Residential Short Breaks for Young Carers, Young Adult Carers and Day Breaks for Adult Carers
A story by Broomhouse Young Carers
We organised a series of residential weekend short breaks for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers and 4 day trips for Adult Carers over the course of the year in order to improve their health and wellbeing by accessing new respite opportunities.
What Residential Short Breaks for Young Carers, Young Adult Carers and Day Breaks for Adult Carers did
This year, we provided the opportunity for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers to go away on weekend residential breaks and for Adult Carers to access day trips to give them much needed respite from their caring role. We took two separate groups of Young Female Adult Carers and Young Male Adult Carers to Wiston Lodge by Biggar to focus on self-esteem, self-belief, confidence and team building activities.
We were fortunate to partner up with The Outward Bound Trust who offered us the chance to take 9 Young Carers to Loch Eil near Fort William where they learnt resilience, team building and bonded excellently as a group, this was also a partnership with our Youth Befriending Service to provide support for Young Carers who care for a parent with drug and alcohol issues.
In our younger group, 10 Young Carers were able to access a residential at PGL In Dalguise and participate in team building, problem solving and confidence building activities. We were also given the unique opportunity to work with Columba 1400 over the course of the year including a residential experience to Skye to work on the values of awareness, focus, creativity, integrity, perseverance and service.
Adult Carers were able to access 4 day breaks to Norton House Hotel, Falkland Palace, Rosslyn Chapel and a Theatre trip. The Adult Carers agreed that day breaks were the best idea, since a lot of them struggled to get away for a weekend due to their caring roles. Consequently they enjoyed wonderful opportunities to relax, be pampered and served by others for the day and see places they had never seen before without worrying about the person they care for.
Fortunately we could provide breaks for all the Young Carers and Adult Carers in our service .
*Heather was new to the Young Adult Carers Group and very quiet and shy when she first came to join us. She is quite isolated geographically and we have been able to provide transport for her to join us on a regular basis. She came on residential with us and during that time she bonded really well with the other girls in the group and made strong friendships. Heather never felt as though she could ask for support, she comes across as very independent and able to look after herself, and, as such support staff felt that she was managing okay.
During the residential it became apparent that she really needed some more support with her self-belief and confidence and she was able to get some time to talk to a staff member about this. Consequently, Heather felt she could ask for support and realised just how much support was available to her. The staff member referred her to the in house Life Coach and she has started a course of life coaching sessions to address some of the issues arising for her and work on achieving her goals. This may never have happened had she not felt secure and safe enough in the residential setting to ask for support.
*Tim was identified as a Young Carer due to his caring role for his Mother who has issues with drug use. The referral came from partnership working with the Youth Befriending Project he was accessing. Increasingly, staff in both services have seen cross over whereby young people who are affected by parental drug and alcohol use are taking on a significant caring role and can be identified as Young Carers.
In this way, short breaks play an important part in providing respite from the chaotic nature of the environment the Young Carer is in. Different models of short breaks such as group support, or in Tim's case, a residential break can help to improve the relationship between the Young Carer and the cared for person because the Young Carer feels as though they are not missing out on the same opportunities as their peers.
Tim greatly benefited from the short break so much so that he stated how much he wanted to stay in the residential environment. He had the chance to be in a completely different setting in the Highlands of Scotland away from noise and chaos giving him a glimpse of a different life, challenging activities, understanding his emotions and a way of living he could choose to access one day.
Issy is a lady who has recently turned seventy, she retired as a secretary in her early sixties and looked forward to having time with her husband and family. Issy has two daughters, a son and four grandchildren. Issy didn’t quite get to enjoy her retirement as she thought, her husband was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease shortly after they both retired.
Issy cares for her husband full time. Issy’s daughter also became very ill with cancer so she was also caring for her until she passed away. Issy was finding it very difficult to accept that she has lost her daughter, she feels resentful and angry with her husband who is also grieving the loss of his daughter.
Issy attended all of the day breaks that were organised, this included two full day’s at The Norton House Hotel Spa with treatments and lunch, two trips to the theatre, trip to Roslin Chapel, lunch out in Peebles and a day out in Linlithgow with lunch and a tour of the palace.
As a result of these short breaks Issy has realised that she needs to look after herself in order to look after and care for her husband. She is trying hard not to get so upset with her husband and she can now open up a bit more with him, she is learning to share how she feels about the death of her daughter and that it was her husband’s daughter too. Issy is now going to a weekly exercise class and has enrolled with the local walking group. Issy is also sleeping better and starting enjoy life a bit more.
What Broomhouse Young Carers has learnedWithout this funding we would not have been able to carry out the residential element of our programme. Every year we are getting increasing numbers of referrals to our project and every year the feedback is the same, short breaks are significant in giving Carers and Young Carers a much needed break from their caring role. The residentials are essential to our programme and we have learned just how important they are.
We have learned the importance of partnership working and, that communicating with different projects who have similar goals means we can partner up and share costs, good practice and resources to deliver an extended service to reach more Carers and Young Carers in need of support.
We have learned the importance of networking and how sharing information about what we do means we can get support from other organisations such as The Outward Bound Trust, PGL, Wiston Lodge, Columba 1400, Venture Scotland etc, who have similar goals and will support our work by offering amazing packages for our service users.