Time for Me-Young Carers across Oban, Lorn and Isles
A story by North Argyll Carers Centre
We delivered “Time for Me” a Young Carers respite activity programme for young carers from the Oban, Lorn and Isles area within school holiday times.
This time together enables respite opportunities for young people,focus on health and well-being, offer peer support opportunities, and increased confidence.
What Time for Me-Young Carers across Oban, Lorn and Isles did
We planned a variety of respite activities across the year to enable young carers ‘Time for Me’ across the year. We undertook 9 day trips throughout the year, during Easter, Summer and October Holidays and 2 residential trips (Easter and Summer).
Days included: Time Capsule in Coatbridge, Glasgow Science Centre and IMAX Cinema, Hawk Walk in Inverawe, Gravity Trampoline Park, Roller Disco and Laser Tag in Braehead, Karting and Laser Tag in Clydebank, Camera Obscura and Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, Inflata Nation and Odeon Cinema in Glasgow.
These were identified by the young carers as ones they wanted to do to ensuring personalisation and young carers being at the heart of planning. Activities were open to all young carers and we linked with parents/ families/care givers to ensure as many young carers has access to these breaks.
Our two residential trips across the year were to Camas Centre, Mull in Easter where we went ‘off the grid’ with no technologies to a remote outdoor centre where young carers are encouraged in learning and living their own health and well-being through simple time together, wilderness walks, climbing, eating well, games and communication.
This was a chance to step back from the everyday and connect with each other and nature. The second trip during the summer holidays was to Hynish, Tiree where the Hebridean Trust enable us access to their house by the shore and support us to access activities for young carers from pottery making to surfing. Long days on the beach, and bonfires at night made this a real ‘family holiday’ and the young carers from across the Oban Lorn and Isles area feel the relaxation and value of this special time, whilst learning new skills and having time to talk and share in a supported space.
Mutual benefit has been evident from both young carers and their families benefiting from access to respite and crucially for this area, in providing transport to get to place a significant barrier is removed. By listening and continuing to work within a person-centred approach we believe that this reflects in personalisation for the young carers in respite options. We also targeted work at key transition points.
What North Argyll Carers Centre has learned
We have again seen the benefits of partnership working. We were able to deliver a residential in partnership with The Hebridean Trust which allowed us all to work together for the benefits of the young carers. We could not have done this without this partnership approach.
By working closely with our community and publicising what we do in the local press and through word of mouth we have continued to develop further community links and pledges of support for our young carers 'time for me' project. We have had Rotary Club support and we have extended this to TSB support. This is really positive in enabling us to continue delivering the project and ultimately supporting young carers.
We also kept listening to young carers and worked to ensure we continued to run a flexible service. This then lead to us changing our plans for a future residential opportunity following feedback. We always want to be a listening organisation and weave our plans ensuring young carers views are heard, listened to and acted on.
How North Argyll Carers Centre has benefitted from the funding
We have I believe strengthened the organisation's reputation locally in Oban, Lorn and Isles area and other organisations have been interested to hear what we have been able to achieve by being able to provide short breaks from The Short Breaks Fund, Creative Breaks Programme. By showcasing what we have been able to do keeps a continued conversation about respite and the need for respite, on the agenda. We continue to use the learning and experience of the Creative Breaks funded activity to lobby for further understanding and provision in preventative respite for carers of all ages. We have continued to work to secure other funding as we are always looking at ways to provide a short break/outing/activity. By having continued funding in has enabled ongoing support and has contributed to the message of regular respite that we as an organisation are continuously sharing. The funding has also helped our staff morale as knowing we can provide fantastic adventures and time our for young carers lets our staff team plan alongside young carers. The team see the benefit for young carers and their families and this is such a positive for the team as they see first hand what a difference these day trips and residential adventures can make to the young peoples lives.
85% of young carers attending respite activities will feel improved well-being
We captured ‘before and after’ data of how young people were feeling when they came to the activity and following the activity, we also reviewed following the holiday programme to review how young carers feel some time after all the activities. We followed up practical well-being support within after school activities to continue the support. 100% of young carers attending respite activities reported back that they felt improved well-being, they had time out and a break from their caring role. They shared how positive it was for them to get a break from their caring role and how well they felt during and after the break. "I feel more confident about trying new things for the future"
Young Carer M cares for his father who has a long term condition and lives with chronic pain and is wheelchair bound, he also has an older sibling who has been unwell for some time. Supporting his father has at times felt overwhelming for Young Carer M and the uncertainty of his siblings illness has been addition stress for this young carer and his family. As a family this has meant constant medical appointments, regular hands on care and very little time out from the caring role. Young Carer M signed up for summer holiday days programme and time out on Tiree Residential trip. During this time the staff reported that the young carer M relaxed and had time out and connected with peer group, and importantly also had time with the staff team to share thoughts, feeling and generally have time out from the pressured situation at home. "I feel better now, I've so enjoyed this it's been fab" M's parents have at times shared how tired they have been and guilty in not being able to have quality family time in the holidays and that M does not get the opportunities his friends have. For all the family time out on Tiree and regular day trips have been a positive in giving M that much needed time out in a supported, familiar environment. M has reported how much fun he has had and how much more positive he feels "I didn't think it was possible to have this much fun in Scotland, I feel so much better". The family continue to manage their life and feel they have a more positive balance as a result of the activities that have been available for the young carer, and also look forward to a further year of support, all aware that this young carer will be supported towards their own well-being as part of this respite programme and ongoing young carer support activities.
100% of young carers will have had the opportunity to access out of school respite activity programme
We offered activities to all young carers and ensured that all young carers have had access to activities with us.We publicised the activities to young carers and their families giving time to build young carers time out into wider family plans. "It was honestly the best week of my life"
Please see above case study where young carer M has been supported towards well-being but also supported in having access to the respite holiday programme.
85% of young carers across Oban, Lorn and Isles will feel more able to sustain their caring role and will feel greater confidence in their caring role
Young carers have accessed our social media closed group for ongoing support monitored by our Young Carers Service Co-ordinator, through informal and formal before and after surveys, young carers reported increased confidence to continue their caring role and will have developed peer support networks. "I am going to miss my room mates when I go home"
Case Study not published