Breaks Away North Ayrshire
A story by Unity Enterprise North Ayrshire Carers Centre
We provided grants directly to Carers who live in North Ayrshire, Arran or Cumbrae.
What Breaks Away North Ayrshire did
Carers completed the application form either by themselves our with the help of a member of staff. The completed applications then went to the panel which consisted of a staff member, ex carer and staff member from North Ayrshire Dementia Support Services. We had hoped to all have a member from North Ayrshire Council but due to the changes of integration of Health and Social Care this did not happen.
The panel met every 4 - 6 weeks dependent on demand. There was several occasions where more information was asked for before a decision could be made.
We advertised the scheme in our newsletter which is published 3 times a year and goes out to all carers who wish to receive mailings from the centre and emailed to a great many professionals, some of who in turn passed the information to their client groups. It was on our Facebook page and we told all new Carers or Carers we came in to contact with whom we thought may meet the criteria.
Mr and Mrs G "wanted an opportunity to go on a short break allowing them to have sometime together, whilst knowing they would be picked up from a local point and they didn’t need to worry about needing to cook or find somewhere to eat. Mr G realised that this may be their last chance for a break away together.
Whilst away he made new friends, they had chilled time together, went sightseeing, relaxed, enjoyed being in different surroundings. Most importantly they made some lasting memories."
We persuaded Mrs M to apply for a grant. She decided on a 2 night stay in a hotel in Edinburgh which included evening meals and 2 alternative therapy sessions. Mrs M also had a wish to visit Edinburgh Castle. Mrs M found the experience beneficial, she enjoyed "me time," she felt rejuvenated to a certain extent, and it allowed her to do what she wanted to do. It was beneficial as it left her feeling valued and rested, she felt appreciated when she returned home. Overall she felt it was a very valuable experience and she enjoyed distressing at the spa. It was a pleasure to see her so relaxed when she returned home.
Ms C attended a Michael Jackson tribute weekend break for herself with friends. She enjoyed the rest and having fun with friends, her family thought she looked great when she returned home, she enjoyed having meals made for her. She now feels able to face whatever health issues D and herself face in the future.
Since registering with the Centre Ms C has become more aware of the services we offer, she has been given benefit advice, offered counselling, she has accessed alternative therapy appointments, attended social events and groups and is a frequent visitor to the Centre.
What Unity Enterprise North Ayrshire Carers Centre has learnedIt has been really nice to see the difference a short break has made to some of the Carers, they have been better able to cope with their caring role, their mental health has been greatly improved, the cared for person has also in some cases been much more appreciative and other family members who had taken a back seat have experienced the difficulties the Carer deals with on a day to day basis.
Challenges are that Carers tended to want to change arrangements once they had been booked and paid for. We have attracted several new Carers who were not known to the service and Carers who did not access day to day services that we offer now have more contact with the Centre.