity to spend time away from their parents or carers. Portsmouth City Council’s aim is to offer a range of reliable, local short break provision to enable carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities and to enable children, young people and their families to lead as fulfilling a life as possible and to enjoy, achieve and have access to the same opportunities as others in life.

One of the ways that Portsmouth City Council provides short break leisure, activities and social opportunities to children and young people who have SEND, is through the Short Breaks Prepaid Card.

Who can have a Prepaid Card?

You will be eligible to access the Short Breaks Prepaid Card if you live in Portsmouth and your child is of school/college age, either attending:

  • a special school for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and is under the age of 18.
  • a mainstream school/college/post 16 provision and have an Education, Health and Care Plan that specifies a high level of support and is under the age of 18.

If you are unsure of your child’s eligibility, please contact the Short Breaks Officer on 023 9268 8842 or email: who will be able to check this for you.

What the Prepaid Card can be used for?

There are a number of ways in which you can use the card. You can use it towards a range of short breaks such as sports/leisure clubs, activity clubs, holiday groups or playschemes, one off activities such as bowling, day ticket to venues (Paultons Park or similar), trips to the cinema/theatre, or maybe even equipment that will help your child to access activities.

Further examples can be found at the bottom of this page by clicking on the Suggested Card Uses Document.

How do you apply?

Applications closed on the 15th April.

Applications will reopen in August for children who become eligible between the 15th April and the 30th September 2022.  You can either check this page from the 16th August or email your details to to be placed on a waiting list.  Please be aware a reduced entitlement will be awarded.

What if I’m not eligible?

Portsmouth City Council also fund initiatives specifically designed to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND (special educational needs and/ or disabilities) who require some support to enable them to access leisure activities and social opportunities. These are referred to as ‘Targeted Level 1’ services and include a variety of activities, youth clubs and holiday schemes. For further details visit the short breaks page here and scroll down to the Level 1 Targeted Short Breaks section.





Prepaid Card Information and Forms

Application Guidance

Please read the Guidance below for further information.

Application Information booklet


Frequently Asked Questions (about the application)

We had a Prepaid Card last year, do we have to re-apply again this year? Yes, eligible families need to re-apply each year for the Short Breaks Prepaid Card.

Do I have to use the money on the card before the end of March 2021?
Yes. The money will be recovered back into the prepaid card budget if it has not been used by this date.

My son/daughter who is currently aged 17 meets the eligibility criteria but turns 18 between 1st April and 31st August 2020, are they still eligible for the Prepaid Card? Yes they are but they will receive a reduced entitlement. They will receive a proportion of the annual amount up to their 18th birthday.

I forgot to apply by 18th March 2020, can I still apply?   No. To ensure the funding is allocated fairly to applicants late applications will not be accepted, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

My son/daughter became eligible after 18th March 2020 can I still apply? you may submit a late application if your child becomes eligible after 18th March 2020, however a reduced entitlement will be awarded. The application process closes on 30th September 2020. No applications will be accepted after this date under any circumstances.

What kinds of things can the Prepaid Card be used for?  The card allows families to use the money responsibly and creatively to pay for a whole range of leisure activities and social opportunities which are beneficial and enjoyable for the child or young person. Families have, for example, used the money to pay for swimming or riding lessons, trips out, play equipment. Further examples can be found by scrolling down to the Suggested Card Uses Document at the bottom of this page.

When can I expect my Prepaid Card?  Once approved applications have been processed, the card will be ordered from the Pre-Paid Financial Services company who manage the card creation and process on behalf of Portsmouth City Council.

The card will then be forwarded to you for activation. Once activated the money can be transferred to your card and it is ready to use as per the dates stated in the Application Guidance.

Suggested Uses for the Card

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) - (about the card)

Activation of Card Instructions

Using the card is very simple. However, before you start using the card you must do the following:

  • Activate the pre-paid card using the telephone via the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) as soon as you receive the card. You can use any of the following numbers 020 3327 1991, 020 3468 4112 or 020 7183 2248.
  • Enter the 16 digit card number on the front of your card and your date of birth. Once you have entered this information correctly your card will be activated and your PIN will be revealed. Please keep your PIN safe and do not share it with anyone.

How to access your card details on-line

Using the booklet, you can set up an account and check your balance and transactions and make payments.

Internet Access User Guide Booklet

Link to the Prepaid Card Portal

Get in touch - tell us what you think

Contact the Portsmouth Send Local Offer to gain help, get more information or to leave feedback about the website.

Get in touch