Alison's and James's Choice
A story by ENABLE Stornoway & District Branch
We took a group of Carers and the people that they care for on a short break to a hotel in Blairgowrie and went on trips each day.
All the carers look after someone with complex needs. The break gave them the opportunity to relax and gain peer support and re-charge their batteries.
What Alison's and James's Choice did
Our short break was an opportunity for our carers to relax, gain peer support and be given information to support them in their caring role in an informal atmosphere. We stayed in a hotel in Blairgowrie, the hotel provided evening meals and gave additional support to our group by allocating easy access rooms and adapted toilets etc. Living in an island location and having to organise the break taking a lot of different needs into account we organised a bus from Stornoway to be with us for the whole trip.
We planned and organised day trips that worked around the different needs of our party. It involved a lot of work but this contributed to the success of our trip. A highlight of our trip was a Nathan Carter concert that we attended in Perth, our group enjoyed meeting him after the concert.
We had a full plan of activities covering both day trips and evening entertainment, which included trips to Aberdeen, bowling, Science Centre, a trip to Blair Castle and Pitlochry. This planning helped us avoid issues and ensure that facilities and trips were suitable for everyone. Carers were given the option to have their own time to do things individual to them e.g. some had relatives come to the hotel to visit them.
Our trip was focused on carers who live in Lewis and Harris and who have additional challenges e.g. they either care for more than one person, have their own health issues, face challenges in rurality and social isolation and they care for someone with high care needs. Most of our carers are aged 60 plus years. We aim to have different carers participating in our trips each year, we send out flyers to carers, we inform Social Work, word of mouth etc. to ensure that carers are informed about the short break.
We achieved our aims we were able to provide a break for carers who would have been unable to have this opportunity with out us organising this trip around their needs. Prior to the trip we had partnership meetings to plan and risk assess. Our break was a success and feedback was positive.
What ENABLE Stornoway & District Branch has learned
On of the main things was the pre-planning and pre-booking of activities to ensure individual needs were met. We had a contingency plan and when a member of our party became unwell during the trip we were able to put in place alternative arrangements due to our forward planning.
How ENABLE Stornoway & District Branch has benefitted from the funding
We have new members who have joined our branch and who previously did not have access to Creative Breaks funding. As an organisation we have a good reputation for supporting carers and those cared for by providing the opportunity to participate in a respite break. We learn from each break that we organise and we have a good knowledge of what they enjoy and the pre-planning has to be done to enable everyone to participate.
Carers will have more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role and improving their wellbeing.
Following on from the short break carers have become involved in our group and have attended our meetings, this has supported our branch and the carers have access to peer support and information.
We have new members to our group who were not involved previously they are new to a caring role and found our support invaluable.
Carers will feel better supported to sustain their caring role.
Carers have been inspired through the whole experience of planning and experiencing the trip to the mainland, feel better connected to caring within the group and outwith the organisation. They will have additional peer support available through the organisation either practical or simply having someone to talk to about the challenges they face as part of their caring role and galvanise and strengthen them as they continue their role as a carer.
A member of the group mentioned that they were struggling to cope with caring due to the increased level of care needed. We were able to sign post them to sources of assistance so that they were given social care support to enable them to continue to care for their loved one in their own home.
Carers will have benefited from the trip will be given the opportunity to rest and recharge the batteries, experience the benefits of new and stimulating activities and the opportunities for social interaction. They will have the strength and improved wellbeing to continue in their carers role.
During the break we organised information sessions to support our carers in their caring role. The focus during this trip was the new Carers Act. We organised presentations on Adult Carers Support Plan and the Carers Act in general. This information was well received by our carers as this was the first that they were aware of the new ACT. The opportunity to network and get peer support plus the information sessions has given our carers the information and support to help them in the future with their caring role. It is not easy for some carers to be able to participate in meetings during to caring responsibilities to having this opportunity to get information and support will benefit them in the future.
Following the presentation on the Carers Act it was made clear that more information and support was needed, post the short break we held further presentation sessions and organised for one to one sessions to help members progress their Carers Support Plan.