Creative Breaks 2016/17
A story by Western Isles Community Care Forum
We provided grants directly to carers who live in the Western Isles.
What Creative Breaks 2016/17 did
Application forms were available on our website, from the office and staff who visited carers in their own homes. We looked at the length of time an applicant was caring, their age, health, level of support, interrupted sleep and when they last had a break along with the age and condition of the cared for person. Applications forms were scored by a member of staff in the office when they were received. These were then reviewed by our panel, which consisted of the Co-ordinator, a member of staff who visits carers and a carer. The panel met 4 times during the year to consider applications.
The allocation of awards was a decision we left largely to the carer on our panel. The Time to Live Fund was advertised on our Facebook page, our website, via member organisations, statutory bodies and promoted by staff who visited carers. A new website was developed in 2016 which now allows carers to print off the application forms or submit them electronically.
Taking this break has made carer A recognise that there are very positive benefits in taking time out from the caring role and she has vowed to take regular breaks, as a result of the this award.
Here's what she said to us, "It was a wonderful surprise and I had a girly weekend. This was the first time I had a hot massage and I really enjoyed it – really helped ease the tension. The whole experience was the highlight of my life. I feel so much better for it and the family told me even my face looked different when I got back. I’ve made up my mind, I am going to go away more often.
After returning home, she reported, "I feel “renewed”. This break kept me from going over the edge – I had reached breaking point and didn’t realise it, as this was my first year of full time caring. I was mentally and physically exhausted. So appreciative of this help"
This is what Carer C said to us, "I find painting a great way to relax – I switch off from all the caring duties. Not able to get out now as my mother’s condition has worsened."
What Western Isles Community Care Forum has learnedA lot of carers feel more valued when they receive an award, we are finding many carers re-apply year on year for an award, which is testimony to the high regard which they have for the Time to Live Fund. This year more carers chose to buy equipment in pursuit of hobbies, which has longer term benefits.
When our staff visit carers, they encourage them to apply to the Fund, carers who would not normally do so. Some then come to realise the benefits of taking a break from their caring role. This Fund has helped to increase our profile in the community.