A story by Milan senior welfare organisation
Milan’s Caring Connections project provided unpaid carers from South Asian communities with a quality break to promote their health and wellbeing, raise confidence and ensure carer’s voices are heard in order to recognise their commitments and value their contributions.
What Caring Connections did
Milan successfully delivered sessions as planned with an excellent uptake of the activities and outings. Our success is due to the good relationship built with the group through the commitment of the engagement worker who supports, motivates and encourages beneficiaries for the sessions we deliver.
The following was delivered:
* 11 group supported walks
* 20 massage sessions
* 4 art and craft sessions
* 3 group badminton sessions
* 4 coffee and chat sessions
* 2 wellbeing group sessions
* 2 outdoor yoga sessions
* 4 Bollywood dance sessions
* 1 group picnic
* 2 x group dinner get togethers
* Educational workshops: Cyber security, e-learning trainings
* 2 x 2 events
* Carer positive therapeutic activities
* 2 x cinema
* 2 x Bowling sessions
* 1 overnight trip
* 2 day trips
Our beneficiaries were from Edinburgh and West Lothian and we supported people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to give them a quality break away from their demanding roles. We worked with unpaid carers from all ages from 16 years to older carers, bringing people together to give them an opportunity of talking about their experiences as well as developing their social circle, increasing knowledge and awareness of a variety of topics.
We deliver a wide range of diverse activities on different days and times to work around our service users to ensure our services are accessible to the majority.
This project has provided Milan with working with a few partners to add even more value to the benefits of the project.
What Milan senior welfare organisation has learned
We have learnt that
Caring and balancing other responsibilities is becoming the norm, it is increasingly becoming evident that carers struggle with getting GP appointments, hospital admissions and are having to cope with more and more on a regular basis.
Funding like this are a lifeline as we have the beneficiaries numbers but struggle with funds. Having a good relationship with our community of interest enables us to reach out to increasing numbers
Having a good number of participants attending our groups and carer sessions supports us to make connections with other carers through positive word of mouth increasing our reach to identify carers.
How Milan senior welfare organisation has benefitted from the funding
* Strengthen Milan's reputation * Identify and reach out to support more unpaid carers * Support carers to gain a qualification through online training * Deliver a much needed activity programme to reduce inequalities that south Asian communities face
Carers will have more opportunities to enjoy a life outside of their caring role by feeling: * Less pressurised & tense * More energetic less stressed & recharged * Better coping skills * Raised self esteem and feel connected within their communities * Having something to look forward to
100% of the project attendance was achieved with an excellent feedback of the benefits participants experienced. Carers felt more energised and refreshed and in a better mental state for care giving. This was through talking with group members of issues, challenges and experiences and working out good coping mechanisms. One of the best solutions was to meet within Milan's carers group, as it was a stress free and well organised. The project activities, gave them something to look forward to as they felt this not only eased pressure but gave them fun, exciting and therapeutic things to take their minds of things. Carers felt more confident with raised self esteem and felt better within themselves.
Milan supported an individual who was experiencing extreme stress and heartache due to managing the sudden loss of a cared for person due to unexceptional circumstances which were being investigated by the police. The carer was looking after their own young family and consoling another cared for person whilst struggling with their own poor mental health. Our carer engagement worker spent a good amount of time to get the carer out of the house to have a quality break away and to feel less anxious. Firstly they were booked in for massage sessions and then introduced to group activities, walks and coffee and chat sessions which improved their own health and wellbeing and felt they could cope that much better.
Carers will feel better supported to sustain their caring role by gaining: * Increased awareness * Better understanding of health issues * Better equipped to deal with care packages * Access to informative information in community languages * Better coping mechanism * Better opportunities
this outcome was also achieved over and above our targets specified through having a high attendance in our informative workshops. The workshops were thoroughly enjoyed and we covered taboo subjects which were extremely appreciated by carer participants. Sessions were delivered in community languages for * Breast cancer * Menopause * Electrical faults * Cyber security * Healthy cooking Therapeutic activities including henna art, cooking, flower making and walks helped people ease their pressures and get involved in something therapeutic and at the same time boosting their confidence and self esteem. * Organising outings to celebrate Carers rights and carers week gave participants to air their voices, feel recognised and valued for their contributions. Having a full on activity programme helps us to reach out to the most excluded carers and having exciting activities to offer provides motivation for people to attend and join in the sessions and meet other
Through the activities Milan was able to support a carer with ample responsibilities of part time work, teenage children and caring. The carer approached Milan staff for support as had recently started feeling extremely low with their moods, emotional and experiencing frustration with all their tasks including caring. Had no willpower to do anything and everyday was becoming a struggle as couldn't concentrate or sleep well. The only thing they managed to do was the walk sessions with Milan which she looked forward to but could not manage much more than that. It was in one of these walk sessions that they opened up and spoke about how she was feeling. After an in-depth meeting it was established the carer was experiencing menopause symptoms and was encouraged to go talk to their doctor for suitable treatments. We were delighted to see the carer pickup immensely and become their usual friendly and cheery self having understood her symptoms and obtaining the right help at the right time. This can only be made possible through trusting organisations like ourselves whom can then support them to do something about it rather than suffer in silence. informative health talks and therapeutic activities are a life line for those in caring roles.
Carers will * Have better awareness * Be more informed * Be less prone to aches and pains through massage therapy * Have better sleep, reduced stress * Increased positive health and wellbeing * Be less pressurised * Cared for person and the carer will both feel more at ease
Outcomes were met successfully through active and regular group participation by our carers support group members. Milan ensures we work around carers and are able to offer them something that works for them around their availability. We continuously engage with them and ensure they are comfortable to approach us for any issues or challenges they are facing. Our group sessions are delivered during lunch time and early evening to give more people opportunities to attend the varied activity programme which is set and delivered with carers in mind. Having a good knowledge of what our community of interest's needs are enables us to work to their expectations and have a good turnout for activities.
Milan was supporting an unpaid carer who was finding it difficult to cope and get some time out for themselves due to having elderly in-laws who never left the house due to their ill health. This was effecting the carer due to having added responsibilities as well as having guilt if she wanted to get away. This case was worked on as a team and we sent out Milan's outreach worker for a home visit and speak to the older couple who were making themselves housebound and feeling mentally and physically low. After the first visit and much encouragement the in-laws made a visit to our day-care provision, where they met people they knew and instantly felt at home. The cared for couple went home in a happier and much relaxed mood and signed up to attend the following weeks too. The carer was extremely appreciative and was able to get on with her life for the time the cared for person was at day-care. It is important for everyone to be able to get some quality time out in order to reduce stress, feel less pressurised and more valued.