Down's Syndrome Scotland Creative Breaks Grant Programme 2016-17
A story by Down's Syndrome Scotland
We provided grants directly to carers who care for an adult who has Down’s Syndrome and who lives with them.
What Down's Syndrome Scotland Creative Breaks Grant Programme 2016-17 did
Carers were asked to complete an application form which asked for details of their caring role and any support they receive, also details of their health and that of the individual they care for. Applicants were also asked to complete a questionnaire asking them to evaluate the impact of their caring role on their well being, their health, their work/education and their social life. We asked them what they would like to get out of their break.
The application form asked for details of the break the carer would like to take. In situations where the carer was not known to Down's Syndrome Scotland we asked for a referee, preferably in a professional capacity. Our grants panel was made up of 4 members, Our Deputy Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Executive Officer of an Edinburgh charity which supports adults, a parent of an adult who has Down's Syndrome who lives independently and a grandparent member of Down's Syndrome Scotland. All administration of the fund was carried out by Down's Syndrome Scotland's Grants and Trusts Officer.
The Fund was launched in November 2016 and was promoted at our annual conference, via our website, our monthly e-bulletins and on social media via Facebook and Twitter. Applications were available for download from our website or by calling our national office. Our Family Support Officers also carried applications forms and supported eligible carers to make applications.
They purchased a season ticket to see their beloved local team play. The grant they received from the Creative Breaks Fund paid for their travel to and from 18 'away' matches across the Season.
The parents knew that their daughter had been to the respite centre previously and had enjoyed her stay. Mum said " Getting a break from our caring role has allowed us to recharge our batteries and to come back to our caring role rested and revitalised. We are grateful to the Fund for this opportunity.
The most memorable part was relaxing n a sun lounger by the hotel pool with the sun streaming through the ceiling to floor windows with a view overlooking the beautiful Loch and surrounding hills with their snow covered peaks."
What Down's Syndrome Scotland has learnedAs Down's syndrome Scotland has been managing a Creative Breaks Fund for several years now, we have already captured most of our learning and built it into our communications and management of the Fund.
One point which was very apparent this year and is of some concern is that the large majority of carers who are members of our charity and who have applied to our Creative Breaks Funding do not access support from or have any contact with Carers Centres. It is likely that these carers will only apply for funding for a break in future if they are supported to do so by our Family Support Service Officers who will identify which carers centres have funding to allocate.
Many of the carers who applied to the Fund do not receive any support in their caring role. These carers were referred to our Family Support Team. As we had a smaller amount of funding than in previous years the challenge was managing the expectations in our communications with our memberships and carers centres.