A story by Crossroads caring for carers Cowal & Bute SCIO
We provided our unpaid carers the chance to have time away from their caring role by arranging Christmas lunches in various rural areas. We also took them on a trip to the theatre, giving our carers the opportunity to relax have fun and enjoy a life outside their caring role.
What Building Memories did
We were able to arrange Christmas lunches in Bute, Lochgoilhead and Dunoon allowing more carers the chance to attend these events. The feed back we received from carers was very positive they all enjoyed the chance to relax and enjoy the company of other carers.
In the spring we arranged lunch and a show at the Beacon Art Theatre. Carers, along with some their 'cared for' were able to enjoy a day out, thus improving their health and wellbeing. We identified carers who are unable to have time away for who they care for and were pleased to be able to include some of the 'cared for'. This proved a huge success as both were able to benefit from a day out, with staff and other carers providing support.
Both events were a great success we were able to provide enough transport that carers who were not keen on travelling were able to leave their cares at home. Requiring transport via ferry can sometimes be a problem due to adverse weather problems, but everything went extremely well on the day with all carers meeting up at the Beacon at the same time for a bite to eat before the show.
We found including some 'cared for' in our trip to be huge success - there were carers who hadn't been to anything in years due to be finding it difficult to manage the support they would have to give on the day.
What Crossroads caring for carers Cowal & Bute SCIO has learned
Our project planning took more effort than normal due to the location of the Beacon Art Centre (we require ferry transport from both Cowal & Bute) - we were able to plan our trip from both areas factoring in the times for the ferry travel so that we would arrive on time at the Beacon with no carers being late/missing out. This all went smoothly and we would use the same system again - planning the route, the vehicles required and the timing of the ferries.
We tried to target new carers by offering something different for them with the trip to the Beacon, many parent cares can't do much through the day due to childcare etc., but we timed it so that they could attend while children were at school this gave them the opportunity to come along and spend time with other carers, giving them the confidence to hopefully attend more events in the future.
There were some challenges faced at the Christmas due to adverse weather problems some carers can't make it to the event, due to driving conditions, and there were some that pulled out due to ill health. We had paid all expenses for the meal, so we were able to box up their meals and get them delivered to the carers. We would take this in to consideration in the future by being better prepared with any meal deliveries, if required.
How Crossroads caring for carers Cowal & Bute SCIO has benefitted from the funding
Our organisation benefitted from Creative Breaks Funding due to being able to strengthen our reputation within the community by inviting carers to our events. We were able to ask more people to join us, along with their 'cared for' as we had sufficient funding to do so. By doing this we had a better idea of the capacity of carers that we could include to certain events.
Increased attendance at support groups, drop ins and outings. Carers able to access more opportunities to attend outings and events organised by Crossroads.
Our outings were well attended and enjoyed by all who came along. With many being able to attend as they could bring along who they care for. Feed back from these events was very positive. ~"This has been a lifeline for me. The support has been more than first class. I will always be indebted to all staff and the many friends I have made" ~"The Christmas lunch and the Theatre trip were the highlight of my year. I can not thank you all enough". ~"I love being able to come along all be it a quick pop in and cuppa on a Wed, and to the outings that are arranged for us. I am not able to come often but occasionally is better than nothing". ~"Every one is lovely and thoughtful and walking in the door, you may feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, but you don't leave like that". ~"It is a lovely way to meet people in the same situation who you may not meet otherwise. I don't know how I coped without you all".
Carer's can become isolated by their caring role and it is difficult for them to get out and about again feed back from one of our carers. We have one carer who is quite quiet and withdrawn, they find it hard to socialise with other people. Through gentle coaxing by ourselves and the fact we were able to seat them beside other carers who would be a support, they came out their shells and have now been attending our support groups/events on a more regular basis. Carers feedback ~ "I became quite isolated during lockdown which resulted in a decline in my mental health, leading to social anxiety. I have valued all aspects of my Crossroads experience and am beginning to feel more confident"
Carers will feel better supported to sustain their caring role.
Having the opportunity to have a break from their caring role gives carers a chance to relax and enjoy the company of other carers thus improving their health and wellbeing. They are able to obtain a more positive outcome for the future as they are able to benefit from peer support in our groups and activities. Carers can feel empowered when they don't feel as isolated in the caring role. Feedback ~"Since Coming along to the carers centre I have enjoyed joining in with the social activities, it is so good to be able to join other carers and have fun and a laugh".
Caring for someone can make carers very isolated by attending our outings and social events has allowed carers the time to meet with other carers who understand what you are going through. We have 2 sisters who care for their father and could only attend at certain times due to their demanding caring role. They have been made to feel very much included in our groups/events and have found it very beneficial to their overall wellbeing, thus helping them face their caring challenges. Feedback~ "I feel less isolated since I have been attending the carers centre their Christmas lunch gives me something to look forward to I really enjoy meeting with other carers in a social setting".
Carers and the people they care for will have increased social inclusion. Carers will have more opportunities for respite and a better life balance.
Having access to our outings and social activities provides carers a break from their caring role. They all feed back that attending our groups and social outings boast their confidence and improve their health and wellbeing. This was achieved by including them to have a break from their worries at home and all they they do to support their spouses/family/friends they felt more uplifted after each interaction with other carers and the staff, thus having a more positive effect on their mental and physical wellbeing. We know the importance of mental health in these challenging times and know that it can have a knock on effect on many aspects - allowing carers to feel more supported in their caring role can have a profound effect of their overall wellbeing, which leads to a better caring relationship for them, and who they provide care for.
One of our carers cares for his wife who has Dementia. He is unable to spend time socialising with her now as she is very challenging when out. This causes him a great deal of stress so tends not to go anywhere with her. We reassured him that if were to bring her on the day that there would be plenty of people on hand to assist, and he was to come along to enjoy himself. His wife had such a great time at the the theatre that she was like a different person. She sat with one of our volunteers, allowing the man time to sit with other carers - they both had a marvellous day out. As a result, he is more keen to join us at other events with his wife.