A story by Carers of West Lothian
We provided grants directly to carers and young carers who live in West Lothian.
What Time Out did
The Time Out Project was advertised using Social Media, this includes carers sharing the information on closed carer groups and also the West Lothian Council Facebook page. We also included the availability of the fund on our website and in our quarterly newsletter. Carers who met the criteria were also identified through Carers of West Lothian support workers who also raised awareness of the project with other professionals.
Carers who were interested in applying for a grant would do so through an application process which included detailed guidance so that the eligibility was clear and transparent to all. Applications were then put to a Grants Panel for a decision on whether to award funding based on the application form and accompanying supporting statement from a professional person. The panel's decision was based around the clearly set out eligibility criteria and those applications that did not meet the criteria were declined.
The process of learning over several years has helped to make the application process as straightforward as possible, however still ensuring that sufficient information is gathered to make the final decision by the panel as straightforward as possible.
The break away allowed him to have some quality time with his parents and to have their undivided attention. As a result of the break he is feeling more relaxed and feels he has more patience with his cousin too.
"It was such a lovely break at such a lovely time of the year and gave us some precious memories"
What Carers of West Lothian has learnedWe have learned that we need to do more to ensure that we reach the carers who are less likely to ask for support. To help us engage with difficult to reach carers we are working closely with other organisations and statutory agencies in areas of multiple disadvantage across West Lothian, which in turn will help us identify carers living with increased pressures e.g. poverty, social isolation and lack of affordable transport links.
With a change to our service model for 17/18 (detailed in our 17/18 application), our carer support workers, using the Carer Support Plans, will be better placed to help carers identify their needs and to help them measure the short and long term benefits to them. This in turn will help when evaluating their short break, as currently carers seem to have difficulty recognising the long term benefits of their break.