Aberdeenshire and Moray Time to Live
A story by Quarriers
We provided grants directly to carers who live in Aberdeenshire and Moray.
What Aberdeenshire and Moray Time to Live did
Any Carer living in the Aberdeenshire area could apply and did not need to be registered with Quarriers Support Service. Applications came into our service and were collated at monthly panel meetings. The decision making panel originally consisted of an E-panel but as request amounts increased the panel opted for actual meetings to allow dedicated time to be given to the decision making process.
All personal information was removed from the applications before presenting to the panel. The funding was advertised through local authority, our Carers Newsletter, Social Media, Support Groups, Support Workers and at local events.
The application process involved completion of a form that focused on the impact of caring on the Carer's health and wellbeing, encouraging the Carer to consider how a short break, or regular breaks, might help in the long term. On receipt, the application was scored using a Resource Allocation System that produced a funding award relative to the negative impact of not having a break, and levels of anxiety and stress experienced by Carers.
Potential awards ranged from £62 to £330. The average award has been £276, with nobody receiving less than £100. A Scrutiny Panel involving the Carers Officer, a District Nurse and a representative from Social Work, reviewed the allocations process twice a year, viewing anonoymised application forms, to ensure consistency of approach and equity of access.
The fund was advertised via our quarterly newsletter, regular social media posts, targeted advertising in local magazines and newsletters, information leaflets and in conversation directly with Carers. Working with colleagues in health and care agencies across Moray ensured awareness amongst professionals coming into contact with Carers, and supported and encouraged applications from Carers not yet known to the Carers Service.
Our Time to Live process has been recognised by the local authority and cited as the model for piloting SDS for Carers in Moray.
The Carer sent feed back saying `I would encourage other carers to apply for this award as I can honestly say that receiving this therapy made all the difference to how I have managed in my caring role. Getting the award gave me a feeling of being cared about and I sincerely thank the benefactors`."
Most teenagers generally need a break from their parents, but when they have a caring role for mum or dad, that can be much harder to achieve.
Having responsibility for a parent can be overwhelming and frustrating, putting someone else’s needs first is not easy, and returning to that time and again challenging, particularly at an age when peers are experiencing more freedom and independence. N (14) manages to get a break and reduce her daily frustrations by attending martial arts training, but is always aware that she has to go back. In summer 2017, N was offered the opportunity to attend the WOMAA World Championships in Dublin. Her Time to Live award made it possible for her to attend.
N says, “My break helped me to relax more. It also helped develop my independence. This was the first time I'd been away by myself, although my instructor was with me as the responsible adult. Now I worry about things less because I've seen what I can do. It was a total break from caring which was refreshing, and it has strengthened my support network by building up my relationships with my instructors, so I’m able to carry on with my caring role knowing what’s possible.”
The grant contributed to N’s life outside caring, helping her put her own needs first improving her wellbeing and confidence, and supporting her to return to her caring role refreshed and boosted. In addition, she secured an international award in competition – something she is very proud of. Her mum is equally proud, and not just of N’s success - she sees N can cope with new challenges and is capable of even more than she realised.
Having taken breaks before that put other people’s needs first, Quarriers helped L focus on what would make her feel better. After some thought, she decided that she wanted to be pampered. A voucher for the local beauty spa was organised and over the summer months L managed to escape her stressful life more than once. She got a new hair-do, enjoyed facials, experienced relaxing massages and what a difference it made to her!
Lillias confided, “Creative Breaks made me think of myself, put myself first for a change. Mentally and physically I feel healthier and stronger and able to go on. I'm able to switch off from things a lot better.” Her Creative Break award gave Lillias the permission to care for herself for a change. It didn’t take much, but doing something for herself that made her feel and look good increased her confidence to the point that she is more able to say ‘no’. Lillias has realised the need to have a life outside of caring, to take regular breaks and to look after her own wellbeing and she’s thriving on it.
Initially, D planned to take a one-off break with the person she cares for, but as she discussed her situation with the worker, she realised this could be her opportunity to make bigger changes that she desperately wanted to achieve, but had thought out of reach. D wanted to get back to work, and have a life of her own away from her caring role, but had been out of the workforce for some time.
Our worker introduced D to the SVQ Health and Care Programme available through the Carers Service, which acknowledged the skills and expertise carers gain in their role, and gives them a nationally-recognised qualification.
D felt sure she could meet the required standard for the SVQ, and decided that buying a laptop and printer would allow her to fit studying and preparation work around her caring role, whilst also giving her an escape from caring through access to games and online social opportunities when needed. She felt that the opportunity to escape to her own life in this way to would improve her resilience and increase her ability to carry on caring.
Quarriers supported D to choose and buy her IT equipment and several months on, D says, ‘My confidence is improving, I’m more able and willing to try out new things and when I can do them, I feel 100%. I’m more positive, have fewer down days, and am better able to get going again when I DO have a down day. I’m also more prepared to ask people for help when I need it.’
D has now almost finished her SVQ, which has already led to her securing employment and increasing her life away from caring. D says, ‘I feel like a new person, more confident and ready to move forward – and all because of that one Time to Live Application!’
What Quarriers has learnedWe have learned that unexpected benefits can arise from Time to Live. For example it has influenced the future planning of the local authority for SDS for Carers and its aim to increase opportunities for Carers to have easy access to respite and short breaks. The Carers Service in Moray was re-tendered by Moray Council in late 2016, with the new contract starting from April 2017. The Time to Live programme was specifically referenced in the tender in relation to the development of short break support as part of the contracted service and as a model for piloting SDS for Carers in line with the Scottish Parliament Carers Act.
We have learned the importance of offering Carers easy access to a small grants fund that allows them the freedom and flexibility to choose a break that makes a difference for them at a time they need it, rather than having to think ahead for something specific, identify a source of funding, make an application, await the outcome and THEN be able to take their break. The challenge this brings for Carers is not knowing how much they'll receive in their award. But this means starting from the point of view of 'how much can I afford?' rather than 'how much do I need?', offering a more realistic approach for carers to manage breaks for themselves in the future.
We have learned to Fund can bring new Carers into our Service. The Fund has enabled the Carers Service to reach more Carers. Many Carers who received funding went on to register with the Service and have received further support.
We have learned that other people in the community might want to contribute to this work. The Service presented to a local business forum who then fundraised for a travel grant for young Carers that could be used alongside the Creative Break grant when required.