A story by Quarriers
We provided grants directly to carers who live in Moray, to plan and pay for a short break of their choice.
What Moray Breaks did
Quarriers Carers Service in Moray has been providing Time to Live grants to Carers for a number of years, and has a well-established process for applications and decision making. Carers complete a brief application form, with support from their Carer Support Worker where required, that focuses on the impact their caring role is having on their health and well being.
Emphasis throughout is on the Carer’s assessment of how their caring role impacts on their health and well being, and on how their chosen break will alleviate that. We are encouraging Carers to be as creative as possible and not rely solely on conventional ‘breaks away’, so we have a range of different activities/purchases that Carers have experienced as a result. Our evaluation results present reassuring comments, suggesting carers are beginning to think differently, and to recognise the benefits of regular short ‘creative’ breaks.
Received applications are scored using the Resource Allocation System, with resulting points converting to pounds and establishing the actual amount awarded. Carers then receive a letter advising them of their allocation, and asking them to formally accept it (with conditions, e.g. keeping receipts, completing evaluation afterwards etc.) and also offering them support to choose how they’ll spend it.
The Carer provides written acceptance of the allocation and either tells us what they need us to do re booking/arranging their desired break, or receives a cheque for the allocated amount for them to purchase their chosen break.
Quarriers Carers Service Administrator, Nuala, engages in discussions with the Carer around what they might want to do, when, how etc., with support from their Support Worker, if the Carer requires extra input or if it is felt that a more sustainable or creative break option could be considered.
Once the date by which the carer expected to have committed their allocation has passed, Nuala contacts them for evaluation of the process and the break experience. Our Scrutiny Group (Moray Council Carers Strategy Officer, local District Nurse and Social Work representative) reviews a sample of applications.
Rosemary’s funding application was approved and she recently got back in touch with her cousin, as the two of them had lost contact, and she applied for some funding for them to go on a few short trips together. This new friendship resulted in a break for Rosemary, with additional support from the fact that she discovered her cousin is also a carer, and they are able to provide each other with peer support.
The breaks also allowed Rosemary to realise that she needs some time for herself in order to maintain her own mental health and well being, and subsequently help her to sustain her caring role.
When Kirsten made her application, it was approved but with the condition that her Support Worker helped her to identify a more meaningful break. Kirsten had thought she could only use the money for a day trip or activity, however when the funding was explained in more detail, she mentioned that her friends enjoyed cycling and that she would like to be able to join them.
When Kirsten amended her application, she applied for funding to buy a new bike. The award was approved, with the addition of funding to buy her a helmet and pay for a year’s membership to join a local cycling club.
This shows the benefit of supporting Carers to consider what may be a more meaningful or creative short break that can be sustained for a longer period of time, providing more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role.
The Time to Live funding means John is able to return to a regular, physically healthy activity, keeping him in good shape and improving his fitness. By returning to his old club, he is also able to meet up with old friends again on a regular basis, providing him with mental and emotional support to improve his well being.
In addition, his Dad has noted an indirect impact on his own mental and emotional well being, due to no longer feeling the strain of being unable to provide for his son to attend his boxing club.
What Quarriers has learnedThe main thing the Quarriers Carer Support staff have learned is the more creative you can be with small pots of money the greater, and more sustainable, the benefit is to the Carer. The fund is open to all Carers, some who are not registered with our service, and we have found that often when completing an application they learn more about our support service and decide to register with us.
We have given presentations about our service and about the Short Breaks programme at partner organisations within a network of support agencies who also work with Carers, and we have found this attracts applications from new Carers who were not previously registered or aware of the Time to Live support.