Family Link Service

Family Link is a service for disabled children and their parents that links them with another family or individual to give them a short break on a regular basis.

The service is popular with disabled children and their families, so the council is keen to recruit between 35 and 40 additional families to meet the assessed need in the borough.

Councillor Dora Dixon Fyle, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Parents who have a child with a disability can benefit from regular support so sharing the care, even for a short time, can be very rewarding and can make a real difference.

“Short break carers come from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. They share a love of children and desire to help a disabled child realise their potential.”

She continued: “The breaks can be anything from a few hours a week to an overnight stay once a month. If you or anyone else you know can give some time every month to care for a disabled child, we’d love to hear from you.”

The Family Link model is based on overnight stays or even full weekends, but most carers will build up to that.

Southwark has also recently enhanced its Family Link model by introducing a day care service, and even just spending a day with a child can make an enormous difference to their parents and other siblings.Margaret Pedler from Dulwich has been a Southwark Family Link carer for two years after seeing an advert from Southwark Council.

She said: “Family Link is so important; it’s helping a family stay together. Caring for a severely disabled child is very full on, it’s a 24 hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week responsibility and the only way it becomes sustainable is if there is respite care.

“I really enjoy being part of Family Link, I feel valuable and valued by the family and I really get a lot out of it. I think anyone who thinks they might be interested should just contact the council and find out more. Visit one of the drop-in sessions or just talk to someone in the team and see if it’s the right thing for them.”

If you or a friend thinks you have what it takes to be a short break carer, come along to one of our upcoming information sessions to meet with the Family Link team and find out more:

For further information, please call 020 3049 8221/8047 or email

Story taken from Southwark council